Love Your Cat? Keep Him Indoors!

September 19, 2013

Your cat is not happier outdoors. It is a myth! For cats, the great outdoors is anything but great, rather downright dangerous.

What does your indoor cat miss? ...getting hit by a car, feline leukemia, attacks by dogs, poisoned food, pesticides, cat fights, fleas, ticks, worms, abscesses, getting lost, getting stolen, steel-jaw traps, human cruelty, gunshot wounds, puncture wounds, wild animal attacks, cold, and rainy weather.

Now you might feel that this is overly dramatic and alarmist, but I speak from two very upsetting personal experiences.

Quite a few years ago, I had an incredibly loving butterscotch tabby. She was an indoor cat and honestly one of the loveliest felines I have ever owned. One weekend we took an overnight shopping trip, leaving the care of the cat to the 15 year old who lived next door. Somewhere in the translation of the care of Clementine, he failed to realize that she was an indoor cat and promptly let her out. When we got home, and realized his error we started searching for her. She was not outdoor or road smart at all and I was very apprehensive. Well, the rest is history... I was up near the road calling her name, and she scooted out of the apple orchard across the street right in front of a speeding car that I had not seen coming. I still have trouble recounting this experience.

More recently, when I added my two newest rescue cats, Hugo and Kenny, to our family I decided, as I always do, that they would be indoor cats. Now I will be perfectly honest-there is a cost to making this decision. It can be summed up in one word 'litter". No matter how you spin it, there is nothing nice about kitty litter.

But they were a delightful pair, affectionate, flea-free and well worth the onerous task of cleaning the litter. By the time we adopted these 'boys' we were living in a new home on a conservation area, with a forest, replete with wildlife, right beyond our home. One sunny September day, a visitor came in the front door of our home, and did not shut the door properly. Unknown to us, it swung open and Hugo, always the risk-taker, slipped out. We never saw him again. In the ensuing months 12 cats disappeared from our neighbourhood, and we came to the terrible realization that the local coyote pack was not going hungry.

The average life expectancy of my indoor cats is 16 years old. This is a great run. They are clean, disease-free and safe. They add so much to our family, as all loved pets do.

Losing them is tough enough, don't hasten this day by exposing them to the perils of outdoor living.