Indoor or Outdoor Cat, Should I Keep Cats Indoors

Indoor or Outdoor Cat

By Tina Mullineaux | Owners Advice

Should I Keep Cats Indoors

indoor or outdoor catKeep cats indoors or allow them to go out, this subject has been the topic for many a debate between cat lovers. A large number of cat owners feel that their cats should be allowed outdoors to roam at their leisure. In fact many of them would go so far to ask is it cruel to keep cats indoors. On the other hand many cat lovers do decide to keep cats indoors and would strongly argue that this is the best way of life for them. So who is right, indoor or outdoor cat? What are the pros and cons to letting your cats roam free outdoors and those for keeping cats indoors?

Indoor or Outdoor Cat

Let us first consider the benefits of both ways of life, starting with cats that are allowed to roam free outside.

Outside Cat

  • A cat that is allowed out has more opportunity to display natural behaviour, such as hunting and climbing which would be limited otherwise. This is good for the cat for number of reasons:
      • The cat is mentally stimulated and is unlikely to suffer from boredom or frustration.
      • The cat will be getting plenty of natural exercise making her far less likely to suffer from obesity and other weight related problems.
      • The likelihood of her developing behavioural problems in the house such as scratching the furniture and inappropriate urination are far reduced.
  • A cat that is allowed free access outdoors probably doesn’t require a litter tray which means a lot less work for you as the pet owner.
  • If your cat has free access outdoors then she is free to choose what she wishes to do and this in turn can lower your cats stress levels. For instance, if a noisy relative visits whom your cat does not like she can just nip outdoors and come back later when peace has returned!
  • Letting your cat out may keep other cats away as she will likely not take kindly to her garden being used as the local latrine!

Keeping a Cat Indoors

Despite all the pros in favour of letting your pet cat roam free in the neighbourhood there are also many very good reasons for keeping a cat indoors.

  • Keeping a cat indoors will keep them safe from the many dangers of being outside protecting her from injury and illness and protecting you from incurring large vet bills and the heartache of possibly losing your precious pet. Consider the following:
      • Your cat will not be involved in a road traffic accident. Many pet cats are killed each year due to them being hit by cars.
      • Your pet cat will not come into contact with the other cats in the neighbourhood so will not be injured by them due to fighting.
      • Your cat will not be at risk from other people. Sadly, and it seems to be on the rise, many people’s pet cats are subject to cruelty at the hands of other people.
  • Keeping your cat indoors will mean that she is far less likely to get ill as a result of coming into contact with other cats in the neighbourhood who could possibly be carrying cat flu or Feline Leukaemia Virus.
  • If you keep your cat indoors then she is not going to bring home parasites into your home. Fleas can be an absolute nuisance and can be very difficult and expensive to get rid of.

Clearly there are many good reasons to both let your cat out to roam and to keep your cat indoors. Indoor or outdoor cat, they both have almost an equal amount of cons to deal with.

keep cats indoorsLetting your cat outdoors is going to expose her to everything that an indoor cat is safe from. There is the risk that she will get injured either from a car or sadly at the hands of some cruel person. She may get sick if she comes into contact with another sick cat in the area, and all these possibilities often lead to large vet bills. Chances are that at some point she will come home with ‘pets’ of her own and fleas can be very embarrassing and very difficult to get rid of. Sadly many pet cats are lost every year and owners never have the peace of mind of finding out what happened to them.

Of course, the reverse is true and cats that are kept indoors also have their own list of cons to consider. Cats that are kept indoors are far more likely to suffer from stress due to boredom and frustration. This in turn leads to behavioural problems such as spraying and scratching. Indoor only cats can get so used to just lazing about that they become over weight and in many cases obese just through a lack of anything to do. And of course, keeping them indoors is much more work for the owner, cleaning up after them and keeping on top of the litter tray.

Making the Right Decision

Ultimately you have to make the decision that is right for you and for your cat. Carefully consider the pros and cons to both ways of life and of course research how you can keep indoor cats happy or how you can minimise the risks to your outdoor cat. Indoor or outdoor cat is something only you yourself can answer, it really is a choice that you make for your cat with no right and no wrong answer.

Personally for me the best way of life is a little bit of both. I prefer not to allow my cats to free roam but this does not mean that they cannot enjoy the outside world. A cat run can be very easy to make and attached to your house can give your cats the choice to either stay in or go out. Cat proofing your garden so that your cats can go out, but cannot free roam, is relatively easy to do and there are companies that specialise in this kind of thing. In my opinion, this is the best way of life for my cats as they are free from the dangers of cats that are allowed to roam free but they can still enjoy the sun, fresh air and a change of scenery.

So which do you think, indoor or outdoor cat? Is it cruel to keep cats indoors or is it irresponsible to have an outdoor cat? Let me know in the comments section below I would love to know what you think.

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About the Author

Tina is Siamese and Oriental cat breeder and regular contributor to Siamese Cat Breeder. Breeding and showing her cats and kittens under the prefix Mullsi, Tina can often be found at Cat Shows.