Indoor or outdoor cat?
February 25, 2019
Will your kitten be an indoor cat, outdoor cat or perhaps a mixture of the two?
Let's take a look at some of the pros and cons for indoor and outdoor living.
Firstly, let’s define what is meant by a cat’s 'territory'.
In the wild, a cat's territory is usually divided into a home range, and then extending beyond that, a hunting range.
For domestic cats, a kitten's home range is your home. So for indoor cats, their largest range extends to the boundary of where you will let them venture. For outdoor cats, their territory is determined by a number of things such as the territories of other cats and the availability of resources such as food. Your cat's territory can sometimes be surprisingly large!
• Plenty of ways to exercise such as climbing, scratching and hunting
• Lots of mental stimulation such as exploring and watching the world go by
• Opportunity to establish their own territory and patrol it
• Hazards and dangers in the outside world such as other cats, dogs, cars etc
• May get into fights with other cats and be at risk of injury, as well as disease such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
• May be frightened by weather events such as thunderstorms and become lost
If you’re going to let your cat roam outside, make sure they’ve been microchipped and are equipped with identification such as an elasticated collar with a name tag. Check with your council to see if there are cat curfews in place.
Thunderstorms, fireworks and loud parties can all be scary for a little kitten. If you know events like these are happening in your area, keep your feline friend safe and secure inside.
• You are more able to control the environment, which technically should mean it's safer
However, the home harbours its own hazards for curious kittens such as fireplaces and chimneys, unsecured windows and household appliances such as washing machines and tumble driers. Make sure you check such places regularly and keep them closed when not in use.
• Harder to get exercise, so indoor cats are at risk of obesity and are less mentally stimulated - so you'll need to provide the entertainment!
Ensure your kitten has plenty of toys (rotated regularly) a scratching post and climbing equipment. The general rule for the number of litter trays you’ll need is one extra to the number of cats in the house. So for a single cat home, you’ll need 2 litter trays.
Best of both worlds
If you’d like your kitten to experience a mix of indoor and outdoor living, consider installing a cat enclosure at home. That way your cat gets some exposure to the outside world, while staying safe.
You can also train your kitten to walk on a harness.
By considering each type of living arrangement, you can make the choice that will best suit you and your cat.