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Indoor or outdoor?

post #1 of 34
Thread Starter 
Many years ago (I think 6) I found a young 6-week-old kitten in my driveway. She was feral at the time and was afraid of humans. I had left milk out in hopes to get the attention from a neighbors cat but aparently this kitty was living off it. For about 2 weeks she lived under our shed, although it's not the best place for a cat because that is where we keep garbage. I never owned a kitty before so I went down the street and got cat food. It took the two weeks to get her used to getting petted (first with a brush) and to get slightly used to getting picked up. Eventually I manged to cox her indoors with some food and slammed the door behind her.
It took a while but eventually she became perfectly domestic and very sweet. She would play so much that she would start to run otu of breath! We think she was a pure Russian Blue.
It's no suprise to find feral kittens in my neighborhood. This stupid guy down the street feeds stray cats, and our street is right near the town woods where they live. He dosn't get them nuetered (I think) and is difficult to contact since he dosn't actually live in that house.
We named her KC and one day she had a whole 7 kittens! She was a very very small cat so she had a very difficult time with them. She was still somewhat of an outdoor cat. Everyone in my neighborhood has a cat so we thought it must be safe, but unfortunetly, just as the kittens were weened, at one years old she was hit by a car.
We kept three of the kittens, Mustache, GC, and Stripe (Mustache and Stripe were a matched set of tuxeudo kitties and GC, grey like his mom, was named after her.) We continued to let them be outdoor cats.
Mustache, the smallest one, was the first to go. He was also hit by a car on the very same street as his mom and at the same age. That day we decided to not let them outdoors ever again.
But once a cat has been let ourdoors for a year it's very difficult to stop them from going out. They became some serious escape artist.

GC was an extremely strong kitty. He would tear holes in anything that we put in his way. After tearing the plastic siding of the AC to escape, he later teared his way through layers of duct tap he put to cover it. When he was 4 years old, his antics were his downfall and he disappeared forever when he escaped for the last time.
I supose the last cat learned the lesson after seeing his two brothers go. He dosn't escape nearly as much. We got two kittens when he became lonely and they've never been outdoors. Still, I wonder why our house is so differant then everybody elses on the street. Nobody on my street keeps their cats indoors. Our street has more ourdoor cats then outdoor people! I feel sorry that our kitties arn't part of the large cat social life outside, and they are all neutered and have shots so that is not so dangerous. Stripe and one of his new "brothers" still escape once in a while, although the female kitty I would never let outside. She is small and very skittish.

As a consequence, I always drive slowly when I go down the street, keeping an eye out for cats.

Do you keep your cats outside? How do you know if it's safe enough?

-Sarah of Borg
post #2 of 34
My cats are indoor cats. I believe they are as safe as any cats can be. They are microchipped and spayed. The windows all have the heavy duty screens (Old ones that are really strong). Small objects and rubber bands, string etc. are kept in drawers etc.
post #3 of 34
My cats have always been strictly indoor. Ever since I was little. It is the safest way to keep a cat and ensure that it will live a long healthy life, in my opinion.

The only exception is the stray/feral that I feed outside.
post #4 of 34
You forgot the option of both. My cats move freely from inside and outside. We used to live more rurually than we do now- they widened the road to make a highway a few years ago, but we do all our comings and goings out our back door, and we have 4 acres of land the cats can run in.
post #5 of 34
Thread Starter 
It's just strange how there are so many cats on my street. When GC went missing I went door to door and discovered that there are so many cats that nobody knows if they've seen him or not. Every house on this street has a cat. In fact, once in a while I find some hanging out in my yard (lately there's been a striped brown and white cat with white paws but no collar.)
I was once in the woods and found a poor declawed cat with no collar. I knew that she couldn't survive outdoors so I had to take her with me, but unfortunetly she had a horrible temperment (which is why she was probably declawed.) I still have a scar to this day from her teeth. I coxed her into a carrier and carried her home. This is before I got the kittens and after GC disappeared so I hoped maybe Stripe would like her and we could keep her, after she calmed down. Unfortunetly she never did, and she wasn't neutered. She hated Stripe and her was afraid of her (even with no claws and half his size.) She was in heat and she also became an escape artist. I soon noticed she had a horrible growth under her long fur on her chest. I wanted to take her to a shelter but she escaped and never came back.
Months later I saw her again, outdoors, with a collar, and she still had the growth!

-Sarah of Borg
post #6 of 34
Thread Starter 
I kinda meant both when I said outdoor. There's plently of room for my cats. I mean, they have the whole woods!

-Sarah of Borg
post #7 of 34
After losing my first soul cat due to some kind of desease I got more info about cats . Now I keep all the new one's in . I do have 5 outsite cats and always scared something may happen to them . Lucky I leave in a dead end street and behind me is some woods . But there are to many other cats around and don't know if they are healthy or sick . It is really never safe for the outsite cats IMO , at least where I lieve . Maybe I would think differend If I had as much property like hissy , then it would be differend . But not here ...
post #8 of 34
post #9 of 34
I breed Persian and Exotic Cats and they live indoor/outdoor, the breeding cats get a chance to play around outside maybe 10, 20 minutes a day?. I will never deny my cats of the outdoors because IMO they were all originally outside and they love romping in the grass and chasing our dogs!

So indoor/outdoor for the boys mostly outdoor and for the girls mostly indoor!
post #10 of 34
I keep my cats indoors only. I live so close to a major highway that I am afraid to let them out for fear of seeing them in the road dead.
post #11 of 34
My cats are outdoor. But at night they automatically go in and stay. Since doors & windows are closed, they cannot get out. But they don't seem to mind. So I don't know if I should label them total outdoor cats.
They don't stray very far, maybe because they are spayed. They are very territorial though, they chase away any feral (male or female)that happens to walk thru the property.
post #12 of 34
Both. I have an outdoor pen so that they can come inside the house and outside anytime day and night as they like and I know they are safe. I also let them all (except Simbah because he is very silly ) go outside properley out of the run too. I let them do this whenever I am home basically so I know how long they have been gone for but they have to be in at night always(usually by 5pm) or I will have a heart attack.:
post #13 of 34
Thread Starter 
I just don't know for my cats. I've lost three before their time this way but they seem to be the only indoor cats on my street. I was suprised when GC was lost. He was wary of cars and a very strong cat that could easily win any cat fight. He could also run pretty fast if he had to. I supose he somehow got trapped someplace, and couldn't tear his way out.

-Sarah of Borg
post #14 of 34
Mine are and have always been indoor/outdoor. At this time I have a doggie door and they very quickly learned (on their own) how to use it. Even when I shut it, Chewy found a way out. I think it is thru the dryer vent??? I would love to be able to have an enclosure for them but not feasible at this time.
I live on 5 acres and they mostly stay at home. However, mine seem to like going out at nite or early morning and do their thing.
One nice thing, they preferr to use the potty box outdoors.
post #15 of 34
Even though I'm on 10 acres in a rural area with hundreds of acres of open land around me, 1/3 mile from a blacktop road, no traffic on my street to speak of, I still prefer to leave my babies indoor for a number of reasons:

1) Most have grown up with dogs and have no fear of them.
2) My neighbors have 3 dogs that roam and kill cats (he took in his daughter's dogs when her house burned down and he wants them gone as much as I do).
3) There are coyote packs, raccoons, bobcats, cougars, badgers and fox in the neighborhood that could kill cats
4) There are (most likely) cats with FeLV still roaming the area - none of the regulars that feed at my house daily, but the wandering toms.

I converted my indoor/outdoor cat to indoors only this year. This after losing 11 feral cats since June: 6 cats to dogs/coyotes and another 5 to FeLV. I no longer feel safe about letting Bob outside.
post #16 of 34
Hermoine yeah the out site potty sounds great to me
post #17 of 34
OMG Momofmany that is a lot of cats you lost . I am so sorry of your loss may they RIP
post #18 of 34
All of my cats are indoor, I have 8. If I do take one out, it is on a leash and harness, no roaming free. The dangers of letting your cat run outdoors are too great. If you never let them out when they are a kitten, chances are they never will want to go out. Some my cats love to ride in the car, so we take them out that way. They never ride up front, only in the back. If I am driving on the interstate, they are in a carrier.
post #19 of 34
I keep my two cats indoors. And as far as I am aware to date, I am the ONLY one in town to do so since everyone gives me a bizarre look when I tell them this. I know it means keeping them occupied, but it's not hard with toys, cat furniture and hiding catnip surprises around the house for them to find and plenty of play time.

BUT after saying that I do let them outside but only ever on a leash. Yup, I walk my cats. Though it's nothing like walking a dog, with cats, they're usually the ones who lead. At one time, Russell followed a lone ant on the footpath.

But at the end of the day, your kitties' happiness comes first. If they are not happy with the activities that are provided for them indoors alone, then they may need to spend time outdoors. This can be supervised or non-supervised.
post #20 of 34
Mine are all indoor cats. I bought a harness thingy to take Simba my Bangel for walks, but so far he doesn't like it.
post #21 of 34
Both my boys are indoor.
post #22 of 34
Because we're not allowed to have pets here, our cats are strictly indoor.

I would have wanted them to be indoor/outdoor at first. But now that I see how happy they are indoors only - and we live in a small space (but we give them a lot of attention and play), I think I'd have pets indoor only and care for ferals outdoors.

If I were going to allow indoor/outdoor though, I would only do it in a rural area, and I'd only let spayed and neutered cats outside, period.

I think I'd have their ears tatooed instead of microchipped - maybe I'd do both.

post #23 of 34
Amber, I thought I would be able to keep Chewy in cause he had never been outside but from the first day he was at the door wanting out and was always ready to sneak out the first chance he got. Then of course, he found the doggie door. When I shut that he finds another way out I don't know where but I think the dryer vent. I haven't figured out a way to stop him.
post #24 of 34
in door cat
post #25 of 34
Indoor only here.
post #26 of 34
My girls are indoor cats as well. I feel they are safer this way.

Once in a while we take them in the backyard on a leash with a harness and they love it.
post #27 of 34
My four boys are both indoor and outdoor.... they have a giant kitty cage outdoors and lounge around indoors all day long... but most of you already know that

post #28 of 34
Indoor/outdoor. Not that I think there's anything inherently wrong with an indoor only situation, provided the cat is happy and has an appropriately challenging and active life indoors -- also that if it DOES get out, it knows the way home.

However, I do believe that it is a more natural life for a cat to be allowed outdoors, on its own terms. I believe that it's my responsibility to make sure that the cat knows where home is and how to get to safety in a hurry, before I allow it out unsupervised. I think it's much like bringing up human kids: you do your best to give the child (cat) the tools to function in the world (you have to rely on cat-mum and instinct for some of that), and then make sure they know where home is and that you are there for them, come what may.

That said, I don't really have a great deal of choice, where I'm living. In the warm weather, doors are open all the time, and any cat who wants out will go. It's a rental property, so constructing cat cages is not an option. Therefore, I accept that the cats make their own choice -- most choose at least some outdoor time.

There have been anxious times, we have lost one kitty (RIP Sam ), but there's enough feline frustration on the odd occasion when they've been kept in, that I'm just not about to restrict them that way, on the whole.

However, I also think that everyone's situation is different, and you have to make your decision the best you can with that in mind. It's not a black-and-white question.
post #29 of 34
Here are some facts, averge lifespan of an outdoor kity is 1-2 years. The average lifespan of an indoor kitty is 15-18 and often can be longer. I have6 cats, all fixed, indoor only. If you let your cats roam and they have not been fixed, you are contributing to pet overpopulation and consequently to the murder of healthy animals that goes on in shelters across the country every day.

If you have property and they are safe to roam on it then it's a nice treat for them, but there are still some risks. The only way to ensure their safety is to take them out under supervision, build an enclosure, walk them on a leash or walk them in a pet stroller.

You heard right! There are pet strollers available as well as backpacks and shoulder bags. My kitties have a Samsonite backpack, a Sherpa shoulder bag, and the Pet-n-Go double pet stroller. Check out the links. They have cat trees, toys, tunnels, videos, window perches,running water fountains, and beds. When I clean up I cyclye their toys and put them on their towers in a pravocative fashion. They are happy and safe.

post #30 of 34
Here are some facts, averge lifespan of an outdoor kity is 1-2 years. The average lifespan of an indoor kitty is 15-18 and often can be longer
OK, I was trying not to be defensive, but here I go again (sorry, anyone who has already read this elsewhere)...

In 25 years of relationships with cats, I have had one -- repeat ONE -- cat lost before the age of two years. I'm not counting Chinook, who lived for five days after I got her and never went out, or Percy, who was a stray who walked in and walked out.

Shasta lived to 21+. Nibs lived to 15+. Gryphon lived to 13+ (and died of cancer). Suzy is over 4; Cindy and Fawn are 2 and a half. All are or have been indoor/outdoor. None has had health problems attributable to that fact, or nasty encounters with other critters, humans or motor vehicles. We live in a large (not humungous) city, on a main thoroughfare. There is urban wildlife all around us.

I keep hearing these "facts" and they just don't jibe with my experience -- first hand OR second hand, as I have many friends who are cat people and who will quote you similar experiences to mine. Sorry, I just can't let this be stated as the Only Truth. It is NOT black and white.

(I'll go back in my cage now.)
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