Originally Posted by mrblanche
No, but I'd keep a 2-yr-old child in my sight, and they're not likely to jump a fence and get hit by a car. And the dog would definitely be on a leash or inside the fenced yard.
Don't take my word for it. Ask a vet. You don't see how keeping a cat indoors might help it live longer? Are you serious? Most of the parasites and diseases a cat is likely to get, it will get outdoors. Strange dogs don't come in your house. Cars aren't driven in your house. Coyotes don't come in your house. Owls and hawks don't come in your house. Strangers don't shoot your cat in your house. Animal control won't pick up your cat in your house.
Researchers say that the average life of a cat who goes outdoors is 6 months. The average life of an indoor cat is 16 years. And yes, I know of exceptions to both. If you understand statistics, you know what those stats mean.
And an indoor cat is not going to be disrupting the local ecology. The two worst non-native animals currently wreaking havoc on America's wildlife are cats and pigs.
I've heard all the arguments, and I've made my decision. We haven't had a cat that went outdoors in 34 years. My mother, in that same time, has lost 5 cats, and my sister has lost 2 (and she no longer lets hers out, after the second one).
If you let your cats out when they're young, they'll adapt pretty well to their surroundings including having a natural fear of cars. My cat would never just leap under the wheels of a moving car! A cat that's been let out early enough understands the role of their predators in their own environment. It won't be hard for them to figure out how to avoid and escape from said predators.
Sure cats can get a disease from going outside, but if a cat is truly an outdoor cat he'll be getting so much exercise he'll be healthy enough to deal with any bacterias coming his way. Almost everyone I know with indoor cats are constantly taking their cat to the vet for various illness'. My boyfriend's got two outdoor cats aged 12 and 13, and neither of them have EVER been to the vet for being sick. They've been to the vet to be spayed, or maybe for getting a thorn in the paw. A cat is going to be perfectly healthy running around outside as long as you remember to keep it protected from things like fleas that cause alot of problems a cat can have.
Also, I'm curious to hear what researchers claim the average lifespan of an outdoor cat is 6 months?
As for ecology, it's easy to teach your outdoor cat not to hunt by putting a bell on it when you first let it out.. as many people with outdoor cats do.
Cats are far to intelligent to be stuck inside all day. They need to be able to explore.. even just to get some fresh air. Also, it's very important for a cat to have access to grass to eat when they need to vomit. Vomiting helps them get out all the fur that's stuck in their stomach.
Even if your cat is only allowed to roam your backyard, it should still be allowed outside.