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 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
- 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
- I keep my cats inside for safety reasons. I've seen too many cats killed on the road (one of mine was years ago) and for health reasons also.
- —Guest LAM
A mixture of results
- We have 4 cats here and they live in the house, we also look after 12 feral's who live in the greenhouse. we have a 50 acre farm and the feral's certainly keep the vole population down a little on the field but I have yet to see any of them catch a bird despite us having bird feeders. I think rural birds are just too smart for cats. I think one has to remember the natural food chain when talking about field mice etc and the population on 50 acres is incredible.
I grew up with outside cats
- My parents never had indoor cats. Once they were old enough to go outside they went. My parents were very clean and a smelly litter box didn't exactly fit into their lives. Even in our basement. Plus my mother wasn't the person to clean it out every day. It was easier to just open the door and let them out.
- To Terri and any others looking for their lost cats: Don't give up! A scared cat's first instinct is to hide and go to ground. It can take literally weeks for the cat to come out where anyone might see him/her. When our feral-born, 2 year old indoor cat ran out of the front door left open in error, it took almost a month before we even saw him. Then it was another few days before we were able to catch him. He was very skinny, but otherwise okay. He was hiding in the yard directly across the street from our old house. He had probably heard us call him many times, but it took weeks for him to come out of hiding. A woman who tracks lost animals (and people!) with her two tracker dogs told us about many cats' impulse to hide, and counseled us to be patient in our seach. It was the best advice we got, so do not give up hope or stop looking! Our cats stay indoors because we've seen way too many felines in our urban neighborhood injured and killed outside, mostly by cars.
- —Guest Rachel G.
A short but fulfilling life?
- Rescued a 2-week old orphan kitten off the street who grew up to be the friendliest cat I've ever met. But he was alone every day in my 50 sqm apartment with all that pent up energy and so I started letting him go outside, supervised, for a few months, until I finally just left the window open and he could come and go as he pleased. The city isn't particularly safe - cars and dogs and sadists and especially other cats - but mine was so smart and cautious; I figured he knows how to survive. It seemed wrong for me to have saved his life as a kitten only to keep him locked up for the rest of it. Three weeks ago he left and didn't come back. The not knowing is the worst of it, I miss him so much and still weep, yet thinking back, I feel like although his life was (probably) short, it was full of joy and richness. In my neighborhood feral kittens are born every month. They are survivors, but danger and death are part of their lives. It's we humans who have so much difficulty with loss.
- —Guest Jeremy
- I do not like to let my cat outdoors, however it is difficult to keep them in when they have been used to being outside all their live. I had one hit by a car, and one that was shot with bird shot and had to go to the Pet ER. I managed to keep her in for 4 weeks after that, but she literally went insane trying to get out. I now limit her to outside during the day and in at night. She wants to live life on her terms! Cats are funny-I have another feral that I brought in during Hurricane Irene and she decided that she never wanted to go out again (obviously she wasn't really feral, but scared). The best compromise is my screened porch, which my indoor cats love!
- —Guest CatLover60