I was once a believer that cats should be allowed to go outdoors if they wanted to but for the past decade or so I have held the reverse position on this issue and here is just one reason why -
Today, I dug a bullet out of the back of my cat's neck.
My cats are not allowed to go outside except for an enclosed patio area, which I have attempted to make escape proof. For the most part it is; it keeps three of my four cats where they should be, but I have one - Moxie - who could put Houdini to shame when it comes to escape acts. She and I have been engaged in the "Moxie Wars" for several months now. I plug a hole, she finds a new one. To her it is a wonderful game, for me it is a nightmare that is giving me gray hairs.
So today, I noticed a bit of blood on the back of her neck and upon further inspection, I saw that it needed attention. I trimmed the hair away from the area and found what at first I believed to be some kind of cyst that may have opened up, but since I had never noticed anything there before, I decided that was very improbable. I had to pull tufts of hair out of this apparent hole in her neck and yet I could still feel a lump. Finally I was able to pull a small object out of it..... a bullet.
What a lucky cat, the bullet had only lodged itself under the fleshy part of the back of her neck, an inch or two in any direction and she would have been seriously injured or killed. It was from a very small caliber weapon, perfect for killing small animals, which is exactly what my neighbor has threatened to do to all the cats and dogs in our neighborhood.
So, if you are still a believer that little Fluffy should be allowed to have free reign of the great outdoors, please reconsider. This is only one of the many horrible things that can happen to your beloved pet. In addition to possibly getting lost, there are a myriad of dangers such as cars, dogs, mal-intentioned people, toxic materials, and other cats that can harm or infect your pet with disease and parasites.
Cats are also curious by nature and love to inspect every nook and cranny they find, which may also lead to injury or becoming trapped. Cats who roam free outdoors usually only live a few years. Of course there are exceptions, but that is the average for most.
Contrary to what you may have heard, cats are not miserable when kept indoors if they are provided with enough attention and stimulation. To make sure your pet gets enough exercise spend some time every day playing with your cat and don't forget to leave enough toys around to provide entertainment when you aren't there. Cat furniture will also provide a great diversion for kitty. See that your cat has a place that is dark and private to sleep or hide (a cardboard box will do) when he isn't feeling sociable. Finally, don't forget to give a little affection every day and kitty will be quite happy. By doing this you will be helping your cat to live a long and healthy life and be able to enjoy many years of companionship together.