Though it may be tempting to let our feline friends roam in the outside world, the risks far outweigh the benefits. While outdoor cats sometimes enjoy more exercise and mental stimulation than our indoor cats, the dangers that come with the territory include disease, injury, and getting lost. Still need convincing? Here’s just a few of the specific risks your outdoor cat may experience.
- Contagious diseases like feline leukemia and FIV (the feline version of AIDS) are highly contagious between cats and can be fatal. Feline distemper and upper respiratory infections also spread quickly between outdoor cats. Not only do these diseases cause expensive vet bills, but can end the life of your cat. Vaccinations can protect your cat from these diseases, but the risk of contracting them does decrease if your cat stays indoors.
- Parasites including fleas, ticks, and intestinal parasites can wreak havoc on your pet’s health. Not only do they drain various nutrients from your cat, they can also transmit other diseases in the process. Indoor cats are less likely to be exposed to these parasites than if they are allowed to roam the outdoors.
- Cats do not have an innate ability to avoid traffic and many are hit by cars or other vehicles every year. Other man-made dangers include abuse from other humans as some people think it is “fun” to torture or shoot outdoor cats.
- Your outdoor cat may not come home and wind up lost. While your kitty may show up at your local shelter and return home, this is unlikely as only 2% of cat owners find their lost cats at a shelter.
- Cats may be exposed to toxins or poisons outside. Common flowers like lilies or azaleas are deadly to cats and are often planted in gardens. Also, antifreeze is commonly eaten by cats since it has a pleasant taste but can be fatal and may be left out by a neighbor.
- Wild animals or even other domesticated dogs or cats may attack your feline companion. Even if the wounds are not fatal, they will still need treatment from your veterinarian to prevent further damage and infection.
While keeping your cat indoors may seem like being a controlling parent, it will keep them much safer in the long run. Do you keep your cat indoors? Let us know in the comments below!