With more than 130 million, domestic dogs and cats are the most popular pets in the United States. A lot of people believe that cats are natural outdoor pets but according to the humane society, they stay healthier indoors. Cats have progressively moved indoors since the availability of kitty litter. If left outside, they tend to adapt quickly and hunt smaller mammals for food. Since they are not as dependant as dogs on their owners, they tend to stray away from their homes. 20 percent of the adopted cats were strays.
Here are a few things you need to keep in mind about outdoor cats:
- Pet health – The average lifespan for a cat living outdoors is two years compared to the 10 years of an indoor cat. Fleas, ticks, disease, predators and traffic all pose dangers to them. Research has shown that more than a tenth of a coyote’s diet consists of outdoor cats.
- Environmental concerns – Domestic cats do not belong to the natural environment. Their instincts are to hunt even when they are well fed. Apart from killing chipmunks and mice, outdoor cats prey on millions of birds every year.
- Outdoor options – Consider the option of an outdoor pet enclosure or harness if you want your feline pet to enjoy the outdoors. They can be trained to go for walks on a harness and leash. The enclosure should keep the predators out, which makes a closed roof necessary.
Why dogs are better indoor pets
Dogs are very social animals and crave a lot of attention. They are not very happy outside in spite of the belief that they are happier, get more exercise and are good guard dogs. If a dog is left outside, his pen is the only territory he will guard. And instead of exercising, they spend most of their time waiting for you. Here are a few hazards of having dogs as outdoor pets:
- Pet health – Dogs that are left outdoors can escape from their yard and face dangers in the form of traffic, fights with other animals, or poisoning. Excess exposure to heat or cold can lead to chronic health problems. Since outdoor dogs are less social, they are given to shelters or worse, put down.
- Behavior problems – Outdoor dogs are more stressed and develop behavioral problems like digging, barking, being overly aggressive or escaping. This also makes them harder to train.
- Outdoor options – Dogs need adequate exercise. The most effective way of getting them outside is to be outside with them, playing or walking. If you leaven them outside for for short periods, provide a escape-proof, safe shelter, fresh water and shade. Don’t chain them. Remember that fur-heavy dogs do not do well in the heat and dogs with a short coat do not do well in the cold.