Most of these differences play a significant role in the overall health of your cat and their lifespan. Bear in mind though that a domestic cat is not a wild cat
𝗜𝗡𝗗𝗢𝗢𝗥 𝗖𝗔𝗧𝗦 –
– usually live longer as they are not exposed as readily to diseases, predatory animals and fighting (unless they are not sterilised);
– the owner will notice quickly if the cat is injured or ill and get them veterinary treatment quickly;
– are less likely to be exposed to busy roads;
– if the cat goes missing the owner can take action sooner as this will be noticed sooner.
Our domesticated pets have become used to living a life filled with “human comforts” and as such, they are less able to care for themselves in the wild. So, while you may think that a life outdoors offers your cat a more “natural” environment, remember that your pet cat is about as wild as you are!
Dependent on environmental circumstances ideally one can allow cats outside during the day, and keep them in at night from sunset to sunrise which has advantages in terms of safety and territorial fighting.
Cats sleep approximately 16 hours a day but do require behavioural enrichment and also cat litter boxes. Behavioural enrichment can comprise scratching posts / play centres, tunnels to run through, cardboard boxes (what cat doesn’t love a box) and high places to jump onto. With cat litter trays the norm is one plus one cat litter tray per cat e.g. two cats require 3 cat litter trays – place the trays away from their food and use a good quality cat litter.
𝗢𝗨𝗧𝗗𝗢𝗢𝗥 𝗖𝗔𝗧𝗦 –
– can be more readily exposed to diseases like feline leukemia, feline AIDS, feline infectious peritonitis, feline distemper and upper respiratory infections and can more readily pick up parasites including fleas, ticks, ear mites, intestinal worms, and ringworm;
– are frequently struck and killed on roads and have a higher risk of getting into toxic items like antifreeze and oils;
– can easily become prey to predatory animals like dogs and can become tangled or trapped in trees without any way to get down;
– are more likely to get into territorial fights with other cats and if not sterilised in fights over queens in season.
𝗢𝘂𝘁𝗱𝗼𝗼𝗿 𝗰𝗮𝘁𝘀 𝘀𝗵𝗼𝘂𝗹𝗱 𝗻𝗼𝘁 𝗯𝗲 𝗰𝗼𝗻𝗳𝘂𝘀𝗲𝗱 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝗳𝗲𝗿𝗮𝗹 𝗰𝗮𝘁𝘀 with the former being cats which people own and prefer to live outside while feral cats have gathered in colonies for survival as they have either been born in the colony or have been abandoned by their owners or are strays and gravitated towards colonies.
𝗙𝗘𝗥𝗔𝗟 𝗖𝗔𝗧𝗦 –
Feral cats are usually drawn to food sources such as public gardens, the back of restaurants, shopping centres, and businesses and are a natural method of keeping down rodents benefitting the areas where they gather. They also take out the weaker of their prey species and play a part in their overall health.
𝗧𝗿𝗮𝗽𝗽𝗶𝗻𝗴, 𝗡𝗲𝘂𝘁𝗲𝗿𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗥𝗲𝗹𝗲𝗮𝘀𝗲 (𝗧𝗡𝗥)
There are a growing number of animal welfares focusing on TNR who can be contacted for assistance. It is important that there is a feeder or a person or business willing to take responsibility for the feeding of a colony.
The process is to trap, check the cats for health and separate the domestic strays from the ferals, scan all the cats for microchips and neuter them. The tip of one of the ears is clipped while the cat is under anaesthetic to indicate that it has been neutered. Healthy ferals are released once they have recovered fully from the anaesthetic.
Feral kittens can be domesticated although this takes a great deal of patience and understanding and can take a long time.
This article is produced by SAVetshops, in the interest of informing people and sharing information. It is not considered a reference article or a definitive medical reference. Source references are listed below and any person wishing to know more should consult these references, their local vet, state health service or doctor.