There has long been a debate about whether cats should be kept indoors or allowed to roam free outdoors. The general consensus of many animal advocacy and veterinary associations is that cats are better off indoors. Below are 10 of the reasons that it just may be wiser to keep your kitty indoors.
Indoor cats live longer, healthier lives.
Statistics show that indoor cats live an average of 13 – 17 years (while some live into their 20’s), while outdoor-only cats have an average life expectancy of only 5 years.
The threat of disease is less.
Many serious feline diseases are very contagious and common among strays. A cat that stays indoors is less likely to have contact with other cats who have any of the following life-threatening diseases:
- Feline Leukemia (FeLV)
- FIV – the feline version of HIV
- Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP) – a virus affecting the cat’s intestinal tract
- Feline Distemper
- Upper Respiratory Infections
Parasites really suck. Really.
Outside your kitty can pick up things like fleas, ticks, intestinal parasites, ringworm (which is actually not a worm but a fungal infection), and earmites. Then when you let your kitty back inside they bring all of their new found parasite friends into your home with them. To get rid of the pests you will end up going to the vet to get medication for your cat, the doctor for any medications needed for your family, and doing a lot of vacuuming and steam cleaning. First they suck the blood out of your cat, then they suck the blood out of your and your family, and finally they top it all off by sucking all kinds of money out of your wallet.
Other animals can be mean.
It is not uncommon for outdoor cats to sustain injuries from fights with other cats, dogs, and wildlife. If these injuries remain untreated they can become abscessed and cause serious medical problems.
Some people belong in the pound.
As much as we hate to think about it, there are some very cruel people on this planet. These people abduct friendly animals and use them as bait in fighting rings, for scientific experiments, and even just to satisfy their own ungodly desire to torture other living creatures. Indoor kitties are not an easy target for these people.
Cats never look both ways before crossing the street.
The possibility of getting hit by a car is ever-present for a cat that is outdoors. Unless there is something really strange about your house, your indoor cat will be safe from oncoming traffic.
Curiosity can kill the cat.
You can’t control the kinds of things your cat will get into outdoors. A cat can be poisoned from eating a poisonous plant, licking antifreeze off of their paws after walking through a small puddle of it, or even eating a rodent that had just taken the bait in a poisoned rodent trap. Indoors you have more control over what kinds of poisonous things are within your cat’s reach.
Sometimes these people fall into the same category with the people mentioned in reason #5. Outdoor cats will often choose places like your neighbors flower bed to use the bathroom. All of the feces and dug up plants will annoy a neighbor who is proud of their little garden. Angry neighbors sometimes choose to take matters into their own hands and harm the cat or call animal control to pick the cat up. Neighbors are rarely annoyed (or even noticed) by cats that are kept indoors.
Less than ideal weather situations.
Yes cats once ran undomesticated, wild, and free outdoors….over 2,000 years ago… in the arid lands of the Egypt and the middle east. If you are not living in the middle east, the climate you live in may pose some physical challenges to your kitty. Humans have domesticated cats for a very long time and they have come to depend on us for some of their needs. Your cat may not handle ice and snow as well as you think it should. As if the elements themselves weren’t a big enough threat, a cold cat may decide to sleep inside the nice warm engine of a car. No details are necessary to see what is wrong with that. Indoor kitties don’t have to worry about the weather.
Those pesky trees.
Cats can indeed climb trees. However, a domestic cats claws all go in the same direction which means that a cat would have to back down a tree in order to climb down. Usually when a cat climbs a tree it gets scared because it can’t climb back down head first. A scared cat may stay up in a tree for days and become dehydrated and weak – potentially even falling out of the tree in its weakened state.