Hufflepuff comes in from the cold…
The life of an outdoor kitty is full of perils. “Hufflepuff” knows this, as his broken leg bears witness. We can only guess that “Huffle” had a run in with a car, but there’s rarely much history available when a cat arrives at the animal shelter’s doors.
Statistics indicate that most cats that go outdoors have an average lifespan of 5 years, while indoor kitties now live about 15 years. That certainly doesn’t mean that a well-cared for cat who never ventures far from home won’t live longer than an indoor fatty fed on junk, but the odds are against her.
“Huffle” was lucky. Aided by a personality as big as his tail, he cajoled the Quinte Humane Society and Hillcrest Animal Hospital into repairing his leg, fixing him up for adoption. I’ll be hard-pressed to wrench him from the technicians at Hillcrest to take him back to the shelter today. He won’t be long finding a home.
It’s obvious that fewer people are letting their pet cats roam anymore. They tell us so at annual exam visits. But there are still lots of outdoor cats; some sneak out with the kids regularly, others batter the doorframe until ejected from the house and there are still people who believe cats belong in the great outdoors. With proper vaccines and parasite control, outdoor kitties do seem healthier than their sedentary housecat cousins. They are generally leaner and their teeth are healthier. But then they get attacked by a wild animal, an SUV or a stray cat carrying a deadly virus for which there is no vaccine.
Cats that have never been outdoors have no obvious desire to go there. Those that have can often be retrained, although that can take time and patience. Hopefully, “Hufflepuff” will make things easy for his new family and be content to stay inside, far from the perils of the streets.
For help keeping your cat healthy indoors, check out Behind Closed Doors and The Indoor Cat Initiative.
Please check out Hufflepuff’s posting at the Quinte Humane Society!
Dr. Fiona Gilchrist
Hillcrest Animal Hospital, February 2012