Indoor Vs. Outdoor Cats: Which is Better?

Indoor Vs. Outdoor Cats: Which is Better?

Author WCF Staff


One of the first things new cat owners will have to decide is whether to raise their cats as indoor or outdoor cats. Most cat owners believe cats love roaming, and certainly, there is some truth to that. Cats always sit next to the window and look outside at the great “wilderness.” They look like they’re yearning to hunt and roam, but is that safe? There are some pros and cons to both sides, and here’s what you should know about indoor and outdoor cats.

Which cats are healthier?

Whenever you’re making a decision regarding your cat, you should think about the effect your decision will have on your cat’s health. This is the first question you should ask when you’re choosing your kitten’s food, and it is an important question you need to answer when considering if you should let your cat go outside. Here’s what you should know.

Indoor cats health

Indoor cats are usually less active than outdoor cats. They can still play and exercise indoors, but the activity level is smaller than that of outdoor cats. That means indoor cats are more likely to gain weight, diabetes, arthritis, and heart disease.

indoor cat

Outdoor cats health

Outdoor cats are a lot more active. They stalk prey, play, run, and roam their environment. However, there are loads of health risks outdoor cats are exposed to. Outdoor cats are more likely to develop bacterial, viral, and fungal infections, heatstroke, hypothermia, wounds, parasites, rabies, feline leukemia, feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), poisoning, and the risk of being hit by cars, stolen, or abused.

Does that mean you should keep your cat exclusively indoors?

Not necessarily. There are a lot of things we need to uncover when talking about a cat’s lifestyle. The most important thing is to create a safe environment. You can let your cat go outside as long as it’s safe from risks you can control. Outside playing pens or large outdoor cages are an elegant solution that allow cats to spend time outside but remain safe while doing so.

Should I let my indoor cat roam?

Again, the answer is - not necessarily. Indoor cats can get plenty of exercise and activities while they’re indoors. However, their owners need to make an effort and get them plenty of toys, scratching posts, and a nice cat tower. Cat towers with hiding posts provide endless hours of fun for cats. They love playing on them, and you will surely notice the naps your cat takes there.

outdoor mackerel cat

If you think your cat should have more physical activity, there are solutions to that too. Something like a cat training wheel will provide your cat with some much-needed exercise without the risk of being exposed to outdoor risk factors. Plus, if you install a bird feeder close to your cat’s favorite window, you will keep your cat entertained for hours.

Which cats live longer?

Cats that spend a significant amount of time outside are usually healthier because of the amount of exercise and activities they have. However, the risks they are exposed to mean their lifespans are significantly shorter. Indoor cats typically live 10 - 15 years, depending on the breed. However, the average lifespan of an outdoor cat is 2 - 5 years. Most outdoor cats fall victims to some threat lurking outside. Plus, rare cat breeds are likely to get stolen.

How can I keep my outdoor cat safer?

If you still want to let your cat roam the outdoors and enjoy everything the outdoor life has to offer, you should make sure your cat is as safe as possible. We would advise you to keep your cat mostly indoors and occasionally let it go outside to get some exercise. Mind you, that is only if you are absolutely adamant about allowing your cat outside. Here are some of the ways you can make sure your cat is safe outside;

  • Pet insurance - Outdoor cats need more vet visits, and those bills can quickly stack up. Getting pet insurance if you have an outdoor cat is a wise idea.
  • Microchip - Most European countries require pet owners to microchip their pets. You should take that advice and microchip your cat. If the cat gets lost or stolen, there is a better chance of getting it back.
  • Flea and tick prevention - Outdoor cats will get exposed to fleas and ticks from contacting other animals. Other cats, rodents, squirrels, and other potential prey can be infested with fleas, and you want to make sure your cat is protected.
  • Parasite prevention - There are various internal parasites that can infect your cat and are spread outside. Parasites like hookworms spread through infected animals’ feces, and outdoor cats are exposed.

cute kitten

What do experts say?

If you talk to cat breeders, experienced cat owners, and vets, they are all likely to advise you to keep your cat inside. Sure, outdoor cats get more activity, but the vast difference between average lifespans should be more than enough to tell you what the safest option for your cat is.

If you’re absolutely adamant about letting your cat out, make sure you take all the necessary steps to keep your cat as safe as possible. One of the possible things you can do is teach your cat to walk on a leash. You will provide your cat with some much-needed exercise while keeping it safe.

World Cat Finder Team

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