Risks to Outdoor Cats - KLFY News 10

Risks to Outdoor Cats

Of course, the most important reason to keep a cat in is for the animal's own safety. Cats like to go outside, but for their own good, they shouldn't be indulged. After all, young children might like to play outside unsupervised, but allowing them to do so is negligent. The same is true for allowing cats out.

Outside threats to cats are numerous and take their toll on cat's lives. According to Barbara L. Diamond's article "Bringing the Outdoors In" (Cat Fancy, April 1990), "While the average outdoor or indoor-outdoor cat lives two to three years, an indoor-only cat's average life span is 12 to 15 years or more." A look at just a few of the hazards facing outdoor cats explains why their lives can be so brief:

Disease. Rabies and other zoonotic diseases have already been mentioned as threats to people. More common are diseases that inflict cats only and that are spread through contact with other cats. Two diseases that kill large numbers of cats each year are feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus. Both diseases are transmitted from cat to cat and, once contracted, result in the eventual death of the animal due to a compromised immune system. Keeping cats inside helps prevent the transmission of these killers.

Parasites. Outdoor cats inevitably pick up fleas and ticks and then bring these pests into the home with them. Fleas can cause anemia, skin irritations, and allergies in cats. These parasites also pose risks to humans since they can transmit disease through their bites. Ridding the pet and home of fleas and ticks is difficult and can expose the pet to harmful chemicals. Indoor cats aren't generally exposed to fleas, ticks, ear mites, or other parasites.

Poisoning. Poisons exist on chemically treated lawns, in bait left out to kill rats or mice, and in auto antifreeze drained from cars (a sweet substance cats love to lick, but which is deadly). Most cats love to chew on greens, but their fondness can be safely satisfied with grass grown in an indoor pot.

Other animals. Other cats, dogs, and wildlife are potential enemies of cats and often engage in fights that leave a cat injured. Outdoor cats can suffer torn ears, cut eyes, abscesses, and other injuries requiring expensive veterinary treatment.

Cruel people. All shelter workers can tell horror stories about cats that come in tarred and feathered, burned, or tortured in some other way by cruel kids or disturbed adults. A cat outside is a likely target for people who collect animals to sell to research laboratories. Outside pets are at the mercy of the people they encounter.

Traps. The HSUS speculates that over 100,000 cats are caught in traps each year. Those who aren't killed may suffer for days before being released and often lose limbs from the injuries.

Traffic. Most outdoor cats die from auto accidents. It is a myth that cats are "streetwise" about cars. Cats are intelligent and alert, but they stand very little chance against fast-moving vehicles.

Pet overpopulation. Anyone who's ever worked in a shelter knows that unaltered cats allowed to roam and mate at will account for millions of the cats euthanized each year. One female cat and her offspring can produce 420,000 cats in seven years. All pets, whether strictly indoor or indoor-outdoor, should be spayed or neutered. Pet owners who allow unaltered animals outside are irresponsible and at the root of the terrible pet overpopulation problem resulting in millions of animal deaths yearly.

Copyright © 2001 The Humane Society of the United States All rights reserved.

  • Should Dogs Ride Loose In the Car?

    Should Dogs Ride Loose In the Car?

    Thanks to Dr. Marty Becker of Vetstreet for this articleI’ve done it, and I know better. You’ve done it, and you probably know better too. I’ve written against it and recommended products that will prevent it. But I bet the majority of pet owners still do it. In fact, I know they do.What am I taking about? Letting dogs ride loose in the car, or even worse, letting a dog sit on your lap in the front seat, head happily out the window. Yes, dogs like — make that love! — doing this. And yes, it’s...More >>
    Thanks to Dr. Marty Becker of Vetstreet for this articleI’ve done it, and I know better. You’ve done it, and you probably know better too. I’ve written against it and recommended products that will prevent it. But I bet the majority of pet owners still do it. In fact, I know they do.What am I taking about? Letting dogs ride loose in the car, or even worse, letting a dog sit on your lap in the front seat, head happily out the window. Yes, dogs like — make that love! — doing this. And yes, it’s...More >>
  • Today's Celebrity Pet!

    Today's Celebrity Pet!

    GWEN STEFANI The singer and her pup hit the beach for a day of sun and fun in Marina del Rey, California.More >>
    BETTY WHITE The Golden Girl shares a sweet cuddle with pooch Delilah while attending the Saturday American Humane Association's Hero Dog Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.More >>
  • Camp Bow Wow "Foster Dog of the Month"

    Camp Bow Wow "Foster Dog of the Month"

    Meet Mandy, a young pit bull terrier mix who is our Camp Bow Wow "Foster Dog of the Month" for October! Mandy had a bit of a rough start to life but is happy as can be now that she is out of theMore >>
    Meet Mandy, a young pit bull terrier mix who is our Camp Bow Wow "Foster Dog of the Month" for October! Mandy had a bit of a rough start to life but is happy as can be now that she is out of theMore >>
  • Why Does My Dog...Tilt Her Head to the Side?

    Why Does My Dog...Tilt Her Head to the Side?

    It's a classic dog move: Your pup hears something — a mysterious sound, a smartphone ring, a certain tone of voice — and suddenly her head tilts to one side as if she is contemplating what the sound wantsMore >>
    It's a classic dog move: Your pup hears something — a mysterious sound, a smartphone ring, a certain tone of voice — and suddenly her head tilts to one side as if she is contemplating what the sound wantsMore >>
  • How to Make the Most of Your Visit to the Vet

    How to Make the Most of Your Visit to the Vet

    By Pamela Babcock WebMD Pet Health Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM Taking your pet to the vet? Whether it's a routine appointment or you're checking on symptoms, there are steps you can take to help theMore >>
    By Pamela Babcock WebMD Pet Health Reviewed by Amy Flowers, DVM Taking your pet to the vet? Whether it's a routine appointment or you're checking on symptoms, there are steps you can take to help theMore >>
  • How to Housetrain Your Puppy or Kitten

    How to Housetrain Your Puppy or Kitten

    ByStephanie Watson WebMD Magazine Reviewed byWilliam Draper, DVM Puppies and kittens aren't like human babies. You can't wait 2 years to start potty training. "With a puppy or kitten you say, "Oh it'sMore >>
    ByStephanie Watson WebMD Magazine Reviewed byWilliam Draper, DVM Puppies and kittens aren't like human babies. You can't wait 2 years to start potty training. "With a puppy or kitten you say, "Oh it'sMore >>
  • Why Does My Cat...Meow So Much?

    Why Does My Cat...Meow So Much?

    Why do cats meow? The reasons change as they grow from kittens into cats. Kittens meow to their mothers when they're hungry, cold, or scared. But once cats get older, they use other vocalizations -- suchMore >>
    Why do cats meow? The reasons change as they grow from kittens into cats. Kittens meow to their mothers when they're hungry, cold, or scared. But once cats get older, they use other vocalizations -- suchMore >>
  • Why Does My Cat...Purr?

    Why Does My Cat...Purr?

    We love to hear our cats purr, don't we? We take it as a sign that our pets are happy, healthy, and well fed. A purring cat is like an acknowledgment that we are doing a good job as a pet owner. But ifMore >>
    We love to hear our cats purr, don't we? We take it as a sign that our pets are happy, healthy, and well fed. A purring cat is like an acknowledgment that we are doing a good job as a pet owner. But ifMore >>
Powered by WorldNow

1808 Eraste Landry Rd, PO Box 90665,
Lafayette LA 70509

Telephone: 337.981.4823
Fax: 337.984.8323
Email: tip10@klfy.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Young Broadcasting of Louisiana, Inc. A Media General Company.