Cats should be allowed outdoors for walks on leashes, just as dogs are, and to explore securely fenced yards. A product called “Cat Fence-In,” a flexible mesh barrier that is placed at the top of a privacy fence, prevents cats from climbing out.
Like dogs or small children, cats let outdoors without supervision are vulnerable to cars, other animals, cruel people, and disease. Feline leukemia, feline AIDS (FIV), feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), toxoplasmosis, distemper, heartworm, and rabies can be difficult to detect and, in the case of FIP and distemper, impossible to test for. Most of these ailments are highly contagious to other companion animals.
Many people consider free-roaming cats pests. They do not want the cats to urinate, defecate, dig, eat plants, or kill birds on their properties. Free-roaming cats have been shot, poisoned, and stolen by angry neighbors.
Fortunately, cats can live happy lives indoors.