5 Benefits and disadvantages of an outdoor cat

13 December 2018

Discover the pro’s and con’s of having an outdoor or indoor cat and how to choose what’s best for your feline!

5 Benefits and disadvantages of an outdoor cat

Getting a new cat family member soon? Still don’t know if your cat is going to be an indoor or outdoor cat? Or does your house cat have the desire for more freedom, but you’re afraid that kitty might run away from home? Learn the pros and cons, and also tips and tricks to get your cat used to being safely outdoors!

5 benefits of an outdoor cat

For many cat owners, it’s normal that the cat spends time outside. An outdoor cat is namely:

  • Balanced
  • Sporty
  • Less likely to be overweight
  • Less bored
  • Better immune to diseases

Free-range cats can better practice their natural instincts such as hunting, stalking and lurking, compared to house cats.

8 disadvantages of an outdoorsy cat

Where there are advantages, the disadvantages are not far away. With an outdoor cat there is a higher risk for:

  • Loss of control
  • Catching diseases such as fleas or parasites
  • Turf wars
  • Allergies
  • Poisoning by plants or poison baits
  • Vet bills
  • Foreign feeding
  • Disappearing

Indoor cats have a longer life expectancy because they are not exposed to the dangers above. By the way, do you know how long can you leave your kitty home alone?

You have to weigh the pros and cons and decide for yourself whether you want to keep your cat as an outdoor or indoor cat. The pros and cons of course apply vice versa for the apartment cat.

Note: If a cat is used to going outside and you now want to keep him indoors as a house cat, it will make him unhappy in the long run.

5 benefits of an outdoor cat

Getting your cat used to being outdoors: 3 things to check before

1. Health

Your cat must be vaccinated, chipped and castrated for clearance. Here’s why:

  • Chipping is very important, because if your furry friend disappears once, then the person who finds her can go to a veterinarian and by means of a reader, identify the owner.
  • If you want to accustom your cat to going outside, she will also need more vaccinations, such as worming cures.
  • In some countries, neutering of outdoor cats has become mandatory, so make sure to check your country regulations before making the decision to have an outdoor cat.

2. Costs

With chipping, castrating and vaccinating, your veterinary costs will rise. In addition, your cat is exposed to cars, turf wars, sharp objects, etc., which could lead to injury.

3. Environment

You might also want to consider not exposing your cat to the busy city or highways, in case you live in a very high-traffic area. In these extreme case, it is better to raise your cat as a house cat.

If you recently moved into another house with your cat or your cat is still a kitten, make sure to keep them in the house for at least 6 weeks to acclimatize.

Your cat’s wanderings may expose them to a series of hazards. With their orientation skills, cats always find their way back home. Some cats were even able to find their way home years after they got lost. It gets problematic when your new home is close to the old one. Your cat will try to come back to her old territory and stay away from the new home.

6 easy steps to get your cat used to being outdoors

Before you start with your trial, you can set up a cat door. An important prerequisite is a good relationship between animal and human. Build trust with your little furry friend before starting this process:

  1. Feed your cat less during the first few days. The hunger will drive her home faster.
  2. Open the door and call your kitty.
  3. Show your furry friend the garden. Your cat will curiously leave the front door, but always seek eye contact with you.
  4. Your cat should at first explore the garden.
  5. Keep your cat in view, otherwise tempt her with treats.
  6. Repeat the ritual every day and expand the area from day to day.

The first few days you can get a harness for your cat and go explore the surroundings together.

Did you know: The excellent orientation skills of cats will help them find home most of the time.

7 tips to make the indoors attractive to your cat

It’s true, cats need to be free, but with the right tools, a cat can also learn to be a house cat. Making the apartment cat-friendly is the most important thing to motivate your cat to stay longer inside.

These tips will help you train your outdoorsy cat into a more domestic kity:

  • Cat litter box:
Try to place it in a quiet place.
  • Sleeping place:
Cats like it warm, so make it quiet, cozy and provide heat – consider a cat-safe heating pad.
  • Feeding place:
Above all, cleanliness is important here.
  • Scratching possibilities:
Make kitty’s time indoors as pleasant as possible. A scratching tree or something similar is optimal.
  • Toys, toys, toys:
A standard shoebox and an old shoelace are usually enough to satisfy your cat’s entertainment needs, but don’t hesitate to buy her something more special and diverse, in order to keep her entertained for hour.

Examples can include a squeaky toy mouse, a feather teaser or a catnip toy.

  • Retreat options:
Often these are to be found in combination with a cat tree.
  • Enlarged roaming area:
Make the balcony cat-proof or build an outdoor enclosure for your cat.

With these possibilities, you can offer your cat a bit more freedom and satisfy her natural instinct for fresh air and sunlight.

Tips for getting your cat used to the outdoors

You read all the tips and now you’re ready! Check them out one more time in this video:


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