All too often people buy the wrong breed of cat. What do I mean by this? Well, if you live in a small apartment, perhaps because you live in a city, there are some breeds of cat that just won’t be best suited for you. A very good example of this is the Savannah cat.
Most breeds of cat exhibit different traits that lend themselves to thrive in certain situations and the Devon Rex is no different. So, let’s get to the point of this article – is it a good idea to let your Devon Rex cat outside and if so, what are the risks?
Can Devon Rex cats go outside? The Devon Rex is a cat with a lot of energy and their ideal habitat is a loving home with access to the outside world. This doesn’t mean a Devon Rex can’t be kept as an indoor cat.
The Devon Rex cat can quite happily live indoors as long as you provide it with space to get plenty of exercise, and make sure it is well stimulated. Regular play sessions with you are the best way to keep an indoor Devon Rex happy.
Letting your Devon Rex outside
If you choose to let your Devon Rex cat outside, then it’s important to know what you’re letting yourself in for. The Devon Rex has a lot of energy and won’t be happy if that energy isn’t fully utilized.
Certainly, a great way to do this is to allow them outside as they will naturally run around chasing little bugs for ages – a great way to burn energy!
What are the pros and cons of doing this though?
Benefits of letting a Devon Rex outside
- As mentioned above, an outdoor cat has more opportunities to get all the exercise they need to keep them happy. As an added bonus, not only will this exercise keep them happy but it will help keep them fit and healthy.
- An outdoor Devon Rex will participate in typical cat behavioral pursuits. This could include scratching – which is something you’d probably prefer them to do outside than on your nice new sofa inside!
- The Rex is, like most cat breeds, extremely inquisitive. Allowing them to roam outside provides them with more opportunities to explore and encounter new smells, sights and experiences. This will help satisfy their natural curiosity.
- You already know how much cats generally love the sun and basking in it. Inside, they will lay on a windowsill but outside they can get the real-deal.
- Being outside, it’s most likely your Rex will have access to grass. This is a good thing as cats eat this when they have something inside them that hasn’t gone down well – eating grass will allow them to regurgitate it. Probably inside (sorry about that).
- Keeping a cat like a Rex inside can be stressful. You are constantly ensuring that windows aren’t open enough for them to get out and whenever you have a visitor you have to be extra careful they don’t see this as an opportunity to dash out! Allowing them to go outside completely eliminates this stress.
- If you allow your Devon Rex outside you’ll no longer have to worry about keeping your litter box clean all the time!
Risks of letting a Devon Rex outside
- Depending on where you live, road traffic can be a serious risk to the life of your cat. A busy road has its obvious dangers but equally, a quiet road in the country has its own risks due to the unpredictability of the traffic.
- A Devon Rex can be somewhat adventurous and this means that getting lost is always a possibility. One of our cats a few years back wandered into a garage and was then shut in – for 3 days! Do ensure that your Rex is microchipped so a vet or animal shelter can link them to you when/if they are found.
- Again, depending on where you live, your outside cat will be at risk from other animals such as foxes dogs, coyotes and even other hostile cats.
- Allowing your Devon Rex outside means they have a higher risk of being exposed to infectious diseases which can typically happen when fighting with other cats.
- Although these may not be present on your land, your neighbors may have rat-traps (with poison), slug pellets and other toxic substances that could be harmful if ingested by your cat.
- Not many people are aware of this but many garden plants are actually toxic to cats, such as Poinsettias and Lillies.
- Unfortunately, not everyone is as awesome as you. There are people out there, particularly if you have a cat like the Rex, who would like to steal your cat.
- As I’ve already said, the Rex is inquisitive – they have been known to jump into car windows which then drive off.
- Increased anxiety (in you) as there will be times (many of them) where you have no idea where they are.
Deciding to keep a Devon Rex cat indoors
You may decide, once you have all the information, that the best decision for you and your cat is to keep it safely inside. Again, like allowing your cat to roam free outside, there are pros and cons. Let’s explore these in more detail.
Benefits of keeping a Devon Rex indoors
- Probably for many, one of the main reasons is the simple fact that you’ll always know that your Rex is safe and secure inside.
- You will never have to worry about when your cat brings in a little present for you (such as a bird, mouse or rabbit) – or bits of those animals!
- Your cat won’t be as bothered as you when it’s raining outside. Therefore, keeping your cat inside will mean you won’t get muddy paw prints all or your nice new sofa and carpet!
- Your Rex has a smaller chance of contracting the diseases mentioned above if they are inside.
Disadvantages to keeping a Devon Rex inside
- As the Devon Rex has a lot of energy you will need a reasonable amount of space for them to use that energy in.
- An indoor cat may become extremely dependent on you and even quite clingy – some people want this though.
- You will need a decent repertoire of toys to keep them entertained – warning, they get bored quickly! This also means you may have to change things around often to keep them from getting depressed.
- A good scratching post is an absolute necessity for any cat, let alone one that is permanently inside.
- Despite having the above, you may still have problems with your Rex scratching your furniture – if this is the case, take a look at this post which is all about this very subject.
- You will need to have a litter box and ensure it is cleaned every day. You will need to factor in the expense of the litter and also manage the smells that are associated with this.
- If you’re keeping your Rex inside you will need to dedicate a considerable amount of time, every day, playing with them to ensure they get the right amount of exercise to keep them healthy.
- Most cats (including the Devon Rex) do not like being left alone for long periods of time. This is more of a problem when you have an indoor cat as their surroundings never change and they can suffer from separation anxiety and the health problems that are associated with it very quickly.
- Ideally, you should grow some indoor grass so your cat can munch on this when not very well.
Can you have the best of both worlds?
But is it possible to have the best of both worlds? So, some of the advantages you get when you have an indoor cat, combined with those advantages of when a cat goes outside.
Well, yes and no. For instance, if your cat goes outside to free-roam, then there’s always going to be that element of anxiety where you don’t know 100% where they are and you won’t know for sure that they will come back.
There are some things you can do though!
Outside cat enclosure
By sealing off part of your garden, you can still give your cat some outside space but also in the knowledge that you know exactly where they are! This is actually what we’ve done before (we’ve also let our cats free-roam) but it’s certainly a great idea for when you first get a cat.
You really don’t want to let a cat outside after you’ve just got them. They should have many months where they become familiar with the scents and smells of your home before they are allowed to free-roam. However, with a cat enclosure they can go outside straight away and get many of the benefits without the risk of getting lost!
Up until recently, I’ve not been 100% sure about these myself but some people have sworn by them. The key to using a harness on a cat is to get them used to it when they are as young as possible.
If you wait until they are older, they will protest and struggle – which can even lead to some anxiety and they may never be 100% comfortable with it.
I’ve seen enough videos on YouTube with owners doing this that I’m more comfortable these days that actually, your cat can become used to it. Don’t assume this will be easy though and if you’re going down this route – give it time!
These don’t solve all problems but certainly help. We went with the Loc8tor (click on the link to see it on Amazon which opens in a new window). What we really liked about this is that it’s small and they won’t notice it’s there.
The downside is it’s not GPS so has a limited range. You’ll find though that most cats don’t wander too far away from your home – I’d definitely recommend this.
So, a pet locator can help with the worry that you don’t know where your cat is at any time (as the product mentioned will help you). However, it could also add to the anxiety if the app can’t find them…
Limit outside time
Another popular option is to limit the amount of time your cat has outside, this usually means when it starts to get dark – you don’t let them out. Eventually, this can become a habit and you’ll find that they come back automatically at this time daily.
However, this doesn’t mean they won’t still get lost during the day!
Conclusion – can Devon Rex cats go outside?
I think it’s clear that the Rex is a breed of cat that can have a lot of energy that it needs to use – therefore, they don’t make the best indoor cat. However, that does not mean you can’t keep one indoors.
There are inherent risks with letting any breed of cat outside and you have to weigh up your needs (such as wanting to know where your cat is at all times) against their needs (cats naturally want to be outside and play).
There’s no easy answer and it has so many variables – particularly depending on where you live. Whatever path you choose though, my only advice is to base your decision on the happiness of your Devon Rex, not on the happiness of yourself!