There’s another great debate about the feline as a pet besides the declawing issue covered in another article. This great debate concerns allowing the feline to roam outdoors vs. living indoors. As usual, there are two sides to this debate. Should you allow your cat to roam outdoors? Let’s find out.
The Outdoor Feline
Cats are essentially wild creatures, and they have always loved the outdoors. What feline owner hasn’t watched their cat loll in a patch of sunshine on a winter day, or roll contentedly in the dirt in their own backyard? Cats do love the sunshine, the outdoors, and the fresh air. However, outdoor cats are susceptible to more diseases, more injuries, and more health problems. Outdoor cats may tussle with other cats, catch parasites or other diseases, or be hit by a car or caught by other predators. They can also be poisoned by pesticides, or by sadistic neighbors. They can cause problems with neighbors by using their yards as a cat box. Outdoor cats simply aren’t as safe as indoor cats, period.
Indoor cats live longer, healthier lives – period. Studies prove it and common sense dictates it. Indoor cats have many advantages outdoor cats can’t hope to have. Outdoor cats live on an average of 3 to 5 years, while indoor cats live an average of 12 years or more. My last indoor cats lived to be 19 and nearly 21. Indoor cats enjoy in safety and comfort. They are safe from diseases that feral cats may carry and outdoor cats pick up. They are safe from cat fights, cars, and predators. And, indoor cats won’t harm other wildlife, such as birds and small animals.
There are many alternatives to the outdoor lifestyle. When kittens first come home, they should be kept indoors. If your cats miss their outdoor excursions, you might try to train them to wear a harness and walk on a leash. They will still be able to enjoy the outdoors, but much more safely. Another alternative is to create a safe outdoor area or run where the cats can go outside but cannot escape the area. There are many outdoor runs available now that connect to a cat door and allow the cat access to a run on a patio or in a backyard. You can also allow the cat outdoors on a patio or deck when you are outdoors, and only for a short time. Or, you can use a carrier to take your kitty for walks in the sunshine.
Keeping kitty indoors will keep kitty healthy, happy, and free of infectious diseases she might catch outside. Each pet owner is responsible for their own pet’s health and well being. Keeping kitty inside is the choice that makes sense.