An outdoor cat has a life expectancy of 2-5 years, a statistic that pales in comparison to the fact that indoor felines can live up to two decades. There are numerous explanations behind this disparity. Perhaps the most obvious one is that owners of indoor felines can more easily identify health problems before they become too severe. That’s why the simplest way to protect your cat is to limit (or eliminate) time spent outdoors.
Out and About
If you’re debating about whether to give in to begging for a solo jaunt through the neighbourhood, consider your decision carefully. It’s common for cat owners to think their pets would be happier roaming around outside, but it’s unlikely that they would be healthier.
A Fighting Chance
Outdoors, your cat is at risk for fighting with other pets or wild animals. This makes him or her susceptible to numerous diseases, most notably feline leukemia, feline immunodeficiency virus, feline distemper, and rabies. While you can protect your cat with vaccinations, simply restricting outdoor access is the safest bet.
Parasites Make Terrible House Guests
Intestinal and external parasites can run rampant in and on an outdoor cat. While our record low temperatures probably kill most parasites outside, many find refuge inside your home for the winter.
Fleas, tapeworms, and roundworms are also big threats to an outdoor cat. Heartworm is another significant risk. Although an indoor cat can still get bitten by an infected mosquito, it’s more plausible to transmit this deadly disease outdoors.
An outdoor cat is far more likely to ingest antifreeze than an indoor one; however, both lifestyles are at risk for hunting and eating a rodent that has been poisoned. Even well-fed indoor pets who reside in pristine homes can find a mouse or two, making rodenticide toxicity a potential threat.
Other Dangers for an Outdoor Cat
If we have yet to convince you of the safety of keeping your pet indoors, consider the fact that car accidents are a leading cause of death among feral and domestic cats. Similarly, an outdoor cat may find his or her way onto the engine block of a recently parked car, risking serious injury or even death.
Lastly, outdoor cats are significantly more likely to be the target of intolerant people bent on animal cruelty.
Indoor living can be fun for your frisky feline. Boost activity levels with regular playtime or train your cat to walk with a harness and leash. There are also many great products, such as the Kitty Walk, Cat Fence In, or Purrfect Fence that offer your cat the best of both worlds.