Why All Cats Should Live Indoors

Are you lucky enough to share your life with a feline companion? If you’re like me, your cats mean the world to you and their health and safety are your top priorities!

Cat lays on coffee table with his eyes closed getting his chin scratched

Cats are playful and adventurous, so letting them roam around outdoors may seem like a good idea at first—but the outside world is a dangerous place for them. They belong indoors for a number of reasons, including these:

  1. “Outdoor cats” are more likely to contract deadly illnesses like feline leukemia, which is a highly contagious, incurable disease for which there is no vaccine.
  2. Cats who roam outdoors are also more prone to contracting external and internal parasites, like fleas, ticks, and intestinal worms.
  3. Not everyone is nice to cats, and you never know who yours could encounter. Cruel people could torment them, poison them, burn their whiskers off, shoot them, or even set them on fire! ☹️
  4. Cats who are left outside are often attacked by other animals (especially dogs) and can easily be hit by cars.
  5. They pose a risk to other species. Cats can spread pathogens, and they kill over 22.3 billion mammals and birds, many of whom suffer horribly, in the U.S. each year, which also destroys ecosystems.
  6. Many cats left outdoors have been found frozen to death.
Sad cat cold in the snow

The bottom line: The concrete jungle poses a major threat to cats, so it’s best to keep them indoors with you and your fam. But that doesn’t mean they have to be bored or lack opportunities for physical activity. There are a ton of easy ways to keep them happy! Here are just a few:

Spoil them with toys. From paper bags or rolled-up balls of foil to motorized “mice,” toys perk up even the laziest feline.

Cat inside with a toy

Satisfy their scratching needs. Cats love—and need—to scratch. Doing so enables them to remove broken claws, stretch their muscles, and mark their “territory.” The best way to save your furniture is to provide lots of appropriate places to scratch. Cat “trees” and posts, cardboard scratching boxes, and those ingenious “cat tracks” (a toy that has a ball for them to play with that’s surrounded by a cardboard scratching pad) are big hits. Sprinkle catnip on the toys weekly to keep cats interested, and be sure to replace cardboard inserts when they get worn out.

Provide a room with a view. Windows are like TVs for cats. If your windowsills aren’t wide enough, build or buy a cushioned perch (available from companion animal supply stores and online) to attach to the sill. For safe windowsill perching, make sure that open double-hung windows (ones that move up and down) are propped open with a book or a piece of wood to prevent them from falling down on cats, and tuck the cords of blinds up and out of the way so that cats’ necks and other body parts don’t get entangled in them.

Happy cat looks out window

Make them purr with a porch. A screened-in porch or a similar enclosure that’s accessible through a window will allow your kitty to soak up some sun and enjoy a breeze while staying safe.

Take your kitty on walks. Many cats can be taught to walk on a leash—just be sure to use an ultra-lightweight leash that’s attached to a harness, not a collar. Let your cat first get used to wearing the harness by putting it on for short periods of time indoors, and then when the cat seems comfortable, pick a safe outdoor area to explore.

Happy cat lays in green grass on a leash

Plant a garden—of catnip. Cats will nibble on it and roll in it—they love this stuff! Other healthy, cat-safe snacks include wheatgrass, alfalfa, and oat grass. You can even buy seed starter kits at companion animal supply stores.

Your cats are part of the family, so treat them that way by always looking out for them and keeping their best interests in mind.

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