Outdoor cats have a fun and varied life all on their own terms. However, numerous dangers lurk outdoors. Find out here what you must pay attention to.
Outdoor access: Living situation and surroundings
The decision whether your cat should live as an indoor or outdoor cat primarily depends on your living situation: It will be almost impossible to keep an outdoor cat on the third floor of an apartment building in a urban metropolis.
A house with a garden is ideal, but a ground-floor flat with access to a terrace is also suitable. The surroundings of your home are important: Is it in a quiet neighbourhood in a rural area? Or is it close to a busy road?
Bear in mind too that a cat's territory can be large. Often owners underestimate how far their cat can travel.
A cat's territory
A cat's territory can be divided into a central and roaming area. The cat feels at home in the central area, which is where its feeding and sleeping spots are found.
A cat goes exploring and hunting in the roaming area, covering distances of a mile or more. You should keep this in mind if you allow your cat outdoor access.
It's also good to know that males normally have a larger roaming area than females. The roaming areas of several females can also overlap.
Which cats make suitable outdoor cats?
In principle, you can allow any cat outdoor access if it is fit enough. After all, climbing, chasing and running are part of day-to-day life for outdoor cats.
On the other hand, you should think twice about outdoor access if your cat is handicapped. A blind or deaf cat is not very well armed to deal with the dangers of the outside world. Even if your cat is sick or injured, you're best off leaving it indoors.
Which cat breeds are suitable for outdoor access?
Indoor or outdoor housing is also a question of breed. Nature lovers like the Norwegian Forest Cat or Maine Coon are overjoyed with outdoor access. More active breeds like Bengal cats also enjoy being able to frolic outdoors.
In contrast, British Shorthair and Persian cats are calmer in nature and are happy with solely being kept indoors. Due to its lack of fur and sensitivity to the cold, the Sphynx is also more suitable for the indoors.
Beware that expensive pedigree cats are sometimes victims of robbery. Therefore it is preferable for them to stay at home.
On the other hand, an ordinary domestic cat from a farm or stray cat from an animal shelter normally need their freedom and shouldn't be solely kept indoors. Alternatively, you can offer them plenty of activities indoors such as tall cat towers and toys. Given you have a large enough home.
How to get an outdoor cat used to indoor living
A cat that has got a whiff of freedom will always want to go outside. If you permanently keep a former outdoor cat in your home, it will probably be very unhappy.
You should take this into account if, for instance, you plan to move from a house with a garden to a flat.