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6 Reasons to Keep Cats Inside

6 Reasons to Keep Cats Inside
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I love cats. I have two of my own (one of whom is sleeping next to me while I write), and I’ve had cats throughout my life — and probably always will have at least one feline companion. It’s a serious responsibility to be in charge of the welfare of another living thing, though, which is why I do my utmost to make sure my cats are healthy and happy. One way I do that? I keep them indoors.

There’s a lot of controversy over the great indoor versus outdoor debate, but to me, there’s no question: cats are happier and healthier indoors, and so is the community. Indoor living doesn’t have to be dull, either.

If you’re not quite convinced, here are six great reasons to keep your kitties indoors:

1. Risk of injury or disease

Outdoor cats can in danger of serious injuries from cars, other animals (about which more in a moment), things they encounter in the landscape (barbed wire fences, for example, along with poison and traps), and malicious individuals (we’ll also talk about those in a moment). Furthermore, cats roaming outdoors can pick up bacteria and viruses, and you can’t vaccinate for everything. Think it doesn’t make a big difference? Outdoor cats usually live for two to three years.

Indoor cats? 15-20. (My late great beloved Mr. Bell passed away at 18 — and probably would have lived longer if he hadn’t been allowed out as a younger cat, resulting in excessive sun exposure that caused the cancer which ultimately killed him.)

2. Fights

Cats are territorial, but they can’t take on everything. They can get into scraps with dogs, other cats, raccoons, mountain lions and more. Your cat may not always come out on top — worst case scenario is that your cat disappears and you never find out what happened, but you might also find a body in the morning, or have a cat limp home with severe injuries that ultimately prove fatal or require expensive veterinary care.

2. Songbird conservation

While cats aren’t quite the vicious predators they’ve been made out to be, they also aren’t great for the local bird population. If you live along a migratory bird path or close to a nature area, your cat will be on the hunt, to the detriment of your feathered friends. Birds are an important part of the ecology, and it’s important to do our part to preserve them.

3. Neighbor relations

Not everyone loves cats (I know, I don’t know what’s wrong with them either), and some neighbors get upset by cats in their gardens or around their houses, especially if they love songbirds and identify the cats as a threat. Gardeners in particular tend to get irked with feline visitors, since cats love to use freshly-tilled beds of clean soil as a litterbox. On a low level, this could result in some neighborly tensions, but it might escalate into all-out war.

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Lead photo credit: zaimoku_woodpile, Post photo credits: Thinkstock

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1:23AM PST on Dec 11, 2013

Thank you :)

5:56PM PST on Dec 10, 2013

Yes, I agree that the "ideal" is to keep a cat indoors ..... easy if you've had the cat from a kitten and it is content to do what it thinks is normal. But if, like me, you have rescued cats who have previously been "outdoor" cats (or ferals) it is not that simple !! Luckily I live in the country - so traffic is not much of a problem - but I still keep my 2 in as much as possible. The solution I have found is to feed them their main meal in the evening ....... that way I can let them out around lunch time the following day, safe in the knowledge their "tummies" will tell them when it's time to come home (usually less than an hour later - even less if the weather is not very nice). They'll get a small "snack" as soon as they come in and are then quite happy to "stay put" until their normal mealtime ...... after which it's a quick wash, a bit of playtime and a long sleep usually !!

5:43PM PST on Dec 10, 2013

Jessica L ........ 7:24AM PDT on Oct 21, 2013 ..............

"Please do not release unwanted pets into the neighborhood or forest preserve just take them to a shelter even if it is to be euthanized." ............

WOW ..... not that is what I call "caring" NOT !!! There are numerous other options to try BEFORE surrendering a pet to a shelter ...... trying to find it another home would be first !! Maybe your comment was just unfortunately worded ? It sound like you're SUGGESTING the easiest way out is to just give up on them and "pass the buck" !!

5:29PM PST on Dec 10, 2013

Thanks for the info.

4:21PM PST on Nov 29, 2013

Good info. Thanks.

6:49PM PST on Nov 21, 2013


4:52AM PST on Nov 21, 2013

I also believe in keeping cats inside. Thanks for your reasons.

6:26AM PST on Nov 20, 2013

I don't care what you say! My cat is an outdoor cat, never uses her litterbox, has all her claws, hangs out with the cat next door and definitely is 2 timing me. BUT she is healthy and loves me very much. I couldn't dream of keeping my cat inside. But that's just me.

4:24AM PST on Nov 20, 2013

Living in the same place near 30 years, I've experienced -
*One neighbor having to take their cat for surgery several times to the vet for surgery and infections due to their cat being attacked.
*Another neighbors cat stricken with feline leukemia - which is contagious. The cat died in the yard and it was some time before they found it. Subsequent cats fell ill. The disease can stay present for many years in the ground!
*Another was packing for vacation and loading the car when their bird managed to fly out the door and was scooped up an killed by a neighbors cat right in front of them. Nice way to begin a vacation having your bird killed.
*Fleas cause disease. We have no fleas with our cats who remain in the house.
Tip: Give indoor cats plenty to keep them busy - activity towers, other places they will be comfortable to perch, toys, scratch pads, etc. Indoor cats are much healthier (but don't over feed them)

9:06PM PST on Nov 19, 2013

Good info.

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