A number of these diseases can be serious or potentially fatal. But life is tough for an outdoor cat and their life expectancy is shorter than an indoor cat. A slow start is key! 1 Start as you plan to continue. Is it ever okay to let your cat outside? Another reason for indoor cats’ longevity is that it’s easier for their owners to identify health problems early, before they become life threatening. Disease:The American Feral Cat Coalition estimates that there are approximately 60 million feral and homeless stray cats living in the U.S. Most vets will recommend keeping your cat indoors, but if you do want your cat to stay outdoors, make sure your pet is safe by keeping up with all scheduled vaccinations, parasite prevention, and bringing your outdoor cat indoors at night. Your cat’s lifestyle increases their risk of certain health conditions, so whether she's an indoor or outdoor kitty will change the kind of risks she's exposed to. A great way to stimulate a cat’s hunting instinct is to provide your cat with a prey-like toy, such as a laser toy or kitty fishing pole. To help you find a cat that’s more suited to living only indoors we have described each breed as being a typical “house cat” or “outdoor cat”. Those who really want to pamper their pets can attach cat enclosures to their home, to give their cats the feeling of being outdoors without the dangers of being exposed to the outside. Which is better for a cat, staying indoors or being let outside? La Russell understands the dangers that Odie can encounter outside, so she makes every effort to follow all of these guidelines. A major consideration for cat lovers thinking about letting their cat venture outdoors is safety. Gleich SE, Krieger S, Hartmann K. Prevalence of feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukaemia virus among client-owned cats and risk factors for infection in Germany. Take your cat’s personality into account when deciding on their freedom. “If they won’t stay in the house, maybe put them in the garage and put out food and water.” Another option is to build outdoor cat houses to keep your cats safe and protected day and night. “One of his eyes was closed shut before, and he had an abscess on his back one time from where he got into a fight with something.”. This does not mean you have to buy your cat new toys constantly. Deciding whether your cat should be an indoor cat, an outdoor cat, or something in between is a decision that should be based on each individual. They are immune to certain diseases, hunt more and can defend themselves better. Cat-Cat Conflict. If your cat is intent on getting outdoors, fit him for a harness. If you’re bringing in a stray cat or if you’ve decided your exclusively-outdoor cat should now live indoors, you can’t just bring her in and let her have the run of the house right away. Did you make the choice or was it decided for you? All rights reserved. The 2-year-old grey tabby would “meow his head off” and tear up the furniture whenever he was kept indoors. Once you get the go-ahead from your vet, start by training your cat to use a litter box and scratching post outside so it … We may think of our feisty felines as good hunters who are capable of taking care of themselves with sharp teeth and claws. One side is horrified that anyone would ever let their cats outside, given all the hazards (traffic, predators, disease, deeply disturbed cat-hating humanoids). That being said, there are many risks to allowing your cat – regardless of their history – outside. 3 Build a cat enclosure. Indoor cats also live much longer than outdoor cats. 4 Schedule plenty of play. She’ll need to get her bearings and you may need to do a little training before she goes exploring in … McWhorter is well aware that Hobbes and his sister, Calvin, lead a riskier life than her two indoor cats, Lucy and Ricky, but she inherited them from her home’s previous owner and was afraid it would be hard for them to make the transition from outdoor to indoor cats. Toxins and poisons: Outside cats also face danger from coming into contact with toxins, such as antifreeze, that are often ingested because they have a pleasant taste. Declawed cats can’t defend themselves from dogs, other cats, or predators, making the outdoors even riskier. Your cat could easily catch one of them if they come into contact with an infected animal. On average, an indoor cat lives 10-15, but some cats can live for as many as twenty years. This beautiful item is not only pocket-friendly, but it … Place a cat tree or perch near a window so she has a good view, then place a bird feeder outside so she has some up-close-and-personal action. Infectious parasites are about two and a half to three times more prevalent in outdoor cats compared to indoor only cats. Indoor or outdoor cat is something only you yourself can answer, it really is a choice that you make for your cat with no right and no wrong answer. EDIT: to clarify when I say outdoor cat, I mean one thats allowed go go in and out as they please, not one that lives fully outside 1 Kress, Steve (2008). Multiple factors contribute to longevity as well. The other side regards keeping cat indoors as … Otherwise, call your cat every 5 minutes. Cats are commonly attacked by loose dogs and wild animals, such as coyotes, raccoons, foxes and even alligators (depending on where they live). Bottom line: Ultimately, the decision of whether to have an indoor or outdoor cat is up to you. Some indoor cats do seem to yearn for the outside world. Typically, indoor and outdoor cats can eat the same diet, but the indoor cat might gain more weight because it’s not as active. Cats who are kept indoors … Make Indoors Interesting. Don’t expect a cat who has lived outdoors for her whole life to easily transition to … Trees: Trees can be a source of some danger for cats who climb to a place where they are afraid or unable to climb down. One such question is the environment that you will be able to provide for the cat. Indoor or Outdoor Cat? Every cat -- whether indoor or outdoor -- should see the vet at least twice a year for an exam and regular regimen of vaccines, and all cats need to have some form of identification, Cruz says. The indoor/outdoor cat debate is very controversial among animal caretakers and humane societies. Cats who are kept indoors can reach the ripe old age of 17 or more years, whereas outdoor cats live an average of just two to five years. The answer is yes; many cat owners have successfully transformed their indoor/outdoor cat into an indoor cat. In fact, the record for the oldest house cat is over thirty years, while outdoor cats are sometimes lucky to see five years old. There's no question that cats are much safer indoors. Because of this, an outdoor cat can successfully become an indoor cat, and the reverse can happen as well. © 2021 American Humane. Once cats have had that first taste of freedom, it’s tough to convince them to go back inside. Below we give tips on how to do this. Hobbes, a 10-year-old orange tabby, has gotten into his share of trouble over the years. To change your outdoor cat into an indoor cat, first have your vet do a complete check-up to make sure it won’t bring any diseases indoors with it. A cat’s prey drive is so strong that even well-fed cats may naturally enjoy hunting birds or other small animals. The indoor cat or outdoor cat debate can be a touchy subject. Indoor cats live far longer than outdoor cats after all. Many nature-loving cats aren’t eager to forgo outdoor adventures and relocate indoors. © 2005 - 2019 WebMD LLC. Let’s take a closer look. Indoor cats can live just as a fulfilling lives as outdoor cats, without the numerous risks to their health and safety.Many cat owners to let their cat outside during the day, so they can roam the yard and lock them securely inside at night. They are more likely to get regular, healthy food. Providing stimulating cat toys and “trees” for adventure and play—like the Frisco 52-Inch Cat Tree or the KONG Naturals Cat Scratcher—gives your indoor cat many of the same benefits of outdoor recreation, and will keep your furry friend from becoming a bored cat with nothing to do. The indoor cat to outdoor cat transition can be a lot easier if your cat has a safe spot he can go to outside. In contrast, an outdoor cat’s life expectancy is significantly shorter. Dr. Jeff Levy, DVM, CVA, owner of House Call Vet NYC, also discourages owners from keeping cats outdoors. Audubon Living: Cats. Although the impact made by one cat might not seem like a big deal, it is important to think about the total impact of all the cats who are allowed outside. Common examples include: While usually not life-threatening for cats, several common parasites can be picked up by your kitty when venturing outdoors, including: These parasites can cause a variety of moderate to severe symptoms, such as scratching, skin infections, vomiting and diarrhea. “I may not be able to get the owner immediately, but I know that owner cared enough to put the chip in and I’ll go that step further [to locate them].” Finally, make sure your pet is spayed or neutered to prevent an unwanted litter. Thus, bringing your cat indoors is good for the environment and good for the cat. Is your cat an indoor cat or an outdoor cat? Below we give tips on how to do this. When she finds that she can’t get … “I really didn’t want four cats in the house, and they [Calvin and Hobbes] were accustomed to being outside,” she says. Deciding whether or not a cat should be an indoors or outdoors animal is up to individual owners, but the pros and cons provide substantial evidence toward indoor cats. Table of Contents hide. In general cats thrive on a mixture of indoor and outdoor time. So please make sure kitty has a good amount of time inside with his family before beginning the process to acclimate them to indoor/ outdoor living. Make sure an adult supervises your kitty’s outdoor time to ensure strays cannot come into contact with her. Enjoying these types of toys with your cat for several minutes each day is an ideal way to interact with your cat and provide much-needed exercise and playtime, while allowing an appropriate outlet for her natural prey drive. An outdoor cat who comes to the veterinarian and is sick or vomiting is a true challenge because the possible causes are many. “They have blankets in the wintertime and lots of food and water,” McWhorter says. Protect your kitty from other cats. The benefits and risks of an outdoor or indoor life for a companion feline need to be considered for each individual cat. In fact, the average lifespan of an indoor cat ranges from 10 to 15 years, whereas the lifespan of outdoor cats are way shorter — averaging just 2 … As evidence, indoor cats live longer than their outdoor counterparts. Calvin and Hobbes have their own little houses. Friends for your feline. 2009 Jul 17 [Epub ahead of print]. Indeed, this debate seems to be more prevalent in the United States, as in many other countries, cats are allowed free access to the outdoors. Exercise Needs– Keeping your indoor cat mentally and physically stimulated is important. 1 At a glance. I totally agree with you. Statistics show the lifespan of an indoor cat is much longer than an outdoor cat. 2 Be firm. "Give your kitty plenty of indoor options to express their natural behaviors," the Humane Society advised. Ways to engage your indoor cat. Most problems, such as getting hit by a car or having a wild animal like a coyote after them -- it seems most of the problems occur at night,” says Bernadine Cruz, DVM, associate veterinarian at the Laguna Hills Animal Hospital in Laguna Hills, Calif., and member of the American Veterinary Medical Association. This Balinese cat is outdoors, … Pros and Cons for Outdoor, Free-Range Cats On average, an indoor cat lives 10-15, but some cats can live for as many as twenty years. Roaming cats may be at risk for animal cruelty. There are several factors at play when deciding how your cat will spend its days as comfortably as possible, ranging from safety and health to mental health. Indoor cats should not be left alone for any length of time without some form of human interaction. Myth 4: My cat’s always been allowed outside, so he can’t be indoor-only. Common examples include: 1. feline leukemia (FeLV) 2. feline AIDS (FIV) 3. Although it’s not the lifestyle vets recommend, LaRussell says keeping Odie outdoors has trimmed him down to what her vet says is an ideal weight. In fact, the average lifespan of an indoor cat ranges from 10 to 15 years, whereas the lifespan of outdoor cats are way shorter — averaging just 2 to 5 years. Place one where you want the litter box to permanently reside, and put the transitional box at the door the cat once used to exit the house. In fact, the record for the oldest house cat is over thirty years, while outdoor cats are sometimes lucky to see five years old. Playing, chasing and mutual grooming and snuggling can fulfill your indoor cat’s need for exercise, companionship and affection while you are at work or away from home. Outdoor cats can have an impact on wildlife populations, especially when threatened and endangered species are concerned. You’ll notice that many shelters will list that a kitten may … Take her to the veterinarian at least once every year for. Plus she doesn’t have to clean the litter box as often as she once did. An indoor cat may live 15-17 years, while the life expectancy for outdoor cats is only 2-5 years, according to researchers at University of California-Davis. Cat And Kitten Care: The Indoor Vs Outdoor Cat Debate. Share this: Click to … If you’ve decided to keep your cat indoors, but want them to reap some of the benefits of being an outdoors cat, here are some ideas to engage your kitty. It is easier to opt for an indoor only cat right from the start than to convert an outdoor cat successfully into an indoor one. Cats may also end up accidently exposed to rodent poisons when they hunt and eat rodents that have recently ingested poison bait. “AVMA positions address animal welfare concerns.”. Indoor outdoor cat life expectancy There is a difference between indoor and outdoor cat life expectancy, so unless you really need to allow your cat to go outdoors, it might be best not to. I've always had outdoor cats, my gf has always had indoor cats and we want to get a cat. Loose cats are estimated to kill hundreds of millions of birds each year, yet birds are believed to be only 20 percent of the wildlife stray cats kill.1 Birds are especially at risk around homes with feeders and birdbaths.1. Feral cats, for example, can have feline immunodeficiency diseases. Statistics show the lifespan of an indoor cat is much longer than an outdoor cat. Jane Brunt, DVM, veterinarian and owner of the Cat Hospital at Towson and the Cat Hospital at Eastern Shore, Md., and executive director of the CATalyst Council. Ways to engage your indoor cat. The consensus among veterinarians and organizations such as the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is that it’s wiserto keep cats indoors. You’ll notice that many shelters will list that a kitten may … You can use our cat directory to help you find the best indoor or outdoor cat breeds. If your cat goes outdoors, to improve safety from predators, it is recommended that your cat go outdoors during the day and is kept indoors (or in an outdoor enclosure with indoor access) at night. Table of Contents hide. Think of it as a kind of cat conservatory or walled garden. While cats have individual preferences for favorite types of toys, most enjoy the thrill of getting any new toy. A lot of cat owners feel guilty about keeping their cat inside, and worry that they are depriving their cat of natural instincts or fresh air and sunshine. The benefits of keeping the cat away from possible dangers outdoors have to be weighed against the effects on the cat’s behaviour. This eliminates nocturnal hunting and … Cats have individual preferences, and many prefer to have a variety of scratching posts and surfaces, so be sure to offer your cat several types in multiple locations around your house. Personally, I would like to keep my fur babies as long as possible! Indoor cats should be provided with appropriate surfaces on which to exercise their natural instinct to scratch. You can find some sort of middle ground by providing an enclosed outdoor space right where you can keep an eye out for your pet. “I’ve worked in emergency clinics when a cat comes in that obviously belongs to someone,” Cruz says. Studies have shown that indoor cats live longer, healthier lives. Personally for me the best way of life is a little bit of both. In 2008, 65% of survey participants said they keep their cats strictly indoors (Rowan, 2012). WebMD discusses the positives and negatives of indoor and outdoor cats. 4 Schedule plenty of play. They tried taking him outside with a harness, but he slipped right out of it. If you have experienced some of these feelings, American Humane appreciates your concern for your feline friend and would like to help you make an educated decision. Just like indoor cats, outdoor cats can also suffer from diseases and syndromes that cause vomiting — not to mention the fact that they are at risk for eating many disgusting or toxic things. In some cases, they may be up in a tree for days until they become so severely dehydrated and weak that they fall and suffer severe, serious or fatal injuries. Related: 7 Best Indoor Cat breeds. If you are in this situation – living in an apartment, for example – it is best to opt for a breed that will be happy to live indoors. The life expectancy of an indoor cat is typically at least 12 years although they can live up to 20 years. Outdoor Cat Run – Perfect Compromise between Indoor and Outdoor. You might feel silly walking around your neighborhood with a cat on a leash, and your cat may protest at first, but once they get used to it your cat might actually enjoy walking with you. You can either buy a collar with a tag (but make sure the collar has a safety clasp that will release if your cat gets caught on something), or invest in a microchip that is implanted between your cat’s shoulder blades. Indoor Vs. However, just like children, they may get bored with it after a few days. This can range from as little as two years, out to 10-12 years. The indoor vs outdoor cat debate has raged for years among pet owners. The vaccine usually starts out with a series—vaccines given every three to four weeks until the cat is 16 weeks of age, and then again after one year. Feed your cat indoors and on a regular schedule. This can work especially well if your cat is trained in using a cat door or cat flap, which then can connect to an enclosed area outside. There are a lot of dangers that face cats living an outdoor life. I prefer not to allow my cats to free roam but this does not mean that they cannot enjoy the outside world. Next to declawing, the indoor-outdoor question is probably one of the toughest questions for cat owners, with both sides polarized to their own views. The indoor/outdoor cat debate is very controversial among animal caretakers and humane societies. “We treat him for fleas every 30 days, and we take him to the vet for his regular check-ups.” Those check-ups include vaccinations for diseases such as rabies and feline distemper, as well as heartworm medications. If you do make the decision to have an outdoor cat, it’s important to take precautions to ensure that your cat is safe. Also eliminate a desire for your cat if he or she comes into contact with an infected.! Hunters who are capable of taking Care of themselves with sharp teeth and claws other! Had fleas, ” LaRussell says cats — should you ever declaw a cat to be an cat! That their indoor home, first who are already declawed from keeping cats.. It can also eliminate a desire for your cat is intent on getting outdoors, Americans are increasingly their. Explain the benefits of keeping the cat ever declaw a cat, a two-box system filled fine-grain... 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Weighed against the effects on the cat ’ s always been allowed outside, so she every...