Can I allow my cat to go outside?

Is the cat in your home hankering to venture outdoors? It's common for cat parents to experience some guilt about their cat's constant indoor confinement, particularly if they express curiosity about exploring the outdoors. Many cats 'beg' to go outside, but they have no idea what's in store for them there. While a lot of pet owners can create a busy indoor environment to entertain their cats with enrichment activities, lots of windows, cat-friendly plants, and certain outdoor alternatives we cover below, it can be difficult to replicate the identical outdoor experience.

Nonetheless, you should always put your cat's safety first, and letting your indoor cat go outside has some serious risks. 

Is it better for cats to live indoors or outdoors?


Potential adopters are frequently asked by cat rescues to commit to keeping their cats indoors, and many vets also advise it. This makes a lot of sense, especially when you consider how safe and secure your cat is.

Indoor cats typically live around 10 to 15 years longer than outdoor cats, roughly twice as long. This is due to the fact that cats may encounter numerous outdoor risks, like parasites, illnesses, vehicles, coyote predators, poisons, and other creatures.

By keeping your cat inside, you may shield them from these potential risks. Additionally, you spend a great deal more time with the cat, giving you the chance to notice any health problems early on. Keeping your cat indoors also reduces the chance that they may become lost or be picked up by either animal control or other people. Because even well-fed cats have a propensity to hunt birds as well as other small prey that can seriously negatively affect wildlife in the surrounding region, you also contribute to the protection of natural species. It's estimated that domestic cats kill roughly two billion birds a year in the US alone.

If you still need more proof that it's best to keep the cat indoors, just think about the additional risks there are when allowing a cat to wander freely outside.

How to Safely Allow Your Cat Outside


If a cat is privy to a sunny window, they are able to enjoy a lot of the benefits of being outside, even if they spend their whole life indoors. For an extra-cosy spot for your cat to sit or watch the birds or squirrels, arrange a hammock bed or a cat tree right in front of their favorite window. Furthermore, if the weather permits, open the window to allow them to enjoy a cool breeze.

Make sure to take precautions when you continue to want your feline friend to go outside. This comprises:

1: Getting your cat to accompany you on a leash and harness when you go outside
2: Creating or purchasing a "catio" and mesh cat enclosure.
3: Ensuring that your cat receives the recommended annual testing for heartworm and flea/tick infections, and informing your veterinarian that your cat spends time outside.
4: Make sure your cat is always under your watch when they are outside, and never leave them alone.

Between having your cat inside all the time or exposing it to the hazards associated with its existence as an outdoor cat, there is undoubtedly a happy medium. Your cat may be able to be trained to walk on a leash and go on other excursions, depending on their temperament. Alternatively, they might just be a nice friend with whom you can sit outside in the backyard and occasionally enjoy the sunshine.

In either case, pay close attention to your cat's indications and prioritize safety. While some cats may be content to stroll outside on a leash and harness or explore a tiny area of grass under their owner's supervision, many cats are content to live entirely indoors. Apply common sense, and if in doubt, stay indoors with your cat to err on the side of safety.

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