Cats Belong Indoors

The Outdoors Poses a Risk to Cats

orange and white cat with collar and tag on grass

An indoor cat’s average life expectancy is 10 to 15 years, while cats allowed outside can only expect 2 to 5 years. This is because the outdoors presents many risks to a cat’s health and safety, like:

  • Vehicles: Traffic incidents are the leading cause of death for outdoor cats. Whether in the city or the country, a cat is not safe from vehicles if she is outdoors.
  • Predators: Wildlife, dogs and other cats can cause serious injury and even death to a roaming domestic cat.
  • Disease: Outdoor cats are almost three times more likely to be infected by a parasite than indoor cats. The risk of disease is considered so severe, researchers believe free-roaming cats should be considered a zoonotic threat.
  • Toxins: Cats and what they consume cannot be monitored while they’re exploring outside unsupervised. Many plants such as lilies are extremely toxic to cats, and can result in death if ingested.
Cat outdoors with bird in it's mouth

An Outdoor Cat’s Impact on the Ecosystem

Outdoor cats hunt. This may seem harmless, but in Canada, outdoor cats are responsible for more than 165 million bird deaths every year.

Not only will bird populations increase if cats remain indoors, by reducing outdoor cat populations, veterinary clinics, wildlife centres and humane societies will receive less wildlife in need of care and thus be better able to use resources for other animals in-need.

Injured orange tabby cat laying in critical care unit with a cast and cone

Wildlife and Cats are not the Only Ones who Pay

If the safety of the cat and local wildlife wasn’t enough reason to keep a cat indoors, an outdoor cat also poses a huge risk to her owner’s wallet. Treatment for ingestion of a foreign body can cost just shy of $3,000 and the cost of treatment for a pet whose pelvis was fractured after being hit by a car can cost more than $3,500.


black and white cat looking at the camera from behind a couch

Outdoor Cats are Not Free

Even though a cat may enjoy the freedom of running around outside, she fights a daily battle for survival against exposure to the elements, accidents, disease, poison, abuse and fights with other animals. This is not freedom.

By ensuring your cat has a fulfilling home environment, proper diet, enrichment items and interactive play, she can live a long and happy life indoors.

The outdoors are not completely off limits for a domestic cat. A cat can safely enjoy the outdoors from an enclosed catio or while on a leash and harness with her owner.

Learn more about keeping your indoor cat happy and healthy.