Cats love the outdoors—there is constant stimulation, sunshine and freedom. There are also dangers out there waiting for your cat. The debate between indoor and outdoor is certainly not a new one. Growing up, I only had all outdoor cats. They roamed happily, coming and going as they pleased. Then one of them didn’t make it home. I was devastated even further when word of coyote sightings and other missing cats left only one conclusion to be deduced. No surprise, when I adopted my first cat on my own—she was kept strictly indoors.
Indoor cats have their own set of challenges. It wasn’t too long before my cat started gaining weight. She was often lethargic and tried to escape at every opportunity. I realized that I would have to be a lot more involved with my indoor cat’s play time than I had ever needed to be with my outdoor cats.
No two cats and no two owners are the same. Each pair has to make their own decisions on indoor vs outdoor. Here are some tips to keep your cat healthy, happy and safe no matter what you chose.
Keep outdoor cats safe
- Microchip your cats.
- Collars and tags--make sure the collar is a breakaway so that if it does get caught on something your cat can safely get out of it. Try the Hemp Kitty Collar.
- If your outdoor cats spend any time indoors, you should have a litterbox set up for them.
- Kitty curfew—most predators come out at night. Try to bring your cats indoor overnight and don’t leave them outside if you are going to be away for a few days
- Vaccines—your cats will be exposed to diseases from other cats and wildlife. Speak with your vet about which vaccines are needed to keep them safe.
- Introduce cats to new surroundings slowly. Newly homed cats might try to find their way back to their old homes. Keep them close and supervised during a transition until you are comfortable that they know where they should return to.
Keep indoor cats stimulated
- Microchip your cat.
- PLAY PLAY PLAY—indoor cats suffer from boredom and weight gain more than other cats. Different cats respond to different types of toys so try out a bunch before assuming that your cat just doesn’t like to play. Click here to check out our kitty toy section.
- Scratchers—scratching is a stress reliever and also an important part of a cats grooming routine. Keep them in the areas of your home where you and your cat spend the most time.
- Diet—an indoor cat’s dietary needs are different from an outdoor cat. Indoor foods tend to be leaner and help control weight gain.
- Outdoor areas—if possible, create a semi-outdoor space for your cats. It might be a small cat box off of a window, or a deck that your cat can chill with you on. Having even a little outdoor time every time can provide a great deal of stimulation for your kitty.