Indoors or Outdoors: How to Protect Your Cat Friend
8 min read
Want to get a kitty as an ESA? Good choice! But before you get yourself a fluffy friend, make sure you know how to protect it from possible hazards. That’s because cats are very independent creatures and may become unhappy if they lose their freedom. They like to roam outdoors despite all possible risks and hazards like injuries, fleas, fights with other animals and much more.
The good news is that you can protect your little companion from almost all sorts of dangers if you learn more about the safety measures and keep some special tools at hand. At long last, everything has its merits and downsides. While some cats are perfectly happy with their life indoors, others wouldn’t want to put up with the lack of freedom. Strictly speaking, it’s a matter of your cat’s protection and well-being. But no matter what you choose, just make sure both of you are happy with the outcomes.
Want to learn how to keep your cat protected? Read on to find out all about the basic safety rules for your ESA.
What works best: Indoors vs. Outdoors?
In the past, almost all cat owners used to give their pets more freedom. They used to let them go outdoors whenever they wish and do whatever they are up to while roaming the streets. But over time, things got a bit complicated and the risks faced by cats outdoors became higher both in cities and in rural areas.
Indeed, no one wants to worry about his pet’s safety. And this is especially true for emotional support animals. That’s simply because they play a vitally important role for everyone who struggles with emotional problems so ESA owners just can’t afford to put their pet’s safety at risk. On the other hand, there are countless reasons why you should give your cat a bit more freedom. At the very least, that’s because every cat loves to explore the world and it’s always good if it has a chance to stay active and keep its natural instincts sharp.
So, what to choose – to give your cat more freedom or to keep it indoors and not to worry about its safety? Read along to learn more about the benefits and drawbacks of each choice.
Dangers your cat may face outdoors and how to handle them
As city life is getting busier day by day, our pets face new dangers when being allowed to roam outdoors. This includes high traffic, unfamiliar streets and aggressive animals your cat may not make friends with. That’s why some ESA cat owners prefer to keep their little friends at home all the time for their pet’s safety and their own peace of mind.
Some people even say that their cats live a longer, happier and healthier life indoors unlike those that wander anywhere they wish. And although your cat may run into trouble even inside your home, the risks are always higher when you let it roam the streets. Want to know your risks? Here are the major dangers awaiting your cat outside the house:
- What if your cat gets lost?
Your ESA may not be familiar with the outer world especially if you’ve never released it outdoors before. So, what if it gets lost? In fact, even in familiar surroundings, cats may go astray, walk too far away from home and never find their way back. Therefore, it’s best to think of your cat’s safety beforehand.
What can you do to protect it? Modern technologies give you freedom of choice and microchipping is a great way to go. As a rule of thumb, if you want to let your pet go outdoors, make sure you use a microchip as an extra precaution. This will give you more chances to reunite with your precious companion if it gets lost.
There are lots of other things you can use like special collars which may also come in handy. However, cats often lose them when exploring the surroundings or climbing trees. Anyway, it’s better than nothing. Just make sure the size of a collar fits your cat perfectly to avoid the risk of it being too tight or coming loose all of a sudden.
- What if your ESA fights with some animal it meets outdoors?
This is yet another danger your cat may face – the risk of getting harmed by other cats, feral animals or even people. Even if you believe your cat is well-mannered enough and knows how to interact peacefully with other animals, anything may happen when it’s left unattended. Some cats may become aggressive when an unfamiliar animal crosses their path.
That’s where you’d better think of neutering and vaccination. Neutering will make it less prone to aggression. And getting it vaccinated will make your cat immune to diseases and will keep it safe from possible infections it may pick up during fights with other animals.
- What if your cat gets fleas after wandering outdoors?
This is a very common thing so once again, it’s best to get your cat vaccinated to protect it from all sorts of parasites or infections any feline creature is sensitive to. If you have doubts, ask the vet doctor about what vaccinations you may require to keep your pet healthy and protect it from viruses, parasites or diseases. Remember that even the indoor cats may get affected by these things so make sure you do something to prevent it.
- What if your cat is sensitive to hot or cold weather?
When it comes to weather and its effects on cats, the first thing you should do is to make sure you protect your cat from sunburn – some cats can be really sensitive to hot weather. To be on the safe side, just don’t let your cat go outdoors during the hottest summer days to minimize the risks.
On the other hand, if it’s winter and your cat sees snow for the first time, try to ensure it doesn’t go out all alone. If you want to let it walk around the garden when it snows, go together with your cat to make sure your pet feels more comfortable in the new environment.
Benefits of letting your ESA cat outdoors
Despite all risks and dangers, complete isolation from the world may make your cat suffer emotionally. At the very least, your cat may lack social interaction which may cause harm to its mental state and may even provoke behavioral problems. That’s not to mention your ESA will simply lose a chance to lead a usual cat’s life as you won’t let it go looking for adventures waiting outside your home.
So, what benefits will your cat enjoy when it’s allowed outdoors? In fact, there are many positive things your little friend will enjoy if you give it a bit more freedom. Here are the most important ones:
- Your cat won’t lose its natural senses and will live a more “natural” life.
No doubts, indoor cats often live much longer and healthier lives, let alone their safety is not at risk. However, what about their mental well-being? Let’s face it – cats are predators and hunters by nature. They have sharp senses like hearing, eyesight, and smell which are all necessary for preserving their natural skills.
As a result, if you keep your cat indoors, it may lose a chance to use its ability to protect itself and respond to dangers in the right way. And this will definitely be harmful to its mental well-being simply because cats are born to hunt and detect preys.
So, is it worth to deprive your cat of a chance to be like all other animals? Probably not. But ultimately, every ESA owner is free to decide what works best for them and their pets. You only need to weigh up the merits and risks.
- Your cat won’t enjoy as much activity as it would when roaming outdoors.
Surely, when your cat is stuck at home and you give it everything a normal cat needs, it wouldn’t even try to use its natural talents and sharpen its instincts. Once again, cats are hunters that patrol their own territories and adopt the specific behaviors they need for survival. They also need to feed themselves and they normally do it with their own effort.
As a result, when you keep your cat inside the house, it loses all of its weapons like useful skills and natural senses. Climbing the trees, hunting for prey, keeping their coats in order and discovering new things are all some of the natural skills your cat may lose if not allowed outdoors.
Let’s be real – a normal cat simply won’t sleep all the time and that’s exactly what makes all the difference. But of course, today there are many domestic tools you can use to keep your cat active. After all, it would be cruel not to give your cat a bit of physical training if you choose to keep it indoors all the time.
So now you can see how many points you need to consider before you decide whether you want to keep your cat indoors or let it go out for a change. It’s all about safety versus “normal cat’s life” so it’s up to you what to choose. Just think of what is more important and ask yourself – will you be nervous when you let your cat outdoors, or do you think it’s worth giving your pet more freedom? You may need to answer these and other questions before you make your final choice.
It comes as no surprise that there are lots of dangers your cat may face both in a busy city and in the countryside. From accidental fights with other animals to the high volume of traffic in the city – there’s much to think about before you let your cat leave the safety of your home. But if you ever decide in favor of your cat’s freedom, just make sure you know how to protect it from possible risks.
As a final tip, try to ensure your cat gets used to your home before you let it go out for the first time. This way, your pet will most probably come back for some food when you call it. Just weigh up all the pros and cons and decide what suits you most. And don’t forget that as an ESA owner, it’s your duty to keep your furry pal safe and protected in return for its love and companionship.