Over the years, one debate that remains for owners and professionals in the animal world is that of indoor vs. outdoor cats. Many outdoor cat owners state that their cats are happier being allowed to roam free. However, just as many indoor cat owners warn of the dangers that outdoor cats encounter on a daily basis.
From the veterinary prospective, we often consider the health of indoor vs. outdoor cats. Indoor cats are generally in better health, living longer lives and contracting fewer diseases. Outdoor cats are at a much higher risk for becoming infected with diseases such as Feline Leukemia (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). Other conditions including parasites, abscesses, toxic poisonings and countless injuries including being hit by a car are found to be the result of exposure to life outdoors as well.
Alternatives are available that tend to please both sides of the debate and are becoming increasingly popular options. More and more owners are designing outdoor enclosures that allow their cat to experience the outside world while in a safer environment. Other cat owners have found that cats can be trained to walk on leash and harness much like our canine companions. While there is still some risk of encountering dogs, wild animals or other outdoor cats while on walks, situations are usually more easily controlled with the owner present. Providing enrichment activities and toys for your indoor cat often helps to alleviate boredom and stimulate your cat’s natural instincts.
In either case, one option that all pet owners should consider is permanent pet identification (microchip) implantation. Microchips assist in helping pets to find their way home after being lost, stolen and/or escaping. Thousands of animals are lost every year and statistically less than 5% of lost cats are returned to their owners and a majority of the ones that are returned were identified through tags, tattoos and microchips.
Ask Animal Central for more information on indoor vs. outdoor cats.
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Dr. George Stroberg, DVM and Staff