The secret life of ‘indoor only’ cats

indoor only cats

Today is International Cat Day and to mark the occasion, the ‘Have we seen your cat lately?’ program  is shining a spotlight on the hidden health risks Australian cat owners may not be aware of.

Australians may think their indoor cats are safe and protected inside their homes, but research reveals that the majority of Australian cats have some level of outdoor access, which increases their risk of traumatic injuries and their exposure to infectious and parasitic diseases.

According to a study published in the Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery, 66 per cent of cat owners said their cats had outdoor access, while 34 per cent said their cats were indoor only. However, further questioning revealed that more than half of these ‘indoor only’ cats actually had outdoor access. In total, 83 per cent of pet cats had some form of outdoor access during their lives.

Bondi Vet’s Dr Lisa Chimes said this study shows us that many cat owners may be underestimating their cat’s risk of infectious and parasitic diseases.

“Many owners think their indoor cat is safe from disease, but even if you’re just letting your cat go outside to the toilet or to have a quick breath of fresh air, they may be at risk of some diseases,” she said.

“A proper understanding of a cat’s lifestyle is essential to ensure that appropriate measures, like vaccination and flea and worming treatments can be given to those animals at risk.”

Australia’s love for cats shows no signs of waning, with a total estimated pet cat population of almost 3.9 million.

“Our cat population has actually increased by six per cent since 2013, with a pet cat being found in almost a third of Australian households. International Cat Day is the perfect time to celebrate our loyal and loving companions, but it is also a timely reminder that we need to be vigilant about their health,” Dr Chimes added.

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