Outdoor or Indoor Cat: Which Is Right for You?

| October 8, 2012

indoor kitten

When deciding whether to have an outdoor or indoor cat, the vast majority of veterinarians will tell you to think about the cat’s best interest, not your own. Sure, an indoor cat requires a litter box that must be regularly cleaned, but an outdoor cat faces serious health risks and an indoor one generally does not. Learn more about these risks to make an informed decision, and then use DexKnows to find the best possible care for your animal.

Health Risk No. 1: Parasites

If you let your cat roam the neighborhood, he or she could easily pick up fleas and worms from other outdoor cats or strays if not regularly given parasite prevention medications, sold by veterinarians and at stores that sell pets and pet supplies.

Health Risk No. 2: Disease

While vaccinations for feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus do exist, they do not prevent infection in all cases, and neither disease has a treatment or cure. About 85 percent of cats infected with feline leukemia die within three years of diagnosis, with the average life expectancy of a cat with feline immunodeficiency virus being five years after diagnosis. These are just two of the diseases outdoor cats risk exposure to, in addition to rabies, which veterinarians recommend vaccination against for the best interest of both your cat and your family.

Health Risk No. 3: Injury

Vehicles, predatory animals such as owls and coyotes, and other outdoor pets and strays can injure your cat if you let it roam freely. In fact, the domestic cat makes up the majority of the Great Horned Owl’s diet in suburban areas.

In addition to these three health risks, an outdoor cat can be picked up as a stray and end up in a shelter. If your cat has roamed far from home and does not have an intact collar with tags or a microchip, you might not find it in time — before it gets adopted or euthanized — or at all.

Keeping your cat indoors proves best for the animal and for you, as the average indoor cat lives 10 to 12 years, with the average outdoor cat surviving just two. Even if you do opt for indoors, consult your veterinarian regarding vaccination for the above diseases. Even indoor cats can slip out a back door and go roaming, and you want to provide the most protection possible in case of such an accident.

If you do not yet have a doctor for your cat’s care, DexKnows can connect you with one, as well as listings for stores that sell pets and pet supplies, pet grooming providers, and pet day care and boarding facilities.

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Category: Pets, Veterinarians

About the Author ()

Pamela Mitchell spent more than 15 years at daily newspapers such as the Hartford Courant and Houston Chronicle before becoming a full-time freelancer. She now writes about a variety of topics, from dining and entertainment to pets and travel.