It’s true, and there are many contributing factors to this statistic. Among them are predators, cars, disease and cruel people (they could come under the heading of predators I know, but they are a category unto themselves in my world.)
For some cats who have been allowed outside, the transition to living indoors needs to be gradual. For others, you can shut the door and keep it shut for them, and they will be fine.
If your kitty is missing the great outdoors, try integrating some of the following:
First and foremost for all cats, spaying and neutering is a must. Along with controlling the pet population of millions of unwanted cats in shelters and who are euthanized, spaying and neutering will reduce the urge to wander.
Bring the outdoors in. Do you have a screened porch or an area with a large window? Try setting up an inviting area for your cat to lounge and watch the great outdoors. True, he may miss being out in the grass, but he will live a longer, healthier life. You can give him some grass indoors. There are kits you can buy so you can grow cat grass they can sniff and nibble.
Get a video of squirrels or birds for your cat to enjoy. Not only will he be safe, but the wildlife population in your yard will be grateful, too!
Play with your cat. Cats need and appreciate attention and mental stimulation. It may be on their terms, but will some effort on your part, you will be able to find an activity that you can enjoy together. Catnip toys that can be hidden or tossed give your cat exercise and give him some fun playtime with you.
Remember that an outdoor cat is exposed to all kinds of poisons. There is always the danger of ingesting anti-freeze which tastes sweet. Poisoning from antifreeze happens to dogs and cats all the time. It doesn’t take much for it to be toxic, and it will cause serious kidney damage or death. An additional risk is the poison we humans put on our lawns in the effort to have “the best lawn” in the neighborhood. Eating grass that’s been treated with a “round-up” type product can be devastating for your kitty.
Don’t discount malicious humans as a danger to your cat. Cats are sometimes stolen; then who knows what will happen to them. Mistreatment at the hands of sick individuals, a life in a research lab, etc. are all possibilities. As Halloween approaches, be especially careful if you have a black cat. They are still discriminated against and are in danger, especially in October.
Put these ideas to work, and plan on having a healthy senior cat for many years to come!
May Your Dog or Cat’s Golden Years be Golden!