One decision new cat owners will have to grapple with is whether they should let their cat outside or not. Cats do like stretching their legs, but going outside can be dangerous for their health in a number of ways. Of course, situations will vary from location to location, but owners should remember that keeping their cat indoors will remove them from several threats, such as the following.
Getting Hit by Cars
Cats are notoriously foolish when it comes to the rules of the road. Many will learn to run away from cars, but some still arch their backs and hiss as if facing a normal predator. This can lead to an accident from which your cat is unlikely to recover.
However, not all car-related accidents will happen this way. Cats like to crawl beneath cars, as it gives them a sense of safety, and will often lie down in the wheel arch during colder months. This puts them at risk when the car is started; few people will think to check for cats beneath the car before they begin driving.
Cats seem to think that they are world-class escape artists with an infallible sense of direction. Unfortunately, they might be thinking a little too highly of themselves.
Cats can easily become lost when they venture a little too far from home and are also likely to become stuck when they jump in somewhere that they cannot get out of. Your cat might not be found for several days, putting them at risk of starvation and dehydration.
Getting Attacked by Dogs, Cats, and Other Predators
Cats are natural fighters. They might be able to run away from most predators, but they'll often stand their ground instead. This commonly occurs when they meet another cat, but dogs and other predators also pose a significant threat.
Cats aren't well equipped to hurt each other – most 'fights' end with one accepting the dominance of the other rather than with a severely injured cat. However, it's never pleasant to see your kitty come home with cuts and bites, especially when they might lead to the contraction of feline diseases such as:
- Feline Leukemia (FELV)
- Feline AIDS (FIV)
- FIP (feline infectious peritonitis)
Your cat might not pick up a feline disease, but they are likely to attract parasites since they prefer moving through wooded areas and undergrowth. These parasites may include:
- Ear mites
- Intestinal worms
These can cause a variety of symptoms, from simple scratching to vomiting and diarrhoea, and will often require the attention of a vet. Of course, such creepy crawlies – particularly fleas – can be very difficult to remove from your home once a cat brings them in.
Cats enjoy going outside, but they can still lead happy lives inside if they receive plenty of stimulation. With these risks waiting in the outside world, it might be a good idea to keep yours an inside cat. For more information, you can talk to the vet at a clinic like Baw Baw Paws Vet Clinic. They may have advice on whether or not you should let your cat outside and how you can protect them from these dangers if you do.