Space this out to every half hour and every 2–3 hours. 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. 5 Harness train your cat. “One day he came in and he had part of his jaw missing,” recalls his owner, Lisa McWhorter. Indoor vs. If your cat is intent on getting outdoors, fit him for a harness. Dr. Jeff Levy, DVM, CVA, owner of House Call Vet NYC, also discourages owners from keeping cats outdoors. Think of it as a kind of cat conservatory or walled garden. Typically, indoor and outdoor cats can eat the same diet, but the indoor cat might gain more weight because it’s not as active. But life is tough for an outdoor cat and their life expectancy is shorter than an indoor cat. 3 Build a cat enclosure. Make Indoors Interesting. Indoor cats can have a life expectancy of around 17 years or more, while outdoor felines are lucky to live an average of two to five years – that’s a substantial difference. 1 Start as you plan to continue. There are a lot of dangers that face cats living an outdoor life. 4 Schedule plenty of play. 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. 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. Try putting some of the toys away while you leave others out, and then rotate them every few days to give your kitty the “new toy” excitement without the expense. Cat-Cat Conflict. 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. You’ll notice that many shelters will list that a kitten may … Gina Gentilozzi never thought twice about keeping her three cats indoors, particularly because she has some unpleasant memories about her own childhood pets. “We don’t let him go outside when it’s dark,” she says. American Humane is a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization. Below we give tips on how to do this. 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. "Give your kitty plenty of indoor options to express their natural behaviors," the Humane Society advised. “We just became resigned to the fact that he’s going to be an indoor-outdoor cat,” LaRussell says. When she finds that she can’t get … 2 Be firm. 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. 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. I prefer not to allow my cats to free roam but this does not mean that they cannot enjoy the outside world. “They have blankets in the wintertime and lots of food and water,” McWhorter says. Many nature-loving cats aren’t eager to forgo outdoor adventures and relocate indoors. I will admit that cats do love to explore! Statistics show the lifespan of an indoor cat is much longer than an outdoor cat. Declawed cats can’t defend themselves from dogs, other cats, or predators, making the outdoors even riskier. 4 Schedule plenty of play. Ways to engage your indoor cat. Table of Contents hide. A cat's hunting instinct is just that—an instinct. Many of these cats may carry diseases that can be passed on to your cat if he or she comes into contact with them. For all of the risks and stress that the outdoors can bring to your cat, one … A slow start is key! Outdoor cats endanger surrounding wildlife, particularly birds. Make sure an adult supervises your kitty’s outdoor time to ensure strays cannot come into contact with her. Outdoor cats are always a lot healthier than indoor ones. 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. Feed your cat indoors and on a regular schedule. An outdoor cat who comes to the veterinarian and is sick or vomiting is a true challenge because the possible causes are many. Unlike most European countries where the majority of cats spend their days outdoors, Americans are increasingly keeping their cats permanently indoors. It’s much easier to go from an indoor to outdoor cat than to go from an outdoor to indoor cat. WebMD discusses the positives and negatives of indoor and outdoor cats. Perhaps some of the biggest risks to the welfare of an indoor-only cat are not physical welfare risks but instead, risks to the emotional wellbeing of the cat. Indoor Vs. Indoor cats should also be vaccinated because the viruses that cause the disease can “hitchhike” into the house on shoes and clothing. As evidence, indoor cats live longer than their outdoor counterparts. On average, an indoor cat lives 10-15, but some cats can live for as many as twenty years. This Balinese cat is outdoors, … Even well-fed pet cats who are allowed to roam outdoors may attempt to prey on smaller animals, with varying levels of success. 2009 Jul 17 [Epub ahead of print]. A number of these diseases can be serious or potentially fatal. Plus she doesn’t have to clean the litter box as often as she once did. Petplan takes a look at the pros and cons of keeping your cat indoors or letting them go outdoors. 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. Many of these cats may carry diseases that can be passed on to your cat if he or she comes into contact with them. Some cats (indoor-outdoor) come and go as they please. 5 Harness train your cat. Can you explain the benefits an argument's for both? Take her to the veterinarian at least once every year for. Roaming around his Fayetteville, Ga., neighborhood he’s had a few run-ins with the local wildlife. Fact: Many cats have successfully gone from outdoor-only or indoor/outdoor to indoor-only. The 2-year-old grey tabby would “meow his head off” and tear up the furniture whenever he was kept indoors. Is it ever okay to let your cat outside? Pros and Cons for Outdoor, Free-Range Cats 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. For a cat, one of the best parts about living outdoors is the constant stimulation from all of the sounds, smells, and movements. Outdoor cats like Hobbes also can get wounded in fights with other animals, hit by cars, or killed when they inadvertently drink poisons such as antifreeze, she says. Hobbes, a 10-year-old orange tabby, has gotten into his share of trouble over the years. I totally agree with you. 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. 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. 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. Indoor or Outdoor Cat? “AVMA positions address animal welfare concerns.”. Friends for your feline. The indoor environment, in comparison to the outdoor environment, is generally considered to be more predictable and monotonous. Your cat could easily catch one of them if they come into contact with an infected animal. “Indoor cats have a much lower likelihood of becoming hurt or ill from outdoor hazards.”. “I’ve worked in emergency clinics when a cat comes in that obviously belongs to someone,” Cruz says. 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. “When I was little, I had indoor-outdoor cats and they all had fleas,” she recalls. The Lifespan of an Indoor Cat By contrast, the lifespan of an indoor cat is typically 12 to 15 years. It's an emotional, never-ending debate, and I'll admit to mixed feelings. Personally for me the best way of life is a little bit of both. The answer is yes; many cat owners have successfully transformed their indoor/outdoor cat into an indoor cat. This eliminates nocturnal hunting and … Outdoor Cats: Pros and Cons. Bottom line: Ultimately, the decision of whether to have an indoor or outdoor cat is up to you. They tried taking him outside with a harness, but he slipped right out of it. If you live in town or in city a indoor cat is always safer from traffic and all, but if you have a large lot, outdoor is always the better choice. For Gentilozzi and McWhorter, the choice was relatively easy, but many other pet owners struggle with the decision of whether to keep their cats indoors or outdoors. Roaming cats may be at risk for animal cruelty. © 2005 - 2019 WebMD LLC. He adds that the extreme climates of the outdoors can be very hard on a cat. 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. There's no question that cats are much safer indoors. Since indoor cats don’t get the same exercise that outdoor cats do, they can sometimes get a bit lazy. 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. Indoor cats live on average 10-15 years, while outdoor cats live on average 2-5 years This handout is intended to help you sort out the pros and cons associated with each lifestyle so you can rest assured your cat “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. Let’s look at the issues surrounding indoor vs. outdoor cats: The American Feral Cat Coalition estimates that there are approximately 60 million feral and homeless stray cats living in the U.S. Indoor cats also live much longer than outdoor cats. The indoor cat to outdoor cat transition can be a lot easier if your cat has a safe spot he can go to outside. However, just like children, they may get bored with it after a few days. A major consideration for cat lovers thinking about letting their cat venture outdoors is safety. The one absolute rule when making the indoor-outdoor decision: declawed kitties should be kept inside. 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. Exercise Needs– Keeping your indoor cat mentally and physically stimulated is important. 1 Start as you plan to continue. Another reason for indoor cats’ longevity is that it’s easier for their owners to identify health problems early, before they become life threatening. Parasites can be very difficult to eradicate from your pet, from humans and from your home. 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. However, since my current and previous cats were adopted by the Cat Adoption Team, I signed an agreement that I would keep my kitties indoors. Indoor cats live far longer than outdoor cats after all. 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. Ways to engage your indoor cat. That’s why it’s important to keep indoor cats active by providing scratching posts, perches, and a variety of toys to get them running and climbing. Here are some great ways to ensure that your cat enjoys a happy, healthy life inside your home: Many cats enjoy the company of other cats or in some cases, dogs! Share this: Click to … 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 … 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. There are plenty of people who are unable to let their cats out, for various reasons. 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”. In fact, the record for the oldest house cat is over thirty years, while outdoor cats are sometimes lucky to see five years old. “And outdoor cats bring you home dead things and I don’t like that either.”. Owning a cat is a wonderful thing, but there are many questions that need to be entertained before you can select your new friend and decide how they will live. Take your cat’s personality into account when deciding on their freedom. 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. “I really didn’t want four cats in the house, and they [Calvin and Hobbes] were accustomed to being outside,” she says. In general cats thrive on a mixture of indoor and outdoor time. 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. 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. Provide your indoor cat with a variety of different interactive toys to keep them physically and mentally stimulated. 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. For the former indoor/outdoor cat, a two-box system filled with fine-grain, clumping litter works best. According to the AVMA, indoor cats live longer than their outdoor counterparts. Once Valerie LaRussell and her husband, Greg, let their cat Odie outside for a “playdate” with a neighbor’s cat, there was no going back. Multiple factors contribute to longevity as well. 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. Although living inside is generally considered healthier, indoor cats need special care, too. 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. 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. Table of Contents hide. In addition to the risks posed by fellow cats, other potential hazards that can seriously threaten your cat’s well-being — and even her life – include: Contrary to popular belief, cats do not have the innate instinct to avoid busy streets, and they frequently get hit by cars. This does not mean you have to buy your cat new toys constantly. The indoor cat diet, which often involves grazing on an open bowl of food all day, plus a sedentary lifestyle, can lead to obesity and may predispose a cat to diabetes. The key, again, is making sure the indoor environment is just as interesting as outside — and … In this episode of Cat Mojo, I take you through the sometimes very sticky landscape that is the indoor vs. outdoor debate. Table of Contents hide. “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.”. The life expectancy of an indoor cat is typically at least 12 years although they can live up to 20 years. She’ll need to get her bearings and you may need to do a little training before she goes exploring in … Because of this, an outdoor cat can successfully become an indoor cat, and the reverse can happen as well. 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. Indoor cats are overweight. 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. 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. 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. Few topics polarize opinion more than the matter of indoor cats vs. outdoor cats. Indoor-outdoor cat has suddenly stopped going outside and has taken to getting into places in the house that she never went in before. All rights reserved. Popular outdoor cat breeds include the Burmese, the Siamese, the Korat, the Norwegian Forest Cat and the Oriental.. Use Our Cat Directory. Outdoor Cats — Should You Ever Let a Cat Outside? The other side regards keeping cat indoors as … 3 Build a cat enclosure. There are a lot of dangers that face cats living an outdoor life. Indoor cats should be provided with appropriate surfaces on which to exercise their natural instinct to scratch. Myth 4: My cat’s always been allowed outside, so he can’t be indoor-only. Personally, I would like to keep my fur babies as long as possible! In fact, the record for the oldest house cat is over thirty years, while outdoor cats are sometimes lucky to see five years old. The indoor/outdoor cat debate is very controversial among animal caretakers and humane societies. If you buy an Omlet Outdoor Cat Run your pet will be able to enjoy fresh air and exercise, with the added safety and security of a fence between them and the dangers beyond. 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. This can range from as little as two years, out to 10-12 years. When your cat is feeling confident and calm in their indoor environment, they’ll be much more confident in their new indoor/ outdoor routine. Her to the fact that he ’ s important that your cat become to! To the extent permitted By applicable law roam but this does not mean that they can sometimes a. 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