Originally Posted by Cat-tastrophe
We've always had outdoor only cats. Its not true that outdoor cats don't live long, one of them is 12 years and one is nine years. We have a fenced in backyard and they normally stay there unless I'm taking a walk. I belive that cats should be allowed outdoors unless you happen to live in an apartment or on a busy road. We do bring a couple of our cats inside to watch movies for an hour or so, but they really prefer to be outside. Indoor only cats develop behavior problems and have issues that outdoor cats don't have. Its so sad how many cats loose their homes because of these problems. Furniture scratching, spraying, litterbox issues and overgrooming due to stress are only a few.
If a cat has spent more than three years of its life primarily outside, it will likely not transition into a happy indoor kitty. But cats raised as indoor-only, or brought in at a pretty young age to the indoor-only environment can lead happy, fulfilled lives. So many of the kitties at TCS are a testament to that!
It is sad how many cats lose their homes because of the problems you mention - but they are all problems that can be addressed by people who care, who make the effort, and who want to keep their kitties safe. Cats that enter shelters are outside because people put them there, often because they got fed up and put kitty outside. They shouldn't have bought or adopted a cat if they did not expect it to be any work.
If they are feral, most shelters simply murder them.
Spraying is primarily done by cats that are not sterilized. 85% of the time, a litter box problem is because of a health problem - with a kitty going potty outside, you might never be aware of the problem. Three of our cats would be dead.
As it is, outside is a dangerous place for cats. Cars are not the only problem! We live in a rural area, and parasites, disease-bearing parasites, poison, and poisoning/disease/illness from garbage, giardia, and neighbors who hate cats are all dangers.
It was great watching feral kittens chase crickets and moths and such - but they're just as happy inside chasing feathers on a wand toy.
I just think it is too much of a generalization to say "indoor only cats develop behavior problems." Some do. Many of them are simply due to lack of knowledge on behalf of their guardians. And as Natalie pointed out, plenty of outdoor kitties have the same problems - they just aren't as apparent.