Is letting your cat outside worth the risk? Here's what you need to know

Most cats enjoy the great outdoors. Sadly, it is full of dangers that shorten your kitty's life. Should you keep your fluffy locked up or take a risk? Here are the pros and cons.

Is letting my cat roam outside worth the risks?
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Is letting my cat roam outside worth the risks?

Does your catrush to the front door each time it opens and sits hypnotised by the window? No doubt, they want to roam. And some owners are adamant it’s your kitty’s right. But should you, as a responsible pet parent, let them?

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There are plenty of pros and cons on both sides of the discussion. Here’s all you should know.

Do indoor or outdoor cats live longer?

The great outdoors is full of dangers which shorten kitties’ lives. According to the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, indoor cats live an average of 10 to 15 years while outdoor cats typically make it till they are only 2 to 5 years.

Road traffic, encounters with wildlife, parasites, and exposure to toxicity are the main causes of the early death. It’s rare to see a free-roaming cat become a super senior.

What is expecting your kitty outdoors?

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Cats who roam free risk being exposed to toxins such as antifreeze and rodenticides as well as toxic plants. If your pet ingests either product without your knowledge, the window of opportunity to administer an antidote is lost.

Rabies and feline leukaemia are other dangers your fur ball will face. While they can be mitigated by vaccines, the feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) that is more prevalent in outdoor cat populations is harder to prevent.

Parasites such as fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes are another problem to consider. These pests can transmit the agents that cause diseases, such as feline infectious anaemia and heartworm.

Sadly, vehicular accidents are one of the most common life-threatening issues faced by outdoor cats. Encounters with other animals such as foxes, raccoons, and stray dogs have a low survival rate. Bite wounds, if not detected early, can result in serious infections.

What are the benefits of outdoor freedom for your cat?

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While obesity is one of the most common medical problems amongst cats nowadays, outdoor roaming helps them maintain a healthy body weight.

Long walks and real prey provide the mental stimulation and enrichment most indoor cats lack. Aggression and scratching habit get channelled in the outer world, which is always positive news for pet parents.

Some vets and pet owners argue that freedom means a better quality of life for your kitty. But as all cats are different and some will crave the outdoors more than others, it’s always up to you to decide what’s best for your fluffy.

Can I walk my cats on a leash?

A cat leash is a compromise between giving your feline complete freedom and locking them up. Though they still need to accept this solution and get trained to walk on a lead or harness, this way of ending the indoor/outdoor discussion is gaining popularity.

Sources used:

- Daily Paws: 'Is Baking Soda Safe for Cats? Here's What You Need to Know'

- Pet MD: 'Outdoor Cat Controversy: Is It Ever OK to Let Them Roam?'

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