Cats are one of the companions that we love to have although some of them treat us like their butlers sometimes. Many people like to take in stray cats or outdoor cats and give them a place they can call home. The thing is that outdoor cats are different from indoor cats when it comes to life expectancy. So how long do outdoor cats live? I will give you a quick brief along with some useful details of outdoor cat lifespan; check them out below.
Outdoor Cat Lifespan
The sad truth is that outdoor cats tend to have a shorter lifespan compared to indoor cats. Statistics have shown that indoor cats have longer lives, and they are also healthier than outdoor cats. Generally, outdoor cats live on an average of 2 to 5 years while indoor cats can live up to 15 years. So why does the life expectancy of outdoor cats is shorter than the indoor ones? Some of the main reasons that cause the outdoor cats to live shorter are:
- Get hit by vehicles on the street
- Poisoned by anti-freeze, rat bait, etc.
- Contact with environmental hazards outside
- Abused and killed by people with cruel intentions
- Contract deadly or infectious diseases from other cats
- Become injured from other cats, dogs, and other predators
- Contract parasites such as fleas or ticks, then become sick from the diseases those bugs carry
Indoor vs Outdoor Cats
So what are the differences between indoor cats and outdoor cats? There are a few interesting things that you should know about these two types of cats.
As everyone already knows, indoor cats live longer, mainly because they are in living in a safer environment. A regular indoor cat has a lifespan of 10 to 15 years, but some of them also experience some issues. The first thing is that indoor cats don’t go out; they spend most of their time of the days staring out the window. This is why you can see that some indoor cats want to escape sometimes or get so enthusiastic when going out.
More than that, indoor cats also face the risks of having certain health conditions. Indoor cats are less active, and that increases the rate of having arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. This is one of the reasons why you should never spoil your indoor cats to the point that they are overweight. To avoid this problem, you should play with them or provide them with toys to play with. That way, they get to be active without being too bored while staying indoors the entire time.
Outdoor cats have a different lifestyle, and it somehow increases the risk to their lives more than indoor cats. Similar to the point I have mentioned above, outdoor cats have a more dangerous life. They face more risks of getting injured and sick due to the exposure to infectious diseases outdoor. Some of the most common ones are the feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency (FIV). At the same time, there are also more chances of them getting into fights with other cats. Not to mention the chances of getting poisoned; their lives are in danger most of the time. This is why the life expectancy of outdoor cats is shorter than indoor cats.
Besides the strictly indoor and outdoor cats, we also have indoor-outdoor cats which means they are both. Basically, an indoor-outdoor cat lives indoors, but they are free to roam outside on their own sometimes. Some cat owners allow this lifestyle because they want to provide their cats with freedom and life skills.
Another reason that it is possible is because the neighborhood is safe from common dangers that can harm the cats. When you live in a safe area, your cats will be able to roam in a safe place. So you won’t have to worry about accidents, diseases, or any other major problems that harm their lives at all. Even better, some indoor-outdoor cats are smart, so they know how to hang out safely nearby without wandering too far.
Despite all the good things, indoor-outdoor cats also come back home with a few issues that you should know. You obviously have no idea where they go to or who they come across, and things can be unexpectedly nasty. So sometimes the indoor-outdoor cats return with fleas, or worse, bring dead animals as gifts of love for you. Besides these, there shouldn’t be anything else that poses a problem. Just make sure to give them their shorts and neuter them if need be, and your cats are good to go.
How to keep outdoor cats safe?
You have to be extra cautious when you have an outdoor cat, but there are ways to keep them safe. Some of the most common methods include:
- Provide them with regular vaccinations.
- Spay or neuter them to prevent diseases or unexpected pregnancy.
- Have a litter box indoors so that they will say inside when they have to go.
- Use a fitting collar with a breakaway mechanism or ID tags with your name and phone number.
- There are also cat collars with a microchip that provides data or locations of your cats when they go out also.
- Provide your cats with enough fresh water and food so that they won’t seek more when they go out. This is to reduce the risks of them fighting or trying to find more food.
What do outdoor cats need to survive in winter?
The answer is simple; they need basic items that are not different from us at all. Just food, water, and a warm shelter that protects them from outdoor elements. Make sure to pay more attention to their body temperatures if they have thin fur. Cats with thin fur get cold fast, so they will need more care to stay warm.
How to entertain indoor cats?
To prevent boredom and obesity, there are a few things that you can do to entertain your indoor cats. Get items that can keep them active such as perches, scratching posts and various toys that they can play with. By getting them to climb and run around, at least your indoor cats will get to do some movement. Way better than sitting and sleeping in one place the entire day.
Should indoor cats have outdoor time?
The answer is yes, and there are so many awesome ways that you can provide them with their outdoor time. By taking them outside sometimes, you simply give your cats a different look at their surroundings. Cats get anxious and bored when staying inside for too long, and that is not good for their mental health.
The easiest and most comfortable way to bring your cat with you is by putting them in a pet backpack. It is super cute, and your cat will be able to see the places you go while sitting comfortably inside. You can also take them out on a leash for a nearby walk around the house. It is also fun, and they can do some exercises by walking as well.
Despite the differences in the life expectancy of outdoor cats and indoor cats, you can still take them home. With proper care, their lifespan can probably last longer when they live in a safer place. Just make sure to provide them with proper healthcare by keeping up with vaccinations and parasite prevention. When you adopt a new cat from outdoor, try to keep them indoors so that they can get used to their new home. It could be a bit of a challenge at first, but things will get easier in no time.