Reply: All of what you say is true, however, the fact is, we don't live in an ideal world.
Nor, can we ever make the world truly "ideal" or free from all risks. -- We only delude ourselves into thinking that we can.
The question is, would we even want to create a risk-free world. Really?
I suspect that Kathy's rescue, Snooky, was at one time, an owned cat and might previously have been vaccinated. (I base that conclusion on the fact Snooky was a social and friendly cat.)
Truly "feral" cats and dogs can be remarkably healthy without benefit of ever having been vaccinated.
I am not a believer that vaccines are the cure-all and end-all of all human or animal diseases and woes.
On the contrary, I believe over-vaccinating animals and humans can cause illnesses or subtle impairments to the normal immune system.
I base that speculation on the fact so many shelter cats and dogs become sick shortly after receiving vaccines -- in many cases, coming down with the very diseases they were supposedly vaccinated against!
I believe only in the vaccines against Feline Distemper in cats and Distemper and Parvo viruses in dogs. I do not believe in any of the so-called "Kennel Cough" or "URI" vaccines and suspect these of causing many of the illnesses in shelter cats and dogs.
When I adopted my dog, Tina from Animal Control 12 years ago, she was sick from "Kennel Cough" after receiving the Bordettella (Kennel Cough) vaccine and was going to be "euthanized." Since adopting, Tina she has received no other vaccines and has never had a sick day in 12 years.
What exactly is the great harm if a cat or dog gets a cold anyway --other than creating rationalization and excuse for the animals to be killed in shelters for so-called, "illness?"
For that matter, what is the great harm in children having to contend with Chicken Pox or Measles? Hell, we all went through those things when I was a kid.
"What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger."
I agree with you that cats kept indoors are safer and live longer as they are protected against the risks that you mention. (They also don't alienate neighbors of kill small animals.)
But, for some cats it may be at the sacrifice of their sense of freedom or joie de vivre.
Truly loving and responsible pet owners have many things to weigh in making choices for their animals.
They have to know and obey the laws in their communities, respect the rights of their neighbors and be aware of dangers (both health wise and others such as vehicle traffic) to their pets.
But, I don't necessarily believe we should strive to eliminate ALL risks to our animals at the possible expense of their natural instincts and well being.
In the end, there are no "one size fits all" solutions and answers for every animal's well being as they don't truly exist for humans either.
Here in New York City, we have eliminated virtually all indoor public establishments where one can bring a dog (other than vet offices or pet supply stores) or smoke a cigarette. This is supposedly for "protection of human health."
But, it makes one long for the old "Cheers"-type bars where one used to be able to bring their pet dog AND smoke!
Who really wants the "ideal world" where no human child ever gets a bruise from playing "Dodge ball" in school, no cat or dog ever gets a "cold" or any human adult has to "fear cancer" because the people at the next table smoke? Who wants the world where one practically needs pliers to open a bottle of "Chlorox" because someone's child "might" drink a bottle?
It makes one wonder how previous generations survived without poisoning themselves before the age of two?
Unfortunately, "The more you control, the more you have to control."
Sometimes, a little less "control" and a little more "risk" is more conducive to a sense of freedom and joie de vivre for both, humans and animals.
Maybe we don't ultimately live as long, but its a lot more fun. -- PCA