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Indoor cat vrs Outdoor cats

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I've only had one cat so far, and he's been an indoor cat. I decided that unless I live in the country, there's NO WAY I'd have an outdoor cat. I can understand while some people have them though, because maybe they don't get them as kittens and the cats are use to being outside and are misserable when they aren't.. Since my cat was raised from a kitten, he doesn't know what the outdoors is even like, so he's not missing anything. I still put him on the balcony outside with me, and he doesn't even want to stay outside long. I think he's afraid, it's such a wide open area. He never tries to get away or anything. I just don't see how people with outdoor cats in active cities don't live in fear for their cat every single day! Gosh, I don't know how many times I've driven by a cat that's been hit by a car. Heck, I'm even had to throw my brakes on a few times to avoid hitting them myself. Then you also have to worry about neighborhood dogs, and you have to worry about the cats getting diseases(or poisoned) and also the cat getting lost and not able to find it's way home.

Anyway, I know that you can't help it with some cats(especially if you take in strays), but for someone introducing a brand new kitten into the world who doesn't know what outside even feels like, indoors would be the only healthy and safe way to go...

Anyway, not judging here . I just want to know why some folks who are around such busy streets continue to have outdoor cats. Looking for explanations so I can understand better that all
post #2 of 29
I live in the country so my cats are outdoors. Sometimes I see cats in the city, the other day I was driving down a busy street and on the corner two little cats were playing right by the road. I was really worried they would run out into the road and be killed. So I can understand why you would keep an indoor cat in the city, but I don't like the idea of it! If I lived in the city, I wouldn't keep any cats. I can't imagine life without cats but it seems too cruel both shutting them indoors and letting them out into the death-trap.
post #3 of 29
i completely agree dusty. i live in a rather large city and i wouldn't let my cats out of the house for any money. my husband works nights as a driver and he sees so many cats that are lying dead on the street from being hit by cars. it makes him so sad. not even just the cars...he rescued a cat from some amazingly evil humans. they were throwing rocks at her and before he knew it, they'd sicced their dog on her. she's fine now. her name is Elly and she's snoozing on the couch as i type this.

a cat is no match for a car or dog or even worse, a human. all my babies live happy pampered lives inside. and they're all very happy
post #4 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by enkeli-kitten
I live in the country so my cats are outdoors. Sometimes I see cats in the city, the other day I was driving down a busy street and on the corner two little cats were playing right by the road. I was really worried they would run out into the road and be killed. So I can understand why you would keep an indoor cat in the city, but I don't like the idea of it! If I lived in the city, I wouldn't keep any cats. I can't imagine life without cats but it seems too cruel both shutting them indoors and letting them out into the death-trap.

well, if the cat is raised as a Kitten indoors in a city and doesn't know any better, they wouldn't even have the concept of being kept indoors as being cruel......The key is getting them as a kitten, and when ya do it that way, they don't even WANT to run away, because outdoors is too scary and unknown to them.
post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by distol
i completely agree dusty. i live in a rather large city and i wouldn't let my cats out of the house for any money. my husband works nights as a driver and he sees so many cats that are lying dead on the street from being hit by cars. it makes him so sad. not even just the cars...he rescued a cat from some amazingly evil humans. they were throwing rocks at her and before he knew it, they'd sicced their dog on her. she's fine now. her name is Elly and she's snoozing on the couch as i type this.

a cat is no match for a car or dog or even worse, a human. all my babies live happy pampered lives inside. and they're all very happy
wow! glad Elly is okay. Cruelty to animals just sickens me. Anyway, enough of my negative talk. My cat seems pretty happy too indoors, but then again, with a cat it's hard to tell, lol...Sometimes I wish cats had the ability to smile.
post #6 of 29
I used to be extremely against allowing any cat outdoors. I have softened my opinion since... although I still believe the vast majority of cats can be perfectly happy indoor-only, and many have no interest in going outdoors.
However, in many countries it is considered cruel to not let your cat out. If your cat is fixed, has his claws, doesn't roam far, you don't live on a busy road, there are no major predators (such as coyotes or bears), and you live in an area with few people (reducing the chances of your pet being stolen or abused), then I suppose it is far less risky. Also, the many cats that are feral or long-time strays are adopted out as barn cats-- because they are otherwise unadoptable-- are better off being adopted to an outside home than put to sleep or living in a shelter. Some of our members have housecats and outside cats who are rescues and such. It's far better in most circumstances that these cats have some kind of home, and are loved and cared for and such, than just left all alone to "make it".

Many people have also "cat-proofed" their yard, and I see no problem with that. Supervised outdoor playtime is hardly any riskier than being indoors.

I will not let mine out either. For one, I live in an apartment that is far from rural. I have leash-trained her though.

I will agree, that in the case of an average house cat, it is far safer and better for them to be indoors. Especially in North America, and especially in the US.
post #7 of 29
I have lived in the country for the last 17 years and I do not like to let cats outside. I have lived with a lot of outside feral cats and I will tell you that there are as many dangers living in the country as living in the city. Roaming dogs, coyotes, birds of prey and snakes. I've had people drive off the road to hit cats in my front yard just for giggles. I've had cats disappear before Halloween (probably by the same idiots that would leave the road to drive over a cat). Doesn't matter how well I take care of the outdoor cats, they live a far shorter life than indoor cats.

With all that said, I do let one cat outside - he was the great experiment my husband and I had many years ago when we got the attitude about country cats need to go outside. We can't break him of the habit. But I also strongly encourage the ferals to come inside when they want.
post #8 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom
I used to be extremely against allowing any cat outdoors. I have softened my opinion since... although I still believe the vast majority of cats can be perfectly happy indoor-only, and many have no interest in going outdoors.
However, in many countries it is considered cruel to not let your cat out. If your cat is fixed, has his claws, doesn't roam far, you don't live on a busy road, there are no major predators (such as coyotes or bears), and you live in an area with few people (reducing the chances of your pet being stolen or abused), then I suppose it is far less risky. Also, the many cats that are feral or long-time strays are adopted out as barn cats-- because they are otherwise unadoptable-- are better off being adopted to an outside home than put to sleep or living in a shelter. Some of our members have housecats and outside cats who are rescues and such. It's far better in most circumstances that these cats have some kind of home, and are loved and cared for and such, than just left all alone to "make it".

Many people have also "cat-proofed" their yard, and I see no problem with that. Supervised outdoor playtime is hardly any riskier than being indoors.

I will not let mine out either. For one, I live in an apartment that is far from rural. I have leash-trained her though.

I will agree, that in the case of an average house cat, it is far safer and better for them to be indoors. Especially in North America, and especially in the US.
another thing is that I find that indoor cats are more people oriented and less afraid when people come to the house. I think that's because of the amount of people who probably chase the cats out of their yard etc that makes them a bit afraid of others.
post #9 of 29
Hmmm... that's interesting. My girl has the inexplicable duality of being in love with any visitors we have in the apartment, yet absolutely terrified of any human outside except me, my roommate, and a close friend she knows well. But someone she's never set eyes on can come over, she'll sit in their lap, purr, sleep on their head, etc. Outside, the second someone turns a corner she is climbing all over me, trying to run away, ears back, tail poofed.

Oddly, if I talk to them, then it's okay. It's almost like people have to have the "Mommie stamp of approval" or else she is phobic of them.

I try not to bring her out when people are likely to be around.
post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by enkeli-kitten
I live in the country so my cats are outdoors. Sometimes I see cats in the city, the other day I was driving down a busy street and on the corner two little cats were playing right by the road. I was really worried they would run out into the road and be killed. So I can understand why you would keep an indoor cat in the city, but I don't like the idea of it! If I lived in the city, I wouldn't keep any cats. I can't imagine life without cats but it seems too cruel both shutting them indoors and letting them out into the death-trap.
I used to think inside only was cruel, too. Now that I have 3 inside only cats, I see that they are perfectly happy inside. And no matter how safe it is outside, as MOM said, the inside only cats live longer lives!

My kitty Will was an outside cat to start, and now comes in and out. He just doesn't want to stay inside! And I have a kitty named Josie who is outside only, adopted from my foster agency as a former outside cat who pees in the house. She stays very close to home and I believe is very safe. Will has a large territory, and is in more danger. But in general I live in a safe, country area.
post #11 of 29
If cats are kept indoors only from birth, many show no inclination whatsoever to go outside. I've seen them sit in front of a wide-open door for an hour. My downstairs neighbor has indoor-onlies that she leash trained, but the second they went outside they freaked and wanted nothing more than to go in.

Mine was outside her first two months (feral baby). She meowed at the door once she felt better (various infestations) and I decided to leash-train her.

Indoor cats have lifespans of 20 years, indoor/outdoor around 7, and outdoor homeless around 3. It is cruel to keep a cat trapped in a room with no interaction, no toys, and no litterbox... but a good owner (which we all are, of course) is not cruel to keep them in.
post #12 of 29
The Siamese we had when I was growing up was indoor/outdoor.
She was in every evening before dark, or when the weather was bad.
She'd cross her legs to get inside to use her litter box, I guess going outside was too unladylike for her.

When she was a kitten, we had a farm, so she was accustomed to being indoor/outdoor.
Later we moved to the 'burbs', that was early 70s, so still fairly safe.
Mid 70s we moved into the city, by then, my mom didn't feel it would be fair to impose an indoor life on her.

She actually would never leave the block we lived on and it was fairly dead as far as vehicle traffic.

These days, no way, not even in the subburbs or the country.

I've seen more than my share of cats (probably barn cats) that had ended up as food for coyotes or raptors.
post #13 of 29
All I am going to say on this is that my cat is strictly indoors and has never offered to go outside.
post #14 of 29
Well, I guess it would be different living here (NZ) than America! There are no coyotes, bears etc. Cats are one of the main predators. My tough-cat Kit often has scraps with possums, but it's unusual for a cat to be killed by one. But surely cats can evade a coyote?

No offense to people with indoor cats!!!

Even though there are many dangers for country cats outdoors, I still think it's cruel to keep them indoors. Even if they're trained to it from kittens. There's heaps of really sensible arguments for keeping cats indoors, but for me it's too much like keeping them caged! They're animals - they're meant to roam free. My cats love exploring outside, and outdoor cats get more exercise and they are less likely than to eat out of boredom - I guess indoor cats need a lot of play and stimulation or they'd be really bored.

By the way, the figure of 7 years for an outdoor cat? My grandparents cat is indoor-outdoor and she's 15!
post #15 of 29
I used to think that keeping cats indoors was cruel. Until I got 2 kittens 9 years ago. As I lived in a flat and near a busy road, letting them outside wasn't really an option, although I considered fitting a cat flap into one of my windows (ground floor flat). They settled down as indoor cats perfectly well and I don't think I would now ever allow a cat to free roam outdoors, even if it was a relatively safe environment.

I do think it's a case of weighing up the advantages and disadvantages though, and everyone's circumstances with respect to this are different. I wouldn't condemn anyone for letting their cat go outside, as there are definitely benefits for a cat in being allowed outside. I just personally don't think they outweigh the risks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by enkeli-kitten
By the way, the figure of 7 years for an outdoor cat? My grandparents cat is indoor-outdoor and she's 15!
I assume 7 is just a statistical average - there must be lots of young cats/kittens who succumb to RTAs before they manage to acquire any road sense which will reduce the average age, statistically.
post #16 of 29
My 11 cats and kittens are free to go wherever they please. I believe it's not in their nature to stay cooped up inside. I do not know how a person can be so sure that his/her indoor kitty is truly happy. It is fortunate that I have a big garden. The cats are fixed (kittens will be in November) and they have not left the property. They are safe. However, if circumstances were different that the cats would be in danger outdoors, I'd rather have no cat than keeping one locked up.
post #17 of 29
One thing I would just like to say, I don't understand why people think keeping a cat indoor is cruel, they live a pampered lifestyle, all the food they want, warm beds, lots of love, how is that cruel? Domestic cats are NOT wild animals, they have been domesticated which to me says they should live with us. Now, "wild" dogs also roam free, would anyone let their pet dog just roam wherever they wanted? If not, how is this different from letting cats roam free?

Also, as far as a cat being able to avoid a coyote, coyotes can catch rabbits, and rabbits are pretty gosh darn fast, so if a coyote can catch one of those, I have no doubt that it would be able to catch a cat
post #18 of 29
Our only indoor/outdoor cat is Stinky (Clover only goes out on a harness, and the other two rarely go outside with me), and the house we lived at when we found him was in a "city" area, and our house was up by a busy street. I think one of the biggest reasons we started bringing him in, besides him crawling into the vents in the cold weather, was because we didn't want him going up to the street and being hit by a car.. we noticed a lot of animals getting hit on that road. Now we live in a rural area, and hardly any cars pass our house, and our yard is a lot bigger, so we don't worry about anything happening to him.
post #19 of 29
We have two cats: Oz and Spike. Oz used to be a stray, and judging by his appearance when we adopted him from the Humane Society, life on the streets was not kind to him. He was too skinny (and small enough that the vets at the Humane Society estimated him to be several months younger than he actually is), his coat was a disaster, and he was suffering from a URI that was bad enough that he continues to have breathing problems to this day. Now that he's ours, Oz has filled out (and then some ...), his coat is glossy, and aside from occasional wheezing issues and colds, he has perfect health. He shows absolutely no inclination whatsoever towards going outside. He's got it all figured out: inside, he's pampered, he's well-fed, he's adored, and all his needs are provided for -- and then some. Outside, it's cold, wet, food is scarce, and there are mean people and dangerous animals. Why on Earth would he ever want to go out?

Spike is a different story altogether. Another rescued stray, he was brought into the Humane Society as a very young kitten (or was possibly born there); he spent his entire life in a very small cage, until we adopted him. Spike will never be allowed outdoors because he's mentally challenged: he has the mental capacity of a kitten, combined with a very limited ability to grasp new concepts and learn new things. He's also entirely too trusting; he thinks everyone and everything is his friend, and would never hurt him. While he's an indoor cat, with only my boyfriend and I and people we approve of around him, he'll never learn otherwise, and that's my goal. He occasionally shows an interest in the great outdoors -- mostly when there's a squirrel taunting him on the branches outside our living room window -- but for the most part, he's happy with the small world he lives in.

Besides all that, we live on a very busy street, in a neighbourhood with a lot of large dogs, and (currently) quite a few skunks and raccoons. When we adopted out cats, one of the questions the Humane Society asked was did we intend for them to be indoor-only, indoor-outdoor, or outdoor-only cats; my friend who used to work there told us that they might decide not to let a family adopt a cat if they answered "indoor-outdoor" or "outdoor-only" on their application. (They also don't adopt cats to people who say they intend to have their cats declawed.)
post #20 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by enkeli-kitten
Well, I guess it would be different living here (NZ) than America! There are no coyotes, bears etc. Cats are one of the main predators. My tough-cat Kit often has scraps with possums, but it's unusual for a cat to be killed by one. But surely cats can evade a coyote?

No offense to people with indoor cats!!!

Even though there are many dangers for country cats outdoors, I still think it's cruel to keep them indoors. Even if they're trained to it from kittens. There's heaps of really sensible arguments for keeping cats indoors, but for me it's too much like keeping them caged! They're animals - they're meant to roam free. My cats love exploring outside, and outdoor cats get more exercise and they are less likely than to eat out of boredom - I guess indoor cats need a lot of play and stimulation or they'd be really bored.

By the way, the figure of 7 years for an outdoor cat? My grandparents cat is indoor-outdoor and she's 15!
I can totally respect your opinion, but I think once you've had a cat that's been hit by a car from being outside or has been poisioned or has run away(got lost), I think you would think differently. The average lifespan is ALOT longer for an indoor cat and that alone is worth it to me. What I do to make up for it is to let my cat come out with me on my apartment balcony. That way he can walk around, get new smells etc.... There are just too many disadvantages to having an outdoor can, and the only disadvantage of having an indoor cat is the idea that the can will get bored and won't be happy. I change that by spoiling him like crazy. I have 3 cat trees, lots of toys, and I play with him constantly. At least I don't have to lie in bed everynight wondering..."Is Maui going to come home?"... Again, I've just read too many sad stories from folks with outdoor cats, and I couldn't stand the idea of losing my animal to something I may have been able to control....

I know you say that if you raise them from a kitten, it's still cruel to keep them inside, but the reason I disagree with that in because they don't know any better. Again, I'll let my cat out with me sometimes and he just sits there. He doesn't even have the least bit of interest of running away. He just looks around and walks back inside. I remember one time I forgot and left the door open. I came back 30 minutes later and there he was sitting at the door. I can tell that he's scared to death of being seperated from me.

Distu
post #21 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by yayi
My 11 cats and kittens are free to go wherever they please. I believe it's not in their nature to stay cooped up inside. I do not know how a person can be so sure that his/her indoor kitty is truly happy. It is fortunate that I have a big garden. The cats are fixed (kittens will be in November) and they have not left the property. They are safe. However, if circumstances were different that the cats would be in danger outdoors, I'd rather have no cat than keeping one locked up.
Well in your situation, it might be diffent, but I'm talking about the typical situation. As far as being able to tell if your cat is truely happy or not, you can tell by their behavior...Most depressed cats tend to sulk and not really be interested in playing, have disengaging personalities etc. My cat is just the opposite of that. You have to realize there are many other things you can do to make your cat more comfortable.

#1 Open up a window often and let cat sit in it and watch outside
#2 take him/her out on the balacony if it's possible.
#3 get a bird feeder( if possible) to hang outside so that he can watch(they can entertain themselves for hours with this).
#4 lots of toys
#5 lots of love and affection.

Another thing, I feel like if I let my cat outside, he wouldn't be a pet to me anymore, he'd just be a stray. (just my opinion only of course).

Again, there are exceptions, but it all depends on where ya live and how safe it is against the typical dangers for cats...
post #22 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by katiemae1277
One thing I would just like to say, I don't understand why people think keeping a cat indoor is cruel, they live a pampered lifestyle, all the food they want, warm beds, lots of love, how is that cruel? Domestic cats are NOT wild animals, they have been domesticated which to me says they should live with us. Now, "wild" dogs also roam free, would anyone let their pet dog just roam wherever they wanted? If not, how is this different from letting cats roam free?

Also, as far as a cat being able to avoid a coyote, coyotes can catch rabbits, and rabbits are pretty gosh darn fast, so if a coyote can catch one of those, I have no doubt that it would be able to catch a cat
You are 100% correct!!

Here's an example

My parents(whom had 3 outdoor cats)

1st cat got hit by a car
2nd cat got into poision (or he could have been poisoned, nobody knows for sure, but he had to be put down))
and the third cat(the oldest one), just didn't come home one day. Never found out what happened to him.

My Mom is still deeply traumatized by all all of these things that happened and they happened many years ago. Now she only has indoor cats and says "never again will I have an outdoor cat"

But like ya said, domestic is domestic, and it's called that for a reason.
post #23 of 29
The main challenge I see with some indoor cats is to keep them mentally stimulated. I hate to see my little guy laying around bored because he's seen it all here in the house and done it all. There's no way I'm letting him outside, I just don't know how to keep introducing new things to keep him stimulated. It only works for a few minutes anyway, and then he's off looking bored again.

The one way I could think it might be considered cruel to keep them indoors, is that they never get to experience the joys of being outside. We would probably be safer and live longer too if we stayed indoors all the time - but would you want to? I don't think I would.
post #24 of 29
Here's a fun way: every time you go grocery shopping, buy them some of those silly little toys in the pet aisle. This way they have a new toy every week or two, and even though it might seem like they're bored, you'll find them playing with it later on.
post #25 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Misty8723
The main challenge I see with some indoor cats is to keep them mentally stimulated. I hate to see my little guy laying around bored because he's seen it all here in the house and done it all. There's no way I'm letting him outside, I just don't know how to keep introducing new things to keep him stimulated. It only works for a few minutes anyway, and then he's off looking bored again.

The one way I could think it might be considered cruel to keep them indoors, is that they never get to experience the joys of being outside. We would probably be safer and live longer too if we stayed indoors all the time - but would you want to? I don't think I would.
You are so right. The cat we had growing up was indoor/outdoor and lived to be 19 years old. He did get hit by a car once and had a broken jaw. I can remember my mother waiting up for the cat to come home so she could go to bed. Let me tell you this was one happy, pampered, loving wonderful cat.

While there is no doubt that cats are safer inside, I think as an owner you have to provide them with much more stimulation. The outdoors is an exciting place for a cat to explore. Indoor cats need climbing trees, toys, and a lot of human contact to remain happy. This is all IMO.
post #26 of 29
Misty8723 and meow meow, I agree with you guys.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dusty0463
At least I don't have to lie in bed everynight wondering..."Is Maui going to come home?"
Your cat's called Maui? Cool! ^^ Maui is a legendary Maori god (or something like it), he's like the main guy in lots of Maori legend. He fished up New Zealand from his waka canoe!!
post #27 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Misty8723
The main challenge I see with some indoor cats is to keep them mentally stimulated.
I totally agree, but it can be done. I think rather than saying cats shouldn't be kept indoors, I'd say that some owners should not keep cats indoors. Some people just aren't able (or willing) to put the time and effort into keeping their indoor cats happy and stimulated. They are a more high maintenance pet than an outdoor cat.
post #28 of 29
outside cats are agressive and full of diseases. I never let my cat has any contact with outside cats! he just can see them from the roof or the balcony and meaow to them! I never let him outside even in the garden except under my supervision.

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post #29 of 29
For a long time, my cats were indoor cats only. Then my husband developed allergies to them. So they now live in the back yard, confined within a cat enclosure. Our backyard is fenced in. Our back porch door opens into the yard and I do let the cats on the porch which is screened in. They are as safe as we can provide for them, given the circumstances. We have what is called a cat fence in system which is attached to the chain link fence. I agree that cats are probably safer inside. But they can still be outside cats and reasonably safe within an enclosure. Cats are curious creatures and sometimes even indoor cats get into trouble. There are dangers inside, such as plants, cleaning products, exposure to things like chocolate and other items they could ingest. We just have to give them the best home possible, no matter if it is indoors or out.
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