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Do Your Cats Go Outdoors?

post #1 of 60
Thread Starter 
Sammie does not. I live in Florida, and where I live, there are conservation areas right across the street...areas where there is natural habitat, not permitted for development and no building or clearing permitted.

We have raccoons, alligators, snakes, occasional wild hogs and who knows what else. I made the decision that she would remain an indoor only kitty.

What about yours? What factors entered into the decision?
post #2 of 60
My 3 are all indoors. It's safer all round for them to be indoors away from cars, predators etc...
post #3 of 60
Mine are strictly indoors. In fact, the shelter I volunteer for won't adopt a cat out unless the people state on their application that they will be indoor only.
post #4 of 60
Thread Starter 
Interestingly enough, I read a statistic last year when I first got Sammie that said outdoor cats' average lifespan (remember, folks, this is statistical stuff...your experience may differ) was a mere 5 years!

OTOH, a strictly indoor kitty can live 15 years and beyond. That sealed the deal for me.
post #5 of 60
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by SportBikeMike View Post
Mine are strictly indoors. In fact, the shelter I volunteer for won't adopt a cat out unless the people state on their application that they will be indoor only.
Mike, I like that requirement.
post #6 of 60
My boys are strictly indoor kitties, mostly because it's safer. There are raccoons, possums, and the occasional coyote hanging around my apartment complex, not to mention traffic.
post #7 of 60
My cats are indoors only. The are Ragdolls and no way would they be safe outside. Heck they don't even move for the sweaper, let alone a speeding car!
post #8 of 60
Except for my first cat Mitten, all of mine have been indoor cats. Mitten was in and out, but things were different in the 70's when he was alive.

Far too many dangers now to risk letting your cat out. I tell people that if they really think the cat has to be out, then train them to a harness/leash or build an outdoor cat enclosure rather then let them roam unsupervised.
post #9 of 60
all 5 of mine are strictly indoors only. most of the time, they don't even try to go outside!
post #10 of 60
All of mine are indoors only. Since we live on a big farm way out in the middle of nowhere, Leo was allowed outdoors for awhile. He would come in at night or if the weather was bad. Until one day, he fractured his leg somehow while outside. Now he is 100% indoors and I will never let any of them outdoors again.

Now, we do have a couple of barn cats as well, but they refuse to come inside period.
post #11 of 60
mine go in and out when they want apart from one that has a few mental issues who either stays indoors for months and then goes out for a week at a time. It helps them sleep more and as active kitties they need to have a lot of room to play. I live on a quiet road though and I dont keep them out at night. My childhood cat was the same and she lived to be 21 so a mixture cant be bad.
post #12 of 60
I have not had a cat that I let go outdoors since the second day we had Snoopy, our first cat after we got married.

We let him out, and when we called him the next morning, he had grease spots on him and a burned paw. It wasn't hard to figure out where he'd spent the night, and what would be the eventual result if he kept on doing it.
post #13 of 60
Mine go out, but only on harness
post #14 of 60
I have two in and two out.
Max is outside because he has a really rotten attitude. We started caring for him around age 5-6 and neutered him, but all those years of being an intact alpha tom are ingrained pretty deeply. He will "play" too rough, uses claws and teeth and has a thing for bare toes -he will chase you down trying to get them. And sometimes the slightest provocation will set him off, such as walking by him, he'll attempt to latch onto your leg. He can't be petted. He would attack Sho and Tomas...and of course he sprays.

MewMew is a stray we recently spayed and is really sweet all around. She'll become a house cat in a few months after we move. It isn't possible right now because 1) two cat limit inside and 2) there's no proper place to keep her during introductions. (Max will get a large outdoor enclosure - not allowed to build one here).

Sho and Tomas are indoors only. Sho is not a terribly bright cat. Letting him out when he was younger resulted in him getting himself hurt. He even managed to cut his ear open trying to climb the rose trellis. So no more outside for the big goof unless it can be in a very safe, "fool cat" proof enclosure.

Tomas is afraid of outside... and doesn't like other people either so, agoraphobic cat?
post #15 of 60
No, mine are both indoor-only. We live in an apartment on the 2nd floor. Matilda is de-clawed (by previous owner). My plan is to keep them indoor-only the rest of their lives.

The cat my family had growing up, Ivy, was indoor/outdoor and my dad & stepmom's cat, Roo, is as well. Roo is 10, they've had him since he was 2. They live in a secluded cul-de-sac and he doesn't seem to wander far. He's de-clawed too so I've been trying to convince them to let him stay in but it hasn't been an issue yet. We adopted Ivy when she was 2-ish, and sometime when she was about 12-ish she just never came home.
post #16 of 60
My three are spoiled wimpy indoor kitties...Lol...

I live in town, so there is no where that they can 'roam' safely...

I do take them outdoors on leads, as they do appreciate the fresh air, and sunlight, but they don't step outside the door except on a lead.

If I had a yard of my own, with a high security fence (that they couldn't climb) I would let them out there to explore, but I don't...so for now, it is safely on leashes that they venture outside!!!

Ms. Martha Mae is even learning to enjoy actually going for walks....she is absolutely ADORABLE walking with my husband, because he's a big guy...so picture a little cat...and a big guy mosying along in a park...It's cutest from behind...Lol!!!
post #17 of 60
Sierra and Serenity are inside ONLY! The road and risk of exposure to other cats are a couple of the many factors that play into this firm decision.
post #18 of 60
My cats are strictly indoors. I don't need them getting run over by a car... or some other danger that could hurt them.
post #19 of 60
My 11 cats are indoor/outdoor. The oldest cat is 13+ and the youngest will be 2 this June. They are all fixed, street smart cats I am okay with them having the freedom to come and go as they please.
post #20 of 60
My Lily is an inside only cat, but Memphis goes outside. When I got Memphis I didn't even consider the thought of him being an indoor only cat. It's only after I joined these sites and learned more about cats that I realised the outdoors probably isn't the safest place for a cat.
As an example, even though my cats have lived happy long lives, none of them have died of natural causes. Not one. All hit by cars, and one attacked by a big dog.
Memphis still goes out (and it scares me stupid because we live at the end of a dead end street where cars SPEED down because they don't see the dead end). We tried to keep him inside, we really did. But for a cat who's spent his entire life having the choice, it's just not an option. It's not possible without closing ALL the windows, and we have no security screens for air, and even then he knocks stuff over and scratches the door and meows loudly to be let out.
Lily has been inside all her life. When I'm home with her I have all the windows and doors open. She's scared of outside!

Any cat I get in the future will be an inside only cat.
post #21 of 60
Originally Posted by SammiesMom View Post
Interestingly enough, I read a statistic last year when I first got Sammie that said outdoor cats' average lifespan (remember, folks, this is statistical stuff...your experience may differ) was a mere 5 years!

OTOH, a strictly indoor kitty can live 15 years and beyond. That sealed the deal for me.
I grew up in a house with indoor-outdoor kitties, and that statistic sounds completely right to me. I back up my parents decision, we had a lot of cats, and I think that they all lived happy lives, however long or short they were, and they got good care and good food, and a lot of them were strays before we took them in. But for all that many of our cats definitely lived well into their teens, for every of them there were 4 or 5 cats that didn't make it past 1 year because they got nabbed by a predator or hit by a car. It's a tough world out there and natural selection will pick out the kitties that aren't the strongest or smartest pretty quickly. For our family, it wasn't about having one dedicated very special pet, it was about taking care of as many kitties for as long as they were around, so we let them live as they wanted to, in or out. ( The number of times I've heard that phrase as someone held a door open for a cat in our house! "In or out, cat.")

But I agree, 100% -- if you're keeping your cat as a pet, and you want it to live a long, healthy, and safe life, guaranteed, unless you live in a rural area without much in the way of predators (in which case, where do you live so I can move there with my cats!), keep it inside.

Obviously, all my kitties are indoor cats. My hubby is lucky enough to live in such a place -- an enclosed trailer park with little traffic, and no animals other than pets, so his kitty goes in and out during the spring, summer and fall, and just stays in during the winter. My cats are also all rescues, so I would be terrified of them getting confused or scared and running off if they were outside, poor things.
post #22 of 60
forgot to mention in my earlier post - 2 of mine are declawed, so outside isn't really safe for them, anyway. one of those is a former stray - he hisses at the outside cats [ferals] but never tries to go out. the other is not the least bit interested in what goes on outside of the house - of course, she's a senior.

my other 3 girls are all former outside cats - 1 found at about 8 weeks old, one found at about 3.5 months old, & one former feral kitten rescued from my back yard [she was near death - probably would've passed in a day or two had i not taken her in]. of those, only the middle one ever seems interested in the outdoors - if i didn't live in town, i'd probably allow her to go out some. but i do, & she's not happy wearing a harness, so she stays in.
i'd love to have an enclosure for them, so they could go outside but still be safe... that's a possibility for the future!
post #23 of 60
mine dont go outside. patchy was adopted with a 'strictly indoor' clause but id keep her in anyway.
post #24 of 60
i have 9 cats. i put a cat safe fence on top of the wooden fence in the backyard. but i still only let them out in the backyard only in the daytime and only when i'm out there with them too. never alone and never after dark. in the 15 years that we've had cats here we never lost one or had one get hurt.
post #25 of 60
Mine have outdoor access, but only one of the fosters goes out (we had no choice with him, if you dont let him, he will try and escape everytime the door is open, he managed 5 weeks inside). I do live in a safe area though, I have lived here for 6 years, and only heard of one cat being in an RTA (she is fine now). Dont need to worry about any of the neighbours cats bullying htem, as my foster is the neighbourhood bully, so he does have selected outdoor access (ie if i get up and there is a cat about, he doesn't go out till they have gone!!)
post #26 of 60
Both my boys are indoor kitties. I signed a contract with the breeder agreeing that they would never go outdoors and never be declawed ~ a deal's a deal .
post #27 of 60
Danny only goes out on his leash. I don't want him getting hurt or killing the small animals around here.
post #28 of 60
My four live inside. In Georgia there are too many natural predators, even in the middle of the city where I live. Don't even get me started on traffic but suffice to say it's miserable. Before moving to this house, though, we lived in an area where I felt safe letting my cats out some during the day but they were predominantly indoor then too. Now, we take sniffing/rolling/nibbling trips to the fenced in backyard. If a predator could even make it past my fence they'd meet my crazy dog and an even crazier me!
post #29 of 60
Originally Posted by goonie View Post
i have 9 cats. i put a cat safe fence on top of the wooden fence in the backyard. but i still only let them out in the backyard only in the daytime and only when i'm out there with them too. never alone and never after dark. in the 15 years that we've had cats here we never lost one or had one get hurt.
Well I'm glad that you have cat safe fence. I say that because last month while watching tv I was suddenly interrupted by this terrible screeching sound outside. I thought it was two cats fighting at first but the noise wasn't like anything I'd heard before so I went to investigate. When I went out to backyard I was rather shocked at whet I saw.

Hanging upside down form the wooden fence was one of the female stays that lives around the neighborhood. Somehow she had gotten her back leg caught between a small gap in the boards. Poor thing was scratching the fence like crazy and swinging wildly trying free herself. A very unsettlingly sight to say the least. I had to wrap her up in towel just to get her to calm down (and keep myself from getting clawed to death) and then it took me almost 10 minutes to get her leg out. I was actually getting a bit panicked because nothing I was doing seem to be working and there was no one around to help me but fortunately a moment later she was free. I don't think I'd ever seen a cat run so fast in my life. Saw her a couple days later though and she appeared to be ok.

As for my Gizmo I keep him indoors. I'm a worrier and I'd be so paranoid that somehow he'd get away from me.
post #30 of 60
Yes, my cats go outdoors.

They have a cat flap, and in the warm weather doors and windows are wide open, to help air movement in the house, and they come and go as they please. They don't actually spend a lot of time outdoors, except when it's very warm, and for the most part they stay fairly close to the house.

I understand the hazards that are cited as reasons to keep cats indoors, and in fact in thirty years of having cats in my life, I have had two go missing, one as a youngster, the other at the age of 8. On the other hand, I have had five other cats in my life, all of whom have been healthy, have not been beaten up by neighbourhood critters, and avoid vehicles -- and those who are no longer with me have lived into their teens or later and died of causes unrelated to the outdoors access. Cindy and Fawn are about to be 7 in a little over a month. So, the statistics aren't really supported in my family or my expreience, for that matter.

I believe the decision to allow outdoor access or not, and to what extent, has to be based solely on the specific situation -- location, specific hazards, living quarters, humans' habits, the cats themselves. If the equation does not support letting them out, then they should be kept in and their lives enriched with cat furniture, toys and interaction, to whatever extent is necessary for their wellbeing. If the equation does support allowing them the outdoors, then they should have the choice.

As you can tell, I've had occasion to re-think that, and I have twice come to the conclusion that the disappearance of a kitty, while agonizing and a tragedy, does not warrant restricting other cats if the ground rules of the situation have not changed. It's no different than when a child disappears -- you don't lockup all the other children -- it's a tragedy, to be sure, but it is one incident.

I know the vast majority of people on this board disagree with this view, and I absolutely respect everyone's right to make up their own mind, based on their own situation.

Oh, and BTW, the 8-year-old who disappeared is Suzy. She has been gone 8 months as of today. Cats have been gone longer and returned, and I haven't felt her "leave", so I'm hopeful, still.
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