Indoor vs Outdoor Lifestyle For Cats and Folds
You should only let your cat indoors, period. This is the advice many cat experts give and they have their reasons. On the other hand indoor cats show a variety of psychological and behavioural problems in the long run. After all, no one wants to live forever in a prison.
The Urban Cat
The problem is that the last decades the majority of the population has moved into cities. That means that we have to urbanise our pets too if we want them to stay with us. Urbanisation of cats is particularly difficult and hence the modern classic problem of indoor VS outdoor living.
In city environment it is dangerous to let your cat wander outside. Not only predators and fights with other cats, but also poisoning and Infestation are highly possible. The most obvious solution is to restrict your cat inside your home and indeed that works good for many people.
Indoor cats are not exposed to the dangers of the city. But they have other issues to handle. For example in order to keep your cat indoors, it means that you have to make your house “escape proof”, make sure you keep all windows all the time closed etc…
Cats have no adaptation mechanisms for living inside an apartment for their whole lives. They also have no adaptations to deal with the overwhelming environment of the city, which can cause stress and frustration to some cats.
Outdoor cats have what all of us fight for everyday, freedom! They are free to do whatever they want, wander around, socialize with other cats, fight, patrol their territory, hunt and enjoy the sunshine. But as always the price of freedom is high, let’s see what these cats risk in order to live free.
The most obvious is injury or death. Many cats die each year from fatal car hits. The busiest your area the higher the possibility your cat will have such an accident. Bullying from humans is rare, but it can happen and can cause serious injuries. Last but not least are injuries from cats and other animals like dogs.
Another risk an outside cat faces is that of poisoning. The cat can get poisoned by chemicals used in the gardens of neighbours or else. They can also get poisoned by eating a poisoned animal like a rat.
The worst of all though is the risk of diseases and infestation. All this social interaction and especially fighting which includes biting and scratching can easily lead to infections. Parasites can be picked up easily when your cat spends time outside. Some of the parasites and diseases your cat catches may cause trouble to you and your loved ones as well.
For this reason if you let your cat outdoors you should be very-very careful. It is advised that you worm your cat regularly and you pay your veterinarian frequent visits for health checks.
Away from the health aspects and if you do choose to let your cat outdoors there are a few more things you can do. Altering is an absolute must, it will prevent lot of trouble and significantly minimise any risks. For more info on how to minimise the risks of outdoor living read this article.
All these hazards can be almost entirely avoided if you choose to keep your cat indoors. Indoor cats have longer lifespans than their outdoor counterparts. If you choose to keep your cat indoors though that comes with more work on your side. Here is a small list of things you should consider:
- Behavioural problems. Forcing your cat indoors can lead to all sorts of behavioural problems. You cat for example may become over dependent on you. You will become his/her only source of stimulation and entertainment, as well as food and companionship. This situation can become tough for both of you. Other behavioural problems that might arise are associated with the territorial instinct of the cat. For your indoor cat the home will be her territory and might act aggressively against new people and/or pets, even objects! This effect can be minimized with altering.
- Limits Everywhere. One other problem is that you have to keep your cat inside. This is not always easy and it can become tiring. You have to impose rules for yourself and other people, so you leave no windows and doors open. You have to be careful that your cat won’t escape every time you open the front door and so on. With kids at home this can become even more difficult.
- Litter. The litter is not that of a burden once you get used to it. But not everyone can get used to it. Changing the litter every week is not only extra money spent, it is also a job that nobody enjoys doing.
- Increased Curiosity. Since your cat won’t be able to relief its instincts of exploration outside the house and since the house does not change a lot your cat will seek relief in exploring everything. Sometimes this can lead to trouble, scratching wires, tasting cleansers or getting into the washing machine.
All these and many more can make your life way more difficult when living with a cat inside the house. You will have to spend, extra time managing your cat and keeping it inside. It is an extra worry that you wouldn’t have if you let her outdoors.
The Exception, Living out of Town
Both of the above situations are problematic. But not for everyone, you see the major problem is that we live in apartments in busy cities. All these can be avoided if you live in the country. In this case your cat has way less dangers living outside and enjoying a free life while you enjoy his/her company as well.
Frequent vet checks and worming are again recommended because this is a matter of your health too, certainly you don’t want to catch a bug. Depending on the density of the cat population in your area (or farm) you may choose to alter some of your cats too.
You can’t have both, You can’t Change your mind later
No matter what solution you choose I suggest that don’t do both. Outdoor cats will bring inside your home all sorts of dirty things, including their hunts! Having a cat both out and in is also an easy way to let diseases and parasites get into your house.
If you want you can provide your cat with a shelter for the night, when many cat-fights happen. Have a special place independent of your house to provide safety and comfort.
If you insist that your cat should have little bit of both worlds and you have a garden, then you can use a special fence to keep your cat in and other cats out. This is probably the best scenario for an indoor cat.
Another thing you should also keep in mind is that once your cat is settled in one environment it is going to be extremely difficult and stressful to change.
If your cat is accustomed in living indoors, giving outdoor access will make your cat more susceptible to all of the risks we talked before. The same is true for the opposite. Outdoor cats will have very difficult time adjusting in an indoor environment.
What about The Scottish Folds
Scottish folds are not exceptions and as we have said in previous articles they have a strong need for exploration. Altering once again is suggested since it suppresses many instincts that cause troubles with indoor cats and put at risk the outdoor ones.
For the indoor cats it would be great if you take two kittens in so they can keep company and entertain each other. For the outdoor cats it is wise your provide a shelter for the night and buy a safety catch/breakaway collar.
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