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Readers Respond: Have you had an epiphany about the indoor-outdoor controversy around cats?

Responses: 98

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Indoor maybe, outdoor prefably

I used to live with my sister who did not fix her cats and therefore she kept them inside. With the reasons for keeping cats inside, I agree, it can be a safer option. But when she used to go out she used to lock all 3 cats in one bedroom, further more she hardly ever cleaned their kitty litter and we were not allow to open the windows. Can you jsut imagine the smell??? I am now living on my own and my cat Lucy is free to come and go during the day. I have noticed that she hangs around outside but as soon as she sees my car turning into our drive way she scrambles to get back into our garden (very cute!). I think if you can keep your cats inside, in a clean environment, and they are getting enough attention and excercise then great. BUt I think of my sister's cats who have never seen a vet and have to go in a kitty littler with weeks old pooh - it makes me shiver, poor things! L
—Guest Karen

stolen cat

our indoor/outdoor cat was befriended by our downstair neighbor {I thought to to give his lonesome child some amusement}but turned out to take our cat with them when they moved.and throwing her collar on our doorstep to let me know at least a four legged animal didnt get her...
—Guest marianne

Originally Outside

Our cat came to us from outside of the house, and gets on the bed every time we bring her inside after she's finished eating, so she's an outdoor cat.
—Guest Crene

Cat indoors or outdoors?

I agree with all that I've been reading--it depends on the cat. We got two from a shelter at age 4months. Kept them inside for about three months. When they saw their first bird out the window they were hoked. We put them on a leash for while outside to learn the area. Our three acres are fenced and it really made a difference to one cat--she never climbs. The other we saw climb and yelled, NO. They both come in at night, but have access to the cat door always. Been 4 years now and, so far, they are safe. If you live on a city road then cats indoors are a must only if you can keep them satisfied with lot's of toys, attention and loves. My daughter has two indoor cats and they are perfectly happy, but she has a large house--I have a small boring house, so they want to roam.
—Guest Karen

Indoors

You listed all the reason we have kept our cat indoors for 30 years. The one time I tried to let one out she was almost hit by a car. We play, open screened windows, and work to give our cats sufficient stimulus. Of great importance for me - tracking the litter box daily. Sometimes it is the first way I learn of health issues. I am always concerned to see a cat outside due to inherent risks. I also share you concern over the loss of birds to these agile and crafty hunters. I have not purchased an outdoor play structure but these appear to be a safe alternative to free roaming companion cats. Thanks for your thought provoking articles.
—Guest thecatmama

Outside with precautions

If you let your cat out, use precautions. Get a tracking device. I lost my cat for 3 weeks and a day, and then he came back! Woo. I think he was trapped somewhere. I'm a lot more careful now. But if he had that tracking device on him, I would have found him. Never again. Don't become complacent. And watch out for changes in behavior. My cat was wandering further just before he vanished. anyway, I've been lucky. Don't let it happen to you. It's a rotten thing.
—Guest Hac

da

There comes a time when you have to decide: should you have unhappy, safe cats or happy, resonably safe cats. The honest answer is that you should let you cat decide. Cats are much happier allowed outside, and they much prefer going to the toilet outside, not in sand boxes (except when its raining). Serriously, if you want a very happy friendly cat, give it the choice to go outside. But it does depend on the cat of what they decide: some cats love the outside, and some are lazy and just go there to go to the toilet.
—Guest da

Keep your cats safe

I have been a cat owner for about a year now. I love my little fur ball and he is a very happy cat. My cat has never been allowed to go outdoors. I beleve this is the best thing for a few reasons. First, I live in a national forest. Cats and small dogs left outside always become dinner to wild animals. This doesn't stop some cat/dog owners 4 months before I bought my cat I found half of a neighbors cat on the hill side behind my house after smelling the horrible stench of the poor thing. That image will always be in my mind and I will never subject my cat to that kind of fate. second, you cant keep a cat in your yard. I love my cat but it doesn't mean I want to deal with other people's animals in my yard. The same rule should apply for cats as dogs. They should be kept on your property and not be given access to the neighborhood. Your neighbors shouln't have to deal with your animals. Animal owners dont look very responsible letting their pets run free.
—Guest Ladie

Indoors for some.. outdoors for others!

I have been rescuing feral cats in my area for about twelve years now. At one point, there were so many, all you could do was feed them. I had to trap/release spay several of them. I had two that would come to me all the time, but every time I brought them in, they'd go crazy! One day, I found a TINY kitten (bout three weeks old) under my deck.. I don't know where Moma cat was, but I brought her in an bottle fed her... That was 5 years ago and she hasn't been out since! She loves the windows though.. but always backs up when she hears the door latch. As for the outdoor babies... one is 10, one is 5, and another is about two. Over all, I'd say indoor cats were much more HEALTHY and my baby seems HAPPY over all... but some cats just won't take to the indoors, and shouldn't be forced!
—Guest Diane

Supervised outdoors

At 7 mo. old my cat figured out how to unlatch the window screens... so I nailed them down. By 8 mo., his favorite sound was the unbolting of a door... so we limited our use of the front door and got him a collar. By 9 mo., he learned my routines before I leave the house - I almost missed a 5:30 am flight when he slipped into the backyard on rainy morning. We grew concerned that one day he would escape, get scared and run away. So at 10 mo. (contrary to our vets advice), we gave him daily supervised backyard playtime. Now that he's a year old, he greets me at the door when I get home at 5:50 pm and he spends an hour outside happily chasing birds and butterflies as I fritter away on my laptop. I still keep an eye on him... Anytime he starts climbing the fence, I shake a metal can full of foreign coins. That said, I have the most playful motor-boatin' clown of a fur ball.
—Guest Marcel

Just depends

I think some cats are better off outdoors while others are better indoors, i know many of you would dissagree with me but I have had cats who would have HATED to go indoors and others who would hated to go outdoors
—Guest Veggie

Indoors

I have two cats currently and the live happily inside. My one is 7 and perfectly healthy and happy. The other was from a shelter where we got him at 2 years old. The owner told us his story from when they found him, and it wasn't pretty. A cat also went missing in our neighborhood and, luckily, we found her...just missing for less than a month and she was rail-thin. Finally, you never know what kind of creepos are out their that can give them tainted food, kill them, or shoot them. Just keep them inside!!>=0
—Guest Keep Cats Indoors! >=0

Outdoors, with precautions

Our indoor/outdoor cat lived to be 22 years old. We acquired more a few years ago through rescues, and they are fine as well. If you live in a rural or cat-friendly neighborhood, the cats won't cause neighbor problems. A collar bell prevents too much damage to local wildlife, and a cat door allows easy access to the indoors in case of danger. Just be sure to spay/neuter any cat that is allowed outdoors, and keep them up to date on vaccinations. NEVER declaw.
—Guest Jinx

Outdoor Enclosure

My life and those of my 3 cats was transformed by installing a 'cat-proof' enclosure around my back patio and a portion of my back yard. In addition to a cat door which I keep open all day, the cats have access to the outside and can go in and out at their whims. I bought and installed the "Purrfect Fence", kind of expensive but it has made my life and those of the kitties much happier, and in the 3 years I've had it does seem to be "cat-proof". The best of both worlds.
—AZcatman

Indoor Only

I have had cats for 20 years and after my first cat, who I let go outside occansionaly, was attacked and injured by a neighbor's cat, I have kept all my cats as indoor only.
—Guest Kpnbks

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