Some cat lovers may wonder whether it is better to keep your cat strictly indoors, or let them be part of the greater outdoor world. After all, wouldn’t they love to frolic through the grass, enjoy fresh air and sunshine or chase birds with their natural instincts? This may very well be true, but there are some issues to ponder when making this decision.
The first factor to consider is the health of your cat. It is estimated that there are over 60 million feral and homeless cats in the U.S. If your cat comes in contact with them, it is possible that various diseases may be passed on to your feline friend. Some of the more common ailments include feline leukemia, feline AIDS and distemper – all of which can be quite serious and potentially fatal. They can also contract various parasites such as fleas, ticks or intestinal worms which are expensive to treat and could adversely affect the health of your pet. Outdoor cats also have a higher probability of be exposed to lethal toxins including automotive antifreeze, various rodent poisons or landscaping chemicals.
Physical safety also ranks high on the list of considerations in this narrative. Outdoor cats frequently get hit by cars, get injured or killed by stray dogs or wild animals, and can fall prey to animal cruelty at the hands of sadistic individuals. Even though trees themselves don’t seem harmful, kitties that can’t resist the urge to climb may find themselves in a bad predicament – unable or afraid to climb down. If discovered, rescue will likely be tendered, but some may not be so lucky.
Some people may still decide to provide their cats with limited outdoor time. If you choose to do this, a confined outdoor space may help in keeping your cat away from danger. We still recommend visiting us regularly to keep vaccinations up to date and have regular screenings for health issues or parasites.
Cats can be perfectly happy being indoors. They enjoy the company of other cats and even dogs, and can spend hours playing or snuggling with their companions. Providing recreational amenities such as toys, places to climb, containers to hide in, scratching posts and a perch with a nice view of the back yard (including the birth bath and the squirrel feeder) will keep your cat physically and mentally stimulated for hours. Avail your lap for the cat that wishes to curl up with you while you read a book or watch a movie – they love affection and are content to have it as long as you are willing to give it.
If you have any specific questions or concerns, Normandale Veterinary Hospital is happy to help. We specialize in maintaining the health and safety of your beloved animal friends, so keep our contact information handy!