If you just adopted your first indoor cat, then you are likely looking forward to many years of affection from your new feline companion. Many people, like you, opt to keep their cats indoors to keep them safe from injury and predators. Cats can live long, healthy lives indoors. However, there are many misconceptions about indoor cat health that you need to forget if you really want your cat to live a long, healthy life.
Read on to learn two misconceptions about indoor cats and the truth behind them.
Myth #1: Indoor Cats Do Not Need Vaccinations
If your cat was not already vaccinated when you adopted them, then you may think that they don't need vaccinations since they will stay indoors and away from other cats. At first thought, it may seem to make sense that if your cat does not encounter other cats carrying diseases, then the vaccines simply are not needed, right?
This is completely false, and indoor cats absolutely need to be vaccinated. The most important vaccine for indoor cats to receive is the FVRCP shot. This vaccine protects them from a wide range of ailments, including deadly feline panleukopenia. Two additional vaccines that important for most indoor cats are the feline leukemia vaccine and a rabies vaccine (although local laws may require a rabies vaccination). The only cats who may not need the latter two vaccines are those that have absolutely no chance of getting outside by accident.
If your cat is young and frisky, then you can never feel too confident that she will not slip through the crack of the door when you, someone else in your household, or a visitor, opens a door. If that were to happen and your cat gets bit by another animal with rabies or encounters another cat that has feline leukemia, you would regret not getting your cat those vaccines.
Myth #2: Indoor Cats Have "Poop Parasites" Just Like Outdoor Ones
While keeping kitty indoors does not fully protect her from disease (some feline viruses can be tracked in by the feet of family members or she could slip out the door), the good news is that the poop of indoor cats is actually much less likely to contain parasites than outdoor cats. You may have heard that it is important for pregnant women to not change the litter boxes of their cats during pregnancy, and this is because most cat poop contains a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii. Anyone can actually catch this parasite and not just pregnant women.
However, cats obtain this parasite by eating animals that are infected with it, such as birds and mice in the wild. Since your indoor cat is not hunting and munching on wild birds and mice, as outdoor cats are prone to, the chances of your cat's feces containing this parasite is much lower.
While anyone pregnant or with a compromised immune system should still play it safe and leave the litter box cleaning to someone with a healthier immune system, the good news is that choosing to keep your cat indoors can help keep your family healthier by lowering everyone's chances of developing a disease from contact with this parasite.
If you adopted a new cat and plan to keep her indoors, then learn the truth behind many of the myths surrounding indoor cats. Indoor cats still need vaccinations and need to be spayed or neutered for their health, yet are less prone to having parasites in their poop. Talk to your veterinarian for more information.