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Cat owners are generally divided on the decision of keeping their pets at home or outside. A large number of people believe that a cat should be let outdoors, as it is their natural habitat. But there is increasing evidence to suggest that maybe keeping cats indoors is what is best for everyone.
Average life expectancy
Statistics have shown that an outdoor cat survives for an average of five years. Indoor cats, on the other hand, seem to last through their entire life span. On an average, indoor cats live for about 12 years, but there have been instances where indoor cats survive for as long as twenty years, with the right amount of care. Most people who believe that keeping cats outdoors is the better idea are of the opinion that cats become lazy and lose their predatory instincts.
Outdoor cats live a tough life
The primary reason for such a large gap in the statistic is that cats are exposed to too many hazards when they are allowed to roam outside freely. There may be predatory animals like racoons, coyotes or even unfriendly dogs which can attack your cat. An outdoor cat can also come in contact with toxic substances like spoiled foods, garden products, pesticides, anti-freeze, and so on; or they may even contract life-threatening diseases such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus and Feline Leukemia.
If you live in a busy street, then road traffic can pose a serious threat to your cat as accidents can cause serious injuries or even death. Certain areas experience rapidly changing temperatures, which can prove to be a serious problem to an outdoor cat. Your cat can suffer from frostbite, dehydration, skin problems, burning paw pads and other issues due to changes in the weather.
Make the indoors fun
Keeping cats outdoors is quickly becoming an outdated practice, as the dangers far outweigh the benefits. Moreover, it is possible to offer adequate outdoor experiences to a cat in a controlled environment. You can have simple toys that appeal to your cat, or provide play furniture that enables your cat to climb to high places.
Tall furniture, window perches and shelving allow your cat to relax in a place far away from any disturbances. You may hide treats for your cat around your house so that she can use her senses to find it. Having another pet in the house, like another cat or even a friendly dog, can provide companionship and interactive play that will keep the cat fit.
Once you have provided enough of structure for your cat indoors, you can ensure their outdoor protection by visiting the vet regularly and microchipping the cat. If you absolutely have to let your cat outside, make sure that you can supervise it and reduce the exposure to hazards if need be.