Should I Let My Cat Be an Outdoor Cat?

Does your cat spend her days staring out the window?

Cats have a desire to roam, hunt, and discover the outdoors. And with fresh air, birds, and squirrels lying just beyond the window, who can blame them? Unfortunately, most pet cats are kept indoors, typically only allowed to venture outside on a leash or in a cat carrier. However, a small percentage of cats are allowed to come and go as they please – these are cats people lovingly refer to as outdoor cats.

Whether your cat should be an indoor or outdoor cat is entirely up to you as the owner. But it’s essential to make a fully informed decision. So let’s look at some of the reasons why letting your cat roam outside may not be such a good idea. 

Dangers of an Outdoor Cat

Here’s a sobering fact, an outdoor cat has an average lifespan of 2 to 5 years, whereas indoor cats can live anywhere from 10 to 20 years. So the outdoors comes with massive health and safety risks for your cat.

These include:

  • Cars. Unfortunately, accidents happen, and even seemingly street-savvy cats are frequently hit by cars
  • Run-ins with other animals, which can lead to bites, infections, and lacerations
  • Depending on where you live, your cat may be preyed upon by larger predators such as coyotes, bobcats, and stray dogs
  • Spread of disease, including feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), feline leukemia, and even rabies
  • Exposure to common parasites such as ticks and worms
  • Exposure to toxic substances such as rat poison, slug pellets or anti-freeze
  • An unwanted pregnancy if your cat is not spayed or neutered

There’s also the question of whether cats get lost. Yes, cats have a remarkable homing instinct that allows them to find their way home weeks, months, or even years after they leave. Unfortunately, this means that outdoor cats often go missing, which can be incredibly emotionally draining for you and your family. 

Outside cats have an environmental impact too. Your adorable little feline is exceptionally adept at hunting and killing smaller animals and birds. As such, they can devastate the population of native birds and small animals in many areas.

When Can I Let My Cat Out?

Letting your cat roam the outdoors is not always a terrible idea, especially if you live in a quiet, rural location. That said, every cat has their preferences, and the more stubborn ones may just make the indoor/outdoor choice for you. The good news is that there are some benefits to letting your cat outside. For one, an outdoor cat is far less likely to become overweight and obese. In addition, you’ll often find that indoor cats munch their day away in an attempt to ease away boredom. Moreover, roaming the outdoors is great for your cat’s mental health.

Here are a few precautions that will keep your outdoor cat safe:

  • Get your cat spayed or neutered
  • Stay up to date with vaccinations, deworming, and flea treatments
  • Install a cat flap that enables your cat to get back into the house when they feel threatened quickly
  • Get your cat microchipped, as this will increase your chances of being reunited with your kitty when it ventures too far
  • Get a quick-release collar with a tag that snaps open if it gets caught on something

Contact Hebron Veterinary Hospital 

Contact us at (860) 228-4324 or visit our contact page if you need help with your outdoor cat. We are here for you. Also, be sure to give us a call if it’s time for any of your other pet’s regular wellness or preventative care visit.