There are so many dangerous reasons your beloved cat should not be allowed outside to roam. And I know what you're thinking "They'll be bored if I don't!" I have advice on that too, don't worry! This page will cover it all, and provide resources for you to do your own research too!
Every Summer, we see more and more beloved indoor/outdoor cats that go off for their daily adventure and never return home. I'm here to break the news you might not want to hear, but definitely need to read: There are SO many reason's you should not let your cat outside to roam. More reason's than we can cover in a post on our website, but I will share some resources at the end of this post with more statistics on why you should keep your cat inside so you can find more information and do your own research.
Cats can get things like Fleas, Ticks, fugal infections like ring worm. intestinal worms, and ear mites when they go outside. I've met cats who have had flies burrow into their neck and lay eggs, and I've met cats with flies inside their ears or laying eggs on their fur. If your cat gets into a fight with another animal (somebody else's cat or dog, a feral cat or dog, a racoon, an opossum, a squirrel, a chipmunk, or even birds) your cat may not only get injured, but contract an illness like feline leukemia (FeLV), feline AIDS (FIV), FIP (feline infectious peritonitis), feline distemper (panleukopenia) upper respiratory infections (or URI's) or rabies. Some of these illnesses are treatable, but most are not and are life long illnesses.
We just talked about the danger of getting in a fight and contracting a disease from other animals, like your neighbors dog, another free roam cat, a stray or feral cat, or a wild animal like a coyote, opossum, skunk, raccoon, squirrel, chipmunk or bird. But there is a possibility that your cat doesn't walk away from the fight. While cats are great hunters, sadly, they are often the ones that are hunted. Especially if they're domesticated. A raccoon can kill a cat, a large bird can pick up a cat and carry it away, a coyote could have your cat as dinner. I have heard of this happening far to often, and even if your next door neighbors dog is so sweet to you- it might be a totally different story when they see a cat.
Cats that are outside may also come in contact with poison, either accidentally or on purpose. Sometimes cats will come across things like antifreeze from a car that they ingest because it tastes pleasant, or poison put out for rodents. The worst? Sometimes, not so great humans purposely put cat food out with poison in it because they don't like stray cats around their house. Which brings us too...
Most cat owners think "oh, other people won't bother my cat." but sadly, this is the furthest from the truth. All it takes is your cat using somebodies flower bed or garden as a litterbox, and they suddenly have a plan to remove the "stray cat" (because they don't know it has an owner) from their property by any means necessary. I've personally met cats that have been or heard stories of people
-Poisoned on purpose by neighbors
-Shot on purpose by neighbors
-Trapping the cats to dump them into a river
-Trapping the cats and dumping them at the kill shelter
-Trapping the cats and selling them for dog fighting bait
-There are other unsightly horrors that have been done to "stray" cats that I don't find appropriate to share here, but you can use your imagination, or look at the resources below.
There are also the lovely cat-people in every neighborhood who love cats and feed them to help take care of them... and then just bring every stray cat they meet inside their house. They think any cat that is free roam outside is a stray, they don't know it has an owner, so they bring it inside, name it Mr. Fluffy, and they have a new cat! While you think your cat is missing forever, and never know what happened.
Contrary to popular belief, cats do not have the innate instinct to avoid busy streets, and they frequently get hit by cars. In the cold months, cats may climb up into the wheel wells or engine of cars to get warm, just to be carried away when the owner of the car starts up and drives to who-knows-where. All of the sudden, your cat is miles and miles away, sometimes even cities, counties and states away from their home, and they have no idea how to get back to you, the car owner had no idea the cat was there, and you have no idea where your cat went.
Trees can be a source of some danger for cats who climb to a place where they are afraid or unable to climb down. In some cases, they may be up in a tree for days until they become so severely dehydrated and weak that they fall and suffer severe, serious or fatal injuries.
In the United States alone, outdoor cats kill approximately 2.4 billion birds every year. You heard that right- 2.4 BILLION birds. Killed by outdoor cats alone. That is detrimental to not only the bird population, but an entire ecosystem as a whole.
If you live in the city, there may be a ordinance in your city about letting your cats outside to roam. In Frakenmuth, pets are not allowed to be outside free roam. Meaning both your cat and dog must be on a leash when outdoors- a free roaming cat is not allowed. I recommend checking your city's ordinances to find out if it is legal for your cat to be free roam in your city. If it is not, and a stray is found and turned into a rescue, shelter or police station, you may be fined when you get your animal back.
Now, I know what you're thinking "My cat will want outside, I can't keep him inside." I disagree. It will be hard to change your cats habits, but your cat wants to go outside because they need more stimulation inside. There are a TON of ways to keep your cat busy and entertained inside
Set up bird baths and bird feeders outside your windows, and give your kitty a perch or cat tree at the window to watch them from!
Don’t have the yard for a bird feeder? That’s okay- try cat TV on youtube! Just go to youtube, type in “videos for cats” and there are 8-10 hour videos of closeups of birds flying in and out and I promise it will keep your cat active for hours! Even if you do have windows with bird feeders outside, your cat may LOVE the videos! Give them a try, here at the rescue, it's a fan favorite!
Set up climbing places for your cats! Whether its cat trees of different sizes, or empty shelves you put on your walls for your cats to climb- make your home not only amazing on the ground level for them- but up high too! You can find on amazon hammocks and shelves and scratching posts to mount on your wall for your cats on amazon, and they're amazing!
And don’t just get new toys and give them ALL to your cat, give them only a few and rotate them out every few days! They’ll get excited when you pull the toys out to switch them out, and even though its the same toys every time you do, it’s like new to them each time! I recommend getting catnip toys, balls, stick toys and battery opperated toys, so your cat can play solo, play with you, and you can turn on a battery toy when you leave for the day. We have a list of toys we test out with the cats at the rescue and are LOVED by almost every cat! You can find the link to those toys here:
Implicate daily play time for your cat! 30 minutes before you go to bed everynight, get out their favorite stick toy and play with them until they’re panting! I’m not joking! It’s a great way to get your cats energy out, and a great way for your cat to bond with you too!
Get some Puzzel bowls, snuffle mats, or hide treats around the house for your cat! Cats are natural hunters, so make them work for their food instead of just feeding them out of a bowl in the kitchen every day. You can either get food dispensing toys, or hide treats/food around the house for them! A great way to get enrichment!
I feel like I just threw so much information at you, but I really hope you understood where we’re coming from. We love your cat just as much as you do, and we don’t want something horrible to happen to your cat. We know that panic you feel when you realize your cat never came home, and how heartbreaking it must be. We also know how it feels when you find out your cat has been hit by a car, taken by a coyote, or see your cat on somebody else’s facebook with a new name, because somebody thought he was a stray and brought him inside. Trust us, keep your cat inside. Make your home as fun and entertaining as you can for them and enjoy your long, happy life with your furry baby!
Keeping your cat indoors:
Enrichment for your indoor cat: