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Indoor or outdoor?

post #1 of 39
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone!
I'm new here, and i'd just like to get everyones opinion on this subject. Do you think cats should be strictly indoor? Or indoor/outdoor? My boyfriend and I believe that cats should have the freedom to come in and out as they please. We live on a farm. We love our cats very much however recently one of them has gone missing And it's a really sad time for us b/c we're really worried about her. Anyways, recently I have gotten the most *Rude* and harassing e-mails....all from people who seem to do animal rescue....I don't mean just giving an opinion, i mean downright harassment, telling me what an awful person i am, saying it's my fault about the cat..cursing at me! Absolutely ridiculousness....All without knowing a thing about me or my cats. We love them very much. Not to make this long winded, but i'm curious to know what other people think. Thanks & have a great night!
post #2 of 39
Hi Bella and welcome to TCS!!

I'm sorry about your kitty and I hope she comes home soon safe and sound. Is she spayed? If not, she could be out getting a boyfriend. LOL

We live in the country on a very untravelled road and I was raised to think cats can be in/out door. Recently, we had a kitty get hit by a car and pass away and one of my stray/ferals was hit by a car and he now has lifelong brain damage and he's only 11 months old (about 9 months old when it happend). I do still think *some* cats do great as in/out kitties but the majority do best as just indoor. I also know more bad things can happen to an outside cat versus and indoor one.
post #3 of 39
Indoors is safest, IMO. However, some cats are mean to live outdoors.

I have indoor cats & outdoor cats....none are indoor/outdoors. All are spayed & neutered. The outdoor kitties are semi-ferals or all are kitties who've lived outdoors their entire lives.

I live nowhere near a busy road, in fact the only kitty to have sustained a car injury in the past 4 years is Molly, she was in a car when it was started in my own yard. It's safe here.
post #4 of 39
I hope your cat comes back

I think cats should be indoor unless you have an enclosure or train them to walk on a lead. I suppose living on a farm in the country is a bit different though and perhaps safer than those in the city or suburbs.
post #5 of 39
It really depends on the comfort level of the person owning the cat. Cats really aren't like dogs where they are 100% domesticated, and some cats just NEED to be outside. However, as an owner of an indoor/outdoor cat you shouldn't be offended should your cat end up missing, poisoned, or killed because once the cat is out on someone else's property anything can happen.

My own cats are indoors only. I'm working on building an outdoor enclosure for them to give them something to do, but for me and MY security level I like them staying indoors. The things that worry me are that Napolean LOVES dogs and that he would go up to a cat killing dog not having a clue, and get eaten. Or that he's gullible enough that someone would lure him in and torture him or something. I once saw a play by play of someone lighting a cat on fire. It was linked on a cat forum as cute cat pictures and I seriously got sick, it was the most horrible thing I had ever seen and there's no way I would want my cats being tortured or something. Both cats are microchipped, but again, if they ever got loose, or someone "found" them in order to be identified they would need to be scanned. If no one scans them, they'd never be returned.

There's just too many risks to having them outside. They could get in fights, get hit by cars, get eaten by coyotes etc... it's just too risky.
post #6 of 39
I have always had indoor cats. They have lived very long, happy and healthy lives.
post #7 of 39
Hi and welcome! I'm pretty new myself but have quickly become addicted to all of the great advice that people have here.

I think that if at all possible, pet cats should be kept inside only. Outside cats are ok if they are spayed/neutered, but you have to be prepared for their shorter life span, you have to take care of worms and fleas, and you have to make sure they have shelter. I don't think it's the worst thing in the world if necessary (as long as they are spayed/neutered) but I don't think it should be done if it can be helped. Then there are feral cats, who just aren't meant to live the life of a pet and being outside (again, so long as they are spayed/neutered) would be best.

I don't believe that pet cats should have the freedom to come and go as they please. You wouldn't let your child come and go as they please would you? You have to do what's best for them, and that's not always what they want.

I'm sorry you are being harassed about this by random people, especially when you are so worried about your baby. I hope your kitty comes home safely.
post #8 of 39
My kitty will be a indoor kitty only b/c I live in a busier area. But if I lived on a farm, I wouldn't hesitate to let him be a indoor kitty with some access to the outside.

Regardless of what is right and wrong, it doesn't give the excuse for people to be emailing you harassing you, especially rescues!
post #9 of 39
Hope your kitty finds its way home

Depends on your situation with indoor/outdoor. Our cats are indoors only but when the weather warms up, we let them out into an enclosed area we built just for them. This way we know they are enjoying themselves but yet we know they are safe at the same time We also check on them too...

If possible, maybe you could make an enclosure (even if its small) for your kitties? There are good inexpensive materials you could use... If you had some type of enclosure for your cats, you could still let them go in & out as they please but you would still know they are safe
post #10 of 39
I grew up with indoor only cats and any cats I have will be indoor only. I couldn't bear to find my pet on the side of the road because I'd let it out. Besides, in the area I'm in, occasionally outside cats will vanish... picked up by local collectors (despite tags, etc), and there's been someone out and shooting dogs.
post #11 of 39
We live way out in the country and we have a few outdoor barn cats... they are outdoors by their own choice. They were strays that were dropped off here and we feed them and take care of them. All of my cats are 100% indoors now, for several months Leo was an indoor/outdoor cat until he fractured his leg and now I will not let him out again. Indoors is just safer in my opinion.
post #12 of 39
I lived on a small farm for many years and understand all sides of the argument. While you usually don't have the traffic dangers on a farm, you probably have a lot more predator dangers - neighborhood dogs, coyotes, birds of prey, snakes, etc. You have the farmers that put poisons in their barns to control rodents. You have people that will shoot a cat for sport.

I've had outdoor only cats (a feral colony) and indoor/outdoor cats. If I have a choice, the cats are brought inside permanently. They are safer that way. The 2 cats I have that go in/out here are highly savy to predators or they would not go out.
post #13 of 39
I prefer indoor only or at least, outdoors only when I'm at home. However, studies are showing that indoor/outdoor cats are the happiest. And my first indoor-only kitty died young of lymphatic cancer; all those days he longed to feel fresh air, and I denied him cuz of the risks, and yet he suffered and died young anyway
post #14 of 39
I wouldn't dream of allowing Jack out of the house. Even on his harness and leash he won't go past the door jam--doesn't want to. He lived on the streets as a kitten and I think he's realized the good stuff is inside, not out.

I'll be honest, I live with and am married to a man who has shot many cats in his day (I love him anyway and he would never harm our sweet baby), in my opinion the country is as unsafe as the city.

post #15 of 39
With the exception of ferals, I believe cats should be strictly indoor. We are in charge of their safety, and we can't provide that for them if they are outside unsupervised. Many people that let their cats wonder, would never dream of letting a dog wonder, but there is no difference IMO.
post #16 of 39
I'm so afraid of something happening to my cats that I plan on keeping them indoors only.
post #17 of 39
Mine will be indoor until I can live in a place where they can have an enclosure. Seb was indoor/outdoor for many years. He has had several abcesses, an injured foot, and also has FIV - probably from a fight. Even after he was neutered, he would fight to defend his territory So, for me and my kitties, indoor/enclosure only.
post #18 of 39
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone & thanks for your input so far. What everyone is saying makes sense to me, and sometimes it is hard to remember what you may think your cat would enjoy the most, isn't always the most safe option for them. The enclosure thing sounds really good. I love my cats w/all my heart, i really do, but i also don't want to keep them from something just because i may be worried that something "could" happen to them We do have a lot of land and our house is well away from the road, and they usually stick close to the house. They're all such sweet cats.

I really miss my Simba a lot It's been 2 weeks yesterday since she's been gone. I've put up flyers & put them in mailboxes on our road, called all the shelters around here and the humane society...& so far nothing.....Do you think there still may be hope? I've tried my best not to let the people who were harassing me get to me, but it's so hard....I can't help but cry when i think that this may actually be all my fault that my sweet Simba is missing..Thanks for listening everyone!:
post #19 of 39
First, it is not your fault. Bad things happen all the time, and people trying to place blame and make you feel bad is not helping anything. Simba could have had an accident in the house and perished as well. My soul kitty was indoor only and he died at age two. Yes there are more dangers outdoor than indoors, but it is not your fault that you allowed your kitty outdoor access.

Simba may still be around. My former feral kitty knocked out the window screen the first night in my new house. I didn't have the enclosure yet. he was missing for two weeks. He reverted to feral behavior and hid from everyone, including me. I had to trap him. This is a really good site about cat behavior and how to find lost kitties.

I absolutely believe there are some kitties that never adapt to be indoors only, especially if they were born to stray or feral moms. I know people say "they will get used to it", but honestly I would never get used to not being allowed outside.

The flip side is I cannot fathom not knowing what happened to any of my kitties. So like Bonnie said, I have a cat enclosure that is attached to my house and the kitties use a cat door to go in and out anytime they want.

It really is the best of both worlds for the kitty.

Before I was able to have a cat pen, I had my kitties harness trained. It is pretty easy to do if you start them young and they will often really look forward to their walks and outside time.

Please don't let the nasty people get to you. All you can do is try your best.
post #20 of 39
I agree, don't let the mean people get to you. You know you aren't a bad person. I lost Seb once for almost a week. He came home eventually, all greasy and skinny. We think he was stuck in a garage.

My mom lost her special needs kitty for 3 days. She had run out when we were moving. Found her in a shed - she was too afraid to move.

Sending lots of come home vibes for your little one
post #21 of 39
My cats have always been indoor/outdoor as that is normal in the UK. They always wear collars with tags and are chipped for ID. I bought my house in rural France so that it would be a paradise for my cats after years of city and suburban life that was not always safe.

But 2 months after we moved and the cats were all used to going out here, I lost one to poison. I kept all the others in for almost a year, and then, after being told by everyone round about that they were sure that the person who put down the poison had moved away (they named that person), I began letting three cats out for 2-3 hours each day when I was in the garden, but not at weekends when the hunters are out. The three I let out are miserable if they can't have a run and also they are all hunters. My others have adapted to life inside and don't try to get out. But I am gradually enclosing my land so it will be safer for all of them eventually.

What I am trying to say is that there are no guarantees, wherever you are, but some cats do need to go out, especially if they have been used to it. You can only try to make their environment as safe as possible, and supervise them when you can.
post #22 of 39
how about taking a cat out for daily play sessions like people walk their dogs. will that make a cat happier if we can take them to have a daily play session in a park or field with something to stop her from running too far or loosing?
post #23 of 39
I have always kept the cats I've had inside just because I have a germ thing... I don't want them cuddling with me after they've been outside doing God knows what. I think if you live in a rural setting and they are spayed/neurtered then it's fine to let them out. In the city I would worry about people catching them or running over them, but if you live on a farm I don't see the harm! (wow, that rhymed!)
post #24 of 39
My preferred scenario is indoor with access to an outdoor enclosure or an enclosed garden. That isn't always possible so then it's just a case of weighing up the risks and benefits of allowing them outdoors. I keep mine indoors as I live near a busy road and don't think it's safe outside for them. If I lived somewhere a bit safer, I might think differently. Although after keeping cats indoors for 10 years I'd find it difficult to adapt to letting them ouside and not knowing exactly where they were. I think I'd worry too much, although I suppose keeping them in for that reason only would be selfish.
post #25 of 39
Strictly indoor unless there is 0% chance of them getting into fights, becoming prey for wild animals or getting hit by a car. If you are totally sure that none of the above will happen, then feel free to let kitty roam outside.

I read somewhere that outdoor (or indoor/outdoor) cats have an average life expectancy of 4 years, indoor-only cats have an average life expectancy of 16 years. Quite the difference.

There are so so many things that can go wrong for an outdoor cat, it's not nearly worth the risk, IMO.

Also wanted to add, my cats do go outside when the weather is nice, but they are always closely supervised.
post #26 of 39
while I believe that everyone has the right to choose for themselves and their own kitties, my kitties are indoor only and always will be. I grew up on a farm and while I totally understand the value of a farmcat, I watched too many of our beloved outdoor kitties dissapear while the housecat we had lived a long and safe life.
post #27 of 39
I read somewhere that outdoor (or indoor/outdoor) cats have an average life expectancy of 4 years, indoor-only cats have an average life expectancy of 16 years. Quite the difference.
Those stats were comparing indoor only spayed/neutered and with regular vet care pets with unspayed/entire feral cats that had no vet care or home or even food they didn't hunt themselves.

The stats aren't nearly as glaring when you compare indoor/outdoor neutered/spayed pets that get regular vet care with indoor only neutered/spayed pets that get regular vet care.

It all depends on the area and environment. In the UK for example it's the norm to let cats out and most cats are indoor/outdoor. The average age of cats over here is much higher than 4 years old. Having said that my cat goes out only on a leash and harness since I live near a very busy road right in the middle of a city and I don't think it'd be safe for her to go out on her own.
post #28 of 39
I do not know if my comment on this subject matters much but I really believe that cats have the right to be free as nature meant them to be. I live in the Philippines, a country where cats are considered more as pests rather than pets. My 11 cats were rescued under different circumstances, most of them bad. Yet, they are outdoor. One thing I've noticed, they have learned to be street smart kitties.
I think that if I show too much fear for their safety, they can sense it and make things worse for their survival and well being.
post #29 of 39
I would never dream of letting my cats out...first of all, there's nothing outside for them to enjoy (I live in Chicago) and there are sooooo many risks. We actually live a few doors in from a 4 lane major thoroughfare. I volunteer at a stray rescue and have literally gotten to witness everything that goes wrong.

Our new place has a big communal rooftop garden, and the boys like to go sit out there on their harnesses....they seem to like watching the pigeons and getting some sunshine, but don't ever try to run off or even explore the world outside deck. Gracie is absolutely terrified of the outdoors and will sit on the threshold and shake before running off to hide in my dresser. So mine don't seem worse for wear, but our place has all kinds of nooks and crannies and really cool stuff for them to play in (we have a sun room that looks out into a big tree on one side and the street on the other, apurely decorative fireplace with a huge 12 foot mantle, a big built in china cabinet and buffet that has levels to jump and climb on, and al of our shelving with cubbies, not to mention abot 6 million closets), so they like it. Plus, the boys are older and pretty chill.

I never recommend adopters let their cats outside in this area, or even the burbs...too much going on, and it can be really overwhelming and terrifying for them, not to mention unsafe on just about every level. I've never lived in a rural area, and I doubt I ever will, but with the threat of wildlife and people with guns, I'm inclined to say I'd build an enclosure for them or keep them inside before ever letting them roam unsupervised.
post #30 of 39
I live in an area where it is normal to have indoor/outdoor cats (the only person I know with indoor only cats is someone who has two Bengals, I would certainly keep Peds in, one of the reasons for not having any), and I have no issues - those stats certainly aren't for cats that have good owners, I have a 15yo and a 17yo here!! Both have had outdoor access prior to coming here, although they rarely go out, Molly (15yo) does prefer to sun herself in the house, although they have both been out today. I have had some males (2 of which were strays and had been living rough for a while) who wouldnt tolerate being indoor only - sadly, 2 of them have been fighters, so i have been in an awkward situation, fortunately both were fosters, so only here till being rehomed - and the one who has been rehomed isn't that bothered about going out in his new home, yet I couldnt keep him in here.
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