Should I keep my cats indoors?

The answer here is a pretty clear "indoor cats only." There is just no need to let your cats outside. Unlike dogs, cats will readily use litter boxes and never need to go outside. Many people assume they will be unhappy if you lock them inside - but this isn't the case. Indoor cats lead happier, healthier lives than cats that are allowed outside. And if you never let them out, they'll never know the difference.


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Why not let your cats be outdoor cats? Because they will be subject to all manner of risks that they will never have to face if they only live inside. Having had a number of cats over the course of my life, I can tell you the risks are real. Most of our cats were outdoor cats when I was a kid, free to go out the cat door any time they wanted. We lost one to licking up antifreeze, one went out one day and never came back, one was run over by a car, one contracted feline leukemia from other cats while outside and died from it, and one that contracted feline AIDS from other cats and had to be put down. None of these cats would have died had they been kept solely indoors. Over the same period, we had only one outdoor cat actually make it to a natural death of old age. As an adult, my current cat is not allowed outside, is in perfect health at age 10, and hopefully should last quite a bit longer. There are just too many risks to your cat outdoors - rabies, injuries, car accidents, fights with other animals, any number of diseases they will contract from contact with other cats, abuse from twisted individuals, danger from predators (yes, they're out there - owls, coyotes, etc.).

If that still hasn't convinced you, all you should need to know is that the average life span of an outside cat according to the Society for the Prevention for Cruelty to Animals is 2 years. The average lifespan of an indoor cat is 10 years, with many living up to 20 years old. Think about that before the next time you let your cat outside - are you really OK with your cat dying within the next two years? If not, then you need to keep them inside, because odds are they won't survive that long.

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