A solid argument could be made for both sides of this debate. On one hand, letting cats go outdoors is a way to indulge in their natural instincts, encourage exercise, and promote emotional and mental health. But on the other hand, indoor cats tend to have longer lifespans, they can be just as healthy, if not more so, and they have a greatly reduced risk of contracting infections, sustaining wounds, and getting attacked by predators. If you’re unsure whether you should let your cat outdoors, have a chat with your veterinarian.
Your Cat’s Weight
Perhaps one of the most compelling arguments to be made in favor of letting cats outdoors is that they get extra exercise, which helps control their weight. Overweight cats are at a higher risk of chronic diseases, including diabetes, respiratory issues, and arthritis. But on the other hand, not all indoor cats are overweight. In fact, many of them get plenty of exercise chasing toy mice, climbing cat “trees,” and pouncing on laser pointers. Plus, your veterinarian can recommend a cat food formulated specifically for controlling weight in indoor cats.
Your Cat’s Need for Mental Stimulation
It’s definitely possible for indoor cats to get bored, and this may lead to destructive behaviors. If you don’t have much time to play with your cat, and you’re not interested in replacing clawed-over furniture every few years, then your cat might do well outdoors. However, you could also invest a little time into planning an enriching environment to keep an indoor cat occupied. Use feeder toys that your cat needs to play with in order to get the food out. Set up a perch by the window so your cat can watch the birds (hang a birdfeeder out there, too). You could also entice your cat to engage in solo play with motion-activated toys that make sounds or flash lights. It’s definitely possible to keep indoor cats healthy, both physically and mentally.
Horizon Animal Hospital welcomes questions from concerned pet parents. Our veterinarians in Scottsdale care about your pet’s health and happiness too, and want to help you make informed decisions. You can reach our friendly office staff at (480) 800-4559.