IS IT WRONG TO LET MY CAT GO OUTSIDE?

IS IT WRONG TO LET MY CAT GO OUTSIDE?

There are many cat parents that struggle with the dilemma of whether or not to let their cats roam free to explore outside. 

Many cats appear to want to go outside and will cry and sit at the door and look longingly into the garden.

Arguments can be made that there are benefits to allowing a cat to roam free and explore their outdoor world. Cats with outdoor access get more fresh air, exercise, and socialization.  However, there are many dangers that need to be considered as well, before opening that door and allowing your cat the adventures of living outdoors.  Most experts will agree that a cat’s lifespan is significantly shorter for cats that live outdoors.

OUTDOOR HAZARDS

1. Injuries  – from cars, dogs, and other predators.

2. Poisons – You may feel like you have made your outdoor area safe for your cat, but your cat may accidently be exposed to toxic substances. They may inadvertently walk through some antifreeze and then lick their paws, or come into contact with poisons meant to control pests such as rat poison or slug bait. It is also important to remember that a cat can be poisoned if it ingests a rodent that has ingested poison.

3. Diseases and Parasites – Contact with wild animals and other cats can result in the transmission of    life-threatening diseases. It is important to be sure that your cat is current on all recommended vaccines. There is also the risk of more frequent and severe infestations with fleas, ticks and intestinal worms.

4. Exposure to Extreme Weather – Weather can change abruptly without much warning and a cat can quickly become vulnerable to hypothermia and frostbite, or dehydration and heat exhaustion.

5. Getting Trapped  – Many cats get trapped high in trees every year and need to be rescued. They can also become trapped in a building, get stolen by someone, or taken to an animal shelter.

WAYS TO KEEP YOUR INDOOR CAT HAPPY

If you have made the decision to play it safe and keep your cat indoors, it is possible to create a happy, engaging environment that your cat will thrive in.

1. Friend For Your Cat – Some, but not all cats, enjoy having a friend to play, chase and snuggle with. If you do add a new cat to the family, make sure you consult an animal behavior specialist on how to introduce cats to other cats and dogs.

2. Enrich Your Cat’s Environment – Cats enjoy playing the role of prey animal by stocking and hunting their toys. Provide your cat with a variety of toys that mimic their usual prey (birds, rodents, reptiles) that will be both physically and mentally stimulating. Consider doing a toy rotation so your cat doesn’t become bored with the toys. Put favorite toys away and bring them out to swap with the ones out around the house so that your cat constantly has some novelty toys that feel brand new.

Cats also have a natural instinct to scratch and sharpen their claws. Scratching posts are a great way for them to have acceptable places to stretch their claws.

Creating a playground can provide a way to both stimulate your cat and give them the much needed exercise they crave. Make sure that your cat has high places to climb, like book shelves and window sills.  Fun cat trees can be purchased or home made to fit the space you have in your home. These can provide your cat with needed entertainment, escape, and exercise.

Provide places for your cat to hide. They love hiding in anything and everything. Whether it’s a paper bag or shoe box, let your kitty play around with these everyday cheap materials.

When you take on the responsibility of caring for a Pet, it is your responsibility to provide a safe and happy life for him.

Many people believe that a cat cannot be happy living strictly indoors but with a little time and effort, you can provide a place for your cat to live a healthy, active, and adventurous life while living safely inside.

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