Since the 1940s when cat litter was introduced, more and more pet cats became inside pets. Keeping your cat inside reduces fleas and ticks, cuts down fights with wild animals, reduces the risks of getting hit by a car and cuts down the smelly cat stink.
But, when housing your cat inside, you have to make sure to provide extra stimulation that he would have otherwise gotten when outside. You want to have scratching posts, cat trees with a variety of levels and plenty of interactive toys.
Living solely inside, your cat can live up to 15 years or more, but with the dangers of living inside and outside, your cat may only live two to three years according to the “Cat Fancy” magazine.
Living outside, opens the risks of injury, illness and even death.
Disease– Being outside, your cat can come into contact with other cats where he may contract feline leukemia or feline immunodeficiency virus – two top diseases that kill cats. Your cat can also come into contact with rabies and other diseases.
Parasites- Fleas and ticks are the most common parasites that your cat can pick up while outside. Fleas and ticks can spread disease, cause anemia, skin irritation and allergies. Your cat can also pick up mites, tapeworms and other parasites easily.
Poisons- Cats like to like anything that is sweet, which means car anti-freeze is one of the top poisons your cat may like while outside. Rodent bait kills rats and mice, but it can be quite harmful to your cat if he licks or eats any. If your cat gets any herbicides or lawn treatment between his toes, he will most likely lick it while grooming himself, which can cause illness.
Other animals- Wildlife and dogs are probably the biggest enemy your cat will come across while outside, but other cats can also lead to injury and illness.
People- There are plenty of cruel kids and adults in the world, and if your cat comes across any one of these people, he may not make it home. Cruel people may shoot or torture animals without a second thought, and you don’t want your cat to be the target.
Traps- Traps that are set to catch wildlife can easily trap your cat. According to the Humane Society of the United States over 100,000 cats are caught in traps each year.
Traffic-Cats are not street-wise and stand little chance against a moving car.
You can consider a few safe options for letting your cat outside to enjoy the weather, stalk birds and be a silly feline.
- Large outdoor cage with levels and secured walls and top. This will prevent other animals from getting into the cage with your cat and it will prevent him from getting out. You can make an outdoor cage for your cat or you can buy a pre-made one.
- Supervised time outside while on a long tether. I wouldn’t advise leaving your cat outside on the tether because it doesn’t provide an escape from other animals or people if he needs to get away. But, when you’re outside a leash and tether is a great way to bring your cat outside with you.