Indoor and outdoor cats
A common question people ask if if their cat should be allowed to roam outside. For various reasons, many people decide to keep their cats as indoor pets.
There are many risks outdoors that can shorten your cat’s life span. However, many cats really enjoy being outdoors and miss the stimulation of the natural world if they are kept inside all the time.
There are several different ways that you can allow your cat to enjoy the outdoors without the risk. You can install perches on windowsills around the house so that your cat can sit at the window, watch the outdoors, and enjoy the sunlight. With patience, you can teach your cat to walk with a harness or leash (see “Walking the Cat”), and then you can take him outdoors for walks.
Another option is to build an outdoor enclosure (often called a cattery or catio) for your cat. You can search the Internet for “cat enclosures” or “catios” to find out what other people have done. For more info about providing safe outdoor time for cats, read "Catteries and Catios."
What else can I do to keep my cat safe and sound?
Some other responsibilities of taking care of a cat are:
- Make sure your cat always has a current I.D. tag on his collar, even if you have an indoor cat. There’s always the chance that she could escape from the house and be found wandering alone. It’s also a good idea to have a microchip ID implanted.
- Spay/neuter your cat. Again, even if you have an indoor cat, he or she could get out by mistake. Spay/neuter not only prevents unwanted animals from being born, it helps animals lead happier, healthier lives.
- Take care of your cat’s health by bringing her to the vet for annual checkups. Be aware that your cat may require more medical checkups and medication as she ages.
- Find out what common household items might be toxic to cats. The ASPCA website (aspca.org) has good information about this aspect of pet care.