Most people think that because their cats love watching the birds and squirrels outside they deserve a little time outdoors. Indeed, cats are natural hunters and wild cats thrive outside, but that doesn’t mean your Ragdoll will. There are plenty of reasons to keep your Ragdoll inside, including thievery, diseases, predators and parasites.
Indoor Cats Live Longer
Lifespan comparisons of purely indoor vs purely outdoor cats are pretty extreme. Statistics show that while indoor cats can live up to 17 or more years, outdoor cats may only live about 2-5 years. While this doesn’t take into account cats that spend time both indoors and outdoors, it’s still quite a stark comparison, and suggests that any time you let your cat outside you may be reducing their lifespan.
Wild animals oftentimes carry diseases, and it’s highly likely that if you let your Ragdoll outside they will eventually come in contact with a feral cat or other wild animal.
Some of these diseases include:
- Upper Respiratory Infections
- Feline Infectious Peritonitis
- Feline Leukemia
- Feline AIDS
- Feline distemper
Although not always deadly, parasites can cause unpleasant symptoms in your cat in the form of scratching, skin infections, vomiting and diarrhea. Parasites can also spread around your home and to humans, and can be very difficult to get rid of. Examples of these unsavory parasites include:
- Ear Mites
- Intestinal Worms
- Ringworm (fungal infection)
There are plenty of hazards outside that could threaten your Ragdoll. Remember, if your Ragdoll is inside most of the time, they may not understand to be fearful of certain things, especially since they’re naturally benevolent and friendly cats.
Most cats do not understand the dangers of streets and cars. Even if you do let your cat outside, keep them away from roads, period.
Unfortunately there are people that do not share your affinity for cats, and some have been known to use animals are target practice for BB guns or slingshots, or hit your cat at close range. Being naturally social and gentle cats, Ragdolls may not understand not all people are friendly and to stay away from them.
Your Ragdoll’s natural curiosity can work against her when she gets trapped in a shed, garage, basement or any other structure. The great outdoors is not a familiar environment to your cat, and they may not comprehend their limitations.
You may like to think that your Ragdoll can hold their own outside, but the reality is there are a lot of wild animals that would love to have her as a snack. Be mindful of foxes, coyotes, raccoons, and stray dogs.
There are many outdoor poisons your cat could come in contact with, and plenty of man-made ones as well. Be wary of rat poison as it might be hidden in areas you don’t see, but your cat can find. Antifreeze is a common pet killer; it tastes pleasant but is highly toxic.
Someone Might want to Steal Your Ragdoll:
Ragdolls are very recognizable and prized breeds, and someone might see your Ragdoll as worth money or want to keep them as their own. Nearly two million pets are stolen each year, and purebreds are the most targeted group. Even worse, only about 10% of stolen pets are returned home.
Consider the Environment
Believe it or not, stray and outdoor cats have a massive impact on the environment in the small animals they prey on and kill. Millions of birds are killed each year by outdoor cats, and that’s only 20% of wildlife cats kill.
If You Do Take Your Cat Outside
- Keep other cats (particularly strays) away from your cat.
- Train your Ragdoll to accept a cat/dog harness so you can keep them on a leash and restrict how far they can wander. Ragdolls are particularly easy to train and accept leashes.
- Keep your Ragdoll up to date on their vet visits for vaccines and parasite screening.
- Make sure your Ragdoll has a microchip implant, that way if they wander off or get lost you can still locate or identify them.
- The best case scenario is to supervise your Ragdoll while they’re outside.