Cats may love to go outside, but for their own good, they need to stay indoors!
Cats may love to go outside, but for their own good, they need to stay indoors! Although cats are smart, alert, and independent, they are no match for the many perils that await them outside. That is why the average indoor-only cat lives up to three times longer than the cat who goes outside. Consider these outside threats.
- Disease. Feline leukemia and feline immuno-deficiency virus are only two of the diseases that are passed from cat to cat and, once contracted, result in the eventual death of the pet. And outside cats are even more likely than dogs
- Parasites. Outdoor cats suffer from fleas, ticks, ear mites, and worms that indoor cats are not generally exposed to. If your cat goes in and out of the house, he can bring fleas into your home. If this happens, you need to treat the house and yard at the same time you treat your pet. Products can be purchased from your pet's veterinarian for these purposes. Cats can also pick up various other parasites through contact with infected animals or their feces.
- Poisoning. Poisons can be found in lawn chemicals, bait left out to kill rodents, auto antifreeze, and other sources.
- Other animals. Fights with other cats, dogs and wildlife often leave cats maimed, injured or dead. And it is not just the tom cats. Female cats get into fights, too, because cats are by nature territorial. Also, if your cat has been declawed, he cannot protect himself properly nor can he run up a tree to hide if he feels threatened.
- Cruel people. Cats are often the victims of burning, tarring and feathering, hanging and other tortures. Animal dealers may collect outside cats for sale to research facilities. Dog fighters often catch outside cats to use in training their fighting dogs. Outside pets are at the mercy of the people they encounter.
- Traps. It is estimated that over 100,000 cats are caught in traps each year. Those who are not killed may suffer for days before being released and often lose limbs from the injuries.
- Traffic. Most outdoor cats die prematurely from auto accidents. It is a myth that cats are "streetwise" about cars. No matter how alert, a cat is no match for a fast-moving vehicle.
- Pet overpopulation. Unaltered cats allowed to roam and mate at will account for millions of the kittens and cats who must be euthanized each year because there are not enough homes for them. Allowing unaltered animals outside is irresponsible and at the root of the terrible pet overpopulation problem.
Cats can be completely happy inside if you provide them with quality food, good care, toys, a place to scratch, and most importantly, lots of love and attention. New kittens should not be introduced to the outside. Older cats who are used to the "great outdoors" can make the transition to being indoor cats with time and attention.
For more information on the risks to outdoor cats or help in converting your feline to life inside, contact one of the Michigan Humane Society shelters or clinics. to come into contact with rabid wild animals.