The Great Debate – Indoor or Outdoor for your Cat

In Animal Health, cat behavior, cat cpr, cat first aid, Cats, Kitties, pet care professional, pet cpr, Pet First Aid, Pet Industry, pet sitter, Uncategorized by Cara ArmourLeave a Comment

According to the AVMA, indoor cats live longer than their outdoor counterparts. Indoor cats can have a life expectancy of around 17 years or more, while outdoor felines are lucky to live an average of two to five years – that’s a substantial difference.

Indoor Vs. Outdoor

For those of you that weren’t swayed by the opening statement of greater life expectancy for indoor cats, let’s dig a little deeper into some of the myths and reasons why people would argue in favor of outdoor cats. If you haven’t guessed already, my research has led me to reason without a doubt that my cat’s life is better kept inside.

Outdoor Cat Arguments

My cat is bored left inside all day – 

I will not deny that seeing the same four walls can definitely be boring but there is nothing stopping you from keeping things frisky for your feline friend. There are amazing products on the market from cat playhouses to perches to awesome food fetching toys. Your cat is basically a lion in your living room when you start to understand their prey drive and desire to go after things, the possibilities are endless as to the fun you can create. Here are some ideas in the video below.

My cat destroys my house and furniture if I don’t let her out – 

While again I will not deny the truth behind this issue, the fact remains that destructive kitties are kitties that are not given proper outlets for their energy, or they could, in fact, be sick.

First make certain there are no signs of illness, next think about moving that cat tree or adding a second one to the mix. If your favorite armchair has fallen victim to a feline frenzy, find out just what your cat likes and reward them with it. I have seen all kind of cat trees, towers, scratching posts at my cat sitting client homes, even an amazing wood pillar that looked well in the home but was 100% for the cat. There are tons of DIY cat posts as well. Have a support beam in your basement? Wrap the beam in twine for an instant cat post, also looks better too.

I have seen all kind of cat trees, towers, scratching posts at my cat sitting client homes, even an amazing wood pillar that looked well in the home but was 100% for the cat. There are tons of DIY cat posts as well. Have a support beam in your basement? Wrap the beam in twine for an instant cat post – it will also look better too.

Indoor cats are fat –

Well, that’s your fault – no seriously it is. If you believe indoor cats are fat because they move less then feed them less.

If you really think the lack of mobility caused by the walls of your house is an issue, there is nothing stopping you from bringing Fluffy on a frolic outside. They make cat-safe harnesses that will make exploring the great outdoors fun for you both.

walking a cat

My cat has always been indoor/outdoor, he will freak out if not allowed out –

You can safely and effectively transition your once outdoor cat to being indoor only. It starts with enrichment, making certain their life inside, is as fun as it is outside.

Make sure you have plenty of fun, interactive toys.

Have perches available for them to climb up and survey their land.

cat tree

even if upside down

Have hiding places available so they can jump out and playful go after your feet when you walk by. Yeah, my cat LOVES to do that and it keeps my heart fresh as I say.

cat tent

looks innocent but those big eyes say she’s ready to launch!

If you have the luxury of a screened in porch, let them out for some fresh vitamin D. You can always leave windows open but remember, screens cannot hold children, dogs or cat’s back. Make sure if you have the window open you have the screen reinforced or a cat-safe perch that allows them the fresh air without falling to the ground.

cat in a screen-in porch

My cat Kit, stretching and soaking in some sun

My cat doesn’t go far when he goes outside –

Yeah neither did my client’s when she saw a coyote grab her beloved cat and dismember it right in front of her sun porch!

Just because a cat doesn’t go far doesn’t mean they are any less likely to get injured, catch a parasite/disease or get killed.

I live on a pretty busy state route, if my cat got out and decide to travel just 300 yards in front of my house she could find herself as roadkill.

A Good Life From Inside

I hope I have successfully illustrated that life for a cat inside four walls can be wonderful. As long as their natural instincts to “hunt, catch, kill, eat, groom, sleep” as the cat connoisseur Arden Moore states, can be met, then their life will be full.

Below is a video of my 10 yr old fab feline friend playing on one of her many toys while of course, I was trying to workout. She’s 10 and still acts like a kitten because she needs to hunt, catch, kill, eat, groom and sleep. Although she constantly argues that we cheat her on the eating part.

So go, go play with your cat. Pay attention to how they walk, what and how they’re eating and of course what they are leaving behind. Educate yourself to recognize anything out of the usual by taking a pet first aid & CPR class.

Have some cat stories to share, please do! We’d love to write about how you saved your feline friend or heck, how they saved you!

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