Indoor Cats: An Opinion

"According to the Humane Society of the United States, the average life span of a healthy indoor cat is now 15-18 years. The life extension from former years is due in part to advances in veteninary medicine but primarily to the growing trend of keeping cats strictly indoors, confined to fenced-in areas or on a leash."
One of the most beautiful things about domesticated cats is that they have so much independence, in spite of all manner of human breeding and intervention. I understand wanting to keep cats safe after dark but I do not agree with keeping cats strictly indoors and the idea of walking a cat on a leash is absurd, unless it's to get the cat used to an area or if the cat requires supervision (e.g. if injured).

Every healthy cat should have a choice. The decision to go out or not should be theirs, not ours. If we make the choice for them it certainly shouldn't be tainted by the fear that they won't live as long. If you're scared for their safety, use a leash for a while and get them street wise. Ultimately, quality of life is the most important thing and to keep a cat inside against their will for no reason but your own is inherently wrong.


Tom Geraghty said...

Absolutely agree. I've never understood the US obsession (though it tends to be city-centric) with keeping cats indoors. The measure of life isn't length - it's quality. I believe (although I've never been able to hear a cat's opinion on this) that cats are happier if they can choose to be indoors or outdoors. If my cat dies a couple of years earlier than an indoors cat, then so be it, she's had a better life.
I'm sure I could keep a cat alive for an incredibly long time if I kept it locked in a cage, in sterile conditions, with perfect nutrition and measured exercise. It wouldn't be humane though.

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