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Should I Have An Outdoor Cat?

A white cat with a gray tail looking up from sunlit green grass, from FurHaven Pet Products

Outdoor Cat Considerations: Making an Informed Decision


For some cats, it’s hard to imagine them being distant descendants of wild cats. For others, we let them walk on the wild side - and it’s a little easier to imagine! In North America, it’s very common to see a sneaky cat slink down an alleyway, or spot the kitty down the street who is a regular on your walks. But what are these kitties getting up to? What is your kitty getting up to, if you have an outdoor cat, and what could they be doing to the critters living in your neighborhood?

Outdoor Cats Can Kill Endangered Species

A brown, orange, and white cat on a floor with it's paws outstretched towards a mouse at FurHaven Pet Products

Cats, as much as we don’t like to think about it, love to hunt. They’re natural born hunters and will stalk and kill other animals who are their prey. This means that small birds, small rodents, and other critters will unknowingly become lunch, or even just a toy, for your kitty. This can cause a huge problem if left unchecked.

According to The American Bird Conservancy, cats have been linked to the extinction of 63 bird, mammal, and reptile species in the wild.

Cats, despite their success in living side by side with humans, have not evolved to live peacefully side by side with small critters. The ecosystem has a hard time counteracting the effects of a neighborhood full of cats, especially if there are multiple cats in the same neighborhood going out every day. This can sometimes hurt the balance in your home's natural environment and cause a few problems. 

One of things you can do if you want to continue letting your kitty enjoy their time outdoors is to add a bell to their collars when you send them outside so they can't sneak up and pounce on any critters. Just make sure you give them a break away collar with an ID tag for safety and identification.

You can also invest in a pet playpen or leash (scroll down a bit more for some suggestions) for supervised pay!

Outdoor Cats Can Spread Disease

A black and white cat lying on a wooden deck mid-yawn, with a water bowl and plants around, from FurHaven Pet Products

One of the main issues when it comes to outdoor cats is the diseases and parasites that they can spread. Worse, the diseases and parasites your kitty could contract from spending time outside! The last thing you want is to give your furry friend an evening to explore, only for them to contract worms, feline herpesvirus, or rabies.

You can prevent or reduce this risk by limiting time outside, or looking into preventative treatments for things like flea treatments, or heartworm treatments. 

Outdoor Cats Can Overpopulate

Two kittens having a walk in the mud outside, at FurHaven Pet Products

There’s a common misconception that an un-spayed cat can result in up to 420,000 offspring in just five years. Thankfully, this number is inaccurate, and is likely a much lower (but still frightening!) number. Closer to as much as 5,000 cats in seven years. This is still a shocking number! 

Having a cat roam around can mean you are unknowingly contributing to the overpopulation of feral and stray cats. There are millions of feral and stray cats on the streets, and millions more in shelters across the country. You can help reduce the number on the street by adopting a shelter cat, having them be spayed or neutered, or supervising your cat when it goes out!

How To Reduce Your Impact

Spend Supervised Time With Your Cat Outside 

A white cat on a leash and harness sitting outside on a cupboard next to a bench from FurHaven Pet Products

It’s hard to want to force your curious kitty inside, but it’s also an important thing to consider if you’d like to do your part! Instead of stopping your kitty from exploring, why not increase your supervision? Consider investing in a cat hammock for bird watching, or a cat leash if you can train your cat to walk with you! You can also check out these awesome options that are great for all types of kitty comfort levels.

Pet Playpen

An orange and white cat sitting in a FurHaven Portable Mesh Pet Playpen

Our Portable Mesh Pet Playpen keeps your pets safely with you while at the park, beach, and inside or outside your home. You can let your kitty hang out outside with you and get quality time with them outside. You can spend time outside, and they get to hang out and birdwatch!

Sherpa Duffel Backpack

A human wearing a brown hoodie carrying their dog in a Sherpa Duffel Backpack

Our furiends at Sherpa make pawsome options for mobility with your kitty! You can let your furry friend go on adventures with you and explore beyond the neighborhood from the safety of your back! Check out their Duffel Backpack on our site!

Spay/Neuter Your Cat

Spaying or neutering your pet is one of the best things you can do to prevent any issues from letting your kitty explore outside. If you can be sure to do your part in preventing overpopulation, you can also help prevent the spreading of disease and overpopulation in shelters. 

Try To Counteract Your Cat's Impact With Sustainable Options

One of the things you can do to try to make a difference, if you have a kitty who enjoys exploring outdoors, is to counteract the impact with more sustainable options when it comes to kitty care. The potential impact your cat can have on critters - and the impact your disposable litter tray has on the environment, can be reduced with a sustainable litter option.

A gray and cream colored cat sits on a white rug on the floor next to a Kitty Sift Litter Tray

Our furiends at KittySift make fantastic litter tray options for your cat that are a far more sustainable choice than other disposable litter brands. Paired with a sustainable litter like a pine litter, you and your kitty can be the champions of making sustainable choices!

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