Did you know that the average lifespan for an outdoor cat is just 3 to 5 years while indoor cats average 12 years.  This huge difference is a compelling reason for all cat parents to keep their feline friends indoors.  I think many people feel like it is natural for their cat to want to play and explore outdoors but the dangers far outweigh the benefits of letting your cat outdoors.  Here are some outdoor dangers you can avoid by keeping your cat indoors.

Cat Fight Wounds.  Cats are territorial by nature and when more than one cat has to share their territory this can lead to conflict. Besides bites and scratches, cat fights can result in abscess when a bite wound becomes infected.  Abscesses are painful and can be accompanied by a fever and many cats do not eat well.  Treatment requires a veterinarian and involves surgical drainage and antibiotics to fight the infection.

Viral infections.  Even worse, cat bites can transmit infections like feline leukemia virus (FeLV) feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) and feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). Some of these diseases do not have effective vaccines and unfortunately there is no cure for any of them.

Parasites. Outdoor cats are more likely than indoor cats to become infected with internal parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and heartworms.

Cars.  Automobiles are one of the deadliest hazards to outdoor cats.  Most car injuries are fatal.  Those who survive usually have severe injuries that often require surgery.  Many people believe that their cat is smart enough to avoid being hit by a car, but even the most street-savvy cat can be a victim.  Cats can become distracted; they could be chasing after prey, or running from a dog, or pursuing another cat in play.  The fact is, all free roaming cats are at risk of being hit by a car.

Poisons.  Poisons are another very common danger facing cats.  Cats can be exposed to poisonous chemicals such as insecticides, rodenticides and fertilizers.  Pesticides are the most dangerous because they are sweetened or scented to attract pests and cats are often the unintended victims.  In any neighborhood cats can commonly come in contact with fertilizer, snail bait, ant bait, rat poison and fertilizer.

Wild Animals.  Predators have always been a threat to cats, but as suburbs expand and disturb natural habitats, encounters with native wildlife have increased.  In Western states, coyotes claim the lives of many cats.

Once your cat is outdoors, there is no way to protect them from all of these dangers.  As pet parents, it is our responsibility to care for them and protect them from harm.  Keep your cat out of unnecessary danger by keeping him safely indoors.