Many people think that keeping a cat indoors is cruel and akin to keeping them jailed like prisoners, but nothing could be farther from the truth.
While it is true that cats can enjoy the outside, it’s also true that letting the cat out exposes them to all kinds of dangers, and if they get unlucky, he might never return home, and you’ll be left wondering what happened to him.
Cats are territorial hunters, but this doesn’t mean they can’t be entertained and live a fulfilling life inside their home. You just have to make sure you enrich their environment the right way.
With the right tools, you can make sure your cat lives happily in a closed space and never misses the outside.
The territorial nature of cats makes it vital for them to feel safe in their space. When they’re not going out to survey other areas, and no other cats are coming into theirs, their territory is secured, and that reduces their stress levels.
Here are 15 reasons why it’s not cruel (and it’s actually beneficial) to keep your cat living 100% of the time indoors.
1. Indoor cats are less exposed to diseases.
Cats that roam freely outside are exposed to a host of diseases including serious ones such as FIV (Feline Immunodeficiency Virus), FeLV (Feline Leukemia Virus) and FIP (Feline Peritonitis).
FIV is pretty similar to the virus that causes HIV or AIDS in humans. While it can’t be transmitted between species, it can be pretty devastating for your feline friend. It could be impossible to detect without a test for quite a long time if your cat is asymptomatic. This is problematic because a good prognosis is dependent upon the management of the disease.
FeLV is a retrovirus that (when the immune system fails to neutralize it) can cause many deadly diseases. The main danger is that the infection can show no symptoms for years, and once you discover it, it might already be too late to do much about it.
FIP is caused by the feline coronavirus that infects the whole body by using the antibodies present as carriers to spread itself. It’s a heartbreaking disease to witness, and it’s always fatal since we have no cure for it.
2. Cats are predators and skilled hunters.
Cats are skilled predators that can wreak havoc in the environment surrounding them. This means that—even if you’re not worried about your cat—if you like birds and care about other small animals living in your area, you should keep your cat inside.
Cats often hunt just for fun, so they are considered serious threats to endangered fauna in many regions. Keep this in mind before letting them out to ‘entertain themselves’.
3. There are other predators out there.
If you live in an area with foxes, or other larger and more skilled predators, your tiny house cat, while agile, will certainly be no match for them.
You wouldn’t want to wake up in the middle of the night to the screams of your pet being ripped apart by another animal, so it’s better to be safe than to be sorry.
This kind of thing happens more often than you imagine, so keep your cat warm and safe inside your house with you.
4. Fertile cats will not contribute to the overpopulation of strays.
Cats that have not been fixed will go out and mate, exacerbating the stray overpopulation that is a huge issue in many regions of the world. This wouldn’t be an issue if your feline friend is kept inside, so think about all those potential kittens that would never find homes and would end up being euthanized at some animal control centre.
While we’re on the topic, get your cat fixed. It’s the responsible thing to do because the world doesn’t need any more breeders.
5. They won’t get into fights.
Cats are very territorial and will often get into fights with other cats for mating, territorial disputes, and other triggers.
Top Tip: Use a cat repellent to keep unwanted cats from entering your garden and causing trouble.
Maybe your cat will be all right, maybe they won’t, so it’s just best to avoid the possibility of them having these fights.
In addition to fighting with other cats, they could also get attacked by dogs, and they usually aren’t a match for big breeds, especially if they are trained. So if you don’t want your cat to fall prey to the neighbour’s dog, you better keep him inside.
6. You can better monitor your cat’s health.
If your cat is always relieving themselves outside in random dirt and gardens nearby, you won’t notice any changes to their stool or urine that could be early warning signs of health issues that need to be treated.
Keeping a litter box at home can seem like a chore and an eyesore, but it is the quickest and easiest way for you to know when something is not quite right with your cat.
7. If your cat has long hair, they will stay cleaner longer.
If you have a long-haired breed and have to spend lots of time going at them with a cat brush, you probably wouldn’t be thrilled to find that just a few hours later their coat is full of dirt and who-knows-what-else, right?
While cats are very clean animals, long-haired cats will have a harder time staying clean if they’re free to roam around the neighbourhood’s gardens.
8. Your cat won’t bring unwelcome parasites into your house.
There are few things as hard and unpleasant to deal with than parasite infestations inside your home.
Fleas and ticks can quickly be brought inside and left to nest in your carpets and curtains by a cat that visits any gardens and gets in contact with other animals.
9. Cats can be perfectly happy living solely inside.
You can train your cat to be entirely happy inside. This is especially easy if you have them from the time they’re a kitten because an animal won’t miss what they don’t know.
10. You won’t have to worry about your cat being run over by a car.
Thousands of cats are run over by cars or fall off high buildings every day all around the world. Let’s face it.
Our feline friends are not super adapted to handle all the possible risks that city life entails.
The best way to avoid getting a call from a driver giving you horrible news is to keep your cat inside your house.
11. Your cat will be much less likely to be stolen.
This is a concern that is present in many parts of the world, especially around wealthier neighbourhoods in big cities, and when it comes to famous and expensive breeds of companion animals.
Your cat could be stolen to be used for an illegal breeding operation or to threaten you and make you pay a ransom to get them back. Both are equally scary possibilities for caring pet owners.
12. You can know what your cat is eating.
A cat that lives inside only has access to what is inside and you control that. Thus, your cat won’t be prone to eat toxic human foods or chew on poisonous plants readily available in gardens near your house.
13. You won’t get complaints from neighbours.
If your cat stays inside, you won’t have to hear about him messing up your next-door neighbour’s garden.
14. Your mind will be at ease.
If you care and worry about your feline friend, your mind will be much more at ease knowing that they are safe and sound inside the house you have provided and adapted to their needs.
15. You’ll sleep with a cuddly friend.
If your cat doesn’t roam outside at night, they’ll probably come to cuddle with you during chilly nights. You won’t find anything better than a purring cat by your side or feet.
In conclusion, it is not at all cruel to keep a cat inside. When you analyze all the risks an outside cat faces on a regular basis, it becomes clear that it is, in reality, the more responsible and loving option.
If you want your cat to live healthy and safe for many years to come, and you also don’t want to be worrying about the worst every time they’re not back in time for dinner, just raise and keep your feline friend as an inside cat.