Though some pet owners choose to let their cats venture outside, the best choice for the health of your cat is to keep him or her inside only. While cats may enjoy roaming, it's often to their detriment. Here are three specific reasons to keep your cat indoors.
Ticks, fleas, and mites are a real problem for pets and owners.
It's far too easy for your cat to end up infested with ticks or mites when he or she ventures outside. Ticks, too, tend to latch onto cats' skin and are then carried indoors. These pests are not just a nuisance to your cat. Once indoors, they may leave itchy bites on your skin, and ticks carry a number of serious diseases that are transmissible to humans--from Lyme disease to Ehrlichiosis. Flea and tick preventative medications are not 100% effective, so the best way to protect your pet and yourself from these pests is to keep them indoors.
Vaccines are not 100% effective.
Cats are susceptible to a number of very serious, contagious diseases. Feline immunodeficiency virus, or FIV, attacks the immune system, and feline leukemia also leads to death after potentially years of suffering. There are vaccines for these diseases, but since they are not 100% effective, your cat could still contract either of these diseases if he or she tangles with an infected cat while meandering outdoors. It's best to keep your cat indoors where exposure to these and other pathogens is limited.
Cat fights can be serious.
People often joke about cat fights, and you may see indoor cats bat at each other or even wrestle a little now and then. But outside, it's a whole different story. Male cats, especially, can be very territorial. If your cat encroaches on their territory or approaches their mate, the other cat may attack viscously. Cats can lose eyes, develop infections in puncture wounds from nails, and suffer severe lacerations from teeth as a result of fights. Your cat may not even make it home if he or she is badly injured. Cats who are declawed are at an even higher risk of serious injury as they don't have a way to fight off an attacker.
While your cat may spend hours looking out the window longingly, it really is in his or her best interest to stay inside. To learn more about these dangers and how to mitigate them if your cat does sneak outside, talk to your veterinarian.