Allowing a cat outdoors
There are aspects of letting a cat live outdoors that seem positive but aren’t really so. Cat owners who dislike cleaning a litter box may be thrilled that their cats do their business outdoors. They can save money on cat food since their cats will be hunting birds or rodents. Their cats will also get plenty of exercise roaming the neighborhood and satisfy their sense of curiosity exploring yards and garages, or climbing fences and trees. And if the pets have not been neutered or spayed, indoor furniture and walls won’t be affected by spraying.
These “benefits” obscure the harmful realities. A cat that goes outdoors risks being struck by a car, because no cat can outrun a motor vehicle. Even on a quiet street, a driver may not see a cat or kitten playing in his path, and cats hit by cars rarely survive. If your cat spends any time outdoors, he is vulnerable to weather extremes and injuries, as well as ticks and fleas, which he’ll bring indoors to your home and kids. He may be poisoned by rodent bait, pesticide-treated lawns or leaked antifreeze.
Cats going outdoors may fight with raccoons or other cats, and can contract diseases that include rabies, roundworms, Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV), feline distemper (FPV) or upper respiratory infections. Dogs pose a threat to cats, and foxes and coyotes are also feline predators. A cat could also get locked in a garage or other building, or abused or even killed by humans who do not like cats. An outdoor cat may sometimes be mistaken for a stray and end up in an animal shelter or taken in by someone else.
Further, if your outdoor female cat is not spayed, her behavior will be loud and annoying as she cries to attract a male and tries to get pregnant. Meanwhile, your unneutered male will continue his caterwauling and spraying of urine marks around your garden and the neighbors’. With all these dangers, it is actually kinder to have your cat live indoors full-time.