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

Responses: 144


I have been on both sides of the indoor-outdoor controversy around cats, and I thoroughly understand and appreciate both points of view. After losing several cats to the outdoors from abscess infections, vehicle accidents, and my longest-lived cat to FIV contracted from cat fights, I had an epiphany, and changed my stance.

Have you experienced an epiphany that led to your decision to keep your cats indoors? Or have you decided after serious consideration, to all them unsupervised access to the outside?

Share your story in the provided form. Note: This form is not for debating, replying to others, or asking questions. Share your decision


I chose to keep my 4 cats indoors as we live in an apartment block where unfortunately not everyone is kind to animals. My son once rescued a cat who had been thrown off the 4th floor - unfortunately the vet had to put the cat to sleep as his spine was broken.
—Guest Jane Alala

Depends on the cat.

I've had several cats in my life, some of whom were strays and some that were bought or obtained from friends. The vast majority were allowed to come and go as they pleased. Only one ever got seriously injured. The others all lived happy, healthy, long lives. One, a runt with a heart murmur when we got him, lived to be more than 20 years old (she picked him up as a stray living with his litter mates in a dumpster, so we're guessing as to age, but we had him for about 18 years. He never got sick. Two of our girls were allowed to be indoor/outdoor, and eventually choose to stay indoors unless the family is outside, and they stay close when we have a bonfire or grill out. One is still alive and, aside from having put on a few pounds, seems pretty healthy at the ripe old age of 18. The other two we have right now are fit, happy, energetic and intelligent creatures that spend most of their time outside when it's warm, but don't hesitate to come inside if it's cooler. They're all fed indoo
—Guest Anna

Outside or nowhere

My husband and I grew up with outdoor cats, and really believe there is something spiritual that develops in cats (and dogs) who live unsupervised lives. However, the road in front of our house is a real cat killer and we also have coyotes. Adult cats have shown that they will learn how to avoid coyotes, but too many cats have died on that road, and as we age the emotional trauma of loosing a cat is too much. We are not going to have anymore cats at this location. However, we now have a Brenner's Best Friend fence for the dogs, and our last cat is too fat to get out of it. She and the dogs use the dog door, so a new cat couldn't be kept indoors either.
—Guest Mikosmom

def indoors

I took the decision to keep my cat tigger indoors after she'd suffered a few illnesses as a kitten. I thought she was delicate, and wouldn't survive outdoors. I'm really glad I did, she's 9 now and absolutely lovely, I think if she'd gone out I would have lost her now. She's clean, well fed, (spoilt too lol), but a little darling.
—Guest tiggersmam

Please let your sweet ones stay inside

I have had several cats. Prided myself on taking care of them with vet checks, good food, toys, essentials. Always had them roam outside but they always came back to the garage or we would go searching. We had a little bobtail hit by a car, one older girl ran off. We have always tried to have a nice environment for them. Point being is we didn't give them the attention, then when they all were passing, we tried to save them. It was sad. I now have two sweet ones and they are so amazing. Keep them inside, they are so spoiled. I let them out totally supervised in a fenced yard. My heart wishes I had done more for my old girls but my heart is now wrapped around my little Himz and little Herz. Give love and receive it..thats what makes this world a better place. Please get a pet only if you have the time, willingness and commitment. Its a relationship that is dependent on us nurturing them. They will provide unconditional love. We have to return the favor.
—Guest linda

Indoor Cat

Our pampered, spoiled 2 year old female Ragdoll named Molly is a 100 pct indoor cat and she loves it. Our home has room to run and lots of windows to see out. It keeps her safe and us from worrying about her.
—Guest Michael Rice


I have owned many cats all outdoors cats. Treacle was 26 when she died so not really sure if longevity is really an issue. All of the arguments to keep cats indoors sound like paranoid scaremongering. Gangs of criminals?! there are ways to ensure cats have a healthy fear of cars and busy roads. they are not made of porcelain. The whole argument for keeping cats indoors is more about the needs of the owners and not the cats own needs. denying a cat an outdoor existence is on a par with declawing and if you think that is ok you shouldn't own a cat.
—Guest jev

Indoors defo

My cats grew up indoors and have been inside all their life, but they are still the most happiest and friendliest cats ever!
—Guest LLA

Cats live longer indoors

My three eldest cats died at ages 21 & 22 which their vet says equals 105 human years. They were allowed outside wearing a harness & leash attached to a tie out rope. I was always outside with them since I did not have a fenced in yard. I now have a fenced yard and my three cats I have now are 6, 9 & 10. I allow them out in the backyard, but am always with them. They never try to go over the fence. They love being indoors especially when it is very hot or is snowing outside. I have interactive toys and we enjoy playing together. Rescue cats who were outdoor cats can be retrained to be indoors. It requires effort on the part of owners, but isn't your cat worth it? My last male cat Houdini had to wear two harnesses hooked to a leash because he demonstrated with a shoulder twist his ability to get out of one harness. Cats can be abused by people indoors. One of my rescue cats was. I adopted her 9 yrs. ago and she is now a trusting, loving cat.

First a decision, then a requirement

I got a lot of stick when I bought a Russian Blue and decided to keep her in my 2-bed flat (everyone around me lets their cats out). But having my 'best friends' as a child all killed by the decision to go outside (poisoned, run over, attacked by foxes), the number of foxes around me and the high pedigree made my decision to keep her in. When she was spayed, we found out she had a rare blood disorder and would need whole blood immediately if she had an accident. I'm so glad she's 100% indoors now. I felt bad for a while and would take her out on a lead on my boyfriend's request but it felt too much like I was showing her what she couldn't have. I'm having an internal debate right now about getting her a little brother - that's how I ended up on this site. I'm still not sure.
—Guest ClaireD

Oh where oh where has my Dale Jr gone???

Our cat had a feral mom-he chose us after we rescued him as a kitty he got stuck up in the attic. He latched onto us and we nursed him through a bite from another animal, sick and saved him from being put to sleep after he was picked up by animal control. We moved to another town and he's always been inside/outside but now he's been gone for 3 days and I wished we never let him outside. I never liked cats until my Dale Jr. I'm devastated. We HAD to move due to economy and my sister HATES cats. She was mean to him, yelled at him and wouldn't let him inside the house. Only in the patio. Now, he's gone and we've looked everywhere. We are so devastated, I can't begin to tell you. Lesson is KEEP THEM INDOORS. We don't know if he's dead or eaten by coyotes or what. I wish I had to do it over again, we miss him so. He was our 1st and we won't do it again, too hurtful!

Indoor Cats Healthy, outside cats suffer

My four cats live inside. A lifetime of other family cats have happily lived indoors. They get fresh air & exercise in a porch enclosure or on a harness in the yard. I love my cats too much to let them roam outside to be killed by people, run over by cars, attacked by dogs, lost, destroyed at the pound or to catch diseases. I feed my cats well and do not allow my domestic cats to destroy delicate, endangered birds and other wildlife. I also respects my neighbors too much to allow my animals to invade and damage their yards and property. I do not understand why some cat owners won't take charge and be good pet parents. Are they lazy, ignorant or do they simply not care about the cats, wildlife & neighbors?
—Guest North Cat

I'm so scared for my cat

My cat Nugget was found as a kitten outside, we took him in and love him dearly. He and my dog Scooter (a puppy) get along so well. He's a wonderful cat just alittle noisy. Anyway, he knows how to get outside even if we lock the windows, he gets out. Everytime he comes back he has a new scar or scratch. The worst that ever happened is him having bite holes on his arm. Recently, tonight actually, he came inside with a hole...A HOLE! on his cheek. What do we do, what if he dies!? Help me please. I feel so bad because I want to be a vet when I grow up, help Nugget..please.
—Guest Krissy Jay

Changed my mind

I had to put down my 7 month old kitten this weekend for FIP, feline infectious peritonitis. She was a rescue who was from a litter in someone's yard where a dead mama cat was found. It is most likely she picked up the challenges to her immune system at that point. I am completely heart broken. She was an indoor only kitten. But I have two adult cats, one is indoor only and the other older is an indoor-outdoor cat who becomes very unhappy inside despite cat toys, trees, etc. I have read that the virus that mutates to FIP, called Feline Enteric Coronavirus, is everywhere, and cats generally get over bouts of it throughout their lives, except for the unfortunate few who have a genetic mutation triggered early in their lives, like my Katniss. Now I do not want my cat to go out anymore. I do not want viruses being transmitted into my home anymore.
—Guest Karin

Cats should be indoors!

One of my cats was outdoor-indoor when I was in high school. In the three years he was O-I: another animal bit through his ear (vet visit for infection; antibiotics, permanent scar); he ate poison (vet visit; near-death experience and week long stay in animal hospital); he walked through tar (vet visit and black feet until the tar wore off) and more. When I was 18 and could choose what to do with him, I kept him indoors. When he was indoors, he was happy and healthy. He got plenty of exercise, he was always content, he was never overweight, and he lived another 13 years. Up until he was 16, he was in such good shape that the vet said that he looked to be half his age. That can be attributed to his staying indoors. My two current cats also stay indoors, and they are happy, healthy and full of energy. IMHO it's just as irresponsible to let a cat roam unattended as it would be to let a dog, two year old child or horse roam unattended. They depend on you to keep them safe.
—Guest Mia

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