RSPCA says cats are safer at home, don’t let them roam

While recent new analysis shows the significant impact pet cats have on Australia’s wildlife, RSPCA Victoria states several compelling reasons for people to keep their cats safe at home.

Last financial year (18/19) saw 11,200 cats admitted into RSPCA Victoria’s care – a steadily growing rate from the year prior.

RSPCA Victoria recommends that owners prevent cats from leaving their property at any time. This can be achieved by keeping cats indoors, or a combination of indoors and a secure outdoor enclosure, or cat-proof fencing around an outdoor area. In other words, keeping cats safe at home and not letting them roam.

Contrary to popular belief indoor cats have the same, or better, quality of life than outdoor cats. According to the Australian Veterinary Association, a pet cat kept safe at home can live up to four times longer than a cat left to roam.

Some of the benefits include:

• Less risk of illness, injury or death

• Less risk of becoming lost, a stray or impounded by the council

• Less likely to harm or kill wildlife and other animals

• Less likely to interact with undesexed roaming cats

• Increase quality time with owners, improving their bond

• Giving them a better chance to lead longer, happier and healthier lives

A newly adopted cat is more likely to settle into an indoor lifestyle if kept indoors from the beginning and kittens generally adapt well if they have been kept indoors from an early age.

Cats who currently roam can be introduced to an indoor lifestyle gradually – initially keep them inside at night, then gradually increase the time they are contained during the day.

It is vital to provide an appropriate environment to maintain your cat’s good physical and behavioural health. Enrichment is an essential part of this and by providing lots of distractions such as new hiding and resting areas in the house, a variety of toys, and extended play sessions, cats lead very happy, fulfilling lives when kept indoors.

The number of unwanted and homeless cats coming to RSPCA Victoria centres is on the rise each year, putting a huge strain on resources. Keeping cats indoors works to address this increase by reducing the number of cats who become lost or are in accidents.

In some areas cats are required by law to be contained – RSPCA Victoria encourages people to check their local council requirements.

Safe Cat Safe Wildlife is a collaboration between RSPCA Victoria and Zoos Victoria which supports cat owners to transition their cats to an indoor-only lifestyle, keeping both cats and our native wildlife safe and protected.

RSPCA’s complete guide to keeping cats indoors can be found on RSCPA Knowledge Base.

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