The opinion that cats should be kept exclusively indoors or allowed to roam freely outdoors has caused a long-time debate among pet owners. Each opinion comes with its benefits and drawbacks when considered in line with safety, health and environmental impact.
- Safety: Indoor cats are protected from various outdoor hazards, including traffic, predators, and potential accidents.
- Health: They are less exposed to contagious diseases and parasites commonly found outdoors.
- Longer Lifespan: Indoor cats often live longer due to reduced risks associated with outdoor living. According to research, indoor cats live an estimated 10 to 15 years compared to outdoor cats who live an average of 2-5 years.
- Boredom: Lack of outdoor space and exploration can lead to boredom and potentially unwanted behaviour/habits.
- Obesity: Indoor cats are more prone to weight gain if not provided with sufficient exercise and mental stimulation.
- Stress: Some cats may experience stress or anxiety from being confined indoors.
- Natural Environment: Outdoor cats can enjoy natural behaviours like hunting, exploring, and sunbathing.
- Exercise: They typically get more exercise, which helps to maintain a healthy weight and overall fitness.
- Mental Stimulation: The outdoor environment provides several stimuli, reducing the likelihood of boredom-related behaviours.
- Safety Risks: Outdoor cats face risks such as traffic accidents, fights with other animals, and exposure to toxins.
- Health Concerns: They may contract diseases or parasites more easily than indoor cats.
- Shorter Lifespan: Outdoor cats generally have a shorter lifespan due to the increased dangers they are exposed to in their environment.
When choosing whether your cat will stay indoors or outdoor, you need to consider the cat’s personality, health status, and available safe environment. You might also want to consider a balanced approach which includes supervised outdoor time for an indoor cat.