The Case Against Outdoor Cats
Cats who only live indoors lead longer, healthier and safer lives than indoor-outdoor cats. On average, cats that live outdoors live an average of 6-8 years, while indoor only cats live about 20. Cats that live indoors have less incidences of fleas and parasites, and tend to have lower vet bills due to their better health. You will also experience a closer bond with your inside cat and find that he or she makes a better companion.
Leading an indoor-only lifestyle has been endorsed by Cat Fancy magazine and by a majority of veterinary and humane associations. There is a long list of hazards that await cats who are allowed to roam outdoors, including:
- Your cat could be hit by a car, the number one killer of cats. About 1.5 million cats are killed every year by cars. Even cats living on a quiet, secluded street or cul-de-sac are suspectible to being hit by a car, as cats are not able to understand how dangerous automobiles are to them.
- Cats living in colder climates have been killed by crawling into the engine of parked cars; when the car is turned on, the cat has no chance against the movement of the belt and blades.
- Your cat can be attacked and badly injured or easily killed by a dog, coyote, owl, rattlesnake, or other animal predators.
- Your cat could be attacked by another cat. Bites and scratches from other cats can lead to painful and costly abscesses, as well as lead to transmission of infectious diseases.
- Your cat can be exposed to diseases such as Feline Leukemia, Feline Infectious Peritonitis, Feline AIDS virus, Feline Infectious Anemia, mange, rabies, and upper respiratory infections. These diseases can be caught from exposure to other cats, animals your cat has attacked (i.e. mice, rats, birds) or from your surroundings (grass, trees, other plants, etc.) Vaccinations against these diseases are not 100% reliable.
- Your cat can be exposed to parasites such as fleas, ticks, ear mites, heartworm, ringworm, and tapeworms. Some of these parasites are transmittable to humans, such as ringworm, which is particularly dangerous for children.
- Your cat could become lost and unable to find his or her way back home.
- Your cat can be stolen, either by an envious person who would like to own your cat, or even worse, to be sold for medical research
- Your cat can be accidentally poisoned from chemicals left outside by their owners, such as snail bait, fertilizer, rat poison and anti-freeze.
- Your cat could be the victim of less than scrupulous neighbors. Many people consider outdoor cats a nuisance and they may try to act out their anger upon your cat. Moreover, neighborhood children or teenagers or other sick adults may intentionally poison or torture your cat.
- Your cat could become ill and because you are not able to review his or her litterbox habits, early detection of the disease is impossible. Feline urinary syndrome is one such disorder that needs quick and early treatment and if your cat eliminates outside, you will be unable to detect it.
Cats who live indoors can live happy lives; it is a common misconception that cats need to live outdoors to be free and independent. By giving your cat lots of play time with you and toys, you can provide him or her with his daily needed exercise. Keep in mind that most cats normally spend sixteen to twenty hours a day sleeping, so the belief that they need room to roam and run around in outdoors is misguided. A cat that is provided with room in the house or apartment to roam around, to hide, and a window perch to relax and view the world from will be a happy, well-adjusted cat.
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