6 Reasons to Keep Your FIV Cat Indoors
It’s pretty common for cat owners to feel bad about keeping their feline friends strictly indoors. If you’re used to allowing your FIV-positive cat to wander outside anytime they want, then you may also be hesitant to suddenly take that freedom away from them. Indoor-only does sound a bit restraining, especially to us humans. However, it’s totally different with cats. Being indoors won’t drive them to the brink of insanity as much as we think it will, and it’s definitely not cruel. As long as you provide them with everything that they need—cat trees, cat toys, scratching posts, you know, things like that—the indoor life is actually a lot less stressful for them. That’s why indoor cats live way longer than outdoor cats—12 whole years longer, in fact! Still not convinced? Read on for 6 more reasons to keep your FIV-positive cat indoors.
Reason # 1: It makes it easier for you to keep track of your cat’s health
Since FIV-positive cats are already a bit lacking in the immune defense department, it’s very important to constantly monitor their health. Keeping your cat indoors allows you to examine them regularly—from the status of their fur and skin to their behavior and the color of their urine and feces. Those little things will help you catch any signs of developing infection or disease in its early stages so that you can get your cat treated right away. Treatment is always more effective when done before an illness gets worse.
Reason # 2: It prevents your cat from contracting diseases from sick outdoor animals
Letting your cat go outside unsupervised increases their chances of coming into contact with sick outdoor animals and becoming ill as well. For cats that are already immunocompromised, like those with FIV, that can be very dangerous. Keeping your cat indoors prevents them from contracting highly contagious diseases, like rabies, feline distemper, FeLV, and feline infectious peritonitis. It also keeps them from getting into catfights and ending up with horrible skin abscesses.
Reason # 3: It helps prevent the spread of FIV
Keeping your cats indoors not only protects your cat but other felines in the community, too. FIV is contagious and can spread from one cat to another through deep bite wounds. If your FIV-positive cat gets into a catfight with a community cat, the virus will be transmitted, allowing the newly infected cat to possibly infect other members of the colony.
Reason # 4: It keeps your cat from acting on their urge to hunt
As adorable and innocent-looking as they are, cats are natural-born hunters and they’re extremely good at their craft. In fact, cats are so unbelievably good at hunting that they’ve contributed to the extinction of 33 species of animals! However, as incredible as that sounds, it’s not something to celebrate. That only makes it all the more crucial for cats to be kept indoors, although backyard critters aren’t the only ones that will benefit from that.
Preventing cats from hunting not only preserves the population of several prey animals, but it also keeps cats from contracting fleas, bacteria, viruses, and parasites that could be living on, or in, those animals. Cats are known to go after rats, frogs, birds, rabbits, and even lizards—all of which are common carriers of disease-causing bacteria, viruses, and parasitic intestinal worms, like roundworms and hookworms, which can also infect humans. Instead, provide environmental enrichment for your FIV-positive cat to keep them mentally and physically stimulated while indoors. You can start by getting a cat tree or investing in a few cat toys. You can click here to view some of our favorite cat trees and toys!
Reason # 5: It removes the risk of hypothermia
If a storm suddenly appears or if the weather becomes cold while your cat is out, they’re at risk of hypothermia, which can easily lead to death. Compared to dogs and humans, cats require a warmer environment to thrive. That’s why they like going inside boxes, sleeping on laptops, and basking under the heat of the sun—they prefer to keep themselves warm and toasty. With that said, cats have a lower tolerance for the cold and are more prone to becoming sick, or hypothermic, when temperatures are too low.
Reason # 6: It prevents your cat from getting injured
When cats go outside, there’s always a possibility of them getting injured in some way. Aside from getting into a catfight, cats can fall down from a tree or even get tangled up in a barbed-wire fence. FIV-positive cats may not heal as fast and as effectively as non-FIV cats. Injuries can lead to infections or cause certain health issues to develop, which is something we definitely don’t want to happen.
Keeping your FIV-positive cat indoors shields them from a lot of harmful environmental factors. It can help lengthen their life and preserve their health for longer. However, if that’s not an option for you, then you can always harness-train your cat so you can take them out on supervised neighborhood strolls. You can also invest in an enclosed playpen or a DIY catio, where your FIV-positive cat can safely admire the outdoors.