Cat owners disagree whether cats should be allowed outside. Some argue that keeping cats inside is cruel. The truth is that an indoors-only cat is likely to enjoy a longer, healthier life than a cat who roams outdoors. There are many dangers outside, and these dangers increase after nightfall.
Coyotes, foxes, and occasionally raccoons have been known to prey on cats. These predators can be found even in highly populated cities, and they tend to hide during the day and hunt at night. Domesticated cats, who have little to no experience fending for themselves in the wild, make an easy target for predators such as these when they're out alone.
Feral cats, which are more active at night, will often attack an unfamiliar cat who wanders into their territory. These attacks can lead to injury and the transmitting of diseases such as feline immunodeficiency virus, which is very similar to the HIV infection in humans. While FIV can be treated, it cannot be cured. In more extreme cases, a feral cat attack can even result in the death of the domesticated cat.
Whenever cats are outside, they are in danger of being hit by cars. This risk is increased at night, when drivers are less likely to notice a cat running across the street. Despite their excellent nocturnal vision, cats may be startled into bolting in front of an oncoming car, and often times they will not recognize their mistake until it's too late. The majority of cat deaths caused by car accidents occur at night.
Domesticated cats have grown accustomed to the mild temperatures of a house or apartment. A cat left outside on a cold night is in danger of developing hypothermia, especially if it's raining. Hypothermia occurs when a cat's body temperature drops too low, and severe cases of it can lead to a coma or death if the cat is not treated immediately by a veterinarian. A cat who remains indoors has very little chance of getting hypothermia.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Katie Johnson is a native of Los Angeles and has been writing professionally since 2009. Her published work on eHow.com and Travels.com includes several articles relating to health, science and travel. She is a graduate of UCLA's Writers' Program, which provided her with extensive studies in novel, short story and essay writing.