At the Nebraska Humane Society, we see stray cats enter the shelter with all sorts of injuries and diseases. We know that at some point, they were someone’s pet because they are well socialized and enjoy attention, but they have met with difficulty when on their own.
Most cats do enjoy prowling and hunting outdoors, but the fact is, they live longer, healthier lives inside. On average, indoor cats live 16 years, while strictly outdoor cats live just 2 to 5 years. Indoor/outdoor cats fall in between, with an average lifespan of 6 to 8 years. The reason is simple. They are not as protected from outside forces, which include:
- Running into the street and being struck by a car. Cars hit and kill hundreds of cats in the Omaha metro area each year
- Ingesting pesticides, rat poison and anti-freeze
- Exposure to contagious diseases like feline leukemia and parasites like worms, mites and lice
- Attacks by wild animals, roaming dogs and other cats
- Being trapped by a neighbor, either in a trap, or, unintentionally as a garage or shed door is shut
- Being mistaken for a stray
- Getting lost and unable to find home
- Encountering someone with cruel intentions
To keep cats happy indoors you can provide all sorts of enrichment with toys, hiding places, multi-level perches and windows to look out. Some cats enjoy “kitty videos” of bugs, birds or other outdoor activities that you can play on a television. Growing your own grass or cat-friendly plants can give your cat a taste of the outdoors. Plus, giving him different surfaces for kneading and scratching will help curb those desires to sharpen claws on trees. Scheduling play time in a couple of 10 minute blocks can help keep your cat entertained indoors so he won’t be so intent to get out.
For more information, visit the Nebraska Humane Society website.