Should You Let Your Cat Go Outside?
Pet owners let their pets to go outside to get exercise and mental stimulation. It may be relatively easy to keep a dog safe in your backyard. But for cats? No so much.
Before you decide whether or not your cat can go outdoors, you must know the pros and cons of keeping cats outdoors.
For the pros, we all know that outdoor cats will get:
- More exercise and space to run
- Freedom that comes with outdoor life, fresh air, and sunshine
- Increased happiness and mood
For the cons, we must understand that if you let your cats to go outdoors, they may encounter the following risks that just don’t happen at home:
1. Car and traffic
Being hit by a car happens more frequently than one might think, especially when you live next to busy roadways. It could prove to be an unnecessay risk for your cats.
Cats will also sometimes get under the hoods of cars and will become severely injured when someone starts the car.
2. Larger animals who may hurt them
When cats go out, they can roam far and wide without their human parents there to make sure they’re safe. They may encounter unleashed dogs, feral cats, raccoons and other animals that may hurt them. And they may not be able to defend himself or herself when the situation arises.
3. Poisons, antifreeze or other toxic substances
Outdoor cats have access to toxic plants and other toxic substances that may be in your neighbor's trash or on the ground. Cats may also end up accidentally exposed to rodent poisons when they hunt and eat rodents that have recently ingested poison bait.
4. Other cats who may have diseases or parasites
Outdoor cats are also more exposed to diseases, such as feline leukemia, FIV, infestation by internal and external parasites, and injury due to fights with other cats and animals.
5. Animal cruelty
Some people have been known to shoot cats and other pets with BB guns or arrows, while some cats end up being trapped, abused and killed in the name of “sport” or “for fun”. It’s cruel and unacceptable.
6. Getting lost.
Outdoor cats may get lost even if you have the proper ID tags or a microchip, your cat may wander off and get picked up by animal control. Worse yet, if your cat doesn’t have proper identification, there may not be a way for animal shelters or fellow residents to get in contact with you.
In addition, it’s estimated that cats live approximately 4 years longer when kept indoors, and generally live a much happier and healthier life.
Obviously, indoor cats can live longer and encounter fewer dangers. When you weigh the pros and cons, there’s really no better choice for your cat’s quality of life.
If you are afraid that your cat may get bored indoor, just make your home more interesting. For example, set up perches where he can watch birds from the safety of inside, get him a cat playhouse, hide his food so he has to "hunt" for it, or even get him a cat or a dog as playmate.
Read the article How to Keep Your Cat Indoors and Happy for the 7 practical tips on how to make your outdoor cat an indoor cat.