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For many pet owners, the question of keeping your furry feline inside or out is a non-issue. After all, they wouldn’t dream of sending their cat outside to brave the elements. However, for some cat owners an indoor pet may not be appealing or perhaps it is not very plausible. But, which option is best? Are there reasons why inside or outside is better for your cat? Actually, there are.

Reasons to Keep Your Cat Inside

There are a number of reasons to keep your pet, in particular cats, indoors. Here are the most common:

1. Injury- Pets who spend time outside are at greater risk for injury because they can get into fights with other animals or get cuts, scrapes or even splinters that can become abscessed.

2. Traffic- Sadly, there are numerous cats and dogs killed each year by motor vehicles. By keeping your pet contained—either inside or on a leash when you take them for a walk- you can prevent them from experiencing this trauma.

3. Disease – Just because your pet is vaccinated, it is not 100% protected against something like leukemia which can be transmitted via saliva from another cat. In fact, the leukemia pet vaccination is only 80-85% effective. In addition, FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) is passed along through a cat bite (humans cannot be infected) and there is no known cure.

4. Poison – From motor oil that cats may track through or lick, poisons put out to deter other animals or pest and even some plants and fertilizers, there are a variety of poisons easily found outside that can have dire consequences for your cat.

5. Cruelty – Sadly, there are some people who get a great deal of pleasure out of torturing/abusing animals. Don’t make it your pet easy prey by allowing them to roam free.

6. Pests – Flees, ticks and other insects all carry disease. And while pet collars are great guards an indoor cat is better protected against these issues.

Bringing Your Cat Indoors

Of course, if your cat is accustomed to being outdoors, regardless of how much, making the move inside can be a challenge. A challenge, however, that is not insurmountable. There are a variety of things you can do to make the indoors more attractive to cats, which by nature, are more inclined to prefer being outside. Here are a few ideas to try.

• Kitty trees – Humans are created to live life via a one-level existence. Cats are created to climb and jump from high to low and low to high. Having a kitty tree or tower will make your home more appealing to a cat.

• Toys that encourage activity – Cats have to prowl and pounce. Toys like catnip balls, playing chase the string, moving toys or other items that encourage activity will make the cat feel welcomed, while keeping them in shape as well.

• Building a “catio” – This is an enclosed outside area that allows your cat to be in the outdoors without all the dangers. If possible, design it so that your cat can come and go to the “catio” as they please so they can enjoy the outdoors, even when you are not at home.

• Entertainment – Window bird feeders, fish tanks with the lid tightly in place and even videos or leaving a television turned to Animal Planet will provide your cat with visual stimulation and can give them a sense of the outdoors.

• Food puzzles – Busta cubes for cats, fish frozen in a block of ice and other food puzzles can provide environmental enrichment for your cat.

• Companionship – Sometimes, all it takes for a cat to be at ease indoors is to get another cat. They will keep each other company and the “need” to go outdoors will be a moot point.

Having a cat is a privilege and a responsibility. Do your part to keep your cat protected from the elements of the outdoors. If you have any questions or concerns about transitioning your cat from the outdoors to inside, talk to your veterinarian or feel free to ask Sleep Eas…Zz. We are here to help!

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