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The Great Outdoors -- Not so Great

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
Last night I was playing with my kids in the front yard. I look down the street about 5-6 houses and a black cat crosses the street where my neighbor and his son (8th grade) are. I see the boy pick up the cat and flip it around a few times. Then he picks it up and tosses it. The cat is obviously extremely social because it never really runs away. Then he comes out with a golf club -- I am thinking please don't -- but he is "shooing" the cat away with it.

Next my daughter and her friend come down the street on their bikes. The cat just sits in the middle of sidewalk. So they stop and pet her (I later find out she is named "Lilly" and lives across and down the street). My daughter comes back excited telling me how sweet this cat is.

Then, poor Lilly is walking about one house away from house and I can't believe my eyes I see another black cat across the street crouched down. Sure enough, cat #2 crosses the street, follows Lilly under a tree (Lilly never saw it coming) and all you hear is cat screams. Lilly then darts away across the street.

It is so dangerous for this obviously sweet, socialized cat to be out here. We live in a very nice neighborhood with low traffic -- but all it takes is a boy who hates cats to end it all. Did I mention the two Boxers who live two houses away from Lilly? They play with dogs in the front yard (no leash -- our city has no leash law except in parks) -- even when my young kids are walking down the sidewalk across the street these dog bolt across to my kids (not in an aggresive way but still scares my 5 year old). I am sure they would chase and injure this poor cat.

I have worked so hard to socialize my cat in the last year (with limited results). Here is such a nice friendly, wonderful cat who faces danger everyday. I would never let that happen. (Mind you we had an indoor/outdoor cat growing up that lived to be 19 -- in my opinion we just didn't know any better then).
post #2 of 28
Yes, that is very sad. Sometimes one wonders, how these cats or dogs for that matter, not only manage too survive such a daily ritual, but how they still manage to stay so loving and social It is indeed a wild and unsafe world out there, and I just always hope and pray these innocent furkitties are able too survive it, and live a wonderful life.
post #3 of 28
That poor dear baby! I do feel sorry for all the wonderful nice friendly cats that are treated so poorly. We had a cat outside of my highschool job, she tried to go home with everyone and I watched people kick her away from them, and ignore her. I felt bad for the poor thing because she came up and sat in the window begging me to come pet her. She stayed outside and endured all these people being so mean for 8 hours. When I got off work I took her to our farm where she still lives happily 4 years later.
post #4 of 28
IMO this just proves how dangerous outside is with an unsupervised cat. All it takes is one time for the cat to be in the wrong place/time (whether from a cruel dog, person, or a car).

I love my cats too much to allow them to be roaming around outside unsupervised!
post #5 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
IMO this just proves how dangerous outside is with an unsupervised cat. All it takes is one time for the cat to be in the wrong place/time (whether from a cruel dog, person, or a car).

I love my cats too much to allow them to be roaming around outside unsupervised!
Exactly! Thats so sad

I take my boys outside, but they are 110% supervised & on a collar/harness!
post #6 of 28
I hate seeing cats run around outside whether or not they are nice friendly cats or mean strays...either way is sad because it is very dangerous for them!

I do bring PHX outside, he has a leash and collar I put on him but he doesn't really like it that much. I bring him right outside the door and let him wander around outside on our patio SUPERVISED! I never allow him outside to play by himself. He just likes hanging out on the patio with us or rolling in the dirt.

We are getting ready to move to a new house with a fenced in backyard- I can't wait to see what PHX thinks of that! So much more room to play!!!
post #7 of 28
Just to play devil's advocate here for a moment-

In many other parts of the world it is not normal to not let your cat go outside. Many shelters will not adopt to anyone that plans on keeping their cat strictly indoors.

Many of our members that do not live in the US have indoor/outdoor kitties, so choose your words carefully and please do not imply that they do not care about their cats.
post #8 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbysMom View Post
Just to play devil's advocate here for a moment-

In many other parts of the world it is not normal to not let your cat go outside. Many shelters will not adopt to anyone that plans on keeping their cat strictly indoors.

Many of our members that do not live in the US have indoor/outdoor kitties, so choose your words carefully and please do not imply that they do not care about their cats.


Do those place have less cars and dogs running loose?! I'm so afraid to let any of my kitties go outside! I always check to make sure the screens on the windows are tight and that the cats haven't put any holes in them. I know the minute I let my cat out it will get run over by a car or eaten by the neighbors dog!
post #9 of 28
I live in the US and have predators around me, so I don't personally let my cats out.

That is just a friendly reminder that we have many members from other countries that do not have some of the issues with predators that we do.
post #10 of 28
I'd like to share my views on this matter as I know I am certainly in the minority, as I do let all my four cats go out. I have two that are seniors and both over 13yrs of age, a toddler and a baby.

Please remember - I do not think it is wrong for people to keep their cat indoors at all, I understand and totally accept the reasons.

My stance is that they learn about dangers - maybe this would be a good question for Kelly our Cat Behaviorists - yes they get into trouble and some of you will know Miss Moofs got in a bad cat-fight, this is where I help, if she was a feral she would have probably gone blind and/or died from infection. So of course she had vet treatment. I can honestly say if it was worse and she had to loose her eye and/or died, then whilst I'd be very, very upset, it wouldn't change how I feel about letting my cats out. I have had a cat killed by a car, so I know how that feels.

I like my cats to have what I think is the best of both worlds, a bit of the wild and a bit of the home comforts.

Cats can get into skirmishes with all of all sorts animals, but this is rare as in most cases both animals would keep there distance from each other, this is how the natural world works. They also have the weapons they need for these skirmishes.

They are good at safety behaviours and will try to get up high to keep safe, or keep still, or hide if in danger. They will scent mark their territory with urine, claw marks and sometimes faeces if they feel threatened.

As for children and how they treat other peoples pets well in such cases if I witnessed an animal being abused, I would be reporting it to the relevant authorities and speaking to the parents.

I'm going to leave it there and I am sure this issue of indoor/outdoor will rattle on for a while and I am happy to offer the other view of the debate
post #11 of 28
I live in a very quiet Cul-de-sac, I have lived here for many years and never seen a stray dog.
I am therefore in the fortunate position of being able to let my cats live a more natural lifestyle. They are able to play in the garden from dawn to dusk and are extremely happy and contented.
I feel sorry for those of you live in a country or an area where this is not possible, but I would never dream of saying that you love you cats less than I do because you keep them shut in all the time.
This almost constant, sanctimonious insistence that people who have indoor/outdoor don’t care about them is really getting me down.
post #12 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by EnzoLeya View Post
Do those place have less cars and dogs running loose?! I'm so afraid to let any of my kitties go outside! I always check to make sure the screens on the windows are tight and that the cats haven't put any holes in them. I know the minute I let my cat out it will get run over by a car or eaten by the neighbors dog!
No they don't... many shelters in cities in Europe will not even adopt out if you say you are keeping the animal inside, it is not the norm.

My cats are allowed out supervised and on leashes, but I live in an apartment building on a main road. If I had a garden, Scully was always allowed out supervised but unleashed by his previous owners and I may let him do that again if the fence was high enough.
post #13 of 28
One more thing....my cats have gotten into worse fights in my house(they are strictly indoors) & sustained some very nasty injuries. Cats attacking cats can happen in houses as well.
post #14 of 28
I've had cats that were inside/outside cats but that was long time ago or when we were living on the farm. My comment was not meant to be mean about loving your cats but the fact is that if you allow outside - then your cat should be SUPERVISED and not allowed to roam the neighborhood in other people's yards, etc.

Even on the farm, we lost cats to the highway from time to time. Most were ok roaming around; they didn't stray far as they eventually were all neutered/spayed.

I meant it as I love my cats too much to allow them out unsupervised.
post #15 of 28
What about in the case of signing a legal document, similar to those of shelters about not declawing, that the cat must be allowed outside?

These are the questions used by my local shelter in London England with regard to animals going outside

Quote:
Does your property have access to a garden area? YES / NO

Will the cat be allowed access to the outside? YES / NO

Do you have a cat flap installed in the property? YES / NO
If you answer no to any of them they will not adopt out. Is it not better that these cats have a home where they are allowed to roam freely than to be PTS at a shelter?
post #16 of 28
First of all, meow meow allow me to apologize for your thread being turned into a debate. I can understand the feelings you had when watching this cat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by goldenkitty45
I meant it as I love my cats too much to allow them out unsupervised.
But this is exactly the type of comment I am talking about. In saying this, you are implying that our members that live in areas where indoor/outdoor cats are the norm, not the exception do not love their cats as much as you do.

Allow me to explain where I am coming from. Occasionally this debate crops up in this forum and I receive PM's from members from countries other than the US and they are hurt that our US members think they do not care for their cats and that they are bad owners. The comments are the same or similar to what has been said here. Some have considered leaving the site. These are long-standing members that provide excellent advice. The forum rules state that we need to have tolerance for all cultures, and this includes those that allow their cats outdoors.

Could we please continue this discussion in a manner that does not imply that anyone that allows their pet outdoors is somehow a bad pet owner?

Thanks.

I will now climb off my soapbox.
post #17 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by AbbysMom View Post
But this is exactly the type of comment I am talking about. In saying this, you are implying that our members that live in areas where indoor/outdoor cats are the norm, not the exception do not love their cats as much as you do.

Allow me to explain where I am coming from. Occasionally this debate crops up in this forum and I receive PM's from members from countries other than the US and they are hurt that our US members think they do not care for their cats and that they are bad owners. The comments are the same or similar to what has been said here. Some have considered leaving the site. These are long-standing members that provide excellent advice. The forum rules state that we need to have tolerance for all cultures, and this includes those that allow their cats outdoors.

Could we please continue this discussion in a manner that does not imply that anyone that allows their pet outdoors is somehow a bad pet owner?

Thanks.

I will now climb off my soapbox.

thank-you !!
post #18 of 28
I understand that Europe and Australia let their cats outside. But how are we to address the issues of in or out when people come in here and ask "should I?".

In the US its strongly recommended to keep cats inside at all times and most breeders insist on it too. So if we (US) is against it, how do you come across telling the person how you feel.

IMO its far too many dangers outside. And I don't understand WHY a shelter in England would not adopt out if you don't let the cat outside. Cats do NOT have to go outside - its your decision. What about those in England that live in apartments - shelters don't adopt to those people?
post #19 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
I understand that Europe and Australia let their cats outside. But how are we to address the issues of in or out when people come in here and ask "should I?".
We educate them and tell them the pros and cons.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
And I don't understand WHY a shelter in England would not adopt out if you don't let the cat outside. Cats do NOT have to go outside - its your decision.
The message to keep cats indoors is getting across here. If you adopt a kitten from the Cats protection they prefer that you keep them indoors, but if it's a fully grown cat that's been used to going outside they understand that you can't keep them in but that you try and have them enclosed in your garden
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
What about those in England that live in apartments - shelters don't adopt to those people?
Yes they do

Like i said in a thread several days ago. In an ideal world it would be great if cats were kept inside, especially those that live beside busy main roads. I also live in a quiet cul de sac, and there are a few cats here that go outside, but at the back of my house is a main road.

I like to know where my cats are and that they don't get into any fights but that's my choice.

The UK has changed a lot to when my parents had cats. Infact 30 years ago my parents nextdoor neighbour was thought as strange for keeping her cat inside!.
post #20 of 28
In the US we still allowed cats to be declawed, while it is illegal in most civilized countries. How can we be critical of customs in other countries? We may not agree with it, but it is done every day all over the US.


As Susan said, you can give the pros and cons of indoors only and present your opinions, but it needs to be done in a manner that is not belittling to those in countries where it is allowed.
post #21 of 28
That is not always true, this is the rehoming page from my local rescue

Rehoming Policies

We will rehome to any area. We welcome families with small children who want a cat as we believe children and animals should grow up together. If the prospective new owners are out at work most of the day Jennie likes to encourage them to have two cats to keep each other company.
The cats are wormed, vaccinated, treated for fleas and neutered if old enough. Insurance is available for a free trial period of six weeks. After that it is up to the new owner to renew it. We are given commission on each policy given out which helps us to continue helping other cats. Elderly cats will be given a full M.O.T. and dental before being rehomed.
A rehoming form must be completed. If a kitten is too young to be neutered the new owners are sent out a neutering reminder form which must be completed by their vet and returned after the neutering operation.
We do home checks where necessary but an interview will always be carried out by the warden, Jennie.
We will not rehome if the prospective new owners:
•\tlive on or near a busy road (including backing on to a busy road)
•\tlive near a railway
•\tlive in a flat - except in special circumstances i.e. the cat is elderly, handicapped or has never been out or won't go out.
Giving a cat or kitten as a surprise gift is not something we recommend or agree with: the gift may not be truly wanted. Therefore, we insist that the new owners come to meet their new cat or kitten. Seeing the interaction between human and cat or kitten is vital to us as it helps ensure that those in our care are going to safe, loving homes where they will live happily for the rest of their lives.
It is not our practice to do a follow up visit as we just do not have the resources to enable us to do this. The new owner is never alone, however, as Jennie is always on the end of the phone if there are any problems. See the Contact List for details.
post #22 of 28
The great outdoors - let me have my say!

First of all let me say that I live in the UK and I keep my cats indoors. I live in an apartment and also near a busy road (in fact near a bend in a busy road). When I got my first kittens 10 years ago I'd spent a year thinking about whether I could keep cats indoors and reading everything I could about cats. I still wasnt' sure I was going to keep them in as I live on the ground floor so thought about the possibility of letting them out through a window. There are a few other cats around here and there are some I've seen outdoors for years so they are obviously staying away from the road. As they grew up they seemed fine indoors and I eventually decided that they would remain indoor cats. I think it very unlikey I'll ever let a cat have free outdoor access now that I've experienced keeping them indoors and know that it's possible to keep them safe and happy. If I move to a house I hope to build an outdoor run and/or catproof the back yard so that they can have some safe outdoor access.

Having said that, I do sometimes feel defensive when people are criticised for letting their cats go outside. It frustrates me when people refuse to acknowledge that there can be benefits to allowing a cat outside. A cat that goes outside has a much more varied and stimulating environment than one who stops indoors all the time, and most cats enjoy being out in the sun or chasing a leaf in the wind. Behavioural problems tend to be less too - anxiety related problems such as inappropriate urination are rare among indoor/outdoor cats over here. It's all about compromise and assessing the risks and benefits of both options, and those will never be exactly the same for 2 people as we all live in different environments. Ultimately it's total safety vs total freedom. For some of us the risks are obvious and are too great for us to allow our cats to go outdoors, but for others the risks and benefits are much more finely balanced and it's a harder decision. Obviously I believe that in indoor environment can be made stimulating enough for a cat if the owner is prepared to put in enough effort to make it so, otherwise I wouldn't keep indoor cats, but to imply that those who allow their cats to go outside don't care about them is rather harsh, imo. It's because they care about their quality of life that they let them go outside. Most people over here do keep their cats in at night when it's more dangerous outside.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
I understand that Europe and Australia let their cats outside. But how are we to address the issues of in or out when people come in here and ask "should I?.
I'd say by encouraging them to think carefully about both options and then make up their own mind. I would encourage anyone to keep their cats indoors, but I would also respect their decision to allow them outdoors if they feel it's relatively safe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
And I don't understand WHY a shelter in England would not adopt out if you don't let the cat outside. Cats do NOT have to go outside - its your decision. What about those in England that live in apartments - shelters don't adopt to those people?
It varies depending on the shelter. Remember that most cats in shelters are adult cats and most of those will have had previous outdoor access. Most shelters will want such cats to be homed to indoor/outdoor homes. I do think it's possible for such cats to be happy indoors, but it's a lot harder to get a cat that has had free outdoor access in the past to adapt to an indoor life so I don't blame shelters for looking for safe indoor/outdoor homes. When it comes to kittens, some are happy to rehome to indoor homes and some are not. It depends a lot on the individuals involved in doing homechecks and making those decisions. Most shelters have some cats from time to time that need indoor homes, eg FIV, blind cats. The majority of breeders over here prefer indoor homes for their cats and will specify that in the contract of sale.
post #23 of 28
I live out in the country.Blaze is an outside cat.She has never gotten into a fight,never gotten hit,never gotten injured.
There are so many more dangers in a home than outside IMO.There are electrical cords,chemicals,plants,heights,toys, and etc.
Blaze LOVES it outside.When we had her in the house,before Seth's surgury, she would freak out.She would pace and meow this God aweful cry that would break your heart.
(Since his surgury, we are not allowed to have ANY cats/ferrets,hampsters,etc with a strong ammonia smell in the house.)
She is so much happier being outside.We do lock her up at night in the garage-- most nights.
I love my cat as much as anyone else does.Just because she is an outside cat, doesn't mean I love her any less.
post #24 of 28
Thank you, Mooficat and AbbysMom.

I don't often talk about the fact that my cats have access to the outdoors, because of the prevailing climate of disapproval of the practice.

I wouldn't for a moment suggest that it's wrong to keep cats indoors, because I am not in a position to judge anyone else's circumstances and location. You have to make your own decision, based on those factors, and I trust you to do it with the best interests of your cat(s) in mind.

All I ask is the same tolerance in return. Only I can judge my circumstances and location. And, like Mooficat, I have lost a cat and know the anguish of it, but also like Mooficat, I see that as a single tragic occurrence, and not justification to restrict every other cat.

FWIW, my current cats are 6,6,and 8, and with the exception of the little lost one, everyone else has lived long and healthy -- at least into their teens, one to 21 -- and died of causes unrelated to their access to the outdoors.

Peace.
post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldenKitty45 View Post
I understand that Europe and Australia let their cats outside. But how are we to address the issues of in or out when people come in here and ask "should I?".

In the US its strongly recommended to keep cats inside at all times and most breeders insist on it too. So if we (US) is against it, how do you come across telling the person how you feel.

IMO its far too many dangers outside. And I don't understand WHY a shelter in England would not adopt out if you don't let the cat outside. Cats do NOT have to go outside - its your decision. What about those in England that live in apartments - shelters don't adopt to those people?
Most of it also has to do with the pet education.

The RSPCA have 'guidelines' on the needs of a cat, their guidelines for whether you choose a cat as a pet are:
Quote:
The right pet for you?
Cats are very clean and make good companions for many people. But they can damage carpets and furniture with their claws and may not always want to be stroked and handled. What do cats need?
  • Companionship - to be with other cats or people for at least part of the day.
  • A balanced diet - make sure there are no bones in your cat's food.
  • A constant supply of fresh, clean water.
  • A garden or safe place to play and exercise every day, away from busy roads.
  • Somewhere warm and cosy to sleep.
  • To be brushed regularly, particularly when shedding their coats. Long-haired cats need to be brushed every day.
  • A scratching post.
  • Help to clean their teeth. You can brush or rub their teeth with special toothpaste. They also need to have their teeth checked regularly by the vet.
  • To come and go as they please - a cat flap is ideal.
  • To be trained to use a litter tray.
  • To be microchipped in case they get lost.
  • Cat neutering should be carried out as early as possible in order to avoid unwanted litters. Most cats are sexually mature at six months, but some cats can become pregnant as early as five months. Therefore, the ideal age to neuter your cat is between four and five months.
  • To be taken to a vet if they are ill or injured.
  • Injections to prevent certain serious diseases.
  • Worming and regular flea treatments.
  • To be looked after when you are away on holiday.
I checked my local Cat's Protection site and they still say that unless the cat has 'special needs' they will rehome to outdoor homes only and have 'a few' older and special needs cats that can be homed in apartments / flats.

When it is a group as big as the RSPCA, other arguments will not, for a lot of people, stand up against it
post #26 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by rapunzel47 View Post
Thank you, Mooficat and AbbysMom.

I don't often talk about the fact that my cats have access to the outdoors, because of the prevailing climate of disapproval of the practice.

I wouldn't for a moment suggest that it's wrong to keep cats indoors, because I am not in a position to judge anyone else's circumstances and location. You have to make your own decision, based on those factors, and I trust you to do it with the best interests of your cat(s) in mind.

All I ask is the same tolerance in return. Only I can judge my circumstances and location. And, like Mooficat, I have lost a cat and know the anguish of it, but also like Mooficat, I see that as a single tragic occurrence, and not justification to restrict every other cat.

FWIW, my current cats are 6,6,and 8, and with the exception of the little lost one, everyone else has lived long and healthy -- at least into their teens, one to 21 -- and died of causes unrelated to their access to the outdoors.

Peace.
Great post
post #27 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by rapunzel47 View Post
Thank you, Mooficat and AbbysMom.

I don't often talk about the fact that my cats have access to the outdoors, because of the prevailing climate of disapproval of the practice.

I wouldn't for a moment suggest that it's wrong to keep cats indoors, because I am not in a position to judge anyone else's circumstances and location. You have to make your own decision, based on those factors, and I trust you to do it with the best interests of your cat(s) in mind.

All I ask is the same tolerance in return. Only I can judge my circumstances and location. And, like Mooficat, I have lost a cat and know the anguish of it, but also like Mooficat, I see that as a single tragic occurrence, and not justification to restrict every other cat.

FWIW, my current cats are 6,6,and 8, and with the exception of the little lost one, everyone else has lived long and healthy -- at least into their teens, one to 21 -- and died of causes unrelated to their access to the outdoors.

Peace.
Absolutely what she said.
I have two cats, 3 and 5, who go outdoors and I had one who lived to be 16 and died of a vaccine related sarcoma. I get very defensive when someone calls me a bad person when they don't know my circumstances. I am a veterinary health professional and I know what I am doing.
post #28 of 28
Thread Starter 
I try not to be judgemental when the indoor/outdoor thing comes up because I did grow up with an indoor/outdoor cat that lived to be 19 years old. He had a wonderful life HOWEVER, he was hit by a car once and broke his jaw -- luckily he survived. And, one time he disappeared for three days (thank God he came back). I used to think it was cruel to keep a cat indoors but my way of thinking has changed. Even my mother (who I told the story to in my original post) said she would never let a cat outside now-a-days. She told me our cat used to pee in the neighbors sand box and piss off (sorry couldn't resist the pun) the neighbor. And how she swears the other neighbor once kicked our cat.

Though the cat in my original story seems so sweet, I know she makes another neighbor of mine mad because she goes into their yard and drives their indoor cat crazy.

Personally, I think it is fine for kitty to go out as long as it stays on your property. I don't think anyone can argue that you are taking a big risk if you allow your cat to roam the neighborhood.

Also, I think what GoldenKitty said reflects how I feel -- which is -- I would be a nervous wreck knowing my cat was outside somewhere and I didn't where he was.
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