Similarities and differences in caring for an indoor vs. outdoor cat


Are you thinking of getting a kitten and unsure whether it should live inside or outside? As domesticated animals, pet cats can be left to live in the great outdoors if their owners prefer. Although both options have pros and cons for the cat, the general consensus is that it’s best to keep them inside. To help you decide which route to choose, let’s look at the similarities and differences involved for both.

Depending on personality, a cat might be a cuddly companion who simply wants to lounge on the couch all day or an independent explorer eager to get outside. The cat’s upbringing may also play a factor as kittens born outdoors become habituated to the lifestyle or even feral and afraid of humans. Barn cats may be seen as getting the best of both worlds as they have suitable shelter but can come and go as they please. Of course, that’s not to say cats ought to be kept outdoors or that they’re happier as it’s often perceived. 

Overall, the risks to the cat tend to outweigh the potential benefits of living outside. That’s why the majority of veterinarians advise keeping a cat indoors for their health and safety. Ecological experts also recommend this route to protect the cats and the environment as felines are predators and dangerous to wildlife, especially birds. Outdoor cats will hunt for fun and, as a result, are responsible for imbalanced ecosystems and the modern-day extinction of numerous birds, mammals, and reptiles.

Ultimately, the choice to live inside or out comes down to the owner. Before making the decision to let your cat outdoors, consider these points and more to determine what’s best for your furry friend. For a handy, side-by-side breakdown of caring for indoor or outdoor cats, please see the accompanying resource.

Infographic created by Figo Pet Insurance, provider of cat medical insurance .

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