Wondering whether you should let your cat go outside or stay inside? Many cats love to spend time outdoors, but there are dangers and risks you should watch out for. We’ll talk about a few things to pay close attention to here.
To go outside or to stay inside?
Summer is here, and with the good weather many of our feline friends’ thoughts are turning to the great outdoors. What is really best for your cat?
A sheltered indoor life or the excitement of the great outdoors.
Like so many things, the answer depends on several factors. Where do you live, for example? If you live right on highway 99, letting your cat outside may not be the best choice. When cats tangle with cars, the cars usually win.
So, the biggest factors I usually think about are location (what are the local dangers), your cat’s current level of health, infectious diseases and parasites, other neighborhood cats, and your cat’s personality.
Knowing the type of area you live in, as well as the kinds of predators that live around you, is important when deciding whether or not to allow your cat outdoors.
We’ll cover some of the risks first, then discuss the benefits.
I’ve mentioned one of the more obvious location related dangers: If you live near a busy road, this is not an ideal place to have a cat with free reign of the outside.
Conversely, if you live far out of town, wildlife can pose a significant risk to your cat. Coyotes and owls can prey on cats and may cause an untimely end if you let Fluffy out, especially at night.
To minimize both these risks, you can restrict your cat’s outdoor time to daylight hours (as much as she or he will allow you to), or you can install cat fencing. This will be a common theme in this post.
Only allowing your cat outside during daylight hours is one of the best ways to keep track of your furry friend, and can help keep her out of danger.
Good cat fencing will keep your cat in your yard and other cats out. It may not prevent owls or a very motivated coyote, but keeping your cat inside during prime hours of predation will help minimize those threats, and the fence will help you to corral your kitty around sunset.
Obviously you want to take your cat’s current health into consideration.
If you have an arthritic senior cat who has never been in the great outdoors before, free ranging the outdoors might not be the best plan as your kitty may be too compromised to escape from dogs, dodge cars, or do other things that outdoor cats need to do to stay safe.
Also, if your cat has a communicable disease such as feline leukemia or FIV you should not allow them to roam free in order to not spread these diseases to other cats.
Again, in these cases, a cat fence can help them experience the outdoors without significant risk.
If your cat has an infectious disease, you should definitely keep them confined, but if your cat doesn’t have an infectious disease, this is one of the risks of being an outdoor cat.
Outdoor cats who are exposed to other cats have the risk of contracting feline leukemia or FIV. There is a vaccine available for feline leukemia, but not for FIV.
If your cat is a cat with outdoor time, we do recommend testing for these diseases on a yearly basis, or 6 weeks after any time there has been evidence they were in a fight with another cat.
Additionally, being outdoors exposes them to wildlife that may carry rabies.
We definitely recommend rabies vaccination with ongoing boosters or antibody titers for cats who are potentially being exposed to rabies.
Keeping your cat’s vaccinations up to date is always important, especially if they spend any time outdoors.
In this case, a cat fence will keep other cats out and minimize the risk of feline infectious diseases, but wildlife will still be able to get in.
Much like your cat’s age and health situation, your cat’s personality is an important factor. If your cat is a wilting daisy, then a cat fence is in order so they don’t end up in a tangle they can’t fend off with another cat.
Want to read more? Click here — To go outside or to stay inside. Corvallis Cat Care
Do you allow your cat to go outside? If so, how do you keep her safe? If you’ve got a tip you’d like to share please leave a comment below!