Why Cats Should Be Kept Inside

What is this, you say? If you guessed it’s a cat in a roll basket and not a fur pie, you’re right. But why did His Plumpness cram himself in there a few months ago? The answer lies in an article I read in the January/February 2011 issue of All Animals, the excellent magazine of The Humane Society. The article is “Peaceable Backyard Kingdom,” by Karen E. Lange. She argues that cats should be kept inside, for their own well-being, as well as for the well-being of the animals outside.

First, she uses her interview with Dr. David Zanders to summarize what can happen to a freely-roaming cat outside:

  • puncture wounds and infections inflicted by other cats in territorial fights
  • abscesses on the back from being grabbed with teeth and claws by a non-neutered cat who wishes to mate
  • broken bones from being hit by a car
  • injuries inflicted by people who don’t like cats
  • fleas and parasites that can be passed to people
  • diseases such as leukemia
  • kidney failure (perhaps the cat has drunk antifreeze)
  • talon wounds from hawks and owls who try to attack small cats
  • death from being eaten by coyotes, trapped, poisoned, or ripped apart by a car engine when a homeless cat tried to get warmth from lying on the engine

Letting your cat roam? Dr. Zanders says that “It’s like letting your child go downtown [alone.]”

How about the other side of the coin? What do outside animals have to gain if cats stay cozy inside? When free-ranging cats, foraging from dumpsters, scavenging any way they can, feel they must hunt, reptiles, small mammals, amphibians, and birds suffer:

  • bite and puncture wounds
  • skin torn and ripped
  • feathers pulled out
  • death from infection

So the idea here is, spay and neuter your cats and let them live with you indoors. And oh, yes, why did the fat cat above crawl into the basket? Answer: he did it for fun. With time on his paws, free from danger, and well-fed, he can experiment with changing his environment slightly–albeit in a basket too small for him. Lately, I’ve placed a much larger basket–his increased girth prevents him from entering the little basket any more–on the dining room table facing the backyard, where he can gaze at the birds outside the window and fall asleep at his leisure.

Find more at http://www.humanesociety.org

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