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Please help me understand something...

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Today, as I was working at the shelter in the hospital, they euthanized a little black kitten. It had been hit by a car and didn't have anymore use of its rear portion of its body. This is the first time I have seen a dead cat besides on the side of the road. It just got me to thinking...

If this cat was not roaming around outside, it would still be alive. It wasn't a feral, it was someones pet. I don't want to turn this into a flame war but can someone explain to me why people feel the need to let their cats roam around exposed to cars, other cats, disease, mean kids, etc. Cats can live perfectly happy lives inside. They also make a fence item that allows you to keep your cats inside your yard. I understand that there are those barn cats and ferals that are always outside.

I know that outside cats are a reality but why? I'm not preaching here, I just want to understand...

Thanks all!!
post #2 of 23
I've never understood this either. I had an ex who had two cats die because they were hit by cars while let out. I will never be able to understand it I suppose. My aunt has about five barn cats and that makes sense, these cats have no interest in being indoors and never really have been. If you live in an area without a lot of traffic, say in the country, that could make sense as well. I just can't imagine letting either of my two girls outside to be exposed to Leukemia, FIV, fights, cars, horrible children, fleas, etc.
post #3 of 23
Even inside cats get out at times. Those pet owners who do not spay and neuter their cats run the biggest risk of losing their pets. My cats go inside and outside, and until quite recently they have been fairly safe. We have a lot of property for them to run on, we live in a rural area as well. But lately more people have moved out here, they have widened the road in front of our home and we have lost some wonderful cats, as well as had to have Taz's leg amputated when she got hit. Now we are building an enclosure to keep the cats safe. It will be accessed from the inside of the house, and is 8 feet wide, 34 feet long and 8 feet tall. It's not finished yet, but soon.

I used to be able to keep my ferals and strays reasonably safe. I no longer can do so. Now they will be confined, and I hope they can adjust to not being able to run in woods and fish in the creek and climb trees or jump on the hay bales in the barn.
post #4 of 23
All my cats are outdoor/indoor. They enjoy climbing the trees, chasing butterflies/birds, whatever. I like to see them free and not cooped inside. I do not force them to go outside so I wouldn't dream forcing them to stay indoors.
It also helps that I have a big yard, they are neutered/spayed and get regular veterinary care.
post #5 of 23
I should also mention that my ex lived on a very busy road and had a tiny yard and I've always lived in similar areas with high traffic and not much space.
post #6 of 23
I have had indoor cats and indoor/outdoor and outdoor only ex-ferals. Most of the time I have been lucky in that I have been able to choose my living location with regard to whatever cats I had, though I know this is not always possible for people. And as Hissy says, things can change through no fault of your own. But after losing two cats on a road when I was young, I have never let a cat out if I didn't judge it was as safe as possible. I do think that if you can do it, cats are happiest being allowed to roam - it is their nature to explore and to have territory, and yes, there has to be some risk in that just as there is a risk in your children being able to walk to school on their own when they are old enough. Everyone has to make a compromise. I do feel though, that to coop a cat up in a very small apartment, sometimes in one room, is cruel - an indoor cat must be stimulated and have some space, with if possible a balcony (made safe) where they can get air and watch birds and action going on around them. I think it is great the way some TCS members have made 'cat rooms' with condos and lots of toys, and have obviously considered how to give their cats a really good life indoors, often at great expense. Indoor cats are not cheap to maintain, as some people seem to think. But if you live in one room, then get a bird and a goldfish and wait till you can afford a bigger place before getting a cat. Anyway, that is my opinion.
post #7 of 23
socks is mostly indoor, he only goes outside when he needs the toilet, even then he just stays in the garden, but he has been neutered, so he wont stray.
post #8 of 23
sometimes its not possible to have an indoor only cat. Maverick is indoor only at the moment but come summer when we have all the doors open i cant guarentee it will stay that way. unfortunatly i dont have the support of my family needed to keep her strictly indoors as my parents believe that cats should be allowed to come and go as they please.

all i can do is ensure she's microchipped, spayed and up to date with shots and try to limit her exposure to the outside as much as possible. that and make our home and garden so exciting for her that she wont want to leave.
post #9 of 23
I used to live in a big house with a big backyard.
But it was close to a main road where trucks used to go by.
My cats never went to the main road.
But sometimes people would come down our street so fast and they never cared.
4 of my cats have been hit by a car
there were boys who were giving me a hard time abusing me by phone saying they were going to kill all of my cats.
I had 21 at that time bcause we didnt spay and neuter. 12 of them died in one night.
2 of my kitties had their paw ripped up by some sort of trap.
When we went away n a holiday, we came back which we thought we had 11 cats left down to 4.
A neighbour admitted to take all the friendly cats to his uncles place to turn them into barn cats he thought it would be better for us since we werent there at that time... But even the ferals werent there.
then there were 3
then there were 2 the next month
in only 10 months this all happened.
our dog had to be put down because of old age and it was hurting my dads heart to see him suffer.
Then my last cat had her litter, they were indoor kittens and they loved to be indoors.
Then we left to germany and it was heart breaking. everything collapsed so quickly.

I went off track here.
But I love my cats being outside to catch everything and get fresh air.
My now kitten is an indoor cat, we dont have our own backyard, its heart breaking because when people smoke here its too intoxicating and its not fair for my cat.
He is extremely scared of being outside so indoor cat he is.
A cats nature is the outdoors
Indoors cats dont learn much. they get extremely bored from my point of view.
post #10 of 23
its true that indoors cats get bored quickly. i think the *ideal* for me any way would be an indoor cat with a confined garden to play it
post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jennyranson
I have had indoor cats and indoor/outdoor and outdoor only ex-ferals. Most of the time I have been lucky in that I have been able to choose my living location with regard to whatever cats I had, though I know this is not always possible for people. And as Hissy says, things can change through no fault of your own. But after losing two cats on a road when I was young, I have never let a cat out if I didn't judge it was as safe as possible. I do think that if you can do it, cats are happiest being allowed to roam - it is their nature to explore and to have territory, and yes, there has to be some risk in that just as there is a risk in your children being able to walk to school on their own when they are old enough. Everyone has to make a compromise. I do feel though, that to coop a cat up in a very small apartment, sometimes in one room, is cruel - an indoor cat must be stimulated and have some space, with if possible a balcony (made safe) where they can get air and watch birds and action going on around them. I think it is great the way some TCS members have made 'cat rooms' with condos and lots of toys, and have obviously considered how to give their cats a really good life indoors, often at great expense. Indoor cats are not cheap to maintain, as some people seem to think. But if you live in one room, then get a bird and a goldfish and wait till you can afford a bigger place before getting a cat. Anyway, that is my opinion.
Thank you Jenny! Among the others, I think you really put it in perspective. Many thanks to the others for your say!!

I'm in an apartment right now, so they can't roam much. But, I'm moving to Vegas into a house where they will have more room to roam. I let my cats roam around outside, but while I am there watching them as one of them is declawed. When they are inside, I open sliding door so they can listen and smell things. Once I'm in the house, I'll let them roam the backyard a little more, because yes, I do believe that cats are more happier outside. My stepfather had a cat that got hit by a car and dragged its flattened rear end home and then died on the porch. See, I just would feel so completely guilty if something like that happened. But, like Jenny said, its like your kid going and riding their bike somewhere, you hope nothing happens, but sometimes it does.

I'll probably build them an outdoor enclosure in the backyard..

Thank you all for your kind responses!!! Whiskey and Oliver say "Meow, Meow" (Thank You)
post #12 of 23
some cats have a drive to go out, like an artist to paint. My cat is one of them, I have written here many times about the struggle to keep him in, like he knows when I take out the trash my hands and full and he runs for the door too. He literally runs through my legs. He is no dummy. While I agree it's safer, some cats never really adjust to indoor living.

I used to judge people with indoor/outdoor cats but now I understand.I would never force a cat out, but sometimes to make life livable for you both you have to let them out.

I would never let a kitten out though, only a pretty mature cat.
post #13 of 23
i know the winters back home can get realy bad... we adverage 120 inches of snow a year. My neighbor's cat is both indoor and outdoor. SHe spends the day roaming the woods next to her house and nights in her bed in the living room. I wouldn't want my kitten wondering outside, that's up tot he owners I guess.
post #14 of 23
Our last cat was indoor only, and even though she was fixed she wanted out. Accidents happen. Cats excape. Unless you've spoken to the kitten's owners and found out what their story is, please don't assume anything. There could be a family out there still looking for him.
post #15 of 23
When people find out I have cats the first thing they ask here, if I let them stay inside? What kind of question is that? OF course they stay inside because they are my cats. If you adopt cats, then it is your responsibility to take care of them. By letting them outside you are not!! They can get hit by cars, chased by dogs, kids. exposed to cats who are sick , ect......... I don't know if it is ignorance or just being cold hearted , but it makes me sick!
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by catlover7731
When people find out I have cats the first thing they ask here, if I let them stay inside? What kind of question is that?
Interesting, those people must be veterinarians. My cats are healthy and happy and they go outside. When I bring them for grooming or checkup, the new vets in the clinic always ask me that question. Surprise, surprise! Outdoor cats can be as good as indoors.

Quote:
Originally Posted by catlover7731
If you adopt cats, then it is your responsibility to take care of them. By letting them outside you are not!! They can get hit by cars, chased by dogs, kids. exposed to cats who are sick , ect.........
It depends on your location. I take care of my cats so I know I am responsible. I know I live in a pretty safe place. Dogs and kids don't run loose. There are road humps so cars slow down. Don't know of any sick cats so far!.

Quote:
Originally Posted by catlover7731
I don't know if it is ignorance or just being cold hearted , but it makes me sick!
Sorry that my ignorance and/or cold heartedness makes you ill. Hope you feel better soon!
post #17 of 23
I second Yayi's motion (or emotion)! I kept Obi indoors-only while we were socializing him, but now he's adjusted and very loving. Having lived on the streets for a while, Obi is VERY unhappy remaining indoors 24/7, and I think emotional health is important too. Accidents may happen, but they could happen to me as easily as to him. As long as the risk is minimized. In Obi's case, I only let him out on the weekends, when I am around to monitor him. He tends to stay on the property. Lets say something does happen to him, or me, and we die. I'd rather we both lead short, happy and fulfilled lives rather than long, unhappy and boring lives. That's not to say that indoor cats are all the latter, only that in Obi's case, because of his history, the second one is what it would be if he never went out.
post #18 of 23
Thankyou, Yayi -- and Obi -- for saying it more calmly than I could have.
post #19 of 23
I have always had indoor/outdoor kitties whom I love and care for. Yayi, thank you for a well stated rebuttal.
post #20 of 23
Just a little food for thought, because this aspect hasn't been brought up. Friends have a 16-and-a-half-year-old cat who has been allowed outdoors all his life, except when it's bitter cold. Felix has now lost most of his hearing, and a great deal of his eyesight, but insists on going outside. His owners are extremely worried that he'll be hit by a car or attacked by a dog now, and say they regret ever having let him roam.
post #21 of 23
Its a tough decision. When I was a kid I didn't even know there was a choice. I thought all cats were either outdoor (on my uncle's farm) or indoor/outdoor (ours). 3 of our cats were hit by snowplows.

When I was old enough to make decisions about my cat, I vowed to NEVER let Lancelot out without a leash. We lived in a high traffic area.

Oliver & Tripod are indoor only cats. Mouser was the neighborhood cat when I moved in. Until she was put to sleep last year due to cancer, she had always been outside and lived to be at least 15.

I will only have indoor cats, but it's a personal decision like - do you spank your kids/ what time is curfew for a 16 year old / can your 14 year old date?
post #22 of 23
Both The Sammycat and Oscar are strictly indoors only cats. I live very close to a major highway and also dogs in my area, including my own. My Siberians are confined in the backyard but there is always the possiablity of cats or other small creatures getting back there...well lets just say it isn't pretty when they do and no small creature is safe

Now as far as The Sammycat and Oscar when I do allow them outside they are walked on a harness and leash. All of my neighbors thinks that I am totally nuts for walking the cats but you know I don't care cause my boys are safe and supervised when outside. I must admit that neither one of my boys really likes the feel of the grass on their feet and usually want to come in quickly because they are foo foo kitties and get hot quickly Both of my boys are air conditioner whipped would rather stay inside the house.
post #23 of 23
I dont understand it myself. I do take mine outside, (the two with interest in it anyways) On leashes..in my yard with me there. No coming and going as they please. When we have our new farm place I will be inclined to make a fully enclosed area for them to play in. But we shall see.

Yes barn cats serve a purpose..they like it outside, they usually stay in or around the barn. They eat mice.

But my indoor kitties..are my indoor kitties. I couldnt imagine just letting them run around. Especially after seeing so many sad cats on the side of the road. Our foster boy LG used to go outside, hes made a dash for the door twice since hes been here and thats it. He realises hes much better off indoors. and he seems to like it that way.
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