For Caturday, we discuss whether it’s a good idea to let your cat outside and some of the dilemmas a cat may face if they do.
In addition to being a first-time cat friend, I also grew up in a family that was severely allergic to cats, which limited my exposure to them greatly. It’s probably this very separation that led to my insistence that I must have a pet cat in my adult life.
But it also meant that I know next to nothing when it comes to cat care. And everything I do know was taught by the internet, and of course, the internet’s compromised only of other human beings simply trying to figure things out.
My biggest problem as a caretaker is figuring out why she’s so picky about the litter box. But my second is that she’s getting bigger and my apartment’s not. Mind you, my cat is not even a year old yet, but her development’s been great (according to the vet) and she has a lot of toys. I come home with something new every day. Though she’s free to roam anywhere she wants, I find her always staring at the window. And when I come home, I have to be careful she doesn’t run out the door.
Of course, I worry that I’m being selfish by keeping her inside to minimize my own headaches. But after some light research, I’ve come to understand the pros and cons a little better.
Dr. Eric Barchas wrote an article less than a year ago that summed up a lot of the fears I have. As a vet, he explained that letting your cat outside is the equivalent to being a smoker. It may not kill you immediately, but it’s not going to make you any healthier either. Further, he weighed each side of the argument for consideration.
Here are the main points he argued:
- Nutrients and Vitamin D
- Exposure to diseases
- Getting “creamed” by a car or falling from a tree
Additionally, American Humane lists some of the diseases and parasites a cat may pick up while outside. However, they ultimately explain that if one does choose to let their cat outside, to do so on specific terms:
"Protect your kitty from other cats. Keep her on a leash or secured in a cage or other confined space where she can’t get out (and other cats can’t get in)Make sure an adult supervises your kitty’s outdoor time to ensure strays cannot come into contact with her.Take her to the veterinarian at least once every year for lifesaving vaccines, as well as parasite screening and treatment."
Also, I’m also seriously considering get myself one of these at this point. I imagine if you really want to go outside with your cat in the safest (and most overbearing way possible), then you may find yourself looking a little silly.
Just like with real human children, everyone’s going to have a different approach. Unfortunately, unlike kids, cats won’t bow to any sort of pressure whatsoever. So, if anyone can refer me to a good carpenter or something, I need to get started on building a screened-in patio. Honestly, if you feel like your cat’s going stir crazy, you may need to provide more stimulation … or maybe even another friend.
As always, have a wonderful Caturday, everyone!