The outdoor Vs indoor cat debate has raged for decades but according to the Guardian 75% of cat owners in the US now keep their cat indoors (up from 30% in the mid 1990’s) whilst in the UK and EU its the opposite with only 30% no longer allowing their pet cat to roam freely.
Yet, by choosing to keep your cat indoors, you are providing a safer environment for them and drastically increasing their life expectancy.
Throughout this article, you’ll learn about the reasons why an indoor cat is a safe cat. You’ll discover how this choice can contribute to a happier and healthier life for both you and your feline friend.
Understanding Indoor Cats
House cats have a much lower risk of contracting diseases or parasites from other animals. This means that you can have peace of mind knowing your cat is healthy and protected.
Your house cat won’t face the risks of traffic and accidents that outdoor cats might encounter. This means less worry about injuries or losing your beloved pet.
Indoor cats are also less likely to harm local wildlife, like birds and small mammals. This helps maintain balance in your area’s ecosystem. Also, your pet cat won’t be at risk from wild animals hunting for tonights dinner.
Providing your indoor cat with a stimulating environment is essential though if he isn’t to get lazy or suffer from depression. Interactive toys, scratching posts, and climbing structures can keep them happy and entertained.
Regular veterinary checkups and a balanced diet are also essential for your house cat’s health. Ensuring their needs are met will contribute to a long, happy life indoors.
Safety and Indoor Cats
Providing a safe environment for your pet cat indoors is crucial. Although keeping cats indoors reduces the risks they face outdoors, new threats can still emerge.
Common indoor hazards include household chemicals, toxic plants, and dangerous items such as strings or plastic bags. Unsecured windows and doors pose a risk, as curious cats may try to venture outside.
Also, electrical cords and appliances can be dangerous if a cat chews on them or gets entangled.
To create a safer home for your cat, start by storing toxic substances and harmful objects out of reach. Check your houseplants against a list of toxic plants, and replace them if needed.
Secure all windows and doors to prevent accidental escape. Invest in window screens or window guards, especially if you live in a high-rise building. Installing baby-proof latches on cabinets can further protect your cat from accessing harmful substances.
Health Benefits of Indoor Cats
Prevention of Diseases
Keeping your cat indoors helps prevent exposure to common diseases. Your furry friend is less likely to contract feline leukemia, feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), and feline infectious peritonitis (FIP).
Indoor cats are also less prone to fleas, ticks, and parasites. These pesky critters can carry diseases, such as zoonotic diseases, which can even spread to humans.
Then there is Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FID) which is the cat version of AIDS. It is passed from cat to cat and vets the world over are reporting an increase in cases. It is highly contagious between cats and there is no known cure.
Between 2.5 and 4.4% of the worlds cats are thought to be infected with FID and with no vaccine available the only prevention is to keep your cat indoors and away from other cats.
Less Risk of Injuries
Indoor cats face fewer dangers that can cause injuries. They are less likely to get into fights with other cats or wild animals, reducing the risk of abscesses and infections.
Your cat is also less likely to suffer from accidents, like falling from trees or being hit by traffic. This protection contributes to your pet’s overall health and well-being.
With fewer risks of diseases and injuries, your indoor cat will likely have a longer, healthier life. Indoor cats are less prone to obesity and diabetes, as you can control their diet more easily.
By visiting the veterinarian and staying up-to-date with vaccinations, you’ll ensure your indoor cat stays in tip-top shape.
Scratching and Climbing
One excuse for not keeping a cat indoors is damage to the furniture but as long as you provide plenty of approved places for them to scratch this shouldn’t be a problem.
Scratching is a natural behavior for cats. Provide your indoor cat with scratch posts to encourage this activity and protect your furniture. Cats love to climb, so consider investing in a cat tree or shelves specifically designed for your feline friend. This will allow them to climb safely and satisfy their natural instincts.
The BEWISHOME Large Cat Tree Condo could be a great choice for you and your large cats due to its sturdy, spacious, and enjoyable features.
- Spacious layout with beds, houses, and hammock
- Sturdy and stable construction
- Quality plush covering for cat comfort
- Limited material durability
- Bulky size; may not fit in small spaces
Exploring and Playing
Cats can become bored if they don’t have enough opportunities to explore and interact. Create a stimulating environment with interactive toys, catnip, and catnip toys to engage your cat in play. Puzzle feeders also offer a fun and rewarding way for your cat to eat. Keeping your indoor cat active with exercise and play will promote both mental and physical well-being.
Indoor cats may experience stress when confined to an environment that lacks opportunities for exploration and interaction. Learn to recognize the signs of stress in your cat by paying attention to changes in their behavior.
Reducing stress can be as simple as providing interactive toys, engaging in play, or offering consistent training and routines. Practicing good stress management for your indoor cat will ultimately result in a happier, healthier pet.
Outdoor Alternatives for Indoor Cats
Cat Enclosures – Building or buying a cat enclosure for your garden is a compromise that allows your cat to play outdoors but in a safe environment away from health risks and your neighbours gardens.
A Room With a View – Cats love to watch the wildlife in the garden so a porch or conservatory that your cat can enter directly from the house while you are at work will keep him occupied for hours at a time as he watches the world go by.
If you aren’t lucky enough to own a conservatory or sun porch then a window sill with a good view is another option your cat will enjoy.
Enclose your Garden – Make your garden escape proof so you can let your cat out whenever you like and without fear of them escaping and coming to harm. There are many commercial cat fences available.
Introducing your cat to a harness and leash can be a fun way to let them enjoy the outdoors without wandering too far. Be patient during the initial training, ensuring your indoor cat feels comfortable and secure before venturing outside together.
Nutrition and Obesity
Your indoor cat’s nutrition is essential for maintaining good health. Choose a balanced diet specifically designed for indoor cats to provide appropriate energy levels, protein, and fat ratios.
Indoor cats tend to have lower energy needs than outdoor counterparts. Talk to your vet to find the right portion size to prevent obesity.
Exercise and Toys
Another excuse I hear is that indoor cats are unfit and often fat and lazy but a fat indoor cat is more down to a lazy owner than the cat itself. Buy them a cat wheel for exercise and schedule some play time to keep your cat active.
This is the cat wheel we eventually purchased for our Manx. The multifunctional usage and the easy to clean surface appealed.
- Supports cats upto 12lbs in weight
- The new and improved generation of this cat wheel has a reduced gap between the base and roller to prevent the cat's paws from pinching
- The cat running wheel is multifunctional and can be used as an interactive cat toy, cat bed, and furniture, providing your cat with a variety of ways to play and relax.
- The cat wheel offers many health benefits, such as reducing the risk of obesity and improving joint flexibility, which can prolong your cat's lifespan.
- The instructions could be clearer but I had it built in around an hour.
Puzzle feeders are another excellent way to promote physical activity and provide mental stimulation. Combine these feeders with catnip toys for an extra incentive for your feline friend to get moving.
Remember, a healthy and well-exercised indoor cat is a happy and safe cat. Keep up with these activities, and your cat will benefit from proper nutrition and weight management.
Many local authorities in America, Australia and other countries now have bi-laws that make it illegal to allow your cat to roam.
You can be sure that as the cat population continues to grow and as gardening and outdoor living increases thanks to more free time and the fact we are all longer living, more and more conflicts will arise between cat owners and their neighbours.
Don’t wait for a change in the law or until you have fallen out with your neighbours or worse, your cat to be injured – be a responsible cat owner now.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) strongly recommend all cats are kept in the home and offer plenty of tips and advice on indoor cats.
Best Friends offer advice on training your cat and how to keep them safe.
Changes for cat people – The BBC’s Springwatch is calling for changes to the way we keep cats.