The Benefits of Having an Indoor Cat
Although you might think that keeping Fluffy inside all the time is cruel, it can actually be much more dangerous for your cat if you do allow him to go outside. In fact, AHS experts say that letting your cat outside isn't making him any happier than he might be indoors. Your cat could get ran over by a car, someone could steal him, he could get into a fight, eat a toxic plant.. You don't really have any control over what happens to your cat if he freely wanders around outdoors.
Outside cats are also more prone to getting infectious diseases like feline leukemia virus. Letting your cat outdoors makes it extremely easy for him to get fleas, ticks, and mosquito bites, things that are uncommon for indoor cats. The average lifespan for an indoor cat is 10-15 years. For an outdoor cat, it's only 2-5 years! It's always a tragic experience when you lose a pet, and 15 years and 5 years is a pretty big difference.
So why take the risk of loosing your cat sooner and letting him outside? Indoor cats have a much more increased life expectancy. Another reason to consider an indoor cat is that if you ever want to leave the house, you can rest at ease knowing that your kitty is safe and sound at home, incapable of getting into trouble. And another bad thing about having your cat outside is that they often bring you dead rodents, bugs, and birds - yuck!
The Benefits of Having an Outdoor Cat
Outdoor access for your cat allows him to get some alone time and peace and quiet. He can also "mark his territory" (if your cat isn't neutered). Letting your cat outside means there's a way less chance of him becoming overweight. While outdoors, he can run around, explore, and climb trees; which, like humans, is great for their physical health.
Being out and about can also give your cat something to do. Similar to dogs, cats often get bored and simply need something to stimulate them. So allowing your kitty to go outside is a good solution to his boredom, since the great outdoors has unlimited entertainment . And if you don't like cleaning the litter box, that's another good thing about outdoor cats - they don't need a litter box. They can just go outside, like dogs do.
Outdoor cats can also more freely express their natural behaviors, as being outside allows them to do things such as patrol their territory, catch bugs, and the best part? Everything outside is one big scratching post, which also lets your sofa stay scratch free.
How to Keep Your Indoor Cat Happy
Give your cat a scratching post or station - this replaces trees and sharpens their claws without ruining your carpet and furniture. Make sure your cat has plenty of toys. This is your cat's "fake prey" and definitely keeps him happy and stimulated. Interactive toys are ideal, but stuffed toys or toys with catnip are of great value, too. Give your cat a playmate! This gives your cat some social interaction and someone to play with when you're busy. Also try cracking open a window to give your kitty some fresh air (but not too much for him to escape) or even open the blinds to provide your cat with his own source of entertainment.
How to Keep Your Outdoor Cat Safe
Only let your cat go outside if he can stay in your yard. That means you'll need a fenced in, secure yard. If your cat is allowed to go around the whole neighborhood, many things could happen to him (such as he drinks anti-freeze). And don't keep toxic or dangerous plants around - inside or outside. I'm going to be honest here; cats sometimes like to chew and/or eat plants. So if you own a cat, never have toxic plants that could be harmful to him. If you can't keep your cat in your yard, then allow him outside only when he's on a leash. Yes, you can actually walk your cat. Avoid possible dangers like dogs, cars, any recognizable poisonous plants, etcetera. Put your cat's collar on whenever he goes outside, too, and be sure to attach his tags with your contact information. Also consider an outdoor enclosure for your kitty, or a "Catio". They get all the pleasures of being outside, and you can get that peace of mind knowing Fluffy is safe.
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