Keeping Your Cat Safe Outdoors

Sweet CatOne of the unique challenges cat caregivers face is whether to keep cats indoors or outdoors.  Many people with cats have strong feelings either way about  keeping their cats indoors exclusively  vs. allowing them time outside.

Awareness of what it takes to keep your feline family member safe and healthy outdoors can help guide your choice as to what environment is best for your cat. However, it is beneficial to be aware of the hidden dangers of allowing your cat to spend time outside for long periods of time unattended.

Dangers  Of Leaving Cats Outdoors

Cats that live indoors typically have shorter life spans than cats that live indoors. Indoor cats live an average of 10-15 years. The average lifespan of an outdoor cat is 2-5 years. Risks associated with cats that live outdoors include:

  • Contracting parasites which include fleas, ticks and worms.
  • Poisons such as rodent bait, fertilizers, antifreeze, etc.
  • Being hit by motor vehicles.
  • Injury or death by people who do not want cats on their property.
  • Becoming lost/trapped.
  • Fighting with other animals.

How to Keep Your Outdoor Cat Safe and Healthy

  • Provide water at all times.
  • Keep a collar and tags on your cat at all times. Consider investing in a GPS
  • Groom and inspect your cat for fleas and ticks.
  • Make an outdoor enclosure for your cat.
  • If possible, bring your cat indoors at night.
  • Have your cat microchipped.
  • Neuter or spay your cat.
  • Keep outdoor cats vaccinated or get regular titer testing.

Many cat owners feel very strongly about keeping cats indoors or outdoors. While some cats do well living a life exclusively inside, some cats appear to experience a poorer quality of life inside. Signs of this include spraying, aggressive behavior and melancholy. As a responsible caretaker, if your cat goes outside, it is crucial to follow steps to keep your cat safe and healthy. Also, it’s important to be mindful of keeping your cat out of neighbor’s property as much as possible…no one wants to step into cat poop in their yard or risk have a cat roam in a yard where dogs live that are not a part of the cat’s family. With care and diligence, your cat can lead a safe, healthy life spending time outdoors if responsible practices are implemented.


  1. I know there are lots of people who have strong feelings about indoor vs outdoor cats, and I think that is fine. You should do with your cat what makes you feel is best for them. I personally like to let my cat out into the yard. I just like to make sure he stays in my yard. It is hard, but It is a way I can let him get outdoor time without worrying too much about him.

    • Millicent Little says

      Greetings James! I agree; it is a personal preference. My main concern is always that the cat is kept safe! Thanks so much for your input!

  2. these are great ideas for cats in south florida.

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