For many first time cat owners a major thinking point is whether to let their cat go outside once it is ready to. Whilst some owners can’t bring themselves to allow their beloved friend out of their sight, others will let their friend be an outdoor cat.
The reasons why people do not want to let their cat go outside are indeed understandable. There are many dangers in the outside world that can cause concern. Every cat owner faces the worry and anxiety that comes with letting their feline friend outdoors on their own; it is only natural to worry about what could happen. First and foremost there is a chance that any cat outside may get hit by a moving vehicle, causing injury or death. There is also the possibility of a cat becoming involved in a fight with another cat; these fights can sometimes be brutal and again cause harm. In addition, any cat outdoors is at risk of being stolen (especially if it is a highly sought after pedigree) or catching a disease.
Whilst all these dangers pose a threat, it is important to remember that such hazards face every kind of animal that is outdoors. Is it really fair to keep a cat cooped up indoors for its whole life? A cat’s natural instinct is to roam and hunt rodents, it is a biological imprint of their make-up and not allowing a cat to go outside can greatly affect its happiness and development as an animal and pet. Many people who don’t let their cats outdoors maintain that it is for the cat’s benefit, however, some people would argue that it is more for the owner’s peace of mind and inability to deal with their own worries and emotions.
There are a few preventive measures that should be taken before a cat is allowed outside. Such measures include vaccinations, neutering or spaying, microchipping and pet insurance. If all of these are covered then an owner can at least feel a little less worried about their cat’s welfare whilst outdoors.
A lot of people consider their cat as a child and want to protect, provide for and nurture them. Indeed, the worry and anxiety that can surround letting a cat go outside can be similar to letting a child go outside on their own for the first time. However, if a parent wasn’t to allow their child to ever go outside then it would be considered inhumane. Granted, as human children grow they become more and more able to care for themselves but cats are quite adept at looking out for themselves and staying out of trouble; they often like to go outdoors at night to hunt.
Another factor that needs to be considered is the location of where a cat owner lives; a cat roaming around free in a built up urban area may face more risks than a cat roaming about in the countryside.
There is no right or wrong when talking about this subject as it is personal preference and can lead to on-going discussions. When it comes down to it, deciding whether or not to let a cat out is entirely the owner’s decision as it isn’t against the law to keep a cat indoors. However, should cats not be able to have the option to go outside? Cat-flaps are great devices for this. With a cat-flap, a cat may go outside once and decide it doesn’t like it, staying indoors for the rest of its life; the point being that at least it has been given the choice, something rare for an animal to have.