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Cats: Indoors or Outdoors?

 by yunus on 27 Apr 2016 |
1 Comment(s)
When it comes to the indoor-outdoor debate, many cat owners are wrought with guilt over keeping kitty cooped up inside. After all, outdoor cats live a more mentally and physically stimulating life with the freedom to hunt, climb and seek out the sun. However, free-roaming cats face dangers such as car accidents, predation and exposure to diseases that indoor pets do not. Moreover, indoor cats can live a healthy, fulfilling life when equipped with the right accouterments, making it important to weigh the pros and cons before deciding whether your cat will spend his time inside or out.
 
When it comes to disease, the indoor-versus-outdoor debate seems like a no-brainer. Experts estimate that there are more than 50 million stray cats living in the United States, and many of these feral felines carry diseases that can be passed on to your pet. Feline AIDS, distemper and leukemia are just a few of the serious and potentially fatal maladies your pet can contract. Parasites such as ticks and intestinal worms are another cause for concern when kitty ventures outside. Though indoor cats can contract parasites, outdoor cats are at a much higher risk of infection, which can cause symptoms from skin infections to severe vomiting and diarrhea. In addition, outdoor cats can face busy roads, wild animal attacks, and contact with toxins such as antifreeze and are the culprits behind millions of songbirds’ deaths each year.
 
If you do decide to let kitty venture outdoors, there are several steps you can take to reduce risks to his health and safety. Keep him up to date on vaccines and ensure your pet has been spayed or neutered. Outfit your cat with a collar that includes an identification tag in case her gets lost and a bell that will alert songbirds to any oncoming attacks. If you live near a busy road, it is worth considering teaching your cat to walk on a leash.
 
On the other hand, if you keep your cat indoors, there are several ways to ensure he has a healthy, satisfying life. Providing your feline friend with a companion — another cat, or even a dog in some cases — gives him an outlet for play, exercise, grooming and affection when you’re away from home. Cats also enjoy toys, such as laser toys or kitty “fishing poles,” that are both physically and mentally stimulating. Playing with these toys for a few minutes each day gives your cat an outlet for his natural hunting instincts. Indoor cats also need appropriate surfaces for scratching, so ensure your pet has several scratching posts spread around the house. You can create a stimulating indoor oasis for your cat by providing climbing places, hiding spaces, perches in sunny spots, and in-house entertainment such as bird feeders or birdbaths within view of windows.

Comment(s)1

John Villella - Comment
John Villella28 Apr 2016Reply
Excellent article. I've felt guilty, for a long time, about keeping my cats inside. They were all clearly bored and out of shape. At the same time, it was obvious that they (and the birds) would be at great risk if they were let outside. So, my solution was to build a 6 foot high (100' by 50') chain link fence (personally digging one fence post at a time every weekend for a two months). Now, the cats can go outside, sit in the sun, play in trees and chase lizards and each other without running into a deadly outcome . This fence effort and expense was well worth it and the cats are much happier.
karrin - Comment
karrin28 Apr 2016Reply
u, sir, are among the coolest men i have never met, & that's a fact. i hope ur wife (or boyfriend) knows they're lucky to have u...as ur cats clearly do! >(^;^)<
John Villella - Comment
John Villella28 Apr 2016Reply
Thanks for the kind words. It will suffice to say that the mother cat (the leader of a pack of 5) is so grateful for the care she gets that she meets me every time I drive into the yard. All were animals that didn't have homes and little, if anything, to eat. Now, they get the best of everything.---Best Regards, John V

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