Cats: Small Animals In A Dangerous World

1002 words - 5 pages

A soft purr, a gentle paw. A pet cat is a luxury that humans have indulged in for thousands of years, from their beginnings in Africa and the Middle East, all the way to homes here in 2014. Cats rival dogs as the most common pet in the United States, with 30.4% of houses owning 2.1 cats each (“U.S. Pet Ownership Statistics”).While working cats, such as farm cats, barn cats, and other rural, semi-feral animals may be kept for specific purposes of keeping pest animals at bay, the vast majority of kept cats in the US are pet cats, kept in homes for companionship and affection. Cat owners want the best for their pets, and as such is important to keep pet cat indoors, for their own safety as well ...view middle of the document...

Even with proper vaccinations and preventative medications, an outdoor cat is at much greater risk of contracting flea and tick borne diseases. Many are quite dangerous, including Lyme disease, which, in extreme cases, may cause kidney, heart, and/or nervous system disorders. There is no vaccine against Lyme disease, so it is important to keep your kitty tick-free. Other serious tick borne diseases include Haemobartonellosis, which attacks red blood cells and causes acute anemia, requiring aggressive treatment, and Cytauxzoonosis, which causes anemia, fever, jaundice, and, as treatment is difficult, often results in death(Tick-Borne Diseases and Your Cat).

Ticks are not the only health danger to your outdoor cat. While topical and oral preventions may help prevent ticks from latching on and infecting your animal, other cats may carry communicable diseases that can put your kitty in serious danger. Feline Leukemia is a top cause of death for unvaccinated cats, and even with vaccination, there is no 100% guarantee that your cat will be protected if they come across an infected animal. Rabies is also a risk, and, again, while it is a required vaccination in most parts of the US, exposure is a very real risk, and not one that a responsible pet owner should take.(Feline Leukemia Virus)

It is true that cats are born hunters, and their instinct to roam is often given as a reason that they should be allowed outside. While many cats do enjoy the outdoors, this is not a place for your pet cat. Wild animals, such as snakes, foxes, bobcats, and coyotes are dangerous predators, and are not always confined to rural areas. The cats themselves also do a good amount of damage to native wildlife. Nature.com estimates that as many as 1.3-4 billion birds are killed by cats annually. While feral and unowned cats do...

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