Monday, July 4, 2011

Keeping Your Cat Indoors Is Your Safest Choice to Protect Your Cat

Many people believe that keeping a cat indoors is cruel, while in fact, keeping your cat indoors is actually one of the best things you can do for your cat's health and safety. It is true that cats love the outside, but they also do not understand the many dangers that exist outside. Many cats prematurely die every day because of the many dangers they face as outdoor cats. Such things as being hit by cars, fights with other domestic animals, fights with wild animals, ingesting poisonous substances, being hurt by wild animal traps, and even mean people are some of the more common ways that cats die outside. Keeping your cat indoors is simply your safest choice and will greatly increase your cat's chances of living a very long and healthy life.

Cats are naturally very curious animals and the saying "curiosity killed the cat" is not just a saying at all, it is quite true. Cats do not understand what danger is. They do not know enough to stay away from the road and do not understand that an automobile can actually hurt them. Cats are killed every day because they run out into the road and get hit by cars. And, unfortunately, many people who do hit cats while driving do not even stop to see if the cat is still alive. Often, they are afraid they will be stuck with an expensive vet bill, but many times it is simply that they do not care enough to stop and help the cat. There is no way to train a cat to stay away from the road, therefore, there is no way to prevent this from happening to an outdoor cat. However, if you keep your cat indoors, there is no way your cat will die from being struck by an automobile.

Another reason to keep your cat indoors is to prevent fights with other domestic and wild animals. Cats are very territorial and will fight with any animal who threatens their space. Unfortunately, many of these animals are of larger size and strength and the domestic cat often ends up either badly injured or dead as a result. Outdoor animals often carry illnesses because they are exposed to germs and bacteria that are commonly found outside, or they come in contact with an animal who is infected. If your cat gets into a fight with an animal who is diseased, your cat has now been exposed. Even if your cat is appropriately vaccinated, a bite wound often becomes infected and can pose a serious health risk to your cat. Many cats who are injured in fights outdoors do not necessarily die right away, and if they are badly injured they often are not able to make it home for you to help them and they suffer with their injuries until they die. Keeping your cat indoors eliminates this risk from ever happening to your cat.

Another common danger to outdoor cats is poisonous substances. There are countless ways your cat can be exposed to or ingest poisonous material. Even something as simple as your neighbor's leaking radiator in their car can be deadly to cats. Animals are attracted to antifreeze because of its sweet aroma and it only takes ingesting a small amount of this poison to kill a cat. If your neighbor keeps their car in their driveway or anywhere outside, it can leak onto the ground and your cat can find it. Other things such as chemicals that people apply to their lawns can be very toxic to cats and can also burn their paws. And because cats clean themselves regularly, they can ingest anything that is on their feet. If your neighbor has recently applied chemicals to the grass, your cat could be at risk of getting sick from exposure to these chemicals. There are countless potential poisons outside. Even some outdoor plants can be very poisonous if ingested and your cat simply does not understand this. Keeping your cat indoors greatly reduces the chances of your cat coming in contact with outdoor poisons. (Of course you also need to consider any poisonous substances in your home and take proper precautions to keep your cats away from anything inside your home that is potentially toxic.)

If you live in a rural or wooded area, you also need to consider things such as wild animal traps. Many people set outdoor traps to catch and even kill unwanted wild animals. Unfortunately, many of these traps are not humane traps but are intended to hurt the animal that gets caught in the trap. Food is often placed in or near the trap to attract the animal to it and these traps do not just catch wild animals, but also any domestic animal who may attempt to get the food. And, unfortunately there are lots of people in the world who simply do not like cats and will take whatever means necessary to keep them away from their property including poisoning, shooting the cat, and other cruel methods of causing harm to your cat. Keeping your cat indoors eliminates this danger to your cat.

Another great reason to keep your cat indoors is a less expensive vet bill. Cats who are allowed outdoors require more vet care than cats who are kept inside. First, cats who go outside come in contact with other animals feces, which can directly expose them to worms. Outdoor cats usually require an annual de-worming while indoor cats really only need to be dewormed when you first get them. Because they do not have any further exposure to worms, they usually never get them again. Outdoor cats also need more frequent vaccines, such as leukemia and feline aids which will need to be given annually to an outdoor cat. Indoor cats usually have the bloodtest to screen for these diseases when they are kittens and given the vaccine, but if they are not allowed outside anymore, they often do not require annual vaccines as they no longer have this exposure risk. Of course, you should follow whatever your vet recommends when vaccinating your cat but often you can save money on your vet bills if you keep your cat indoors. Fleas and ticks are also much less of a problem with indoor cats. (Unless of course you have other animals in the home who go outside because even an indoor cat can get fleas and ticks if another animal brings them in the home.)Your indoor cat will still require updated rabies vaccines as this is mandated by law, and also should have distemper and respiratory vaccines annually or as recommended by your vet. Again, always follow your vet's recommendations for frequency and type of vaccines your cat should have.

An indoor cat can live for over twenty years. An outdoor cat rarely reaches such an old age. Indoor cats are no less happy than outdoor cats, especially if you provide them with lots of love, toys and windows with a view. Cats love to sit in the window and sunbathe and watch the world go by. Cats do not have to go outside to appreciate what the outside has to offer. Cats are very entertained and amused just sitting in a window seat watching the birds and wild animals in your yard. If you provide a nice window perch for your cat, and hang a bird feeder where the cat can see it, that alone will provide your cat hours of entertainment just watching the birds. Just make sure you provide the necessary safety precautions to prevent your cat from getting out of the window. Cats can rip standard window screens so you should either leave the window closed or upgrade to the type of screens that your cat cannot claw or rip through. Always make sure that whatever window your cat sits in is safe and will not pose a danger or an escape route for your cat. Not to mention, the birds also appreciate one less danger to them outside as an outdoor cat will often hunt and kill them, while an indoor cat will just sit and watch them. Provide your indoor cat with lots of toys, interactive toys are especially fun for indoor cats, and will help provide the stimulation and activity your cat needs. Keeping your cat indoors is the safest choice for your feline friend, and often will greatly increase their lifespan

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