Traditional beliefs are that cats need freedom. But statistics indicate the indoor cats have a longer life span and better health. Statistics indicate that the life span of an indoor cat is much longer than an outdoor cat.
On average, an indoor cat lives twelve years but some cats can even make it to twenty years. In comparison, an outdoor cat’s life expectancy is less than five years and chances are high it is not dying of a natural cause.
Reasons for keeping your cat inside are simple
- Danger due to traffic
Busy roads present a life-threatening danger for cats. One accident can be fatal or cause serious injuries.
Danger of contracting an infectious disease rises for the outdoor cat. Many feline diseases including Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and Feline Leukemia (FeLV) are transmitted from an infected cat to another. Cats who roam at will encounter other cats that may not be vaccinated and can contract either of these fatal diseases. Cats are also susceptible to skin cancer and it is important to be aware of this.
Fights with other cats are not uncommon and can cause major injuries.
Indoor cats are not exposed to the host of poisons like pesticides, home garden products, car and motor products, rubbish, spoiled foods, poisonous plants and intentional poisonings are among the poisoning dangers for cats that roam.
Fleas are a major carrier for diseases and some of these diseases can also be transmitted to cat owners. One of the most common one is ringworm. Ringworm (which is in fact a fungus, not a worm) while not deadly, it can be quite hard to eradicate in the cat.
- Other animals
Dogs and wild animals including snakes often prey on cats that wander into the wrong territory. Bigger Pythons can easily kill a cat.
- Getting lost
Outdoors cats are more prone to becoming lost and only few will end up at the pound or RSPCA. Microchipping is the only permanent way to identify a cat.
Your neighbour may not enjoy your cat as much as you do. Your cat might also defecate in his favorite garden bed or walk on his freshly washed car, all these can cause potentially trouble.
Darwin City Council Law
Darwin City Council has guidelines in place for roaming cats.
“Pursuant to Council By-Laws, a cat is at large if:
- It is not contained within the owner’s property.
- It is not under effective control by the owner or any part of its body is protruding from a vehicle.
When a roaming cat is reported, Council will:
- Attempt to locate the owner of the cat. The owner may be issued with an infringement notice.
- If the Council can not identify the owner, a trap will be set to catch the cat. If the cat is captured and identified through its microchip, the owners will be contacted and may be issues with an infringement notice.
If the owners cannot be identified, the cat will be taken to the pound and managed according to Council’s pound procedures.”
Enjoy the outdoors safely
If you still would like your cat to enjoy the outdoors the two best options are
- Walk your cat
It is possible to train a cat to a leash and harness. It is easier to train a kitten or young cat but all cats can be leash trained.
- Set up an outdoor enclosure
It is a space where your cat can enjoy the outdoors but is still in a safe environment. You can either buy a setup or DIY an enclosure made from chicken wire or just nylon.