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The Great Outdoors: Should You Let Your Cat Outside?

The great outdoors for indoor cats

Indoor vs outdoor cats

I grew up in the country, and we didn’t give a second thought to letting our kitties outside.  They loved finding sunny places to nap, chasing bugs, birds and squirrels, and spending time in nature.  We had a few neighborhood dogs that would come around and try to stir up trouble, but for the most part the cats stayed safely close to the house.  When I moved to the big city of Houston I didn’t give it a second thought when I let my cat, Ashlan, out to explore the apartment complex.  In my naivety, I didn’t realize the danger I was putting him in, and sadly, he paid the ultimate price.  When he didn’t come home one day I went to look for him.  I was devastated to find him killed by the side of a busy street.  Cats by nature are curious, excellent hunters, and kings of their territory.  Allowing them outside to enjoy their world can also come with risks:  contracting diseases, being attacked by other animals, and being injured or killed by passing vehicles.  With all this risk should you let your cat outside?

Indoor cats can thrive when you catify your home.

Ashlan

Many cat parents I know do let their cats outside.  When Ashlan died I forever vowed to keep all my future cats safely indoors.  I was riddled with guilt, and it wasn’t fair for me to put his life at risk.  After all, he wasn’t aware of the dangers–he was just being his curious self.  Keeping my cats indoors also provided me a way to keep them healthier, too.  Living indoors they have virtually little to no risk and all of getting rabies, FIV, feline leukemia and the host of other diseases and illnesses that your vet wants you to get your cat re-vaccinated for every year.  Vaccines themselves post a great risk to your cat’s health because of the way they affect the immune system and the ingredients used in them.  When I finally figured this out years ago I stopped the annual vaccinations.  Did you know that once your cat gets a vaccine there’s a very high probability that he’ll be immune for life?  You can save a fortune on vet bills alone by keeping your kitty inside. 

Catify your home instead!

In order for your cat to thrive indoors you must think like a cat!  Invest in cat condos and set them in front of a window so they can watch birds, squirrels, people and pets go by.  Put a few cozy cat beds in their favorite places to nap, including some sunny spots.  Have a variety of cat toys and regular play times.  Interactive wand toys like Neko Flies are always a big hit!   Create some vertical spaces by adding some wall mounts, perches or even cat walks way up high.  Cats love to look down on “their world” and feel like they own it.  If you have a second story balcony that you feel your cat won’t jump down from perhaps some balcony time is in order.

Outdoor options

Bring the outdoors to your indoor cat

Pet strollers are a great way to safely take your cat for a walk.

How to safely let your indoor cat enjoy the outdoors

You can also consider teaching your cat to walk on a leash and go for walks if you feel your neighborhood is safe enough.  You would only want to do this if your cat has the personality to feel comfortable exploring outside.  Make sure to use a harness and leash combo that your cat can’t escape from.  You can also get a pet stroller or pet jogger!  I’ve seen these for dogs, so why not use one for your kitty?  Check out our new ones in The Boutique for Cats!  I love these!  I think Rocket, Gunner, and Aylen would LOVE one of these, too.  I also saw some photos this week of some very cool enclosed, outdoor catios.  If you’re the handy type you could build your own.  You can find lots of websites and resources online for making this your next DIY project.Build your indoor kitty a catio!

Need more ideas?  Check out this cool video on how a home builder totally “catified” his home.  For our next home I want to incorporate some of these features and ideas for our kitties to enjoy. 😺

 

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I’d love to see your photos of ways you’ve “catified” your home or outdoors.  Send in your pics or videos to share! 

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