Allowing Your Cat to Access to The Outdoors – Risks and Benefits of Allowing Your Cat Outside
Cats love the freedom to do what they want when they want and so allowing your cat access to the outdoors is one way of keeping your cat happy. However, you have to weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of allowing your cat outside access to express his/her natural behaviour as your cat is inevitably exposed to more danger. This article looks a the risks and benefits of allowing your cat outside.
Compared to cats only kept indoors, cats that are allowed access to the outside world naturally have a bigger territory.
Cats allowed outside are less likely to develop behavioural problems that indoor cats are at risk of such as spraying or scratching in inappropriate places.
Mentally Stimulating Environment
Cats that are allowed outside are less likely to become bored and frustrated as the environment is constantly changing e.g. new smells, sights, and sounds mentally stimulate your cat to make life all the more interesting.
Cats are allowed to exhibit this natural behaviour of stalking and catching prey which keeps the rodent population down in and around your home while also keeping your cat happy.
Cats allowed outside will have more opportunities to exercise. They’re able to hunt prey, climb trees/fences, play with other cats in the neighbourhood, etc. and are less likely to become overweight. Therefore decreasing their chances of developing related health problems.
Ability To Escape
Sometimes situations may occur in the household where the cat feels the need to escape. Anything unfamiliar, such as visitors, noises, etc may cause stress and so the cat feels much safer if he/she has the freedom to escape.
Road traffic accidents claim many cats’ lives each year and it’s not just busy roads that pose a risk. In addition to car accidents, cats can be injured by other animals including other cats.
Poisons can be ingested directly or through eating poisoned prey. Some toxic substances cats may come into contact with include antifreeze, slug pellets, rodent poisons, and garden chemicals.
Cats can catch infectious diseases from other cats (especially from fighting) and the environment. Examples of infectious diseases include feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), feline leukaemia virus (FeLV), cat flu, and enteritis viruses.
Cats are more likely to pick up parasites such as fleas, worms and ticks from the outside environment and from their prey.
Cats can get lost for a variety of reasons. Some get trapped in buildings such as sheds, or even in vehicles. Others may choose to go and live with someone else.
Some cats naturally find the outdoors very stressful and prefer to be inside.