View Full Version : Outdoor vs. Indoor

08-11-2000, 09:54 AM
I would like to address the issue of outdoor vs. indoor cats. Yesterday my heart sank when I saw a "LOST CAT" sign on the window of an apartment building on my block (I live on the northwest side of Chicago). The photo of the cat on the sign was of a gorgeous siamese mix that I had often seen roaming around outside. This cat was so beautiful, and I enjoyed seeing it whenever I encountered it. http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gif But I was also afraid for the cat, and the few other cats I have seen exploring the area on my block. Lately I had wondered why I hadn't seen it in a while. Then yesterday I saw the sign, and I thought, "Oh no!!". Ever since I had adopted my own cat over a year ago, I came to believe that NO cat should be allowed outdoors. All cats should be kept indoors where they will be much safer and healthier.

It just broke my heart to see that "LOST CAT" sign. It made me angry, too. http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/mad.gif I know that many of you may disagree with me, but it seems to me that to better protect your cat from premature death, from parasites and viruses, and from serious injury, it should always be kept inside!

I really hope that lovely siamese will somehow get back to its owner. I remember that the cat had a collar with tags, so that should help. It may actually be possible that someone else *took* that cat for their own because it was so beautiful. I may never know what happened to it. I would just die if I ever let my cat outside and she got lost. I just can't believe that it is ever okay to let a cat roam outside, even if its owners live in the country on a farm where there are fewer traffic hazards. It just doesn't seem right to me.

Many times I see cat photos on "Cat of the Day" that show the kitty outside. When I see those photos, I always think to myself, "I hope the owner keeps an eye on that kitty whenever it's outside."

I would like to ask all cat owners who currently allow their cats outdoors to end that practice. If they do want to let their cats have some space to explore outside, please, why don't you make sure you supervise them or keep them on a leash during "outdoors" time? But, honestly, I think it's much better for all cats to be "indoor" cats. http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gif Thank you for letting me express my opinion!

08-11-2000, 11:13 AM
Hi Margaret ...
We should keep our cats indoor .. but also we should sometimes let them go out to live their natural life .. to meet other cats .. to know the around area .. and maybe to have a nice time http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/biggrin.gif ..
This makes your cat happy http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gif .. so if you love him/her really you have to sacrifice and let him/her go out ...

08-11-2000, 12:48 PM
I'll put my 2 cents in worth too if I may. I agree wholeheartedly with Margaret. I have 4 'rescue' cats and they are all indoor cats. These cats were all at one time lost and came to the organizations from which I adopted them. Of the 4, only the oldest one makes any attempt to even go outside anymore; the other 3 run away from the door when it opens. I take her out, in my back yard only, on a harness and leash and am outside with her at all times. This happens maybe 5 times during the summer. Indoor cats generally live longer, healthier lives than outdoor kitties. This old girl is 14 y.o. and just got a clean bill of health from the vet! http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gif

08-12-2000, 04:39 PM
I, too, agree with Margaret -- our cat is an indoor cat. In our neighbourhood, there is simply too much traffic and too many racoons for him to be safe outside. However, we would very much like to give him some (limited) 'safe' time outdoors, and taking him out on a harness is tedious (for both of us). Does anyone have any experience with building enclosed cat runs, or know of where instructions / ideas can be found on the net?

Thanks! http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gif

08-12-2000, 06:38 PM
I agree with Margaret 100%. The bottom line is that your cat will live longer and be healthier. Who can argue with that? Isn't that what anyone wants for their pet? Both of my cats have NEVER been outside but sit on the windowsills when the windows are up and experience all the smells and sounds of the outdoors without the danger.

08-12-2000, 09:03 PM
Better than plastic grocery bags are paper grocery bags. Mine will hide in it while the others take turns playfully pouncing on whichever cat is hiding in the bag! Plus there isn't the chance of suffocation as there might be with plastic bags.

08-12-2000, 09:52 PM
Hey all,
I agree 10,000% that cats should be kept indoors. There is no need for them to go outside. I'm glad to see most of you agree also http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gif

IT'S DANGEROUS TO ALLOW YOUR CAT TO GO OUTSIDE TO "MEET" OTHER CATS! Most cats that they would meet are feral, and carry some kind of illness that can be transmitted to your cat such as rabies and feline leukemia, plus they could catch several different kinds of parasites, such as fleas, ticks, mites & lice. Your cat could get involved in a fight that could cause serious injuries and possibly death!

Here are just a few things that your cat could encounter outside as well:
1. Dogs
2. Cars (DEADLY!)
3. Feral cats
4. A nasty neighbor (been there, done that)
5. Diseases leading to possible agony/death
6. Parasites
Need I say more?...

I would also like to add, that in most places it is ILLEGAL to allow your pet to roam outside of your property (your house and yard) without having a leash on with the owner presently HOLDING the leash. Leash Laws DO apply to cats.
Even if they didn't, you should think of your cats health. One of our kitties was let outside for 5 years, and when we receive her she had many illnesses and parasites that were both costly, and caused her a lot of stress.

Please, don't let your kitty outside, think of her health and keep her inside.

Well, that's just my 2 cents. http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gif
Thanks for listening...err reading http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/wink.gif

08-12-2000, 10:08 PM

Thanks so much for the info! Will be sure to check it out.

Laser pointer, huh? Never thought of that. Bet my cat would go nuts over that. http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/biggrin.gif

08-12-2000, 10:14 PM
Flash lights and paper grocery bags are a huge hit around here http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/biggrin.gif

Pieper's Mom
08-13-2000, 02:28 PM
Hi guys...the cat shelter where I volunteer has "habicats" which are wire enclosures attached to the house with a "doggy door" leading from the house to the habicat. there's a company in Denver who actually makes them (hence the name) but I don't think they'd be too hard to construct.

I have friends in Connecticut who live out in the "country", supposedly safe from traffic..well, two of their cats were hit by cars and one was eaten by a fox...so much for the "simple" life...LOL.

If a cat spoke, it would say things like, "Hey, I don't see a problem here!"

08-14-2000, 08:00 AM
This is an interesting topic. Here in the UK, I think most cats are allowed outside, unless they live in city centres. I have noticed, whilst on holiday in America, that I hardly ever see cats outside. My cat, Sadie, has a cat flap, so she pops in and out into the garden during the day, but I always keep her safely in at night time, from about 9 pm. She doesn't wander at all, just enjoys sitting in the fresh air, watching bees and butterflies, and patrolling her "territory", but I do know lots of cats do wander and there is always a risk. I think the ideal would be a secure garden.

08-14-2000, 03:53 PM
Hi everyone ...
I tried to keep my cat indoor many times .. but he disagreed .. every time he was meawing and asking me to open the door for him ..
When I see that he feels sad .. without thinking I open the door .. I love him very much and want him to be happy .. so I let him go out ...
Don't you think that cats need to feel free ?
It's right I have to care more about his health .. the only way to do this is to keep him indoor and I cann't do this ...
I need your advice .. what I have to do ?
Note : I cann't keep the door closed all the time ...

08-15-2000, 09:55 AM
I think that cat's should be allowed out side. If you don't let them out then they can't run and expand there terratory. http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gif They should only be let out with a good amount of space and a close eye from the owner. http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/wink.gif They may only be let out for maybe 20 minutes a day but should get to be outdoors. If you want to leave your cat out for a longer time do what I did and make enclosed area, so she canrun and sleep in the sun. http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/biggrin.gif

[This message has been edited by britney06 (edited August 15, 2000).]

08-15-2000, 12:03 PM
It has been very interesting reading everyone's comments/viewpoints... As Pieper's Mom mentioned, "habi-cat" structures look like a good way to give a cat an "outdoor" experience. I have seen a large habi-cat attached to someone's house and there were at least two cats lounging in it, looking like they were having a grand old time, getting some sun through the screens, and being able to see the sights and smell the smells. I think window sills are perfectly good, too. I agreed with those who wrote about making the indoors more attractive to cats than the outdoors. I can give my cat plenty of exercise inside, making her run and jump when I play with her and entertain her with toys (I think I would like to try the laser pointer!). If a cat is in the habit of going outside and you want to help it "quit", maybe just distracting it by engaging it in playtime would really help.

Pieper's Mom
08-16-2000, 12:51 PM
We have a screen-in porch off the back of the house....I put a large planter on the outside of one of the windows, which is just at cat eye-level...filled it with seeds, corn and other good things. The squirrels love to come and also some birds...and the cats sit on the other side of the screen, enjoying intimidating their "prey" ... of course, the squirrels could care less, at least once they yet used to the hairy critters staring and licking their chops...LOL...even in the winter they will go out there for a little sun if it's a warm day. I haven't been able to sit in my wicker chair since I got it!!!

If a cat spoke, it would say things like, "Hey, I don't see a problem here!"

08-17-2000, 12:11 AM
Here is my cat enclosure: http://www.geocities.com/petsburgh/park/8353/outdoorenclosure.html

08-17-2000, 08:48 AM
That is SO cool. http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/cool.gif

08-17-2000, 12:39 PM
Your cats are soooo lucky! That is one nice cat enclosure! Could your Uncle become my Uncle for a week or so? http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/biggrin.gif

08-17-2000, 02:24 PM
Hello ...

SpencerTheLion :
Thank you very much for your advice http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/biggrin.gif

EileenKay :
Your site is nice .. and your cats are so sweet http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/rolleyes.gif

08-19-2000, 02:55 AM
Thought I'd add a few links on the topic: http://www.wenet.com/~amazon/happycat.html http://www.vospca.org/archive/indoorcat.html http://www.runway.net/b/moonmaid/in-or-out.html http://www.hdw-inc.com/leashtraining.HTM http://maxshouse.com/Healthy+Happy_Indoors.htm

08-27-2000, 08:46 AM
i agree full heartly with margarett. cats should not be allowed to room out doors. there are to many substitutes factors that allow your loving feline to still get the fresh air and sunshines needed for there vitamin d intake. there are screened in porches, kitty runs etc. if you really care of the health & welfare of your loving friend. there are to many diesase, rabies, illnesses, cat unfriendly people etc. in the world today that brings harm to your family members, and for their safetly & well being should by all means be kept indoors. there are so many options out there to keep your little ones indoors & yet still give them the fresh air and excitement of making them think they are out doors but yet we are keeping them safe. cats runs, plants that are not harmful to your animal, climging trees, etc. to make them the out-doors, so come on feline lovers...protect your felines, keep them healthy, and save yourself the heart ache on losing your loved one.


09-12-2000, 05:52 PM
I know that the common wisdom is to keep cats inside. I decided to do that with Mimi when we got her because we had made an unfortunate decision with our previous cat, Shrimp Boat (long story, but I found her at a seafood market in NC). ShrimpBoat hated the outside. I felt sorry for her because we left a lot on the weekends, so we took her in our camper to the mountains one weekend. Bad ending. She escaped, and although she had a tag, we never found her. So, her replacement, Mimi, who is now 11 years old was going to be an inside cat at my husband's insistence (now ex). Guess what. When I became pregnant, she became an outside cat too. He simply wouldn't change the litterbox, and I couldn't do it due to doctor's orders. http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/mad.gif I tried "inside" again when my daughter and I moved to an apartment, but she was miserable. I finally had to decide to allow her some freedom, whatever the risk. Cars worry me the most, and she was hit once when she was about four years old. We were lucky and although she had a fractured pelvis, she recovered fully. I have noticed that as she gets older, she is more content inside. Next cat, I will attempt to keep it inside always, but this one simply will not have it. I am lucky though because she stays in the backyard most of the time with our dogs and doesn't even try to go anywhere else. I do let her out mostly at night so a lot of the birds are safer. She is quite a hunter. http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gif

anthony browne
09-16-2000, 11:06 AM
I am shocked and horrified at these responses!

I think it is really CRUEL to keep a cat inside all the time - and that is almost certainly the majority view of British catlovers. I adore cats, but didn't have one for seven years because I was in a flat with no outside access. A year ago I bought a house - with cat flap already installed - and the immediately got a cat, who is gorgeous. He comes and goes as he wants, has great fun outside, and then comes inside for cuddles and food and sleep.

It is almost certainly true that a cat who is never allowed out would be healthier and live longer - but that would also apply to humans. Never go out - never drive, never fly, never go walking up mountains, avoid crowds where you can catch diseases - and you will certainly live longer.

But what sort of live will you have led? And what sort of life will your cat have led? Cats are by nature curious, exploratory, engaging animals. Most love the excitement of outside, having adventures, going hunting, and meeting other cats (some don't, and that's fine). I would much prefer my cat to live a full live - a full cat's life - than have a life of sleepy torpor in a soft-furnished prison.

My cat's a real cat with a full exciting cat life. If he dies younger, that's sad - but I would still make the same decision. Going out takes years of human lives, but we still do it because it is so much more fun. Simply focussing on the obvious measurable aspects of life expectancy and health ignores the cats psychological well-being.

And as I said, most people in Britian feel the same. Walk around any town here and you will be greeted by endless cats coming up to you to say hello while out on their adventures, before returing to their warm home for food and sleep. The idea of a town full of imprisoned cats horrifies me!

09-16-2000, 11:46 AM

I believe that most of the people that post here are from North America. I know were I live there are cat by-laws, they have to be "under control at all times". Outside that means on a leash or in a cat run. If they are caught loose they are sent to the SPCA, and once there who knows what their fate will be. I dare say that most urban areas in NA have by-laws similar to this.
I also believe that most of the people that post here really and truly love their cats and would be horrified if something happened to them that they could have prevented. To achieve this, most choose to keep their cats safe indoors. Seeing that cats sleep most of the time, I believe that sleeping in a comfy chair, or on a sunny window ledge is much safer than sleeping under a bush somewhere where they can be attacked by predators.
This is my point of view, anyways.

P.S. My cats were rescued off the streets, and 3 out of the 4 run away (back inside) from the back door when it is opened. They like the life they have now. One will occasionally go outside to nibble on some grass. I supervise her.

[This message has been edited by dogncatluvr (edited September 16, 2000).]

anthony browne
09-18-2000, 09:40 AM
It certainly seems the outdoors environment and laws are different in the UK and NA. I thought it was a joke when I was in Canada last year and a friend was distraught when their cat slipped outside because it was breaking the law. If any government tried to introduce such a law here, there would be a revolution (I am only half joking - we feel very strongly about our animals here, and it is so off the agenda having 'cat-laws' that I have never heard them spoken of here. Such an idea is completely inconceivable).
And our outdoors does seem much more benign to cats. There are cars, but no predators, no dangerous diseases (fleas is about it), and a nation of cat-addicts. The biggest problem if you let your cat out is pursuading your neighbours not to feed it (this can cause big tug-of-love problems!). My cat Bingo wanders around our neighbours house all the time, and eats their cats' food - but we are all cat lovers and its not been a problem for anyone. There are so many cat lovers in the UK, that there are virtually no feral cats (I've never seen one), and if your cat does get lost and taken to a home, it is very unlikely to be put down - but almost certainly rehoused.
I've had in the past two cats who had total freedom to go outdoors, and both lived fit and healthy lives til they were eighteen years

09-18-2000, 05:27 PM
I have 3 cats, & they all live outdoors. But I live in the country & there country cats. My sister has one in town but she's an indoor cat. I think it depends on where the cat lives (in the country, city, ect..) & it depends on the cat I think... alll my cats (evan the girls) are tomboys... Evan when I let them in the house (when my parents aren't home) they run to the door & ask to go out... ~~

09-19-2000, 06:23 AM

I'm a member of Cats Protection in the UK, a welfare organisation for cats, and the majority of their work involves re-homing strays and the neutering feral colonies of cats. So although the majority of us seem to be lucky enough not to be affected, there are some severe problems, in city centres as well as in rural areas.

I enjoyed your very articulate plea for cats to be allowed outside - as you probably read, I love seeing cats enjoying the outdoors, and also, like you, I love meeting other people's cats. The posts about the outdoor environment in the US were fascinating - some people we met in New Mexico this summer were amazed that we don't have snakes coming into our "backyards"!



10-02-2000, 05:59 AM
Hello all, I'm new here and a little late to this post, but had to share my opinion...I have 4 cats(6yr old black male DSH-Sin, 2yr old black female DSH-Prissy, and 5month old sibling sisters-Belle is a brown tabby DSH and Pepper is another black DSH--no, I don't like black cats!!) http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gif http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/wink.gif...these are just like my babies and they are strictly indoor cats. I would prefer that it was safe enough for them to be able to go outdoors once in awhile, but that is just not possible...I have a friend who some might say is an 'animal collector'--she takes in strays and at this time has 8 adult cats and 3 litters of kittens!!!(way too many, in my opinion)...but, not to mention the safety of the cats is the monetary issue also...I got Sin 4 yrs ago, and took Prissy in about a yr ago, and the babies came to me when they were 3 weeks old(they were put out of the house by their mother's owner and I couldn't see them surviving when they were that small, so I brought them home)...since they have all been indoors since I got them, I've only had minor vet bills, and the normal routine yrly checks and shot updates and general stuff(Sin was neutered when I got him), and then Prissy had to be spayed, and the babies will be spayed shortly(being a single mother this has been a blessing-monetarily, I mean)...but the collector friend that I mentioned spends very high dollars on these animals(which I do not see as a problem, mind you), and then just lets these animals roam(and she is in a country type setting), but--in the last year, she has lost over half of them to cars, roaming dogs, disease, toxins...you name it?? I really must say that to me, keeping a cat indoors is best for them(in most cases). Sin and Prissy have never seen the outdoors(except through the window)and that seems fine for them. The babies may or may not remember the outdoors, but they have never once tried to escape?? Just my opinion, but thanks for letting me share...

Human 'owned' by Sin, Prissy, Belle and Pepper...

10-19-2000, 02:17 PM
Having only just ventured into the cat forum from the dogs I was shocked to read some of the messages! It brought back a very vivd memory from about ten years ago. My cousin, in Virginia USA, had just left home and was excited about getting her first cat. When she wrote telling us about this she was waiting to collect the cat from the vet where he was having his claws removed to save the furniture. This news sent me rushing for the bathroom and I was physically sick.
Here in the UK you would not be able to find a vet willing to carry out such a procedure.
The law in this country recognises the nature of cats and when they are outside the owner is not held responsible for their actions. It is however against the law to take any action that may harm a cat. On the other side of this if a cat is hit by a car no action has to be taken by the driver whereas all accidents involving dogs, required to be under control, must be reported to the police.
We do have a massive feral cat population in this country and many of the "strays" picked up by animal welfare organisations are feral animals. (Most pet moggies in this country have the potential to go feral and survive in a wild state, although it's easier for them if don't!) This is true in the country as well as in the urban areas. We live on the edge of Salisbury plain, it's on our doorstep, and we have plenty of feral cats all over the plain. When I worked on a farm in rural Cornwall we had several ferals in the area.
We don't have the threat of rabies in this country, and the only predators likely to take a cat would only tackle an already injured or sick cat. Our only venemous snake, the adder, rarely bites cats, dogs are much more common victims due to owner ignorance of the snakes habitat and habits.
Traffic is the greatest danger to our cats.
Given all the problems faced by cats in the outside world I still couldn't bear to keep my cats inside for all their lives. If the government wouldn't allow my cats to go outside I simply wouldn't have any - I have always dreamed of owning big cats, but wouldn't dream of it as they would be caged. The same with wolves.
All in all neutering has to become the norm in this country, declawing is right up there with ear cropping dogs as far as I'm concerned and cats have every right to live part of their lives as cats - outside. If you can't afford the vet bills to innoculate your animals, don't have animals.
I love my kids and would defend them to the death but just because I love them doesn't give me the right to lock them up and deny them expression of their true nature.

10-20-2000, 10:24 AM
I let 1 of my 3 (Max) out because he knows the area he has been going out for years. Try to just let them out a little supervised and try taking them on walks with a harness.
When you think they know the area well enough let them go out every once-in-a-while http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gif

10-22-2000, 03:59 PM
There is an ongoing "battle" in the Editorial section of our newspaper about a pack of wild dogs roaming one section of our city. These dogs are killing cats. This morning, a letter to the editor reminded the citizens of our county that cats are subject to the same leash laws as dogs. Has anyone ever determined how to contain a cat outdoors? How ridiculous!!!! http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/confused.gif

10-22-2000, 05:32 PM
Obviously some people, and a lot of them, do keep their cats permenantly indoors and many in the States are required to do so by law. I can only suggest that animal control agencies are contacted to deal with the feral, or roaming, dog pack.

10-22-2000, 09:43 PM
As for containing a cat outdoors, I know several cats who live in city neighborhoods who are only allowed outdoors on a leash, the same as many dogs. I asked one woman if her cat liked the leash, and she said - "She knows it's the only way she's going outdoors, so she doesn't seem to mind it at all!" She was trained to leash as a kitten.

4 feline house
10-24-2000, 10:27 PM
I used to feel that I would rather have my cats live a short, happy life than a long, miserable life. When I realized after several years that I had only one cat survive past 5 years, and all the others died horrible deaths (cars-run over by or mangled up in, poisonings, gunshots, disease, etc.) I began attempting to keep them exclusively inside. Of course, some cats are obsessed and will successfully escape. One of my cats was adopted by a stray, and she darts out after dark occasionally. I try to catch her but can't always. On those nights I sleep on the couch so I can hear her scratch on the door when she returns. I have her three grown kittens (another consequence of roaming cats-reproduction!) and only one of them goes outside - on a harness and leash. He loves his "walkies". I need to make a few comments, though, that I would feel I must make even if I were an outdoor advocate. First of all, to all the people who mentioned "letting their cat get to know the area before they're allowed out unsupervised" - I think y'all are operating on the false assumption that it's dangerous for your cat to roam MAINLY because he may get lost if he doesn't know his way around. In fact, cats NEVER "get lost". They don't return because either they have been carried away, injured too severely to come home, or killed. So letting them "get to know their surroundings" is a useless and dangerous idea. Also, to the people who think they are lessening the risk by only letting their cats out at night - cats are nocturnal. This is their "howling time" and they are much more likely to encounter danger then than in the daytime. They are also harder to see so their chances of getting hit by a car are increased by their invisibility and their mobility at night. Alot of their predators are also nocturnal. Cats who are outdoors during the day are most likely snoozing somewhere. I don't advocate loose cats day or night, but if I were forced to make a choice I would rather have my cats out during the day. After all, we frequently see the unfortunate tragedy of a dead cat on the side of the road on the way TO work in the morning, but seldom if ever on our way home FROM work in the afternoon. And, to add two more cents worth, I think declawing is just as cruel and horrible as letting cats roam. A quick P.S. - alot of members (including me) seem to be from Dallas/Fort Worth! When I lived in Denton, I learned that Denton County had the highest rabies rate of any other county in Texas nearly every year (including this year so far!) This was one of the factors making me convert to indoors only.

10-24-2000, 11:30 PM
I saw someone writeing about how o get you'r cat useto the area.... my kittens there almost 2, they where born here so thats not a problem with me.

but when i did live in the city & we moved we put butter on the bottom of ower cats feet... An old English tail doing that, but it worked he {ower older cat hes 17-18 hes a russ. blue mix} came home with no trobel , but then he's been knowin to attack my rottie's lol

just thought I'd add that in ~~

4 feline house
10-25-2000, 10:59 PM
Spencer - I agree with everything you say. I agree that an ideal situation would be a secure outdoor enclosure, but that is not possible for most of us. Even if I could afford it, I'm sure my neighbors in my fourplex would find it ugly and my landlord would probably tear it down (especially since he's already miffed at me because I'm allowed to keeps my four cats due to his negligence in not including a no pets clause in the lease!).

Also, your guarded assertion that shots last 3 years is correct. Most laws require rabies every year, but alot of vets (mine included) are now recommending all other shots every 3 years after kitten shots and the first annual booster because it is now becoming clear that the annual shots may increase the chances of a certain kind of malignancy showing up at the inoculation site.

Also, I agree about how feral cats should be handled. I mentioned in one of my earlier posts about having previously lived in Denton. Denton has a large feral cat population, probably because of a lack of any local humane societies and the large transient population. I was involved with a group of people (too informally gathered to be called an organization) who worked to capture, vaccinate, and neuter/alter feral cats and then re-release them. We felt this was the best thing to do since there were no shelters (except the city) and all the foster homes were bursting with overpopulation. Any kittens were taken in to foster homes and eventually neutered/spayed and found homes since they could be tamed. We hoped that we were at least helping to control the population of unwanted cats, if nothing else.

Lastly, I agree that too many times the foster homes are too crowded, but as long as only a precious few of us are willing to help these poor unwanted creatures and as long as the goofus clods out there insist on not neutering/spaying and then allowing their animals to roam or, worse, turning them out and abandoning them, the problem will continue. The way I look at it, we (society collectively, of course) tamed these animals to the point that they can no longer take care of themselves adequately, and their basic instincts now serve to do them harm instead of just merely ensuring the survival of the species, it is up to us to do all we can to take care of them and try to do what we can to cut down on the population in any way. This includes fostering with neutering/spaying as well as educating the public, starting with school-age kids. The problem will probably never go away but some of us feel a duty to do whatever small thing we can. I know I'm preaching to the choir because I remember in some of your previous posts you have mentioned that your people foster, but maybe by posting in a public forum other people will decide to take it upon themselves to help out and more foster homes will open up and then there will be less crowding and more education going on. I get on my soap box for the kitties, Spencer, for all the kitties like you who don't have it so lucky, who don't have people that love them like yours do you! http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/biggrin.gif http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/biggrin.gif http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/biggrin.gif

4 feline house
03-10-2001, 07:18 PM
I had a freind who did a lot of rescuing adn fostering who had an outdoor enclosure to die for. It was very sturdy, constructed of 4 by 4's, 2 by 4's and chicken wire. They could get to it through a cat door from the garage. It was very sturdy and ran the length of the garage, about 20 feet, and was about 10 feet wide and about six feet high, and there were platforms of differing heights for the cats that like to perch out of sight. I never had the nerve to ask her how much it cost (since I was raised to believe that sort of question is rude under any circumstance) but I'm sure it wasn't inexpensive. Sadly, she moved to New Mexico to be with her aging, ill mother and had to leave her wonderful outdoor enclosure behind since it had not been built to be portable, and the people who bought her house immediately tore it down.

Vi Co Bi
03-18-2001, 12:04 PM
Are any of you familiar with "B Dealers"? I don't know what you call them in the rest of the country, but that's what I've always heard people call the folks who collect "abandoned" pets for sale to processors who used them for experimentation or training other animals (like fighting dogs).

They were a big business here in Atlanta and some were even so bold as to take smaller dogs from their own backyards or runs. And friendly cats were easy prey to these people.

I worked a few raids on these dealers years ago and it was so sickening, so totally nauseating, a couple of times was all I could handle. In one of the raids we found neatly stacked shoeboxes, marked by month, and each shoe box had collars, some with tags, taken from pets we suspect had been sold.

It got even worse when the "dealer" received a fine (light fine, in my opinion - less than $1,000) and was released. I always wondered if anyone called any of the phone numbers on the tags to tell them what had happened to their pet, but I doubt it.

[This message has been edited by Vi Co Bi (edited March 18, 2001).]

4 feline house
03-18-2001, 04:18 PM
Even if you give "free to good home" there are things that clue you in to whether or not a person is affiliated with a lab. This is a paraphrase of a call I had on my machine when I had some fosters up for adoption. Keep in mind my ad in the paper did not specify age, color, or sex:

"I saw your ad in the paper for free kittens. I need those kittens. Call my pager at 555-1212"

Clue #1-no inquiry into colors, ages, or sexes available
Clue #2-no name or home phone number given
Clue #3-"needing" the whole litter
Clue #4-taking the whole litter without knowing if that meant 2 or 8 kittens

Spencer-from what I was told in the new employee orientation a few weeks ago, UTSW no longer does animal research (but you know how that goes, that does not necessarily mean it has actually been discontinued). I will try to find out more.

4 feline house
03-19-2001, 10:40 PM
It was mentioned in passing. I don't remember the specific topic being discussed, but it ended with "but that was when we still had the animal research lab, since it was closed down this no longer applies". So it could be that there is still some animal experimentation. There is a very large amount of research going on at UTSW, so I would have a hard time believing that there are not at least some white mice on campus.

Vi Co Bi
03-20-2001, 08:58 AM
One of the more difficult aspects to keeping your pets indoors is YOU are left having to entertain them. For some pet owners it's easier to just let the cat outside. It takes a lot more work and dedication on the part of the owner to be proactive and not let their pets gets bored.

[This message has been edited by Vi Co Bi (edited March 20, 2001).]

03-20-2001, 12:34 PM
I'm a little late jumping in on this topic, but I agree that beloved pets should be protected, but provided a good quality of life as well. I personally think an all indoor lifestyle is best, but there have been some cases where the cat absolutely wants to go outside, so I think enclosures are the best idea for that option. That way they can enjoy the great outdoors with less danger. I was always saddened to see poor little kitties trying to huddle together to keep warm when I lived in IN. The weather there is so harsh! I doubt that any cat would "want" to be outside in terrible weather. Most people's "outdoor" cats seemed to live short horrible lives. Not really by their choice either. Here in CA the temps are quite mild, so being an outdoor animal isn't quite as bad weather wise. Here's the scoop on my kitties. My husband and I are owned by 2 DSH cats, both indoor only. A local stray has adopted me as her "foster mom" as I give her food, water, shelter and vaccinations via the stray/feral program. Oh, how I hate leaving her outside(and I can tell she wants in because she's practically glued to my door when I open it in the morning to feed her), but we just can't have another cat inside with our 2 and one has a behavioral problem. As for our 2 indoor cats, Marius came to me as a stray in very poor condition. He has absolutely no desire to go back outside, probably because he associates it with his previous horrible life. He looks out the window, but when we open any doors, he's nowhere to be found(unless Crookshanks, the stray cat, is around). Scooter is the same way. He likes looking out the window, but doesn't find venturing outside to be his thing. We've even attempted to bring them outside on leashes for a brush and walk around, but they just "glue" to the ground, or head back for the door. This is perfectly fine with me, because they have enough stimulation inside to keep them happy. I think indoor cats can be as happy or even moreso than outdoor cats. Although, if someone wants to let their cats outside because they think it's good for them, than that's fine under supervision, and precautions. Outdoor enclosures are a great idea! http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/biggrin.gif

03-20-2001, 08:48 PM
Stating that
Most people's "outdoor" cats seemed to live short horrible lives is complete nonsense.

I understand that in some parts of the world it is simply not safe to allow cats outside due to local laws and attitudes of people but in many parts of the world cats can be allowed outside to enjoy a natural, healthy lifestyle.

All of the cats I have owned have enjoyed long healthy happy lives, all of them living into their teens...

Sorry to sound so belligerant but I do think we often forget that the reasons cats are locked inside is due to the fact they would not be safe outside - and that is due to us, mankind. They would certainly be happier outside because it is in their nature to "explore", climb trees, chase mice and birds, meet and socialise with other cats, and play hide and seek in the bushes. We could argue that it is "safer" for them inside but at some point we must realise that it would be like keeping your child locked inside all their life for fear of something happening to them...there is a trade off at some point and it is important to realise that this varies from place to place. If the dangers to your pet are real then it makes sense to keep them inside; if not then an outside life is ideal.

4 feline house
03-21-2001, 06:49 PM
Troy is certainly right, this is a personal decision that has to be based on many things that vary from pet owner to pet owner. In most of urban and suburban America, it is likely that most cats are safer inside. And most danger is created by man, as it is with all the creatures of the earth.

But factors vary within the cats themselves, too. Not all cats are avid hunters, and the fact that they can't chase mice and birds is no great loss. Not all of them climb trees and play hide and seek. And by nature cats are solitary animals, so the fact that they can't meet the neighbors would probably not be a significant matter to them, either. Also, many of these activities can be simulated or experiences indoors - multicat household cats certainly are socialized, and many and varied toys make for good "mouse" chases, and some good furniture, cat or people, can be easily climbed.

Many indoor/outdoor cats live through their teens, and many indoor cats die kittens.

It is a personal decision, and certainly no one's opinion is nonsense for them.

03-21-2001, 10:03 PM
I believe that one reason Butter is with us now (we found his previous owner) is because he can come inside whenever he wants to. I still believe that if traffic is not furious, that mine are ok to come in and out of the house as they please. And believe me, they let me know quickly when it is time to come inside. In fact, they will find the window in the room I am in, no matter where I am, and give me the big "YEOOOOOOW" to let me know its time to open the door! I would be happy for them to stay inside if that is what they preferred, but neither of mine would be very happy. The positive thing is that they mostly hang out in the backyard with the dogs anyway, or next door at my neighbor's house, so I count myself as the lucky one. All I have to do is go to the door and call their name, and both come running....but never at the same time!!!

03-21-2001, 10:18 PM
I know it is a personal decision and I am not trying to force my thoughts on anyone, but it seems about once a month I see a dead kitty on the road and I wonder if they might have fared better inside. Then again, they may have been feral and had no home to be in anyway, so who is to say. There really is no black and white here I suppose. We each do what we feel is best.

03-22-2001, 12:58 AM
Well it seems as if the key issue in deciding wether a cat should be indoors or outdoors is how safe it will be.

I like to allow my cats the ability to come and go as they wish. This means that whenever I move the priority is to find a property that is cat friendly, ie. I look for a house that does not have access from the back-yard to the front of the house which means I can let the cats out the back without them making it to the front of the house and therefore the road. I also make sure that access from the back-yard to any roads is not readily available. All these considerations may make looking for a house difficult but it keeps my cats safe and is well worth the effort - and I'm sure we all agree on that!

03-22-2001, 11:24 AM
I agree that a person's opinion is not "complete nonsense". Everyone is entitled to their opinions, and I'm sure everyone here does what's best for their cats and their situations. For me, growing up and seeing other people's outdoor cats suffering wasn't a really good influencer either. People's opinions and beliefs are shaped by what they see and how they've been brought up. It's still saddens me when I see dead cats in the road, be it stray or especially pets with collars on. For my cats, they don't have a desire to go out, so I'm not going to force them. They seem as happy as they possibly could. I'm not attacking people to have outdoor cats either. After all, I suppose in a way I have an "outdoor cat" which is a stray. I can tell she would rather be an indoor cat though. I don't know her history, but I know something bad had to have happened to her because her tail has a really bad break in it near the tip. I inquired with the vet about that when I took her in under the stray program, and he said that it probably doesn't hurt her anymore, but it looks really bad. Anyway, my point is, if your cats are happy inside, then leave them inside. If they're happy going in and out, that's fine, there's just a little more precaution to make, like Troy mentioned about finding a house that's cat friendly. Although I do favor enclosures to the outdoor life, but that's just my opinion.

Ben E Gas
03-22-2001, 03:36 PM
you guys have opened my eyes. as soon as my cat has his 'fixing operation'. i'm gonna start getting him used to the outdoors on a harness and leash. I've never actually seen anyone walk their cat though.
oh, and i think declawing is cruel too. just think if your cat was to escape, how would it defend itself or catch food? Getting a cat "fixed" is also cruel but that is necessary to cat populations. not doing that makes more problems and more stray or abandoned cats. poor guys.

03-22-2001, 08:03 PM
Wolflady, I sorry if I offended you by saying your statement was complete nonsense. It just offends me to read such generalised, and to a large part unfounded, criticism about the quality of life of outdoor cats.

By the way, perhaps there is some misunderstanding on the definition of an outdoors cat? To me an indoor cat is one that in not allowed outside. An outdoor cat is one that has the choice to come and go as it pleases. Perhaps we should change the definitions like so:

Indoors cat - stays inside and is not allowed outdoors

Outdoors cat - stays outside and is not allowed indoors

I/O Cat - is allowed to come and go as they please

My cats are all I/O Cats.

PS. Spencer, try to refrain from drawing programming analogies to the term "I/O cats" - especially if you are familiar with UNIX.

03-22-2001, 10:10 PM
I would very much appreciate the mpg "Hearding Cats"...thanks SpencerTheLion.

Speaking computers, under the UNIX shell if you type in the following command:

> cat "door: paws too slippery"

the system will return:

cat can't open door: paws too slippery

...sorry to bore you all but I found it interesting http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gif

PS. Besides, one of my cats can open doors http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gif

03-23-2001, 12:40 PM
Troy, no problem. I was not attacking you or anyone with outdoor cats anyway. I was just expressing my opinion, and what I was familiar with growing up. That's all I ever saw with outdoor cats was misery. Missing eye, bitten off ears, ratty coats, pest infestations (Cat Fancy advocates indoor cats because of this) and short lives...and these supposedly being peoples "pets". Maybe I was young and naive not to mention impressionable. You did point out the difference between strictly outdoor cats and I/O cats. These aformentioned (outdoor) were outdoor all the time. Maybe that's the difference, and where my view of suffering comes from...the outdoor all the time "pets". That was before we moved to our new neighborhood when I was a senior in high school and outdoor animals were not allowed without supervision. I didn't encounter these miserable cats like I did before, except for the stray that I adopted.
Like I said, if they are happy being inside, great. If they like I/O (I found that amusing since I'm in the computer biz BTW http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gif ), then that's fine too! I think it's great that people take into account what's good for their pets and what makes them happy and keeps them healthy. Sorry for offending you and anybody else.
The "hearding cats" superbowl commercial was a hoot! http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/biggrin.gif

03-26-2001, 12:39 AM
Some of the plants that I grow and my cats like to eat are:

- Most grasses (as long as they are not too course, Bamboo grass, Cat grass)
- Catmint and Mints (loves moist, warm climate)
- Rosemary is a favourite (loves dry, warm climate)
- Thyme (loves medium-dry, warm climate)

Fortunately most of these are very easy to grow, and in fact you should keep an eye on mint as it can become a pest (although a nicer pest than weeds http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gif ) I wouldn't use any growing aids like fertilisers with plants your cats are going to eat - unless you make them inaccessible for a day after application.

Sometimes the cats even leave me some to cook with! http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gif

Edwina's Secretary
03-26-2001, 10:56 AM
I think there is something missing from this discussion and that is the songbirds. Edwina is quite well-fed (!) and still her instincts make her go after birds. (If only I could convince her to go after mice, but that's another story.) Anyway, the only time she successful caught a bird she had absolutely no idea what to do with it. She certainly didn't need to eat it so it was simply needless killing of a bird. I have read that the song bird population is seriously depleted by house cats responding to instinct.
We don't allow her out without her halter -- which has a bell on it, her leash so we can stop her quickly and a chaperon! Consequently we have a great collection of birds at our feeder; cardinals, blue jays, robins, mourning doves, sparrows, woodpeckers, etc. for her to watch from INSIDE the house.

03-26-2001, 01:27 PM
Hearding cats was great! It did look like some sort of clip from a western!LOL http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/biggrin.gif I liked the computer graphics that they did. Wonder what kind of graphics program they used...

03-26-2001, 01:58 PM
I am from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina and I have to agree with the UK people that I think that cats should be allowed outside. I have always had outside only cats although some have run off or dissapeared(and it is heartbreaking) the two we have raised from Kittens have stayed around and they are healthy happy cats. I live out in the country so the threat of cars is not so big but wild animals are. But, cats know how to defend themselves. As far as rabies, we get their shots, as far as parasites and other stuff we keep them clean and brushed and take them to the vet reg. I am about to adopt an indoor cat from someone. This is a persian who has never gone out. It should be an experience for me to have an indoor cat.

03-26-2001, 05:20 PM
The "Hearding Cats" video was terrific! I have passed it on to several friends. http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gif

03-26-2001, 07:38 PM
I used to have bells on my cats so they would not catch prey. Unfortunately this did not work very well and I have since read that cats will catch the same number of critters with or without bells (based on a study of 1500 cats). The other downside of bells is that it tells the cat's enemies (wether other cats or not) where kitty is! http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/eek.gif

4 feline house
03-27-2001, 08:34 PM
I've heard that old "decimated songbird population" thing before, too, and common sense alone should debunk that theory - not only does Spencer have a good point in that birds would have become extinct long ago, but also since millions and billions more cats are domesticated now, and therefore are more nourished and well-fed and kept indoors, there are even fewer catching birds now than ever before.

04-26-2001, 07:44 PM
Regarding the ongoing debate about outdoor vs indoor, I found it surprising that the oldest cat in America (according to an article in June 2001 Cat Fancy magazine) is a cat called Starbuck who is 27 AND an indoor/outdoor kitty! Obviously there are many factors to consider when deciding whether or not to allow your cat to venture outside, and the decision is hopefully one that both owner and cat can live long and happily with.

Regards ~ AvaJoy

4 feline house
04-27-2001, 11:04 AM
Some cats are survivors against all odds. When my sister died many years ago at age 19, her cats escaped before anyone could round them up. One was found a few days later by a family a few miles from my sister's apartment. When they heard the story, they asked to adopt him. Two months later TJ was found miles away (Spencer and anyone else from D/FW: my sister lived at Noel Rd & LBJ in Dallas, TJ was found in Garland!) He weighed about 5 lbs and had a badly broken jaw that had healed unset. Thank God he still had his tags, so the people could track us down. He had to have his jaw rebroken and set and we had to spoon feed him pureed cat food. But he survived. He eventually regained his weight to 14 lbs, but his jaw never healed correctly and he always had a snaggle tooth, drooled, and had to eat soft food. That led to many tooth problems and some extractions. But he survived. After many years, when he was quite elderly, he was attacked by a dog that jumped my parent's fence and had to have surgery on his rectum. But he survived. He eventually developed hyperparathyroidism, but still lived another 5 years. He died in his sleep, in the bed between my mom and dad, when he was 20 years old. He outlived his mom, my sister, by a year. The entire time he was an indoor/outdoor cat, except for the two months he spent lost outside.

04-27-2001, 11:29 AM
That is simply amazing... It's incredible how long the cat lived, considering all that he went through during his life. What a tough soul he must have been.


4 feline house
06-26-2001, 07:38 PM
I had to revive this long dead and controversial thread.

My son and I went to Sulphur Springs today for the funeral of a dear friend. On the way, down the country roads, we saw many dead cats and dogs, and almost ran over two dogs ourselves. I couldn't help but think of all the people who posted on this thread that they felt their pets were safer outside because they lived in the country.

06-27-2001, 09:57 AM
My girls seem a bit afraid of the outdoors, stopping short in the doorway even when invited outside. I think it's because they know the vet lives out there! http://PetoftheDay.com/talk/smile.gif

(They do enjoy hanging out in the windowsills and sniffing through the screens, though.)

06-27-2001, 02:02 PM
Catwoman...It's interesting that you say that. My cats react the same way to an open doorway. They actually sort of back away from it. Maybe they remember their trips to the vet too. It's very hard for me to get them in the carrier for their appointment, but once we are there and he finishes his exam, shots, etc. they are thrilled to go back in the carrier. He explained it to me this way...."they think of the carrier as a tunnel to home once their exam is over." Apparently that's how they look at it because they certainly don't need to be coaxed to get back in. They can't get in fast enough!

06-27-2001, 03:16 PM

I refer to my carrier as "the big blue instrument of death" because that is how the girls treat it! When I finally get them in, Weezie lies down against the back wall. Since Thelma cannot squeeze in-between Weezie and the wall, she lies on top of her sister. My vet thinks it's hilarious!


Jasper's Mom
06-28-2001, 07:49 AM
Been away from my computer for a few days, and things here look a bit different??? What did I miss??

So glad this topic was brought forward for fairly newcomers like me. Good, bad or indifferent, my cats are staying indoors. No questions asked, no way, no how, too bad if they don't like it, the consequences of being outside are too severe. Both sport new collars, bells, and today their new tiny id tags came with their name and my phone number. Not taking chances anymore. Too much pain is involved. Extreme??? You walk in my shoes, then you decide.

In the past month my neighbors and I have been feeding a skinny stray black cat, looking a lot like my newly returned Jasper. I had planned to take it to a feral caretaker I know who has a scanner to check for an ID chip, and then maybe to a vet, or home???

My neighbors and I are wondering, looking so much like my Jasper, hanging around on my porch, did the same person who trapped and dumped my Jasper think he was back? It has now been missing for a week. And maybe this poor stray has been trapped by mistake? More than one of us think so. Some really sick people out there.

About the time this stray disappeared I received a call from an elderly lady, warning me to not notify people of his return. I had planned to post new posters to thank all those who called and came by, who had been searching for him. Not sure how to tell those kind people now... It should not be a dangerous thing to rejoice.

01-30-2002, 09:53 AM
I think it also depends on location.

If I lived in the city or near busy roads, I'd keep my cats inside.

But my parents live out in the country. Cornfields and woods as far as you can see. Our cats came to us either as barn cats or strays. All 5 are allowed to go out. As they age they stay inside more. We have a cat door leading into the garage where there are two cat houses, food, and water, in case they are out when we are gone. 99% of the time they are in when we go out.

Sable came to live with us at 7 years old. He was the local stray that settled down with us. Our property was his property. I watched him chase off dobermans and labs. He lived to be 15.

I don't think it's cruel to keep a cat indoors. But depending on your location, I don't think it's cruel to let you cat out either.