Should I let my indoor cat outside? We hear that all the time. You’ve probably noticed your indoor cat’s curiosity in what goes on outside your home. Whether your furry pal likes to sit in the window and watch birds or tries to sneak out the door with you when you leave the house, you may be wondering if you should let them outside to explore and enjoy some fresh air.
It’s important to be educated on the health problems that can arise when your indoor cat goes outdoors, as well as safe practices, before deciding to let them go outside.
Have you ever witnessed a stray cat in your area? Although they may seem relatively healthy, feral cats can carry a variety of diseases that can be passed to your indoor cat if they come in contact with a stray when outdoors. Though some of these diseases can be treated, others can be serious and potentially fatal. Diseases common in stray cats include:
- Feline AIDS (FIV)
- Feline Leukemia (FeLV)
- Upper Respiratory Infections
- Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)
Parasites are also common outdoors, making it easy for your indoor cat to pick them up when venturing outside. Common parasites include ringworm, intestinal worms, ticks, fleas, and ear mites. Symptoms can include skin infections, vomiting, digestive issues, and more. What’s more, parasites brought into your home by your cat can infect your family members as well.
If you’re going to let your indoor cat outside, it’s best to use the following practices to ensure the experience is as safe as possible:
- Have an adult supervise the cat while outdoors.
- If you see a stray nearby, retreat indoors with your cat or ensure the stray stays a safe distance away from your pet.
- Use a leash or keep your cat in a secured, safe area where they cannot easily escape.
- Schedule regular wellness check-ups for your cat and ensure they are up-to-date on life-saving vaccines, parasite screenings, and treatment.
- Keep your cat far from roadways or busy streets.
- Look out for any wildlife that may see your cat as prey or a threat before letting your cat outside.
- Do not let your cat outdoors where rodent traps or other harmful toxins (e.g. fertilizer, weed killer, etc.) may be present.
- Avoid letting your cat near trees, as they can climb into them if they feel frightened and may refuse to come down.
- Remember that felines are driven to hunt and may chase after, capture, or kill any small animals like birds.
- Keep a collar on them that includes an identification tag with your phone number and/or address in case they wander too far or get lost.
Looking for a way to give your cat exercise or entertain them when they appear bored? If you’re not feeling comfortable with letting them outdoors to get their energy out, consider providing them with interactive toys or encouraging playtime with other household pets.
Getting a cat tree is an especially suitable option, as many come with a variety of functions and can include a scratching post, a place to rest comfortably, a tall platform to sit and observe, and an interactive hanging toy.
Your Trusted Catonsville, MD Vet
When you need a local veterinarian you can trust with your cat’s health, Catonsville Cat Clinic is your best resource. Our cat care specialists are here for all of your feline’s needs, from regular vaccinations and wellness check-ups to flea prevention and illness treatments. Contact our veterinary office today to schedule an appointment and keep your cat living the healthy and happy life they deserve.