Benefits of outdoor access to both cat and owner
28th May 2020
Many cats enjoy the freedom of the great outdoors, but have you thought about the benefits this can give both you and your pet?
If a cat has access to the outdoors, they can choose the size of their territory, and they won’t feel restricted by the confines of the four walls of the house. As largely solitary creatures, a cat’s territory is very important to them. They use their core territory (usually the house) to eat, drink, sleep and relax, whereas the wider territory is a place they can hunt and explore.
Whilst indoor cats can find stimulation from their toys, scratching posts or looking out the window, this doesn’t compare to the type of stimulation they encounter when they go outside. The changing seasons makes the outside world a different place to explore at different times of year. New flowers, plants, bugs and even leaves that have fallen from a tree mean that the outdoors is a constantly changing environment, which offers opportunities for enrichment for cats.
If some cats are kept indoors, they can become stressed, because they are missing out on the opportunity to explore and hunt outside. Stress can cause a cat to develop stress-related illnesses such as feline cystitis and can cause them to go to the toilet outside of their litter tray.
Whilst there are opportunities to exercise indoors, there are so many more exercise opportunities outside. There are fences, sheds and trees to climb and wide, open spaces and forests to run through. The benefit to you as an owner is that you won’t need to spend as much time and money on altering your cat’s indoor environment so that they can get enough exercise.
If a cat has outdoor access, it’s unlikely they’ll need a litter tray indoors. It’s much nicer for the owner if they don’t have to use a litter tray. Less expense and less mess. It’s important though to ensure that you make space in your garden for your cat to use the toilet. This should be a sheltered, private area of with an area of loose soil or sand.