Many years ago indoor vs. outdoor cats wasn’t a real big issue as most cats came and went as they please. With the changing times studies show that our indoor feline friends tend to live much longer than those who navigate life outdoors. So why the big change? It is not necessarily the cats welfare that caused us to start keeping more of our cats strictly indoors. Litter is our answer, the mass production of clumping litter changed the game for cat owners. Once it was proven that most cats would in fact use this new litter people started to keep them more and more indoors. Back in the day most cats either just went outside somewhere litter boxes as we know today didn’t exist. Sometimes owners would get creative and use dish or cooking pans filled with coal or dirt for a “litter box.” There are threats for both our indoor and outdoor feline friends that we should be aware of.
Indoor Concerns: Weight gain/Obesity, diseases and behavioral issues that stem from boredom, and diseases caused by the environment in which the cat lives. Indoor cats are more susceptible to hyperthyroid disease due to the flame retardants on our furniture and in carpet padding. Cats are also experiencing urinary tract infections more often when kept inside than in years past. This could also be due to similar enriched environmental factors.
Outdoor Concerns: Pests like fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes and passing of diseases, diseases passed from other wildlife, automobiles and traffic, predators, and poisons to list a few. Outdoor cats have to fend for themselves more than indoor cats. They are exposed to harsh environmental elements such as extreme heat or storms. Pests like fleas/ticks/mosquitoes can pass diseases like Lyme disease or heartworm to our furry friends. Those aren’t the only threats for diseases for our feline friends. Wildlife like wolves, foxes, raccoons, coyotes, and large birds of prey are huge concerns too. Cars pose threats as cats can get hit by cars and cats cat seek shelter within the vehicle for warmth or shelter from storms and without knowing they can be crushed, injured, burned and more when we go to operate the vehicle. Poisons like anti-freeze and lawn pesticides can be harmful to our pets as they can ingest them without us knowing.
Knowing these concerns can help us keep our furry friends safe from many of these threats. For example some preventive measures we can do to keep them safer is using monthly preventive for fleas/ticks/mosquitoes/mites will keep them pest and disease free. Doing annual bloodwork at your veterinary visit can show early signs of disease as well. Helping us diagnose and treat sooner all to lengthen our beloved cats life! Keeping poisons up and out of reach of cats as well can be helpful. For our indoor cats we control feeding and exercise and thus can prevent excessive weight gain. Our knowledge has expanded greatly on how to care for our feline friends and to think this all came about from the invention of litter!