When If Ever is it OK to Let a Cat Go Outdoors?

Larry the Downing Street cat plays with bunting in the garden of number 10 Downing Street in London

As cat lovers and owners, we always look out for our cat’s well being. During these summer days when the weather is warm and perfect outside, we often sit and think about our poor felines who seem to always be stuck in the house 24/7. There are many arguments as to why they shouldn’t be allowed outside, but it would be fine if we let a cat go outdoors once in a while… right?

According to the American Humane Association, because the risks outweigh the benefits, it’s best for domesticated cats to just stay indoors – and we can’t argue against that. There’s a reason why there are a lot of feral cats who remain homeless and often end up dead or permanently injured with no one to care for them.  Some of the major risks to be aware of include health concerns, such as parasites and diseases as well as safety concerns, like cars, other animals, poison and trees.

If your cat goes outside, it can come into contact with those animals and/or other cats that carry diseases and parasites. While some may not be life-threatening, they cause symptoms that could make your feline sick. Aside from diseases, there are also possible hazards when taking your kitty outside, including other animals like coyotes, wolves, and even alligators, depending on your location. You always hear of cats getting stuck up in trees, and while that seems like a normal behavior that usually ends with the cat getting rescued, it’s not always the case. Cats outside also risk accidentally coming contact with poison and even ingest it since they are now made to be tasty. Yikes! Lastly, a very common occurrence for cats is getting hit by cars on the street. Contrary to popular belief, cats don’t have the instinct to avoid busy streets and more often than not, end up getting run over and dying.

That being said, if you ever do let your cat go outside, make sure to take precautions and be aware of you and your cat’s surroundings. Be sure to protect your feline from other cats by supervising it closely and if you can, put it on a leash or secure it in a confined space. Also, take your cat to the vet annually to get life-saving vaccines. You never know!

Photo by Koichi Kamoshida/Getty Images

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