As I prepare to roast in the flames of hatred this will surely spark, let me tell you why cats should stay indoors. There are several reasons, but if you’ve chanced upon The Mr. Biscuit Blog, the one you’re more likely to care about is that indoor cats far outlive their outdoor brothers and sisters.
The numbers don’t lie. I see the same numbers in multiple places, and you can read it on WebMD: felines can expect to live 17 or more years indoors, versus 2 to 5 years outdoors. I could end the blog post right here, because what more needs to be said? Whether you love cats or happen to be one, you want them to live longer. You don’t want them squished under cars.
“But wait, Mr. Biscuit,” you may be saying. “My cat is way too smart to be run over by a car!” I’ll have you know that I often run straight at danger, instead of away from it, to show that I’m not afraid or to defend my territory. You can imagine how that contest works out against a steel monster. And that’s to say nothing of other dangers to a kitty’s health, like diseases, flooding, freezing, heat stroke, and bigger predators.
Won’t someone think of the birds?
According to a study conducted by the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, as reported here by the Washington Post, cats kill from 1.4 billion to 3.7 billion birds in the United States every year. If you’re not inclined to feel sorry for the poor feathered fellows (or chipmunks and bunnies), think about this: what do birds eat? A variety of things, sure, but a majority of them eat insects as part of their diet.
Insects like mosquitoes. It seems like every year, the flying blood-suckers are transmitting a new disease harmful to humans. We could really use more birds around to keep their population in check, never mind all the crop-eating, tree-killing species that are likely to enjoy a featherless sky. Speaking of bugs, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention…
Ticks and fleas
Nobody likes fleas. Their bite can cause allergic reactions, and in rare cases they can transmit diseases, like the plague. Mostly, they’re just annoying and irritating, as much to animals as they are to humans. But the real danger here is ticks.
Ticks carry a variety of diseases, such as Lyme disease, and global warming is helping to increase their territory. You may have noticed more and more stories about tick bites and their fun aftermath in the news recently, which is a direct result of these arachnids continuing to spread. They’d like nothing more than to hop onto a passing cat and bite down.
It’s the safe thing to do. Even if you don’t care about ecology or the environment, you care about cats. Keep them safe from all the dangers they face out there. And no, “my outdoor cat lived to be twenty” is not a defense. It’s like a human saying he’s been riding his motorcycle without a helmet for years and he’s still alive. Sure, but for how long?
Do what’s right for your pet. Keep them safe. They can then enjoy your care and love longer, and you get to keep them around, hopefully to a ripe, old age.