Whilst some Australians give their cats the freedom to come and go as they please there is a growing trend for cat lovers to keep their companions indoors. In a recent online poll we found over 77% of cat owners surveyed keep their cat/s indoors. The benefits and risks of an outdoor or indoor life for a companion feline need to be considered for each individual cat.
The major benefit of allowing a cat outdoors is they will develop natural feline behaviours such as socialising, territory patrolling, marking, scratching and to some degree the acts of hunting (although hunting is obviously not something we encourage). At the same time they will enjoy a very active lifestyle with regular daily exercise. However, there are some major downsides worthy of noting including:
Some of these downsides can be managed with preventative veterinary care such as vaccinations, proper identification such as microchipping and desexing to discourage fighting and roaming. You can also limit the time of day your cat is allowed outside. For example, keeping them indoors at night time when fighting tends to occur and during busy traffic times to keep them off the streets. Regardless of these precautions your outdoor cat will always be at some risk.
Keeping a cat indoors, and away from the risk of the above mentioned hazards seems like the obvious solution however the downside is not all cats will lead a happy life inside. It really depends on your cat and their own needs. Indoor cats can experience behavioural problems as well as cause a few practical problems. Most of which can be managed. So by practical problems we are talking about things like:-
These risks can be minimised by providing your indoor cat with opportunities to play and interact so they will have a fulfilling existence indoors. Click here for some great ideas for keeping your indoor cat happy.
Cat enclosures can be purchased in standard sizes or can be designed and built to suit your house by specialised cat enclosure businesses. If you are handy and enjoy a home project it's also possible to build one yourself. Just make sure you seek advice on the right type of building material including netting to make sure your cat does not escape or injure themselves.