Whether or not to allow your cat to go outside can be a tough decision. Many cats do enjoy the outdoors and can be very vocal about it. Statistically, though, allowing your cat to spend time outdoors can significantly reduce their life expectancy. All sorts of hazards exist on the other side of that door including cars, loose dogs, other territorial cats, predators, parasites, toxic plants, and more. However, there are some safe ways to allow you cat to enjoy the outdoors without letting them roam free.

Indoor cats often get bored and desire stimulation. They may meow to be let outside or attempt to scamper outdoors in order to seek out some excitement. You can provide your cat with stimulation by spending some quality time playing with them. Dangling string or feather toys are a great way to keep a bored kitty amused and engaged.

If you have a screened in porch or patio, you can provide your cat endless hours of entertainment by letting them sit on the porch to watch the birds, squirrels, and other wildlife scurry around the yard. It is important to monitor them to ensure they don’t use their claws to make a hole in the screen and escape. Some companies even make special outdoor enclosures specifically for cats to enjoy the fresh air.

No porch? A cat tree or perch next to a window is another great option. Consider placing a bird feeder near the window and you are essentially providing hours of “Cat TV” to an interested kitty observer.

You can even consider training your cat to wear a harness and go on leashed walks. This is a great way to introduce them to the outdoors in a safe and supervised fashion. By keeping your kitty leashed and nearby, you can ensure that they can’t run into a busy intersection or have an altercation with a stray cat harboring diseases.  Remember that if you do let your cat outside on occasion, you’ll want to make sure to provide flea preventative regularly.

While it is tempting to allow your cat to roam the outdoors, there is no question that being an indoor-only kitty is far safer. Indoor-only cats can live up to twice as long as indoor-outdoor cats, and are less likely to have fleas, parasites, and other health problems that increase your vet bill.

Keep your cat indoors and guarantee that they live a long and happy life!