American Association of Feline Practitioners

Veterinary professionals passionate about the care of cats

Impact of Lifestyle Choice on the Companion Cat

2016 Impact of Lifestyle Choice on the Companion Cat - Indoor vs. Outdoor

Download - 2016 Impact of Lifestyle Choice on the Companion Cat - Indoor vs. Outdoor

There are both risks and benefits to pet cats living exclusively indoors or spending some time outdoors. This lifestyle decision may be based on culture, perceived behavior and health requirements of the cat, or recommendations of regional veterinary and humane associations.  Understanding the risks and benefits of the different lifestyle options provides veterinarians with the tools necessary to counsel clients on how to minimize health risks to their cat regardless of their choice of indoor-only or indoor/outdoor lifestyle. 
This Statement reviews the risks and benefits for both the indoor-only cat and indoor/outdoor cat.

Whether the cat is indoor-only or spends time outdoors, it is essential to provide an environment that meets all the environmental needs of the cat. Many feline behavior problems can be prevented or treated with an enriched environment that includes physical and mental stimulation, as well as allows a cat to perform their normal behaviors such as hunting and stalking.

The AAFP Position Statement emphasizes that indoor/outdoor living for cats, in an environment that is safe, is the best option for pet cats.

Submitted by: Ilona Rodan, DVM, DABVP (Feline); Carlye Rose, DVM, DABVP (Feline; Canine & Feline); and Roy Smith, DVM

This position statement has been updated from: 2007 Confinement of Owned Indoor Cats