Many will argue that cats belong outdoors or indoors/outdoors, but what kind of cat lives longer? Indoor cats. Cats can live a very long time indoors. Statistically, cats can live between the ages of 12 - 18 years of age. An outdoor cat, unfortunately, lives to about 7 years old on average due to exposure to many dangers. Keeping your cat indoors not only is the right thing to do, but the most humane thing for them.
Cats that live indoors live longer because they are not as exposed to the dangers of outside. If the cat often goes outdoors, they have the exposure to diseases and illness that other outside cats may carry. In the US, there are approximately 60 million outdoor feral cats. These outdoor kitties can be carries of various diseases and illnesses due to lack of proper veterinary care. If your cat goes outdoors, they can encounter a cat that has not been vaccinated and/or treated and unfortunately, become sick. Of course, it's not the fault of the feral cat - there are many wonderful people out there who are involved in trap, neuter, and release (TNR) programs that are helping those cats in need.
Letting your cat outdoors every once in awhile can also put them at risk to toxins and poisons that are in people's yards. Cats love to eat plants and will sometimes get into something that can be poisonous to them. Not only that, but your neighbors could also apply fertilize or pesticides to their yards that can be a danger to your cat. If your cat loves little rodents, beware. Many people use poisons to kill them and your cat can accidentally eat one.
Outdoor cats are notorious for running from lawn to lawn and even crossing the road sans chicken. This is dangerous as there are cars and trucks that can hit your cat. Also, other people's pets like dogs can chase and kill your cat. Wildlife is also a threat to your cat - wolves, coyotes, hawks, cougars and snakes, just to name a few. By keeping your cat indoors, you are protecting them from any potential predators they can encounter.
It's the right thing to keep your cat indoors. It prevents them from getting sick and/or injured and their life span is much greater if kept indoors. Of course, keeping a cat indoors has it's work cut out. There are various things that you can do to ensure your cat's life is enriched indoors. Enclosed patios, or also called "catios" help your indoor cat get the benefits of being outdoors, but within the safety of your own home. Setting your cat up with wheatgrass planters, cat tree, scratchers and beds in the catio, your cat will feel like it has all the benefits of the outdoors without actually being outdoors.
Playtime and constant indoor enrichment will also help your cat get used to the idea of living indoors full-time. Toys such as Da bird and tiny mice will get them into their primal hunting mode which is what they will miss if being indoors. At least 15 minutes of daily play is essential for your cat. Scratch pads also help them mark their scent, something they do on trees if they live outdoors. All of these things will help your kitty understand that being indoors is fun too.
What are some tips you recommend to help your kitty get used to the idea of living indoors? Do you let your cat go outdoors? If so, what are some safety measures you have in place? Comment below and let's get into this discussion!