The indoor versus outdoor cat argument is probably as old as when humans invited the first cat to live in the Bronze-Age huts and share a bit of milk for mousing. Until fairly recently, cats have been more of an outdoor critter – or at least an indoor/outdoor pet – rather than an indoor-only animal and with good reason. Until the invention of kitty litter in 1947 by Edward Lowe, cats and cat owners had few options when it came for somewhere for them to relieve themselves, so the natural tendency was to allow cats to run loose (since it’s hard to fence in a cat). But nowadays we do have access to kitty litter and most people live in urban, or at least, suburban, environments. And even where I live, out in the wilds of Montana, there are plenty of reasons for keeping kitty indoors. Let’s look at them.
- Reduce the feral cat overpopulation. Feral cats are a big problem in the United States. Cats, when they breed, naturally have kittens because breeding stimulates ovulation. While a good portion of those kittens die (some 75%), enough make it to the point where a single cat can produce 98 offspring within seven years if you count the number of kittens the single cat and her offspring can produce. Considering there is estimated some 70 million feral cats out there and – you get the point. Spaying and neutering removes the potential breeding, but if your cat gets lost or wanders off, that’s one more cat out on the streets.
- Prevent your kitty from bringing home zoonotic diseases and parasites. Cats don’t just hang around and do nothing. They get into things, which could bring diseases and parasites back to you. Cats get into fights with wildlife and other cats, which makes them susceptible for getting diseases such as rabies, which, of course, is lethal to both you and your cat. Cats are the number one domestic carrier for rabies. And even if you get your cat vaccinated, vaccines do fail and owners do forget to have their pets vaccinated. Your cat can also bring home other diseases such as bubonic plague (from fleas), ringworm, various roundworms, toxoplasmosis, and ticks that carry Lyme disease.
- Prevent your kitty from getting sick. There are plenty of cat diseases out there besides rabies. Some, like Feline Leukemia cause more deaths in cats than any other disease. Some diseases such as Feline immunodeficiency virus infection (FIV) and Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP) have no vaccination and no known cure. Your cat is at risk if you let him wander.
It is important to keep your hand in the best of health and they are more prone to diseases at a faster pace so most people should strictly keep an eye on them and you can learn more about it through my site online that is titled ‘wildlife’.
But, there’s more to sickness than just disease. A cat that is looking for something to drink in the wintertime may stumble on a puddle of water with antifreeze in it. A few licks could kill your cat in a painful and agonizing death. Likewise, if your cat catches a mouse or rat that has eaten poison, your cat could die eating that mouse or rat. Cats will often scavenge in garbage as well, which could make your cat very sick or even kill him.
- Increase Your Kitty’s Lifespan. Cats who live outside have greatly reduced lifespans. Indoor cats can live an average of 12 to 18 years with forays more than 20 years. By comparison, the outdoor cat is lucky to see eight years of age, with the norm being around four to six years old. Outdoor cats usually die violently – usually due to being hit by cars, attacked by dogs or wild animals, or harmed by evil people who hate cats.
Years ago when I was a child, a remember seeing my best friend’s cat being run over by the school bus. It was very traumatic to see that happen and my friend was beside herself. The reality is all of this could’ve been avoided if the cat had been an indoor-only cat.
- Reduce the destruction of native species. Cats hunt and kill small animals, including birds. According to the American Bird Conservancy, scientists estimate that cats kill birds in the hundreds of millions and more than a billion small mammals, many of which may be endangered. Domestic cats can carry diseases to native cats such as the bobcat, lynx, mountain lion and Florida panther. What’s more, predation by cats can compete against native predators and reduce those predators’ numbers.
The benefits to keeping your cat inside far outweigh the negatives. So, the next time you’re tempted to let the cat out, think again. You’ll be keeping your cat, yourself and your environment healthy by keeping your kitty inside and at home.