Five Common Health Issues for Outdoor Cats


Article by Kathy Chapman

Common Health Issues for Outdoor Cats

As a devoted pet parent, you most likely want nothing more than to ensure the continued safety and health of your four-legged friend. Naturally, you do everything in your power to make sure that they are as okay as they can be. 

While this may very well be the case for those reading this, it is worth noting that there may come a time in your pet’s life where their health deteriorates through no fault of their own or yours. The health issues that an indoor cat could pick up vary somewhat from those that an outdoor cat could experience.  

With this in mind, we will be discussing below some of the health issues that are common in outdoor cats. Whether you are an experienced pet parent who wishes to further their knowledge on specific topics or is a novice who has just got their first pet, there should be something of interest for you here. 

Get yourself comfortable with your beloved kitty on your lap and read on for more.  

Common Health Issues 

Much like that of human beings and other animals on the planet, various health issues could crop up and affect your cat from time to time. It is estimated that an outdoor cat's lifespan is drastically lower than that of an indoor cat.

Naturally, as a result of this estimation, there is little surprise that pet parents across the country and beyond want to do what they can and to be as prepared as possible for these potential eventualities.  

With this in mind, let’s jump into the list of common health issues that could affect your cat.


As your cat might roam far and wide, there is a high possibility that small bugs and parasites from bushes, trees, and areas with long grass will hop on-board your cat for a ride. Generally speaking, any parasite that attaches itself to your cat is not a good thing and should be treated as soon as possible, or as soon as you notice – whether this be straight away or as and when symptoms begin to develop. 

By ensuring that you get your cat the treatment they might need, you would be reducing the possibility of them developing anything more severe due to the parasites. Health issues that could occur because of parasites attaching themselves to your cat include the likes of vomiting, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, and a general pot-bellied/rounded appearance. 

Furthermore, while it is worth being aware of the types of health issues that your cat could face due to parasites, it is also worth noting what types of parasites could be causing these issues and contributing to your cat’s discomfort. 


Transmission of Life-Threatening or Life-Changing Conditions

Again, much like that of other species out there, outdoor cats are often at a far higher risk of potentially picking up a life-changing or threatening condition than that of their indoor counterparts. Like that of conditions that could be caused by parasites, there is a wide range of potential conditions that your cat could pick up through transmission from other animals and cats, respectively. 

Transmitted diseases could include such things as Feline Aids, which could be considered as one of the most lethal conditions for a cat. Not to mention, as something that is somewhat life-changing, your cat may undoubtedly need some long-term treatment to manage the condition, which could accrue significant costs over time.

As a pet parent who may be faced with a situation like this, considering your options is of utmost importance, including considering taking out cat insurance for paying bills such as these. Pet parents can expect to find insurance for cats that could cover vet bills associated with conditions like these, available from insurance providers such as Everypaw. The firm offers a range of lifetime cover levels, so if you’re considering taking one out for your furry friend, you can check out a selection of solutions.




Injuries Caused by Road Traffic Collisions (RTCs)

 Even considering the chance of your beloved cat being hit by a car is enough to cause worry and upset. However, while we recognise that this could very well be the case, it is a potential eventuality that you should consider when being the parent of an outdoor cat.

Mainly if you live in a built-up area or in a place that is near the main road, this is something that you should consider when first getting your pet and deciding whether you feel comfortable enough letting them outdoors. Not to forget whether it is best for your cat, too; some kitties merely prefer being in the outdoors, mainly if they are a more senior cat that could have grown up used to being in the outdoors. 

While most kitties will use up one of their nine lives when injured in an RTC, there is also the potential risk that they become somewhat more unwell due to injuries picked up. Injuries that could happen due to your cat being involved in an RTC could include head injuries, broken bones, internal bleeding, and more. With it estimated that approximately 4.2% of all emergency vet appointments attending to cats that have been hit by cars, this undoubtedly and unfortunately could be a position you find yourself in with your beloved kitty at some point or another. 

grey cat

Illness from Exposure to Toxins

Much like the other potential health conditions that could affect your beloved kitty, this is also one that comes as somewhat a worst nightmare for pet parents all over. 

Cats could pick up illnesses from a range of pesticides and other toxins that are used in the garden and home, and which could be fatal in some scenarios. Not to mention, it is not just pesticides and other garden treatments that could make your cat unwell following exposure; there are even some plants out there that could cause an adverse reaction in your pet.

Minimising how many of these you have in your own garden is as much as you could do when wanting to minimise the risk of exposure for your cat. Unfortunately, there has been an increase in the number of cat poisonings over the years, but whether they were done deliberately and with malicious intent is still in doubt. 


Fights and Subsequent Wounds

It goes without saying, but much like other animals worldwide, cats can be somewhat territorial. This instinct could lead your beloved kitty into some potentially perilous situations and could lead to some injuries associated with fighting other cats and animals when marking territory.

It is estimated that roughly 90% of all bite wounds that are sustained by cats are a direct result of fighting with other felines in the area over territory. For the most part, it does not seem like the end of the world if your cat was to pick up the odd bite or scratch wound. It is what could happen as a result of these wounds that could cause health issues in the future; this could include bite wounds leading to infection of the limb itself, as well as leading to other potential complications such as an abscess or pyothorax, also known as a build-up of pus in the chest cavity.


Overall, we hope that you and your beloved cat never experience any of these health conditions in their lifetime. However, with that being said, we also hope that if you ever end up in the situation where you are faced with one of the health conditions listed, that you have a somewhat better idea as to what you should expect.  

By Kathy Chapman


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