Having an indoor cat has its perks. For starters, you’ll have fewer cat fights on your hands and less debris traipsed inside. In addition, your efficient hunter won’t be out catching native (and possibly endangered) critters.
However, if you adopt an older cat who’s used to being outdoors they might stick their nose up at being an indoor cat. And vice versa. You know what they say – you can’t teach an old cat new tricks (or something to that effect).
Some cats, even as kittens, simply have a penchant for the great outdoors. They need to explore, and climbing your curtains just won’t cut it.
So indoor cat or out? Here’s what you need to consider…
If you’re opting for an indoor cat and you’re a first time pet owner, your decision making process should include asking yourself why this would be your choice. A cat’s lifestyle needs to be fulfilling and stimulating – for them, not just you. Cats can get bored easily and separation anxiety in pets needs to be managed.
Maybe you’re home most of the time, or you live in an apartment. In which case, choosing an indoor cat can be a good match for your lifestyle. Another factor to consider is different cat breeds and their personality.
Breed plays a significant role in whether your cat should be an outdoor or indoor cat. Like dogs, some cat breeds are more athletic, while others prefer to lounge and stay close to their human.
The friendliest cat breeds to welcome to your household are generally more docile and enjoy being indoors. In addition, these breeds are also easier to train for leash walking. This makes them ideal indoor pets because they walk with you rather than explore on their own.
Hairless cats like the Sphynx also make good indoor cats. Being hairless means they get sunburned easily, so they need to protect their skin from the elements. They have a great temperament for indoor living too.
Here are some breeds that enjoy the great indoors:
- Devon Rex (read about them in our hypoallergenic cats article)
- Scottish Fold
- Siamese (we have the lowdown in our Siamese cat profile)
- Cornish Rex
- Sphynx (we cover the Sphynx in our ugly cat breeds to love write-up)
If you’re looking for an indoor cat, this list is not the limit. With up to 70 cat breeds, it’s important to research your breeds as there are many more who enjoy a sofa more than a lawn.
In addition, it is possible to train your cat to stay inside. Adopting a shelter cat, regardless of its parentage, is still a worthwhile option.
Cat health plays a central role in deciding if your cat should be inside most of the time. Diabetes in dogs and cats can stem from pet obesity because of poor diet and not enough exercise.
Diet is a key element of pet health. This goes for whether they spend days indoors or out. A poor diet can also have knock-on effects on pets’ dental health and overall quality of life. And, in turn, how much you spend on pet health treatments rather than simple maintenance.
So, ask your vet what food, and in what quantities, they recommend for your cat’s lifestyle and life stage.
As for the other side of the health coin, helping your pet get enough exercise is largely dependent on your lifestyle. If you’d like an indoor cat, make sure your schedule allows regular walks or playtime with them. Being active is important for every pet.
If you have a big garden, tall trees and kids who play outside, or you’re not at home most of the day, it might be healthier for your cat to be an outdoor cat.
Cats who live indoors tend to live longer. Exposure to other pets, people, and environments (roads, parks, pavements, gardens etc) means exposure to parasites and pet illnesses as well as accidents.
But this isn’t a cause to rule out letting your cat have some sun. Nor is it a reason to not provide them with routine pet care. Rather, give your feline friend better immunity by ensuring they get a vital dose of initial vaccinations at eight weeks, and again at 12 weeks. Then on an annual basis, or whatever timeline your vet recommends. They will also need regular nail clipping, dental check ups, weigh-ins and more.
With ongoing attention placed on their wellbeing, your cat will be healthier indoors and out.
Spay and neuter – should you desex your cat? It’s a major deciding factor for outdoor cats’ safety. Mating is a common reason pets go missing. When pets are desexed, they don’t wander as much and are less likely to get caught in traffic or by a neighbouring pet.
To sum it up, even though indoor cats are said to live longer, desexing your pet can make outdoors a safer environment than it would’ve been.
Indoor cats vs outdoor cats – over to you
Comedian Michael Showalter once said, “I’m not sure why I like cats so much. I mean, they’re really cute obviously. They are both wild and domestic at the same time.”
And it’s true, our feline friends do seem to be wild and domestic at the same time. For instance, one moment they’re curled up on the couch. The next minute, they’ll walk in with a dead rat.
So, with preferences in both extremities, having your cat be an indoor cat or an outdoor cat is very much a personal choice. And if it is outdoors, make sure you bring puss in at night – its prime hunting time.
Happily, pet insurance can cover a portion of your cat’s expenses, such as non-routine vet visits, tests and treatment for illnesses and injuries, third party liability and more. A cat insurance plan will help give you peace of mind in choosing whether to have an indoor cat or outdoor cat, without the added financial pressure.
Then you can choose what’s right for you and your cat!