It’s not uncommon to see cats wandering around outside and exploring. Many times, those cute little kitties look like they’re loving the adventure they’re on – exploring new smells, chasing bugs and getting fresh air.
However, is having an outdoor cat preferable? What about letting your cat outside for a few hours a day so he can enjoy some sunshine and get some fresh air? Is that a safe option?
Most veterinarians argue that keeping your cat indoors is the safest option. We’ll explore why below.
Dangers of the Great Outdoors:
An outdoor cat’s chance of getting hit by a vehicle while wandering around is infinitely higher than that of an indoor cat. In addition to becoming severely injured – or worse – from passing motorists, felines are exposed to a myriad of other potential threats if left alone outside.
Any wandering cat may come across a backyard that is home to an aggressive dog or another stray animal that intends harm. If you live near a wooded area, that can open up even more opportunities for wildlife, including coyotes and raccoons, to potentially get in a tangle with your four-legged friend. Injuries from such altercations can sometimes be fatal, according to American Humane.
It may seem rather unusual to think of a tree as a danger to your kitten, but cats that are great climbers may inadvertently climb too high and not be able to get down. Without knowing where your cat is, it may take days to find her perched up in a tree, scared and hungry.
While cats can sometime be chased down by larger animals like coyotes, cats are also great hunters themselves. Particularly, they like hunting rodents. It can be dangerous if your cat happens to hunt a rodent that has recently ingested rodent poison.
Did you know on average, indoor cats outlive outdoor cats? According to UC Davis Vet MD, indoor cats live roughly 10 to 15 years, and outdoor cats typically live a mere 2 to 5 years.
Benefits of Outdoor Life
Those who argue in support of outdoor living typically cite the fact that outdoor cats are more easily able to stay slim and healthy. Because there is more room to run around outside, outdoor kitties typically get more exercise and have many new sights and sounds to keep them stimulated.
If you prefer keeping your cat indoors, there are still plenty of ways to keep your cat occupied and active.
Keeping an Indoor Cat Stimulated
To mentally and physically stimulate an indoor cat daily, you may want to carve a few minute out of your schedule each day for playtime. Even if it simply involves playing with a fishing pole or small toy for a few minutes, this will give your cat exercise and fun all at once.
Scratching poles and climbing structures are another great way for cats to exert energy and get active. Most local pet stores sell such equipment.
Introducing a new toy to your cat’s collection every now and again can also be a great way to stimulate your cat’s mind and get her playing non-stop.
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