Indoor or outdoor cats – what is best?

Just like humans, cats have many different likes and dislikes, one of the biggest is whether they like to be indoors or outdoors. We’ve put together some benefits and risks of both indoor life and outdoor life, to help you consider all aspects of giving your cat what it needs to be at their happiest.

Outdoor Benefits:

Allows them to express natural behaviour

Cats love to explore, this gives them mental stimulation and helps reduce stress. It also gives them a safe environment to scratch and spray. Exercise is a great way for them to practise their agility and is great for their weight and health too.

Interesting environment with lots of variety

An outside environment gives cats lots of new smells, sights, sounds, tastes and textures to explore, and increases the space that is available to them. They can also stalk and catch prey, such as mice, when outdoors which releases happy endorphins in their brains.

Outdoor Risks:

Injuries, disease and parasites

By mixing with other cats, your cat can possibly pick up diseases or get into territorial fights which could injure them. They are also exposed to fleas, ticks and worms outside, as well as garden chemicals that could affect their health.

Loss or missing

Although cats have a great sense of territory and direction, they can easily become trapped in someone’s shed or garage. Microchipping your cat can help to keep them safe.

Indoor Benefits:

Protect them from accidents and hazards

Keeping your cat indoors means they are safe from attacks from other cats, from road accidents and from outdoor poisons and hazards. They’re also less likely to come into contact with parasites.

Keeps birds and wildlife safe

Even when a cat is well fed, it will still practise hunting with local wildlife. Keeping your cat inside protects birds, mice and other wildlife from your cat’s natural hunting instincts.

Predictability and routine

Cats love routine and safety. They are easily stressed by changes of environment, so keeping them inside gets them used to a regular house routine, making them feel secure.

Indoor Risks:

Frustration and boredom

If your cat is restricted to limited space, it’s important to keep them occupied and able to flex their natural instincts such as hunting and playing. If you work long hours then introducing a second cat is often a good way to help relieve their boredom and loneliness.

Indoor hazards

Although safe from traffic and other cats inside, things like hazardous cleaning products, some houseplants and washing machines can be dangerous to cats. Make sure you do your research and keep harmful products safely away from harm in cupboards.

Keeping them active

Indoor cats need a way of exercising to ensure they don’t develop obesity or other health issues. Simple objects such as cardboard boxes or a ball of tin foil can be a great way to entertain them.

Wherever your cat likes to play, rest and explore, make sure you know the risks within each area to keep them safe and happy.