Below are 10 reasons to keep cats indoors.
1. Indoor cats typically live many years longer than cats who are allowed outside. According to national research, indoor cats live an average of 16 years or more, while cats allowed outside live only about five years.
2. Cats who are allowed outside can be stolen, abused, killed, run over by cars, get lost or injured or killed by other creatures.
3. Cats who are allowed outdoors can get themselves trapped in things like other people’s garages or sheds, and if they are not found, they will slowly die of starvation.
4. Cats are very curious, hence the saying, “curiosity killed the cat.” Cats can lick antifreeze, or other poisons, crawl up into warm car engines where they can become hurt or taken for a harried and unexpected journey under the hood of a moving car. They can come back home from their day out sicker than a dog (no pun intended) and you won’t know what they ingested and that will make it more difficult for your veterinarian to try and save your feline friend.
5. If a cat is let outdoors, you won’t know if his/her bowel movements are regular, if she or he has diarrhea, constipation, or even going at all. A responsible pet owner will be aware of their cat’s health by monitoring their elimination habits and that is more challenging to do with an indoor/outdoor cat. Outdoor cats can have urinary tract infections and their owners may not be aware of it until a more serious issue arises.
6. Outdoor cats can bring home all sorts of things like dead mice and birds, and harass the lovely birds in the yard and at the bird feeders.
7. Cats can bring in fleas and ticks, cuddle up on beds with the owners, and the next thing you know “oh, oh!” there is a new problem in your house!
8. If a cat comes home with injuries after fighting with who knows what type of creature, he or she will have to be rushed to the veterinary clinic, incurring medical fees and time spent nursing the cat back to health.
9. Cats who are let outdoors without identification may become lost and will not be able to be returned to the owner simply because there is no way to find them. They may be returned to a shelter and might have to stay days before they can be located, causing further stress and anxiety. The person who found the cat may also opt to keep him/her and the owner may never see their cat again.
10. Cats who are allowed outside may not come home at night and leave an owner worried. This will impact the owner’s life the next day because they’ve been up most of the night worrying if their cat is okay.
Some people have the misconception that cats cannot be happy indoors because it is not their “true nature” to be inside all the time. If owners train their cat to be an indoor cat and provide him/her with lots of attention, love, great nutrition, an assortment of toys, scratching posts, a tower or two, a clean litter box, and some sunny spots, he or she will thrive and probably live to a ripe old age. Owners will also know where their cat is at all times, will not be wary of cuddling their cat for fear of fleas or ticks or by aggravating your allergies with the pollen the outdoor cat brought home, and they will be more able to monitor the cat’s health.
More Insights into Cats
To help you understand indoor cats better, here are some surprising feline truths from, Fit Cat: Tips & Tricks to Give Your Pet a Longer, Healthier, Happier Life by Arden Moore:
Cats are furry Rip Van Winkles. Indoor cats sleep nearly two-thirds of every day — up to about 18 hours a day. Only opossums and bats snooze more — about 20 hours a day.
Cats are speedy and springy. A house cat can reach speeds up to 30 miles per hour and jump up to seven times his height from a sitting position. The fastest domesticated cat breed on record is the Egyptian Mau, clocked at 36 mph.
Cats outtalk dogs 10 to 1. Cats can make more than 100 distinctive vocalizations as compared to about 20 sounds for dogs. But these feline sounds are mostly directed at people because they rarely meow at other cats.
Cats can give off a ghoulish glow in dim light. Causing this glow is a group of light-sensitive cells located behind the retinas known as the tapetum lucidum. This is a Latin term meaning bright carpet. These cells allow cats to take in extra light in dimly lit situations. These special cells enable cats to quickly adapt to low-light conditions in the house.
Cats put the C in color. Cats come in more than 75 different colors and patterns beyond white, black and brown. Some sport shades of red, orange, silver, lilac and other hues.
A cat’s tongue contains rows of barbs called filiform papillae. Barbs are the reason behind the sandpaper-like texture of your cat’s tongue. These barbs are positioned toward the throat and are designed to help a cat hold his prey, such as a mouse — or a paper wad — in her mouth.
Some cats actually like to get wet. Turkish Vans hail from Lake Van and earned the nickname, “swimming cats.” Bengals also are drawn to water and have surprised some of their owners by joining them in the shower.
By Sarah Zumhofe