Skip to main content

Research explores the optimal living environment for domestic cats

Posted 8 March

“The benefits and risk factors for both indoor and outdoor environments have been well-documented, but a direct comparison between the health status of indoor and outdoor cats in the UK has not been carried out.  

Young woman with long dark hair smiles at the camera while holding a large, fluffy ginger cat

Olivia Leen

Does your cat wander outdoors for hours on end? Or maybe it rarely leaves the confines of your home? The indoor vs. outdoor debate is a topic that often divides opinion.  

But which is best for your feline friend? That’s the question being researched by Harper Adams University student Olivia Leen as part of her final year of a BSc (Hons) Bioveterinary Science degree. 

Olivia, 21, is undertaking a research project entitled "Indoor vs. Outdoor: Determining the Optimal Living Environment for Cat Health and Comparing the Opinions of Veterinarians and Owners on the Impact of Indoor and Outdoor Housing”. 

The 21-year-old said: “I will be comparing information gathered on the health of indoor and outdoor cats to determine the best environment for cat health and determining if the opinions of owners and vets on the impact of living environment correlate with the findings. 

“The benefits and risk factors for both indoor and outdoor environments have been well-documented, but a direct comparison between the health status of indoor and outdoor cats in the UK has not been carried out.  

“The number of cats being kept indoors is increasing within the UK, but it is unknown whether this will be beneficial or detrimental to the health and welfare of UK domestic cats.” 

Olivia has been surveying cat owners and vets around the UK to collect information and gather opinions on the impact of outdoor and indoor living amongst cats. Once all the information is collated, she will analyse the results and release her conclusions later this summer. 

The final year student, from Huddersfield in West Yorkshire, studied Animal Management at Kirklees College before beginning her degree at Harper. 

 “I have always had a strong desire to not only work with animals but to have a greater impact on improving their health and welfare,” she added. 

“I love learning about all different species of animals, from companion to livestock, which is why I chose Harper Adams as the on-site farm and established background in agriculture has enabled me to expand upon my knowledge of large animals.  

“Studying Bioveterinary Science allows me to learn about companion and farm animals at the same time, as well as providing me with the opportunity to learn about small business management in my second year.  

“The wide range of topics covered within the course has given me a well-rounded understanding of the many aspects involved in veterinary science and animal care, which has opened up a wide variety of opportunities to work with animals and develop my future career.” 

Cookies on the Harper Adams University website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on the website. However, you can change your cookie settings at any time.