Do you struggle with whether or not to let your cat outside to enjoy the great outdoors? Do you think they’d be happier if you could let them out to live on the wild side?
The average lifespan of an outdoor cat is only 2-5 years, while the average indoor cat can have 15-20 healthy years. With information from PETA, American Humane, and Drs Foster and Smith, here are some of the factors that lead to low life expectancy for outdoor cats and 5 reasons you should keep your cat inside.
#1 – Diseases and Parasites
As if the risk of coming home with fleas, ticks, or lice isn’t bad enough, cats are liable to come home from a jaunt around the neighborhood with potentially fatal diseases they’ve picked up from other cats, such as feline leukemia (FeLV), feline AIDS (FIV), feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), and feline distemper (panleukopenia). FIV is highly contagious and fatal, and there is no vaccine. The only way to to keep your cat safe from this deadly disease is to keep them inside.
#2 – Dogs, Wildlife, and Other Cats
You might think your cat would hold its own against a predator, but do you think they could protect themselves against more than one loose dog? What about a cougar, alligator, or other large wildlife? Even encounters with other cats, while usually not fatal originally, can cause deadly infections, not to mention life-changing injuries.
#3 – Cars
Unlike larger, sturdier dogs, cats hardly ever survive being hit by a car. They also don’t have any inherent instinct to stay out of the street to avoid being hit.
#4 – People
People present all sorts of hazards, from leaving poisonous items such as antifreeze lying around, to stealing pets for the purpose of selling them to dealers (who then sell the animals to laboratories), to animal cruelty caused by the neighborhood sociopath. At the very least, people are likely to pick up your cat and take them to the local shelter or keep them for themselves. Be smart and don’t let that happen to your precious kitty!
#5 – Toll on Wildlife
You might not think much about how many birds and other critters your one cat might kill by itself, but have you ever stopped to think about the toll on wildlife wrought by the roughly 60 million cats in the US that spend time outside? Some of these animals are already endangered, and predation by house cats is a preventable event forcing them toward extinction.
Now that you’ve realized it’s best to keep your cat indoors, how can you give them the best possible life?
Scratching posts, interactive toys, and hiding places and perches around your home help stimulate your cat. A screened in porch (catio) or a walk on a leash with a well-fitting harness can let your cat experience the outdoors safely. And, of course, plenty of love and affection will make your cat glad to be home with you.