The Hervey Foundation for Cats

Indoor Cat or Outdoor Cat? Which Should it be?

Indoor cat graphic

The answer is simple. Indoor. Do not let your cats outside. With that said, let’s get into some of the reasons for why your cat should stay indoors, as well as some of the methodology behind keeping them fulfilled and happy.

The Great Outdoors

Many families grow up with outdoor cats. The endless cycle of them wanting to come inside, then outside, then inside, then outside, as if they were sent to test your doors. We tell ourselves they are living a happier and more fulfilled life, and in some ways that is correct.

Cats are curious creatures and the great outdoors offer a seemingly endless cycle of things to sniff, chase, rub against, lay down on, and the ability to catch a nap in the sun. These are all things cats have enjoyed for years, and many still do. The issue is the benefits outweigh the risks. Cats living outside are facing far more threats than they would in their natural habitats.

Your Cat Becomes Both a Predator and Prey

An outdoor cat is technically one of the apex predators within city limits. There are some dogs larger than them, and coyotes, eagles and raccoons pose a threat, but for the most part, most living wildlife within a city is at the mercy of a cat.

What makes things so dangerous for cats, is the plethora of human-created threats. When cats are outside, they’re at the risk of dangerous interactions with kids, gangs, people who trap cats, angry neighbours, cars, trains, heavy machinery, construction sites, and more.

At the end of the day, if humans didn’t exist and cats were just in the wild, they might have a fair chance. When living within city limits, alongside humans, they are far safer indoors. Humans don’t just pose one threat to cats, they pose hundreds, if not, thousands.

Life on the Inside

As a cat owner, don’t think of their lives inside your home as a prison sentence. It is far from it. Their movements aren’t restricted – even in small apartments cats find a way to run around – and their every need is accounted for. Indoor cats lead happy and fulfilling lives in the company of their owners and their families. There are some things you should do for your cat so to ensure they live a stimulating and exciting life.

Toys

Much like children, cats need toys! To break up their day and provide some excitement placing toys around your home is ideal. Some of the best toys that are guaranteed to get their attention include anything with crinkly paper inside them or toys with catnip inside them. The laser pointer also provides endless hours of entertainment.

Water Bowls

One natural instinct most indoor cats don’t get to satisfy as frequently as they’d like is finding water. Cats are built to naturally seek water in their environments and by hiding bowls of water around your home, your cat will feel like they’ve just come upon a secret prize!

One-on-One Time

As the owner of an indoor cat, you need to give them one-on-one play time. Cuddling and petting are great, but really playing with your cat is both mentally and physically good for their health. Cats need to feel like they are part of the house and if all you do is feed them and sleep near them, you are missing part of the equation.

Hiding Spots

Be they up in the air on top of a bookshelf, or down low beneath the couch, hiding spots give cats an added sense of security. Everyone needs a break from their family and that includes pets. Look for places they naturally seem to enjoy and enrich them with a warm blanket or something soft.

Play Fetch with Treats

A bag of cat treats is like gold in the the cat world, and just merely giving them treats isn’t very exciting. You can add some additional interest to treat time by getting your cat to focus on the treat in your hand, then throwing it down the hall. If you make a sound when you throw it, over time they associate the noise with you throwing treats and you can throw them without them having to see it first.

Regimented Mealtime

This one is extremely important. Cats like routine and knowing exactly when it is time to eat helps them adjust to their indoor lives. Make sure you feed them around the same time everyday when possible so they know what to expect.

At the end of the day, your cat will live a long and happy life inside. Many cities also prohibit letting animals roam around outside and will pick them up and send them to the pound/local shelters, so it really isn’t worth the risks. You can provide your cat with a great life provided you make the effort to interact with them and make them a part of the family.