Fact Sheet: Indoor Cat vs. Outdoor Cat

An Outdoor Cat…

  • Cats shouldn’t be allowed outdoors until 6 months of age.
  • He must be in before dusk (law)
  • He needs to wear a collar at all times
  • He needs water available to him outside too – leave a water bowl for him outside so that if he can’t get inside, he still has fresh, clean water.
  • Less chance of obesity – indoor cats are more prone to weight problems as they don’t get the same level of exercise (though this can be combated with a cat food formatted for indoor only cats – such as Hills Science Diet – Indoor Cat dry food)
  • He has a significantly reduced life expectancy. Cats allowed outdoors have an average life expectancy of 5 years! (Indoor cats can live for 15-20 years) This is due to the higher risk of injury, death, illness, fights, etc.
  • Should have animal specific sunscreen on his nose, tips of ears, and belly to prevent skin cancer.
  • Will be less affectionate and more withdrawn from human company. Cats get used to roaming the neighbourhood, and often spend little time at home. Cats who are allowed to roam are less snugly and more independent – meaning they aren’t particularly interested in spending time with you and your family.

An Indoor Cat…

  • No access to other backyards with poisons in their gardens
  • No risk of getting hit by a car (if you live very close to or on a main road, please don’t let him outside!). Car’s cause BIG vet bills, lots of heartache, and ultimately no kitty
  • No killing our native wildlife!
  • No playing with rodents and then coming inside to snuggle on your beds, or with your children (who then put fingers in mouth…)
  • No fighting with other cats and coming home desperate for a costly trip to the vets!
  • Cheaper in the long run – less risk of injury and illness
  • Often don’t need worming as frequently, and often don’t need flea treatments (but please discuss this with your vet first)
  • Don’t require additional vaccinations against FIV.
  • Will be a nicer, more affectionate and loving cat!
  • Can still go outside! Start him young with a cat harness and lead – you can take him for walks (just in the back yard if it’s too embarrassing to walk a cat!) OR you can get him an outdoor enclosure. You can get ones that connect to a window or cat flap so he can go in an out as he pleases, or one that you pop him in for a few hours at a time. This would need a water bowl, a litter tray, and some toys and hammocks for his amusement! In a secure outdoor enclosure, he can’t stray from the property, can’t hurt wildlife, and can’t get in fights!

Cat Proof Fencing

Please check out the following article on Cat Proof Fencing from the Department of Environment and Primary Industry (DEPI).






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