1. Indoor Cats Generally Live Longer
In general, a cat who spends his entire life indoors will live many years longer than a cat restricted exclusively to the outdoors. If you cat has indoor/outdoor access, chances are that he will live longer than the exclusively outdoor feline but he still faces increased risks to his health and safety that can impact lifespan.
2. Indoor Cats Will Not Get Struck by Vehicles
The outdoor cat is always at risk of being struck by a vehicle. Even the most supposedly “street savvy” feline can become distracted while in pursuit of prey or while being chased by another cat or a dog. Cats get hit by cars at an alarmingly high rate and a little eight-pound cat is no match against a car or truck. Even if the cat survives, the injuries are usually extremely severe.
3. Reduced Risk of Poisoning
Outdoors cats are at risk of exposure to ethylene glycol (antifreeze) poisoning, lawn pesticides, poisoning from spoiled food in trash cans, mole and rodent poisons and intentional poisoning from people.
Even though there’s a risk of poisoning in an indoor environment as well, you are better able to remove toxic plants, toxic chemicals and other dangers in order to keep them out of your cat’s reach.
4. Prevent Injury from Animal Fights
It’s not unusual for an outdoor cat to become injured or develop a painful and serious abscess from fighting with another cat, dog or other outdoor animal. Even if you have your cat neutered or spayed, there are many intact cats roaming outside who are extremely territorial and will fight to the death if needed.
5. Decreased Risk of Disease
If your cat isn’t exposed to other outdoor cats, he has a greatly reduced risk of contracting a contagious disease.
6. Decreased Risk of parasites
The chances of your cat becoming infested with fleas, ticks or internal worms will be greatly reduced if he remains in an indoor environment because he won’t be coming in contact with infected feces, prey, grass or soil.
7. No Danger from Predators
Cats are potential prey to some dogs and if you live in certain areas of the country they are also at risk of being attacked by coyotes or even owls.
8. Food Control
With an indoor cat you can control what he eats and how much he consumes each day. If your cat goes outdoors you have no idea whether he is munching on some cheap food left out on a neighbor’s back porch for the local stray cats. By eating from that same food bowl he will also be at risk of contracting disease.
9. No Risk of Cruelty
Outdoors, your cat may easily become the victim of a cat-hating neighbor, mean children who think it’s fun to abuse a helpless animal or people who use cats for unspeakable things.
10. You’ll Know Where Your Cat is
If your cat is indoors, there is a greatly reduced risk of him getting lost or stolen.
11. Better Health Monitoring
With an indoor cat you can easily monitor what is or isn’t happening in the litter box. That early detection of any change in your cat’s litter box habits could mean less pain and suffering. You will also be able to better monitor changes in food or water intake, activity level, etc.
12. You’ll be a Better Neighbor
Not everyone wants a cat peeing in their garden, stalking the backyard bird feeder or lounging on the car in their driveway. In most cases, your neighbors will be happier knowing your cat is quietly watching the outdoor activity from inside the house.
Need More Information?
For more specific information on how to create a fun and safe environment for your cat, refer to any of Pam’s books.
Pam Johnson-Bennett is the star of Psycho Kitty airing on Discovery UK. She is author of seven best-selling books on cat behavior including Think Like a Cat: how to raise a well-adjusted cat – not a sour puss. Think Like a Cat has become known as the cat bible. Pam is considered a pioneer in the field of cat behavior consulting. In addition to her television series and public speaking engagements, Pam owns Cat Behavior Associates, a private veterinarian-referred behavior company in Nashville, TN. Cat Behavior Associates offers private cat behavior appointments on a limited basis. Pam Johnson-Bennett is a Certified Cat Behavior Consultant.