Indoor vs Outdoor Living For Cats :: Know the Dangers
Our Position Statement
An indoor cat is a safe and healthy cat...
CatHelp-Online strongly advocates and encourages indoor-only living for cats. The benefits of indoor living far outweigh the risks of outdoor living. This can best be addressed in the form of a question ...
Can you gaurantee your cat will NOT be:
- without adequate food and water sources
- exposed to weather elements (heatstroke, hypo/hyperthermia, snow, ice, severe storms, unable to find shelter)
- attacked by dogs or other animals
- exposed to rabies/carrier animals (skunks, raccoons, foxes, coyotes, bats)
- lost or stolen, picked up by animal control
- abused by children or adults with malicious intention
- hit by a car, critically injured or killed
- trapped in a spring or snare trap, trapped in a building, etc
- a threat to wildlife
- abused by angry neighbors
- exposed to diseases by rodents (infectious, viral)
- exposed to diseases by ticks (cytauxzoonosis)
- exposed to diseases by other cats (FELV, FIV, FIP, distemper)
- exposed to vector-borne diseases (heartworm, fleas, parasites, mites, lice)
- exposed to chemicals and poisons (plants, lawn chemicals, garage spills, fertilizers, rodenticides, antifreeze, deliberate poisoning by people with malicious intent)
If you answered only one question above, you cannot gaurantee the combined risks of allowing your cats outdoors, unsupervised, unprotected. An indoor cat enjoys the safety, protection, health and longevity afforded them by keeping them indoors and safe from the outdoor hazards that claim the lives of thousands of cats each year, many of which could have been fully prevented.
Despite an opinion that cats enjoy the "natural" elements of the outdoors, a cat who has been acclimated, rasied indoors will have no strong desire to be outdoors. Likewise, a cat who has been accustomed to the outdoors can easily be acclimated to indoor living. It is up to you as her caretaker to provide for her happiness and well-being by providing a safe and entertaining environment for her. This can easily be accomplished by providing interactive cat toys, a kitty perch by a safe window, a scratching post, interesting activities and playtime, and being observant to her needs inside her environment.
If you feel you must provide your cat an outdoor haven, we strongly encourage you to carefully consider the following before allowing your kitty outdoors.
Supervised outings - Option 1: Experiment beforehand, inside your home, with a kitty harness designed just for cats. Introduce the harness to her at intervals so that she can become accustomed to it. Once she has become accustomed and not fearful of the harness, allow her to wear the harness at short intervals inside your home so that she is accustomed to it's feel, weight and restrictions. Once she has become completely comfortable with the harness, you may then approach taking her outdoors for short walks. NEVER attach a lead and tie it around a tree or other object....NEVER leave kitty unattended alone outside. A cat can become frightened and can strangle herself with a leash/lead in a matter of minutes.
Supervised outings - Option 2: Consider a fully-enclosed outdoor cat containment system. There are several companies who manufacturer such enclosures that are safe for your cat. We strongly advise thoroughly investigating your choice in an enclosure before purchasing. Ask questions of the manufacturer if you are ever uncertain about the safety of a product. If you use and construct an outdoor enclosure, be sure to follow the recommendations by the manufacturer, and ensure you have inspected the enclosure fully for safety before ever allowing your cat into the enclosure.
While the options noted above may be substitutes for outdoor living, under no circumstance should they be assumed a 100% garantee from harm. Your cat's safety is priority, it is ultimately up to you to ensure it. For these reasons, our position is that indoor-only cats are happier, safer, more content, healthier, and live longer.
FACT: The average life span of an outdoor cat is 2.5 years of age. The average life span for an indoor cat is 17 years of age.
Take responsibility: Your kitty is depending on you to keep her safe, secure, and out of harm's way.