Outdoor vs. Indoor Cats?
So many times we see cats out wandering, particularly in urban
areas. It is difficult to tell if the cat is homeless, or actually belongs to someone. Many of these cats appear
to be neglected in other ways: no collars/tags, unspaid/unneutered, have they been to the the vet?
While cats may enjoy the great outdoors, it really isn't
great for them. Outdoor cats face a multitude of risks, and suffer from a very short life expectancy. Among the
dangers: They are exposed to contagious diseases, most of which are fatal. Traffic takes a huge toll on free-roaming
cats, and while many people believe their pets are street-wise, no cat looks both ways when being chased by another animal.
Further dangers include poisons, leghold traps, pet theft, injuries from fighting other animals, capture by animal control
- where an owner may not know/call in time to save their cat from euthanasia, and inhumane treatment by cruel people.
Outdoor cats can cause problems, too. They dig and defecate
in neighbors' yards, beg for food, water and attention and may fight and make noise. Unspaid and unneutered cats can create
litter after litter of additional homeless pets, which are already in very high supply all over the U.S.
What does your indoor cat miss?
Problems and an untimely death, mostly. Things like:
getting hit by a car, feline leukemia, attacks by dogs, poisoned food, pesticides, cat fights, fleas, ticks, worms, abscesses,
injuries, getting lost, getting stolen, human cruelty, wild animal attacks, cold, rainy weather, hunger, thirst.
Benefits of life indoors
The average life span of an outdoor cat is 2 to 3 years, whereas an
indoor-only cat can live 15 to 20 years. Indoor cats are usually healthier, too, which saves on veterinary bills for treatment
of contagious diseases, parasites, and abscesses from fights with other animals. While it is true that cats enjoy sunshine,
fresh air, and exercise, they do not need to roam loose outside to have these things. Some creative
planning on the part of their human friends can help indoor cats live happy & amused. A nice perch in the sunny
window with some fresh air + cat grass, a kitty condo or tree and some toys will make most cats more than happy to stay home.
Other options include taking your cat for walks on leash (be sure to attach the leash to a harness, not a collar & note
that this may take some getting used to), or creating a safe enclosed play area for your cat outdoors (please monitor your
Additional Notes for Spring and Your Cat
Never leave a declawed cat outdoors alone, even on a leash or in an enclosed play area. Claw
removal makes your cat less agile, and leave your cat with insufficient means to defend himself.
Be careful of over the counter flea and tick medications! Many of the store brand flea and
tick preventatives are toxic to cats. Please read the labels carefully!
Please, please, please never dump a cat, indoor or otherwise, on a farm. The farmers
don't want your cat, and this is not your cat's "dream home". Take your cat to a no-kill shelter for re-homing.