Many cat parents have outdoor cats and some believe that this is the best living situation for them. The belief is that cats were made to live in the great outdoors so we shouldn’t deprive them of that atmosphere. I agree with this train of thought… to a point.
You see, cats can benefit greatly from touching the earth. Taking in the smells, sounds and feel of nature is good for their mental and physical health. However, allowing cats to roam outdoors freely subjects them to dangers and disease that we often can’t control.
Cats Living Outside
The statistics show that outdoor cats live an average of 2-5 years, while indoor kitties live 15+ years. This is because cats who are outside have to dodge predators, vehicles and potential disease. That’s a rough job for our little furry friends.
We hear stories all the time of outdoor cats that were poisoned by neighbors, unknowingly, because of the chemicals they use in their yard. One of our friend’s cats went into immediate kidney failure after drinking from the creek that was contaminated by the Roundup that the neighbor used. We just heard another story of a cat eating the rat poison from the neighbors traps. These are things that we can’t control if we allow our cats to be unsupervised outside.
Each morning we take our cats outside for at least an hour. They all have certain areas in which they are able to roam, smell and explore, but our eyes are never taken off of them. It’s a chore, sure. But we want our kitties to be able to enjoy the best of both worlds. During the majority of the year we have the windows open during the day inside, so they can do their bird watching safely inside as well.
It is a myth that outdoor cats are healthier. While it’s good to allow them outside time, most cats are better off living inside our homes.