Indoor or outdoor: Choosing the best life for your cat

Should your Pet be an Indoor Cat or an Outdoor Cat?

Do you live in an apartment complex near a crowded highway or in a rural area or farm? One of the most important decisions a cat-owner must make is whether to have an indoor or outdoor cat. Whether your cat should live inside or outside the house is affected by many factors, including where you live. What could be the right decision for one pet owner might be wrong for someone else. Below are some of the pros and cons of having an indoor pet versus having an outside cat.

Indoor Cats

As a general rule, indoor cats live far longer than outdoor cats. Most indoor cats I have kept have lived more than ten years. My outdoor cats either got run over or disappeared after three. That is why I feel that if it is possible, a cat should be kept inside, because the house provides a more protected environment. Indoor cats are less likely to get run over, which is a major cause of death for outside pets. Cats that live inside are also less likely to be exposed to other dangers such as cat fights and certain communicable diseases. They are also not as likely to get lost or to stray.

There are some disadvantages to having a cat that lives indoors all the time. Indoor cats are rough on furniture and you may have to go to a lot of expense to get them de-clawed. If you have an indoor cat you must also provide a litter box.

One bad thing about having an indoor cat that cats naturally want to go outside, especially in the spring. Indoor cats should be taken out for short periods of time for little outings. Cats love to chew on grass and they like to get outside once in a while. You can either watch the cat or put it on a leash. If kept on a fairly regular schedule, it won’t resist coming back in.

Outdoor Cats

Cats that live outside are much easier to take care of. All you have to do is feed them when they come around, and you don’t have to worry about a litter box. However, keeping a cat outside all the time exposes the pet to many diseases and dangers. If you live in a cold climate, the cat may suffer in the wintertime if it doesn’t have a warm place to sleep. The major danger is the road. If you live in a busy area, your cat is likely to get run over if not watched or contained most of the time. And there is no fence that can contain a cat. Outdoor cats, especially unneutered Toms also have a tendency to roam. Many of them run off and just never return.

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Making Your Decision

Why did you choose a cat for a pet in the first place? If you want a warm and constant companion, then keeping the cat in the house is the best choice. You naturally become closer to a pet that lives under your roof, and it in turn becomes more devoted to you.

Do you have other priorities? Perhaps you live on a farm and want a good mouser. Maybe you have plenty of room for a cat to roam, and keeping it inside would be cruel. If you have a barn or nice place for the cat to sleep, and busy streets are not a hazard, an outdoor cat may be for you.

There is really no right or wrong decision. As long as the cat and the owner are happy with the arrangement everything should work out fine.

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