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Should cats be kept inside at night?

- Posted by in Pet Care
Should cats be kept inside at night?

Not so long ago, it was common for cats to be allowed out at night to roam freely and fulfil their natural instinct to hunt. These days, many owners are preferring to have their cats inside at night, where they feel they are safer.

With one in four cats killed on the road – usually at night – it isn’t surprising. At night, car headlights can dazzle cats, meaning they’re more likely to get hurt or killed. Cars also regularly exceed the speed limit at night when the roads are quieter, putting cats at greater risk of being hit.

But road accidents aside, there are other reasons why allowing your cat to roam at night can be dangerous. Attacks on domestic cats by foxes, while uncommon, aren’t unheard of. Likewise, fights between other neighbourhood cats tend to happen at night, which can leave your cat with serious injuries and diseases.

Infestation is another common problem in cats that hunt, as fleas and other parasites are picked up from prey and the environment.

Loss can also occur at night, as dropping temperatures send cats hurrying in search of warmth and shelter. This can sometimes lead them into danger, as they retreat inside sheds and garages, or even car engines, to escape the cold. It’s fairly common to hear that a cat has gone missing, only to be found 3 weeks later trapped inside a neighbour’s garage!

Understandably though, many cat owners prefer to give their cats round the clock access to the outdoors, believing it to be the most natural thing.

For those living in rural areas away from main roads, it is far safer for cats to venture out at night, than for cats living in busy, urban areas congested with traffic. It very much depends on where you live and your cat’s personality, as particularly nervous cats may prefer to be kept in.

To minimise the risks to your cat, it is important that they are vaccinated against all infectious diseases and are microchipped for easy identification. A collar containing your contact details will also help with this, but make sure you choose one with a quick release feature to avoid it becoming caught and injuring your cat.

Regular fleaing and worming will also protect your feline from parasite infection from prey and the environment.

Likewise, ensuring your cat is neutered or spayed will also help reduce the risks to them outside, as unneutered animals will wander for miles (often crossing busy roads) and are more likely to get into fights. They also cause more noise and smell nuisance to neighbours than neutered cats, and the risk of pregnancy to unspayed females is obvious.

It is important to be mindful of wildlife too, as populations of some species are being decimated by hunting cats, so keeping them inside at night can go some way towards supporting their survival.

We'd love to hear your thoughts on this, so please let us know whether your cat stays inside or has the freedom to wander :)

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Comments

12th Oct 2018
Customer Since: June 2008
From: United Kingdom

I keep my four lovely cats in because they are seniors, not used to outdoors and therefore no road sense, and mainly due to the local sport of shooting cats with pellet guns.

12th Oct 2018
Customer Since: July 2017
From: Lincolnshire, United Kingdom

I'm pleased my cat who is rather nervous and black anyway likes to be in after dark.

12th Oct 2018
Customer Since: March 2017
From: North Devon, United Kingdom

I found the perfect solution when I installed ProtectaPet fencing, after one of my cats was persistently being stolen. Now all 10 of my cats have free access 24/7 to their garden, safe from traffic, predators or other local cats. Would highly recommend this system for peace of mind and keeping cats safe

12th Oct 2018
Customer Since: September 2014
From: Suffolk, United Kingdom

I agree and keep my 2 cats indoors all the time with ample room to roam and play. It has also saved the bird population as we live in a rural area.

12th Oct 2018
Customer Since: June 2017
From: Staffordshire, United Kingdom

My cats have never go out either day or night there is any need for cats to out also if you have a cat or cats you should clean up after them not expect your neighbours to do it .

12th Oct 2018
Customer Since: November 2017
From: Leicestershire, United Kingdom

I own 6 cats age range from a 5month ferral to a 14year old rag doll and they all come in at night stops the fights they get into and trips to the vet they all seem very happy with this routine

12th Oct 2018
Customer Since: March 2015
From: West Midlands, United Kingdom

I have mine trained at night so they come in...only at night they get chicken bits in their bowls. All 4 come in straight away. I don't like mine out after dark

12th Oct 2018
Customer Since: June 2013
From: Surrey, United Kingdom

Both of our cat's are indoor cats thankfully, far too many kids roaming the streets drinking causing trouble and distress to animals and people, so I'm just thankful to know exactly where and what my cats have been up to, but the funny thing is that we allowed and encouraged them to go out the back, going with them for assurance, but they bolt in every time there was a noise, so they have literally decided to be house cats by their own choosing, something we are very grateful of.

But the older cat went to a family (I knew her from birth) to be a new home, until then she never left my side, but after a week they brought her back saying they don't know how to care for her, ever since she has, and is, terrified of everything, knock's on the door, especially when they come in, she fly's up the stairs and hides under the wardrobe like an Exocet missile.

Even if we stand up too fast, she bolts, and if the door goes when I am in bed (ever failing health means more bad days than good now), she fly's up and under the duvet in a single motion, and if I try to comfort and reassure her no one is going to hurt her, she backs away from me, as though she's thinking I will drag her out and put her in some sort of danger, when in fact I am simply stroking her, I would love to know what they did to her, as she is 7 years old now, and no amount of trying to stop her feeling this way hasn't changed a single thing, she bolts now like she did then.

We did have cat's in the past who did go outside, in fact they brought a warm sausage home one night lol, most likely nicked off an unguarded plate or something, then they just stopped coming home, in some ways that was better, as taking them on that last journey is just too painful, but yeah I'm in favour of keeping them in of a night, at least you know they will be there in the morning, and far better than waking up to find the cat has done you breakfast in bed, offering some form of present for you from their nightly rounds lol.

13th Oct 2018
Customer Since: January 2015
From: ESSEX, United Kingdom

My cats were always free to come an go when ever they wanted. We always kept their vaccinations and flea and worm up to date. They were both fine. We only have one left now they other one died of natural causes so no harm done by letting them roam. The one left is now very old and although he can still come and go when he likes he only pops out to the toilet which is our own garden now as he doesn't wander

13th Oct 2018
Customer Since: August 2017
From: United Kingdom

Where I live the roads are sometimes busy at night and people speed down it day or night so I try to keep my kitties in if I can so I know they are safe and warm especially during the winter.

13th Oct 2018
Customer Since: November 2017
From: Northamptonshire , United Kingdom

Hi, my 3 cats are free to wander, it’s difficult as we all work or at school so not always at home to let them in and out so we prefer to give them the freedom of movement when we are home. Plus my cats don’t actually like being locked in

13th Oct 2018
Customer Since: October 2014
From: United Kingdom

I have never allowed my cats to go out at night, it dosent bother them at all and l can sleep peacefully knowing they are safe.

13th Oct 2018
Customer Since: January 2017
From: Midlothian, United Kingdom

boyh my cats go out at night I live in a small estate surrounded by woodland cats head to there even during day time

13th Oct 2018
Customer Since: August 2017
From: West Yorkshire, United Kingdom

I have two black cats and cannot sleep if they don't come in at night! The lad is bullied by a couple of neighbourhood toms and the girl is so small, I fear she will be taken by a fox. We live in a semi-rural area. Anyway, they are family and I wouldn't want any member of the family out all night!

13th Oct 2018
Customer Since: February 2016
From: Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

When we got our cats they were allowed to come and go all times of day and night. But we have now got them in to a routine and they are very happy and also cheeky. First we put them on wet food twice a day. They had breakfast and tea. Also at 9.00 in the evening when we had drinks they had treats. We also got them mats to have their food on. Now when they know it is tea time they will go and sit down where their food goes down on their mats. They even know which side they should be sitting. At 9.00 one of them in particular will come and ask for her treats. She will first give us a kiss on her head then she will sit and wait for her treats. It was easy to do and now they are like a couple of little dogs. They come in when they are called. We treat them as part of the family and they are not just cats.

13th Oct 2018
Customer Since: January 2010
From: United Kingdom

I would never leave my cats out all night. They are beautiful rescue cats and are out all day. We are in the country and it is a safe place, but there are still foxes and undesirables around. They have their routine and are very happy cats

13th Oct 2018
Customer Since: September 2014
From: Greater Manchester, United Kingdom

I can’t believe anyone thinks it’s ok to leave cats out at night

14th Oct 2018
Customer Since: October 2011
From: West Sussex, United Kingdom

I read your article with interest about should cats be kept in at night. Up until about 5-Year’s ago the flap was left open for them to come and go as they wanted to. These days I’ve a very different view and wish I’d have done what I do now. This time of year when everything gets so damp and old, my cats are in by about 8pm, then it’s supper and bed. In the summer they’re not usually out after 9-9.30 pm. This can cause problems as our ‘naughty and dare devil’ cat quite often gives us the runaround and is usually found walking across all our neighbour’s roofs! He’s so thrilled with himself too, but the lure of supper is too good to miss and in he comes. The flap then gets locked until morning around 6-7 am. The reason they’re not allowed out at night is foxes do roam at night and I don’t take the chance to let them out. Also fairly recently there’s been a number of cats and rabbits killed and it is thought by a very sick individual and not by a fox etc. Please think about keeping your animals indoors at night especially as the weather in on the turn now and my cats do like warmth as one of them sleeps on his back with his feet up the radiator! Yes he’s bonkers and the one who explores our neighbours’ roofs. Please think about their safety you won’t regret it. Penny

14th Oct 2018
Customer Since: October 2011
From: West Sussex, United Kingdom

P.S. Forgot to mention we give our cats 3-Dreamies when they get in for being good then they have their supper. Any problems shake the ‘treats’ tin they’ll soon learn.

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