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Letting a cat out?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I joined this site a few months ago for advice on how to care for my parent's cat. He's fully recovered now and coming along fine, but now we're faced with a new problem.

Loki (the cat) was an outdoor cat before he got injured, but since September my boyfriend and I have kept him indoors. At first it was due to his injury, now it's just because we've moved house and we are surrounded by busy roads and we don't feel comfortable letting him out.

My parents are due to come back to the country and are possibly taking Loki back with them, if that's the case, it's fine. He'll be surrounded by woodland and it shouldn't be too dangerous for him to be let out. But, there's another option. My Mum's concerned Loki may be quite attached to us, and pine for us and it may end up we get to keep him here.

If we end up keeping him, I'm just bothered it'll be unfair of us to keep him locked indoors. He doesn't seem unhappy being kept indoors, but by the same account, we haven't risked attempting to let him out. Is it ok for us to keep him as an indoor cat permenantly? Or is that unkind?

And if we should let him out, how would we even go about it? His reflexes don't seem affected by his leg injuries, but then he's never really had cause to have to get away from something. And our back garden backs straight onto a road, so if we let him in the garden to try him outside, I'm really worried if he jumps over the wall...

I'd be really grateful for any advice. Thanks.
post #2 of 19
In the US, more people keep them inside then let them outside. Except for my first cat who was indoor/outdoor, all my cats have been 100% inside. They have been happy and healthy.

I only recommend outside under supervision - not roaming and being unsupervised. Train to a harness/leash or build/buy a cat enclosure if you want outside time.

Your cat will be fine as a 100% indoor cat. Be sure you have plenty of toys and a good sturdy treehouse (minimum of 4 feet tall) with lots of shelves and stuff for them to climb.
post #3 of 19
My cats are perfectly happy to be able to just sit at the windows and watch the world go by they NEVER go outside!
post #4 of 19
You'll find quite a few people here who think cats should never be allowed outdoors unsupervised. There is nothing cruel about keeping him as an indoor cat as long as you have enough space for the kitty. That includes vertical space such as a cat tree or bookcases/shelves that he can climb.

All but one of my cats have been indoors their entire lives. Goldy had obviously been an indoor cat until somebody dumped or abandoned her near my house last summer. She lived outdoors for 3 or 4 weeks--and hated it--until I gave in and brought her into the house. Now she'll sit and look out through the window or screen door, but if I actually open the screen she backs away PDQ.
post #5 of 19
Before letting a cat outdoors, I'd read through our "Crossing the Bridge" section here on the forum.

All of our cats have been indoors all the time since the second day we had our first cat. We had a real scare, and decided that it was the kinder way to go.
post #6 of 19
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
Before letting a cat outdoors, I'd read through our "Crossing the Bridge" section here on the forum.

There are a lot of things about the modern out-of-doors that just aren't compatible with our kitties... specifically, cats and cars don't mix well.

To quote my vet, "If you force a rescue cat to become an indoor cat, they might act like they're suffering horribly, but they'll be fine, they'll get used to it, and they'll be perfectly happy and they'll live longer.
post #7 of 19
The stray cat that adopted us has shown no interest in going outdoors since she deiced to come in several months ago.

If Loki stays with you, he'll adjust just fine to being indoors, just be sure and provide him with a stimulating environment.
post #8 of 19
Mine never go out and they are perfectly fine with it. Xander was rescued off the streets and has shown zero interest in going back out there

It is MUCH safer for him indoors.
post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 
Oh, ok. Thanks for all your answers. Personally I would like to keep him indoors anyway, just because we are close to such busy roads. I was just concerned he'd be unhappy, but as I said, he seems to be content.
post #10 of 19
My girlies are inside only and perfectly happy! Please consider keeping Loki inside for the sake of safety and his optimal health!
post #11 of 19
As many here know, I'm not so quick to jump on the "keep him in at all costs" bandwagon, but I do believe that the decision has to take all factors into consideration -- including the cat's apparent preference. If he's been happy indoors, I don't see any need to change that just because he used to go outdoors and has recovered enough to do so, when other factors, such as traffic in your neighbourhood, weigh against letting him out.

So, no, I don't think it's unkind or unfair to continue keeping him in. Obviously you are providing the stimulation he needs to keep him happy. That's what's important.
post #12 of 19
if you even doubt the safety of the outdoors for him, theres your answer!

mine are indoor only, and thought im sure theyd like to raom outside, its not going to ever happen. plus, mine sleep with me and i want them clean!
post #13 of 19
Some of mine are indoor/outdoor. Some are stricly indoor. They are all altered. None roam. They go out to potty, and come back in to laze around on the couch. The outdoors is old news to them. They don't have the need, or want to wander. But they can still go outside as they please, and go to the bathroom or sunbathe on the deck.

I in no way think its cruel to have indoor, or indoor/outdoor cats. Whatever works best for you. I would never have a cat that goes outside if I lived on a busy street, or far into the country with coyotes. But where I live now, my cats can go outside. (8 don't,they are strictly indoor), the 3 ferals don't come inside that often (They do go in the garage, and go in one of the dog houses in there when its cold, but run out as soon as they hear anyone), and the rest are inside most of the time, but like i said, go out to potty and sunbathe.
post #14 of 19
In my opinion they are much safer inside.. there's just too many things a cat can get into if left to wander.

I've had escape attempts.. you catch the cat and put them right back in the house.. after a while, they learn they are not getting out, and they dont try so hard to get outside. There are ways to entertain an indoor cat... allow them to get in the windows so they can get sun, and abit of fresh air if the window is open, use perches. You can get "cat greens".. catnip and other plants for cats to eat.. they do actually have pre-planted pots with grass and such that are for this purpose. Interact with your cats with toys, such as the cat dancer, or some kind of toy on a string to curb the hunting instinct.

The cat may be unhappy inside.. but its not because he's inside.. its because its a change. They can adapt to indoor life.

Another option, is to build an enclosed pen for your cat.. My aunt had a pen at one time, but had deterrioted over the years.. eventually she just let her cats run loose, until she had about a dozen or so, and the neighbors were complaining.. I fixed the pen for her, and even added an addition, it was quite a large area... they could freely access the pen thru a cat door.. and go in and out when they pleased... I think the cats were happier with it in the long run because of the fact that they could come and go as they pleased, and didnt have to wait on someone to open a door. I've thought about adding a pen to the side of our house.
post #15 of 19
on the plus side.. its much cheaper to keep the cats inside.. I dont have to treat for fleas as often, for starts. Last summer, I only needed to treat my cats when my cousin's dog came over here.. the dog had brought fleas with her.

A strictly indoor cat doesnt technically have to be vaccinated for some diseases, such as feline leukemia, because the risk of exposure is minimal.. there is also less risk of injury and illness, so less chance of your cat needing ER care.
post #16 of 19
Mine are indoor also.
Even the ferals we saved stayed indoors.
My dad did not listen to me and let Wedo out and now he is missing.
All my cats are happy inside.
Jasper the brother of my Oreo was let out by my sisters ex bf who owned him and he disapeared also.
Both these cats were kittens.
post #17 of 19
If Loki is miserable, than let him go to live where he will be happy and content. As long as the home he's going to is pretty safe for cat to be outdoors, let Loki go. He will be happier, and there's no reason why he should have to be an indoor only cat when your parents want to take him back to the country with them. I personally think cats are happier when they're allowed outdoors, and since Lok is used to living that way, its cruel to force him to conform.
post #18 of 19
Originally Posted by Cat-tastrophe View Post
I personally think cats are happier when they're allowed outdoors, and since Lok is used to living that way, its cruel to force him to conform.
Just because it's what he's used to doesn't mean it's healthy/good for him.
post #19 of 19
I dont think its cruel to keep a cat as an indoor-only cat.

Ive converted cats from indoor/outdoor to indoor only.. they were not happy at first, but its not that they were miserable about not going out.. they just did not like the change.

Im sure many others here have successfully converted cats to indoor-only.
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