Why keep cats indoors?
Indoor cats lead safer lives than those who have access outdoors, for a number of reasons. Safety and the desire to protect our beloved feline is one of the biggest factors behind keeping cats indoors. It doesn’t take a genius to work out why:
1- Road traffic accidents. It is a sad fact that 1 in 4 cats will die on the road, the greatest risk being in the first year of life when cats learn road awareness, sometimes the hard way.
2- Predators. Young, small and frail cats can succumb to predators, but attacks on adult cats are less common in the UK than commonly believed.
3- Trauma and injury. Although indoors cats can still hurt themselves, cats may be more adventurous outside and obtain cuts, grazes, sprains and fractures. Fighting with other cats is a very common cause of disease in cats, as bites often become infected and form an abscess requiring veterinary treatment. Bites from cats that are infected with FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus) are of particular concern.
4- Poisoning. Malicious poisoning is thankfully far less common than perceived, but accidental exposure to poisons such as toxic plants, anti-freeze, paint, weedkillers and insecticides can occur. Cats are typically more discerning eaters than dogs, so deliberate ingestion of such toxins is uncommon. In the UK, one of the most common causes of poisoning is accidental application of permethrin, found in some over-the-counter flea treatments, 10% of cases are fatal.
5- Disease. By going outdoors, cats will almost inevitably meet other cats which may carry disease even if they look essentially healthy and even if they are vaccinated. Keeping vaccinations up to date in cats that go outdoors is vital. Vaccinations may still be necessary in indoor cats based on a risk analysis.
6- Parasites. Fleas, worms, harvest mites, ticks.
7- Getting stolen or lost. Even the most canny cat can get lost or accidentally shut away in a shed or car. Always have your cat microchipped even if you plan to keep him/her indoors. Without one, the chances of your cat being returned to you are much less.
8- Moving away. Some cats simply find living elsewhere suits their needs better than the home you provide them with, and may move home completely. Others visit neighbours for extra meals, which can contribute to the all-too-common problem of obesity in cats.