Cats who stay safely at home are protected from many hazards:
Collisions with cars and other vehicles are common cat killers. It is a myth that cats are ‘street wise” about cars. Cats are intelligent and alert but, like most other animals, stand little chance against fast-moving vehicles.
Rabies and other diseases that can be transmitted to humans are a serious public health concern. And free-roaming cats are far more likely to come in contact with other animals that commonly carry rabies, like raccoons. In fact, cats are more than twice as likely to become infected with rabies as dogs. There are other serious diseases that affect only cats. According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners, as many as 15% of sick cats are infected with feline leukemia or feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV)—and many cats have both. These viruses are fatal and transmitted through contact with other cats. Disease is one reason that two out of three veterinarians recommend keeping cats indoors.
Poisons exist on chemically treated lawns, in bait left out to kill rats or mice, and in auto antifreeze—which has an appealing taste—that leaks from cars.
Free-roaming cats inevitably pick up fleas and ticks and then bring these pests into the home. Fleas can cause anemia, skin irritations and allergies in cats—and transmit diseases to humans through their bites.
Other cats, dogs, and wild predators such as coyotes, raccoons, and foxes are potential enemies of cats and often engage in fights that leave cats injured or dead. Outdoor cats can suffer torn ears, cut eyes, abscesses, and other injuries requiring expensive veterinary treatment.
Shelter workers see cats that have been burned, poisoned, or otherwise tortured by children and disturbed adults.
Fewer than 5% of “found” cats taken in by animal shelters are reunited with their families. That’s why outfitting your cat with a collar and visible identification is one of the best steps you can take to keep your cat safe. In addition, having your cat microchipped provides a valuable backup ID system.
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