There is plenty of debate around whether cats should be kept indoors or whether they can be allowed to roam outside a little. Some say there are benefits while others swear off it entirely – to the extent that cat owners likely find themselves wondering, “Should I let my cat go outside? Will they really be safe?”
There are a number of myths around why going outside can be good – or bad! – for cats. To understand whether you should let your cat roam around outdoors, let’s consider each of these.
Cats Get Bored
The number one reason people say that cats should be allowed outdoors is because cats get bored if they’re inside all the time.
Now, this isn’t necessarily untrue. Cats do get bored when they have nothing to do – just like all of us! – and it’s also true that the outdoors have a lot more activity than inside the house. But that doesn’t mean going outside is the solution!
There are plenty of ways to make the indoors more interesting for your cat. From setting up cat playhouses to perches for where they can sit and watch the birds, there are a number of ways your home can become more cat-friendly, activities-wise. If you have more than one pet – whether that’s a cat or a dog – they will often keep each other company and alleviate any boredom. Your cat doesn’t have to go outside to let out any expendable energy!
Cats Get Obese When They Stay Inside
This is true! Cats that stay indoors are lazier and spend more time lying on the sofa than roaming around outside. This means they will naturally burn less calories than cats that go outside. As a result, they become less likely to suffer from diseases associated with obesity, such as kidney disease or diabetes.
But there is a flip side to this: the outdoors are dangerous. Not only are there more threats to your cat’s life, there is also the likelihood of your cat catching other diseases that can affect their health. They may also get involved in fights with other animals that can cause injuries. So, while your cat may not suffer from diseases related to obesity, it is very likely that they may simply die of some other issue before this happens.
On top of that, obesity in cats can easily be controlled by feeding them a specific amount of food per day (your vet can help you with this!) and giving them plenty of play time to help burn calories.
The Outdoors Helps With Natural Instincts
To put it simply, your cat gets to hunt outside. This is true, and may even help with your cat’s mental health. The hunting instinct is natural, so cats will enjoy hunting, and they don’t get to do much of it indoors.
But there is always a risk involved! Your cat may get to hunt, and no one really misses the mice and rats that cats tend to get rid of. But there may always be dogs or larger hawks around that can be hunting your cat in turn. If your cat spends a large amount of time indoors, then they may not be equipped to fight off such predators, and can end up in danger.
Instead, you can set upareas for themto play around at home, where they can ‘hunt’ for things. The point is to help satisfy the hunting instinct, and many cat toys do keep this in mind. By satisfying this instinct, they remain just as happy indoors, and won’t have to suffer any of the consequences of going outside either.
Cats Can Get Destructive Indoors
Again, there is some truth to this, but it is not entirely accurate. Destructive behavior in cats is not necessarily a sign that they want to go outside – though it might be in some cases – but usually a sign that something is wrong. For example, if your cat is sick, they may be trying to get rid of some discomfort by being destructive.
A major concern people have with ‘destructive’ cats is that of their furniture and upholstery. Since cats like scratching things, the problem of scratching at couches or sofas is one that many cat owners feel is enough to let the cat outside. In reality, cats just need you to address a specific need.
If a cat is scratching at your sofa, you can get them a scratching post instead. If they keep tipping things over from tables or shelves, then they may see the object as a threat and all you have to do is make your cat feel comfortable enough to leave things as they are. It’s very easy to make a cat adjust to house rules, and they are good at following them as well! With a little bit of effort, you can get rid of this problem – no need to send your cat outdoors for it!
If Cats Go Outside The House Doesn’t Stink From The Litter Box
Sure, this is true. And it’s also true that a house that smells clean and nice is ideal to have. This is also just as achievable by simply keeping the litter box clean, rather than sending your cat outside every time they have to use it.
In fact, sending your cat outside can actually cause more problems. After all, neither you, nor your neighbors would like finding cat poop adorning your gardens – no matter how good a fertilizer you think that’ll be. Feces lying out like that can spread a number of diseases and attract a lot of bacteria, which can spread to humans very fast.
Going outside to urinate can also be harmful for male cats, because they could develop urinary obstructions and you wouldn’t notice it. If these are left untreated, your cat goes through a lot of pain and in case of complete obstruction, can even die. You definitely don’t want that.
All-in-all, it is much better (and quite easy!) to simply keep the litter box clean than to let your cat go outside just because you don’t want the house to smell.
Someone In Your House is Allergic To Cats
This can be a reasonable concern with few solutions. In the first place, if you know someone in your house is allergic to cats, it is best to not bring a cat in at all, to keep everyone safe. But if someone starts showing allergic reactions, you should get a test done. It is entirely possible that there may be a cat allergy at bay, but it is also possible that the allergen is actually something else.
Many people believe they have cat allergies, but in reality they are allergic to the fleas, ticks or pollen that can get stuck on your cats fur or paws. When your cat roams around the house with these allergens, they can cause a reaction. Still, it is also possible that someone is actually allergic to the cat themselves, so it’s best to get an allergy test done to be sure.
In such cases, there may be no choice but to let your cat go outside, but as a whole, it is highly recommended to keep your cat indoors.
The outdoors are dangerous for your cat, and come with many risks and threats that can put your cat’s life in danger. It is much safer for them to stay indoors with adjustments made to cater to their needs.
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