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indoor vs outdoor

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hi, I need some moral support. In our country, most cats are indoor/outdoor -- allowed to roam freely. We lost our first cat at only 7 months of age when he disappeared and subsequently do not allow the two we adopted after his loss to roam. We have been trying for months to get an enclosure built so they can enjoy the outdoors, but otherwise they only go out on rare occasions on a leash. I am just tired of people looking at me like I have two heads when I tell them we don't let our cats roam. Admittedly, I used to be like this before we had this experience. My husband doens't care what people think, he says he is not prepared to go through the heartbreak of losing another one.
post #2 of 21
I absolutely would never even THINK about letting my cats outside without a leash and harness. I think you're doing the right thing, definitely, and I commend you. There are a handful of people here with cat enclousures who I'm sure would be willing to give you tips if you need any
post #3 of 21
Mine are indoor only, I am so very strict about it and oh-so-opinionated. I have a zillion reasons to keep them indoors and will fight tooth and nail to people who say they belong outside.

I live in the suburbs however; right smack in the center of a fast growing city. There are farms and such just 30 minutes south where the pets (cats, dogs) are strictly outdoor and they look at ME like I have 3 heads (so I know the feeling you are talking about) when I say all 6 of my cats are kept indoors.

This is a very hot topic around here, on this site, as well as where I live!
post #4 of 21
Your post says it all, having already lost a cat. I used to be of the "in and out" camp, and honestly, nothing anyone said would have changed my mind. So don't try to change people's minds, just let them know that for you, the safety of your pet is your priority.

If they say cats cannot be happy inside only, invite them for a visit, to see how happy your kitty is. Or just say, she seems happy enough to me. It is hard to be a "pioneer" in new thinking. But you have to do what you know is best for you, your family, and your kitty.

I currently have 2 inside only cats, and one foster who used to be in and out. They all seem very happy to me! And knowing they could live to be 20, instead of the 5-6 years my in and out cats lived, makes me very happy!
post #5 of 21
post #6 of 21
In the US about 10-15 years ago it was the accepted thing in my area to let the cats out as well. My cat did well with this and is still doing well with this but my opinion has really changed.

My 3 cats now are all indoors. Most people now keep their cats inside as well. Its like the general opinion seems to be changing which is wonderful! But maybe its the change in location, I odn't know...

When I was about 4 we lost an outdoor cat too. I was heartbroken. My first realization of loss.

You are doing the right thing. Eventually people might change their views. I feel funny walking my cat too. I usually just try to stick to the evenings when less people are out.
post #7 of 21
shoot, im in the US and most people i know have indoor/outdoor cats... mine had always been indoo/outdoor, thats just the way everyone we knew did it. i decided to keep these cats that i have now indoors for their saftey, and i still get weird looks when i tell people that... and i live in a major city! my cats dont seem to miss the outdoors... i dont take them out on leashes, either. i just make sure that they have plenty of stimulation and oppertunity to exercise in the house.
post #8 of 21
I think you just have to do what you feel comfortable with... there will always be people who differ in opinion.

My Charley was an indoor-outdoor cat and she lived to nearly 19 years of age, plus we lived on a busy road for all of that.... I guess she was just one of the lucky ones
post #9 of 21
My opinion is that it is much safer for cats to be kept indoors only. There are so many dangers outside: cars; diseases; wild animals that they could get in fights with; sick and crazy people who will abuse them.

Dangers aside, there are other reasons to keep cats indoors-only:

When they are indoor-only, it is much easier to tell when they aren’t feeling well. If they are outdoors even part of the time, you may not realize that they have urinary or digestive issues before they become big problems.

When they go outside, you can’t control what they eat; they could end up ingesting something quite toxic outside.

Consideration for your neighbors: not everyone in this world is a cat lover, and most people (cat lovers included) don’t appreciate a cat that doesn’t belong to them using their garden as a litter box, or their cars as a bed, or their window screens as a scratching post. We used to have a neighbor who hated cats; he would trap these cats, call animal control and say they were strays even though he knew exactly who the cats belonged to (he would go so far as to take the collars off the cats!!!). And when my husband was growing up, one of his neighbor’s male cats decided my in-laws front steps “belonged†to him; the front of their house perpetually smelled like cat urine – and they are not cat people.

Consideration for small wildlife: while it is a natural instinct for cats to hunt, it really isn’t fair to song birds or mice to be hunted and terrorized by domestic cats.

Here are a couple other sad stories of outdoor kitties; two of these things happened to one of our cats when I was growing up, another happened more recently to a neighbor’s cat. Growing up, my parents believed in “indoor/outdoor†with a heavy emphasis on “outdoor.†Our one cat, Chorney, was cold one day. Unbeknownst to my mother, he crawled up into the engine compartment of her car to get warm. She started the car; it made a horrific sound but we didn’t see anything. She drove off. After that incident, Chorney went missing; the only evidence was a TON of his fur on our driveway, which was attributed to a probable cat fight. However, as you have guessed by now, that was not the case. Chorney returned home about a week later; his tail was shattered and stripped bald, and he had numerous lacerations on his body. He had gotten caught in the fan belt of the car, and probably went for a good long ride with my mother. Miraculously he did survive; had to have his tail amputated, but he pulled through. However a year later – because my parents didn’t learn – he was found dead in a neighbors’ garden…most likely hit by a car.

The other story is about Little Bear, my neighbors’ cat. Little Bear liked to hang out in their back yard, and like many naïve cat caretakers, his owner said “he never leaves the yard.†Well one day Little Bear definitely left the yard; when he tried to get back in, he tried to squeeze himself back in through the pickets of their fence. He got stuck, and was stuck there for at least 3 hours. When they found him he seemed OK; they took apart the fence and brought him in. The next day they noticed his fur was wet and gross and he smelled horrific. Turns out his circulation was cut off while he was stuck in the fence, and gangrene had set in. After several surgeries, $2000+ in vet bills, and a recovery period of over 6 months, Little Bear is healed.

So you really never know what can happen while a cat is free-roaming. There are many dangers, and they are just far too curious for their own good. Our 6 indoor cats are as happy as can be; they have warmth, lots of window perches, tons of toys, we play with all of them every single day, and a reliable source for food and water. I rally think this is the safest option for domestic cats.
post #10 of 21
Bijou and Mika are allowed out only on harness and leash and only if one of us is there to keep an eye on them. This was not my idea as I would prefer indoor only but my husband insisted that cats really want and need to be allowed outdoors so we compromised - they can go outside but only if supervised and on leash and harness.

I applaud your decision to protect your cats.
post #11 of 21
I'm with your husband - who cares what others think? We lost a 9-month-old indoor/outdoor kitten several years ago - she was hit by a truck. Jamie is an indoor/balcony (I heard that expression for the first time today)/leash-trained cat, with a secured balcony, who goes for walks on a leash every day. Our neighbors at first thought we (I, actually) were crazy to go to the expense of securing the balcony with cat net, take the time to train him to a leash, and go for a walk with him every day. Now they're asking me for advice on training a cat to a leash, or enclosing a balcony, because so many of their cats have ended up as road kill.
post #12 of 21
I'm a type of person who doesn't really care what others feel about how I live my life. If you don't want your cats to run freely then do not let them.. Don't let others opionins of what you do concering your cats affect your decision to keep your cats inside. "better a fat cat inside then a flat cat dead outside" Inside cats live longer healthier lives.
post #13 of 21
Do what you are comfortable with...

Kandie is 17 years old and made to half way accross country moves and is indoor / outdoor .. I will ass she is trained to the yard front or back and doesnt leave it..

Zoey is 20 months and is indoor outdoor but is trained to the back yard only which is fenced with nearly cat proof fencing...

I live in a small town where most cats are indoor and outdoor but notr trained...
post #14 of 21
I dont know what the law are in your country - but where I live it is unlawful to have cats off your property w/o a leash, although it is a law that is greatly ignored.
Why this can be a danger - if my cat was on my neighbor's lawn unsupervisored, he has the legal right to take matters into his own hands - even cruelly - and the law can't touch it. I dont think that is an actually problem where I live - but the threat exists.

if your country has that too - you can just tell ppl you are following the law.

My cat - and any future cats - : indoor only.
post #15 of 21
Mine are indoor only too.....years ago when we had cats they were indoor/outdoor (When it was "the thing to do")..and we lost a few of them horribly....no more! At least not cause we have let them out in the dangerous world anyhow.
Do what you are comfortable with and what you can live with "IF".
post #16 of 21
Dealing with ferals, i have both inside and outside cats. My oldest outside cat is Cleo, he will be eleven soon. The majority of my cats live inside and outside (I have an enclosure, but it is where they can be outside safely.

You can see our building it here

Cat Enclosure
post #17 of 21
I would never let my cats roam freely, it's just not safe, not even in the country: there are lots of predators out there, even if cars and mad cat torturers are absent. In addition, free cats promote all too common cat hate by peeing in kid's sandboxes, digging up flowerbeds, killing small birds etc.

We should also remember that cat is not a natural part of European, North American, let alone Australian ecosystem: It is an alien species that does great damage to the nature. The prey can't cope with cats, especially when the sustainable cat population is bloated by extra food resources from the cat's owners.

I'm all for leash walks, most cats love them.
post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys, that reinforces our decision to keep our cats safe. Just last night I was walking our small dog right outside our drive way (the pup is about the size of a cat) and two dogs that were being walked off leash raced half a block to confront us! The owner couldn't control them and I put myself between them and my little one but luckily they just wanted to sniff at her (maybe they thought she was a rat or cat from that distance!) I was shaking like a leaf and when I told the owner "you shouldn't be walking them off-leash" she sulked and walked away without saying anything. Anyway, I won't take a chance with the cats roaming free. You're right, I shouldn't be so thin-skinned but people react as if I am some crazy neurotic woman. I will tell them as someone suggested "The safety of my cats comes first".
post #19 of 21
There is no need to pay attention to what other people think. After all, what business is it of theirs? You are making a perfectly acceptable decision and you should only be accountable to yourselves!

If someone gives you a hard time, just say "this is what we've decided is right for our situation" and leave it at that.
post #20 of 21
For what it's worth, my cats are indoor/outdoor, and we've made that decision based on our situation. You have made your decision based on your situation, and I promise never to look at you like you have 2 heads, because only you can judge that situation, and you wouldn't be here if your cats' welfare weren't your first consideration. That's what it comes down to. You do what is best in your situation, and don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
post #21 of 21
Our cats are indoor only when we move to a bigger property we will be building an enclosure for them. They are very happy cats.
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