I keep my cat inside at night. Why should I keep my cat from roaming both day and night?
- Keeping cats confined only at night will reduce their impact on nocturnal wildlife, but not on wildlife such as lizards and birds that are active during the day. Keeping your cat confined both day and night is especially important if you live near bushland and nature reserves.
- Pet cats that are prevented from roaming live longer. They are protected from being hit by a car, injured in fights, attack by dogs, snake bite, getting lost/stolen, catching diseases from other cats.
- Contrary to popular belief, domestic cats don’t need to roam. You will enjoy their company moreand have less vet bills.
- Council gets many complaints from the community about the nuisance that roaming cats cause (including fights, spraying, digging & defecating in yard/vegetable garden (& spreading disease), disturbing pets, entering houses, preying on wildlife).
My cat doesn’t roam! Most cats will roam and may do so when their owners are out. How far they roam varies – cats living in rural areas roam further than city cats. One domestic cat we tracked over 24hrs – travelled almost 4km, visited 16 different backyards, crossed 3 roads & explored a nearby bushland reserve at night. It’s natural for cats to roam and cruel for them to be inside all of the time.
There are no wild cats in Australia. All of the cats that currently exist in Australia, came (about 200 years ago) as domestic animals. Cats are adaptable and they don’t need to be outside to be content. Indoor cats can get the required pleasure and stimulation if you plan for their needs. They will need separate places to sleep, eat and toilet; something for them to sharpen their claws on and lots of play to keep them fit. If you want your cat to experience the outdoors you can train your cat to go outside on a harness and leash or build a cat enclosure.
My cat has enjoyed being outside for many years. How can I bring him/her in now?
You can help your cat make the adjustment gradually by keeping it inside for longer and longer periods of time. It is vital to give your cat lots of attention and play time and provide places to look out the window, lounge, play, and scratch. Ask your veterinarian or local animal shelter for tips.
I put a bell on my cat so she doesn’t kill birds or wildlife. Why should I keep her inside?
Cats with bells on their collars still kill wildlife as they can learn to silently stalk their prey. And birds or small mammals don’t necessarily associate the sound of a bell with danger.
My cat is well-fed so doesn’t hunt when he goes out.
Scientific studies have shown that even well-fed cats do kill wildlife because of their hunting instinct. Prey that is not killed immediately is very likely to die later from shock or infection.
But my cat doesn’t bring home dead animals
The impact of an individual cat on wildlife is hard to estimate – an American study found that free- roaming domestic cats bring less than 30% of their prey home.