The Difference Between Indoor Vs. Outdoor Cats
With the recommendations of vets and other cat experts, more and more people are choosing to have their cats live indoors only. As a result, there are fewer outdoor cats walking around in many parts of the United States. But what are the main differences between indoor and outdoor cats, and why is it that indoor cats are becoming increasingly common?
The main difference between indoor and outdoor cats is their health and longevity. Indoor cats tend to be in better health and live longer overall than outdoor cats do. While this is the main reason why an increasing amount of cat owners choose to have strictly indoor cats, this isn’t the only difference between the two.
Here we will be explaining all of the major differences between indoor and outdoor cats. We will also be explaining why most veterinarians suggest that cat owners have indoor cats. Let’s dive right into it.
Are Indoor or Outdoor Cats Healthier?
On average, indoor cats tend to be much healthier than outdoor cats. There are several reasons for this. First, indoor cats tend to be exposed to far fewer infectious pathogens than outdoor cats. This includes bacteria, viruses, and even parasites.
Additionally, outdoor cats are more likely to get in fights with animals like dogs, other cats, and wild animals. When they do this they could become seriously sick or injured. This is not the only way that outdoor cats can become harmed, though. They could also potentially be harmed by a person, car, or piece of machinery accidentally.
Indoor cats tend to be much healthier than outdoor cats simply because they are not exposed to these potential dangers. Be aware though that an indoor cat can still become sick, and having them indoors is not a replacement for things like vaccinations and heartworm preventative medication.
Do Indoor or Outdoor Cats Have a Longer Life Expectancy?
Since outdoor cats are exposed to a lot more things that can harm them or make them sick, they sadly also tend to have a shorter life expectancy than indoor cats. This is the main reason why most cat owners choose to have their cats live only inside.
Do Indoor or Outdoor Cats Have More Fun?
It is a common misconception that outdoor cats have more fun than indoor cats. However, this is not the case. While an indoor cat is sure to get bored in a room without any toys or places to climb, simply getting these things for your cat will remedy that problem. You can also entertain indoor cats by playing games.
Most people believe that outdoor cats have more fun because they are able to run and climb outside freely, and they are also able to employ their hunting instincts. Play inside mimics these urges in a safer way, and there is no concrete evidence suggesting that outdoor cats get more mental stimulation than indoor cats with toys and outlets to play do.
Do Vets Recommend You Keep a Cat Inside?
Yes, most veterinarians recommend that you keep pet cats inside. This is mainly because of the health concerns that having an outdoor cat entails for the animal. Unless the cat is a working barn cat, it is best to have them live indoors.
Are Indoor or Outdoor Cats Happier?
Since many people believe that outdoor cats have the most fun, they also believe that outdoor cats are happier than indoor cats. This is another common misconception, and there is no evidence suggesting that outdoor cats are happier than indoor cats. This is especially true when an outdoor cat is compared to an indoor cat that has all of their exercise and mental stimulation needs met.
Do Cats Get Sad When They Cannot go Outside?
No, indoor cats do not get sad when they cannot go outside. While indoor cats will commonly gaze out the window, they are likely just observing rather than wishing they could get out there. This is because indoor cats do not view the outdoors as their territory, so they naturally feel safer and more confident when inside.
Is it Cruel to Keep a Cat Inside?
No, it is not cruel to keep a cat inside. In fact, many believe that having an indoor pet cat is more humane than having an outdoor cat due to the fact that it keeps them safer and healthier. While you will likely need to make some more effort to play with an indoor cat to keep them exercised and entertained, it is well worth it.
Is it True That Outdoor Cats Can be Bad for the Environment?
Though it may be surprising to some, outdoor cats have a negative impact on the environment. This is especially true if there is a high concentration of outdoor cats in a single area. Outdoor cats are bad for local environments because they are known to hunt songbird populations until there are very low numbers of them. This can negatively impact local ecosystems.
Should You Have an Indoor Cat or an Outdoor Cat?
Technically, the choice is up to you as a cat owner. However, there are many potential drawbacks to having an outdoor cat, and this is why most cat experts recommend that pet cats be kept inside.
What Are Some Ways You Can Let Cats Enjoy the Outdoors Safely?
Luckily, there are some ways that you can allow your cat to enjoy the outdoors safely. The first way is that you could leash train your cat and take them outside for walks. Be aware though, taking a cat for a walk is much different than taking a dog for a walk. Walking cats is usually just for the cat’s enjoyment, and they are much less likely to walk in a linear direction.
The next thing that you could do is have an enclosed catio installed. This is a patio space that is covered with mesh, allowing the cat to enjoy the outdoors while still being in a secure and safe area. Many cat owners enjoy their time in the catio with their cats as well, and it is common to place things like toys and spaces for your cats to climb within the space.
If you are a cat parent located in the Fort Lauderdale, FL area, Park Veterinary Hospital is here to help with all of your feline-related needs. Our animal hospital offers a number of services to help protect your cat including vaccinations and parasite prevention, and our vets can answer any questions you may have regarding having your cat as an indoor cat vs. an outdoor cat. Give us a call today at (954) 561-8387, or Request an Appointment Online.