Resource Center Menu
Safety Precautions for Outdoor and Indoor Cats

Safety Precautions for Outdoor & Indoor Cats

Cats have been domesticated since 2500 B.C. when ancient Egyptians brought cats inside their homes to live with them. Cats have been part of human families ever since.

Indoor vs. Outdoor

People continue to debate which environment is best for their cat. Understandably, everyone wants their cat to lead a fulfilling and healthy life. Some believe their cats should have the freedom to roam free, while others prefer their cat enjoy the safety and shelter of shelter indoor living provides. At Petco, we strongly advise keeping your cat indoors. They will lead a longer, healthier life.

Indoor cats

  • Average lifespan: 12-20 years
  • Dangers: Indoor chemicals, poisonous plants

Outdoor cats

  • Average lifespan: 1-5 years
  • Dangers: Pests including ticks, fleas, ringworm, predators, starvation, vehicles, extreme weather, being stolen by strangers

Make the indoors great for your cat

Some people believe that by keeping their cats indoors, they are depriving them of their natural habitat. This simply is untrue. Cats have been domesticated for thousands of years and are completely dependent on you for food, water, shelter and safety.

Cats living indoors do require a little extra exercise. There are lots of ways to make playtime feel like the thrill of being outdoors, but in the safety of your home. Many kitty toys are meant to replicate the hunting experience of the outdoors.

Many cats enjoy watching the outdoors from the warmth and safety of a windowsill. You can even buy or build a soft windowsill shelf for this purpose. Just be sure the screen is secure if you leave your window open.

A safe way to enjoy the outdoors

Sometimes you can give your cat a taste of the outdoor life in a safe way. You can teach your cat to walk on a leash, or give your cat a safe enclosed outdoor space to explore. If you decide to leash-train your cat, you’ll need proper equipment like a collar, harness, leash and some patience.

All cats need safety

Whether your cat stays indoors or goes outside, these safety precautions can make a big difference in your cat’s health and your peace of mind:

  • Cat-proof their environment - Keep all poisonous plants and materials out of reach
  • Regular vaccinations - Annual vaccinations will help ward off parasites and rabies, distemper and feline leukemia.

A breakaway or elastic collar - Even indoor cats get out sometimes—be sure your cat has collar and ID tag so you can be reached should they get lost.