Does My Cat Need to Get Outside?

Does My Cat Need to Get Outside?

Although your cat might like to snuggle in bed at night or terrorize you at 4:00 AM, they still have a predatory instinct that causes them to want to go outside. 

The idea of roaming your backyard jungle is traced to their feline ancestors that once got such an opportunity in a very different world. You can find domesticated cats inspecting their fences, hunting for mice, and showing others who they think is in charge.

Since the invention of cat litter in the 1940s, felines have been staying inside more often than outside as pets. Even today, your vet might ask if the cat is going to be primarily indoor or outdoor. 

Although cats love to go outside, it isn’t a necessity. Here’s why. 

Cats Can Run Into Other Animals

It doesn’t take long for your friendly feline to become territorial and overly confident about their possession of your property. Feral animals aren’t always spayed or neutered, leading to fights that might cause lacerations, bites, and serious infections.

If your cat is outside and comes home wounded, you should contact your veterinarian immediately. If antibiotics get distributed within the first 24 hours, most infections get stopped. 

Other animals see the cats and have their prey instincts activated. Eagles are notoriously good at picking up family pets from the backyard when people think they are safe. 

There is also a litigation concern to consider when letting your cat go outside. If the animal attacks someone else, you would be liable to pay for any injuries or damage that happens.

Outdoor Cats Can Lead to Pest Problems

When you have an outdoor kitty, the mice and rat population levels can drop dramatically. You might also see an increase in raccoons and other wildlife. Your cat might even decide to pick a fight with a skunk!

These larger pests create concerns about rabies, especially if an infected animal attacks your pet. Keeping them inside eliminate this risk altogether. 

When cats go outside, there is also a risk that they could pick up ticks or fleas. These tiny insects can transmit bacterial diseases that can impact their lives and yours. It is harder to identify health problems in cats from insect bites because the symptoms are not as severe as they are in other animals or humans.

Outdoor Cats Are More Prone to Accidents

When a cat spends most of its time indoors, it isn’t aware of the potential dangers that exist on the street. It is not unusual for family pets to sometimes get hit by cars.

Other dangers outside exist from accidents, ranging from falling out of a tree to dropping into the city’s sewer system.

The best way to prevent all of these issues while letting your cats get some outdoor time is to install a catio on your property. If you live in an apartment or condo, you might consider installing a screen or mesh between your rail and roof to keep them safe.

You can also train some cats to walk on harnesses, provide an indoor playmate, or dedicate time each day for play.

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