Having to decide whether you want your cat to be an indoor cat or outdoor cat can often be quite tough. There are benefits and costs to having either, and each individual situation is unique – there is no generic mould when it comes to determining your cat’s lifestyle.
Having an outdoor cat means your cat will never feel confined in its home, and they will be allowed to follow their instincts when it comes to developing their skills such as hunting. However, if you have decided to go with outdoor cat then there are risks you need to be aware of in order to be a responsible pet parent. There are ways to maintain a balance between keeping your cat safe and allowing it freedom.
Probably the most important aspect of having an outdoor cat is microchipping. Each microchip has a unique number which is stored on a national database. Scanning the chip will reveal the owner’s name and address. If you neglect to microchip your cat then it is highly unlikely it will be able to be tracked back to you.
The procedure is very straightforward so speak to your local vet about the best option for your feline friend.
By having an outside cat, they will be exposed to more infectious diseases and parasites. Your cat should be regularly wormed and treated for fleas and ticks.
Your cat should also have all its vaccinations in place to ensure they are protected from infectious diseases. Some infectious diseases can prove fatal so it is vital for your cat to receive the core vaccinations.
Allowing your cat into the garden only will provide a good balance between keeping it safe while also allowing it to enhance its natural instincts. The garden environment can be enhanced to provide your cat with opportunities to play, climb and hide independently, but also to allow you time to bond with your cat through training and exercise.
To restrict the area you could use cat-proof fencing or you could build a small cat enclosure that attaches to existing barriers.
Night time is the most dangerous time for your cats, as visibility on the roads is reduced and predators such as owls and foxes are most active. Bringing your cat inside at night will reduce the risk of them getting into fights with other cats or worse.
If a curfew is unlikely, we suggest putting a reflective collar on your cat to make it more visible at night. We also recommend installing a cat-flap to ensure your cat has access to the house, and by programming some cat-flaps your cat can only leave the house at times you decide.
Unneutered male cats are more likely to roam at night in order to find a mate, and are more likely to get into fights with other cats. Spaying your female cat also means there will be no unwanted or unplanned pregnancies.
If you have any queries or concerns regarding having an outdoor cat, do not hesitate to contact your local Medivet practice. Your vet will be able to offer specialist advice on precautionary measures you can take to ensure your cat is out of harm’s way.