Over the Rainbow Bridge...and keeping cats outside!!!! - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
View Poll Results: Is your Cat Indoor or Outdoor?
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post #1 of 48 (permalink) Old 01-24-2005, 05:13 AM Thread Starter
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Over the Rainbow Bridge...and keeping cats outside!!!!

I just spent over an hour reading stories in over the Rainbow Bridge...man sooo sad. What I dont understand is why cats are outside??? They get hit by cars, attacked by, coyotes, get too cold, get stuck in drains, and between buildings...ect.ect. I just dont understand why, unless you live on a farm! Then I get it. Why would you want to have a "pet" that lives outside. I am a HUGE pet person and Im just having a hard time understanding why you would pay money for a cat, to buy or adopt, and then pay for vet visits every 6 months or so, and keep them outside? Mabey someone could explain to me why some people think cats are outside pets?
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post #2 of 48 (permalink) Old 01-24-2005, 07:24 AM
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I'm inclined to agree with you. My three youngest cats are strictly indoors-only. I'd be worried sick if they were outside, I don't know what I would do if anything happened to them Our oldest cat, Beeper, is 99% indoors. The thing is, she was nearly feral when she showed up outside our door. She wouldn't even venture in the house for the first few months, and if anything made her nervous she panicked until she could get back outside. I mean, like, hissing, growling and clawing. Yes, we took a very big risk letting her go out but she wouldn't have it any other way. If she wanted to be outside, at least, she had a place to eat and sleep, which is more than she had before.

Luckily for us, Beeper hated any other humans and all cars, so she spent most of the time lurking in the woods behind our house. As she's gotten older and more comfortable with us she spends a lot more time indoors. Now, at age 15 1/2, she's lost a lot of that youthful energy and hunting prowess and will only venture out into our backyard. I realize we are quite fortunate to have a cat that lived mostly outdoors survive to nearly 16 years old. And in hindsight I wish we could had done more to keep her indoors and away from cat fights and the neighbor's dogs. Live and learn...

My point is, not everyone who lets their cat go out is irresponsible and cruel. Granted, the majority of cats are safer inside but there are always exceptions.
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post #3 of 48 (permalink) Old 01-24-2005, 09:30 AM
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Sabby's indoors only. When I was a kid, I lived on a farm in Northern Idaho. There was a feral cat there who was constantly having kittens. Sadly, every kitten except one died from the pesticides the farmers used on their crops. First their eyes would crust over and they couldn't see and had no balance and then we would find them dead in the road or in the fields. One survived. When I moved to town we still kept him outside. My neighbor shot him to death. My parents got me Sabby to replace the one our neighbor killed.

I'm sorry to relate this sad and disturbing story to all of you. But it's important for me to share how horrible things can go, even when you're out in the country. Please keep your kitties inside.
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post #4 of 48 (permalink) Old 01-24-2005, 09:32 AM
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My cats are indoors too

I agree with keeping them indoors only for cats. My cats would be afraid to be outside. We have some strays in the area and you always see them chased by dogs , or limping from being hit by a car . What is so difficult about keeping a cat indoor?
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post #5 of 48 (permalink) Old 01-24-2005, 09:59 AM
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Assumpta is indoor-only, as outdoor cats don't last long in the woods here due to the owls, hawks, coyotes, foxes, bears, and fisher cats.

That said, my childhood cat lived to 17-18 as an indoor-outdoor, and I have a friend who has 4 indoor-outdoor working farm cats that are healthy, immaculately cared for and vetted (two are 16+, and the other two, who just showed up one day, are more like 3-4), so I don't think you can make a blanket condemnation of all people who let their cats outside. Another lady I know has several tamed ferals that would be utterly miserable as indoor-only cats, but are thriving as indoor-outdoor cats with her (she also has a tripod who is indoor-only, much to his chagrin).
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post #6 of 48 (permalink) Old 01-24-2005, 10:09 AM
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I agree that cats should live indoors. But there are plenty of indoor-outdoor cats that do just fine.

I think the message that BabyKitty was trying to get at why was people would specifically go out searching for a cat to own, and have them live ONLY outside. And I get it. We had a really cool bobtail cat come into our clinic a while ago, we named him "Bob" (how original, I know ) and one of the high school girls who volunteered with us (ok, stood around giggling for an hour with her friend) adopted him. He's now back to being an outdoor kitty like he was when he was brought to us.

I mean she's got land and he'll probably be safe... but we would hear stories about how she hasn't seen her other outdoor cat in a few days and hopes he's alive, etc etc.

I can never imagine having a pet that I didn't share my home with. The same goes for dogs. We have a small (to me) dog for adoption named Tucker, he's about 40lbs, maybe thigh high. The woman who is trying to adopt him lives in a mobile home (trailer, whatever they call them now) and most people at work don't get it. "He's too big to be inside all the time, he needs a fenced in back yard" so he can stay outside most of the time and be in at night. I'm sorry, but that's bull. I plan to own at LEAST two Great Danes when I'm on my own and they'll never stay outside longer than they need to. Its one thing to be out and go to the bathroom, or run around and play but its another to stay outside because people think they're "too big".

I hate driving around and seeing a ton of dogs chained to a tree, living in a wooden box. Even their fenced in yards are off limits to them. They're restricted to the 5 foot area around a tree. Why would you get a dog and pay for all of its food (and sometimes high vet bills) just to keep it outside and away from the family it so wants to love?


"There is no snooze button on a cat who wants breakfast."
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post #7 of 48 (permalink) Old 01-24-2005, 10:59 AM
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My parents live in the country and took in 2 stray kittens that were ditched. They were both indoor/outdoor and the brother was hit by a car, my parents were so devastated they now keep very close tabs on the cat they still have. She is like a dog, she goes outside when they take the dog out for a walk, she stays on the property and they don't let her out of their site. They can call her just like a dog and she comes running. We had 3 big male dogs that were never fixed and all 3 had very short lives. They all got hit by cars. Their dog they have now only goes out on a lease.

What I think you need to understand is outdoor animals were an acceptable thing when most of our parents grew up. Country people never had indoor animals. Always indoor/outdoor, at least where I live. Now, with traffic being so bad and there being so many aggressive drivers and the woods being full of starving animals that have been run out of their homes by new building being built etc., people are starting to learn that if you love your pet, it is best to keep them indoors.

Many people feel it is cruel not to let an animal outside to roam and enjoy life. No one I knew ever got their cats declawed, it wasn’t an option that anyone considered because cats were never kept strictly indoors. My mother in-law lets her cat outside on a busy street and thinks its okay because she sees her cat looking both ways before crossing. Now that I have explained to her the many horrors that could happen she has decided to keep her indoors and endure the whining. Coming from the country, I still feel bad because my cats do not have a life beyond my townhouse. All the pets I had as a kid enjoyed being outside. Letting them out is just not an option for most people now. For me, when money permits, I intend to have a home with a large from porch for my cats to enjoy the outdoors, inside.

I have to admit, when I brought home my first cat last year she wanted outside and I gave in. We looked hour on the hour for her for 2 days and she finally found us, scared to death and having no interest in being outside ever again. It was a learning experience for me, and the more I researched the more I realized my cats could be happy indoors. It is really just a change in thinking and understanding. People don't intentionally let their animals outside because they don’t care, it’s because they feel animals deserve to live and enjoy both worlds.
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post #8 of 48 (permalink) Old 01-24-2005, 06:56 PM
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Re: Over the Rainbow Bridge...and keeping cats outside!!!!

Originally Posted by BabyKitty
Mabey someone could explain to me why some people think cats are outside pets?
Because they are?
Seriously, America is the first country I've lived where people are obsessive about keeping their cats indoors. I'd never even heard of an "indoor cat" before moving here. (I lived in Holland, France and England before moving to America)
Think about it - a cat is a domesticated animal, but animals by nature don't live indoors - they live outdoors. It's natural for them to want to be outside.
We've trained Dory (in so far as you can train a cat) to be in at night and not complain about it. We lock the cat flap and put a scratching post in front of it. She kept us awake for the first couple of nights but has since accepted that when my wife and I are asleep and its dark, she's not allowed out. I'm actually quite impressed that she comes in of her own accord about 8 most nights now. We used to have to call her.
In the morning we unlock the catflap and she comes and goes as she chooses. Sometimes she stays in all day, sometimes she stays out all day. (If she's in and we open the front door, she's then out the catflap at the back like a rocket though).
I don't like the idea of the heartache of a missing or dead cat, but I find it hard to think we could force her to stay inside all the time.
I found it an extremely difficult read when going through the humane society's website because they have this steadfast line that under no circumstances, should a cat ever be let outside. For a "humane" society that's pretty cruel advice.
In fact the only thing I find even less tolerable is the concept of de-clawing, something else I'd never heard of before moving to America.
A Cat isn't a furry, indoor creature with no sharp bits. It's an animal. If you choose to let a cat run your house, should you not accept that it might want to go outdoors occasionally?

I guess it's different strokes for different folks, and it depends where you live. There can't be one rule for all cat owners.
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post #9 of 48 (permalink) Old 01-24-2005, 07:09 PM
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It is a kind of North American bias. Honestly, when I grew up, cats came and went as they pleased (my mom's family is from the UK, so some of this may be culture clash), and no one thought a thing of it. It wasn't until I was in college that I really heard anything about indoor-only cats. Living where I do, and having to listen to the occasional stray killed by a predator in the middle of the night, I am converted to indoor cat-keeping, at least for me, where I live now (I have to admit, this was reinforced by the poor cat that I ran over just after Christmas). However, not everyone has the same living situation of roads, predators, disease prevalence, and not everyone who lets their cats out is derelict in their care. I know a lot of people who have indoor/outdoor cats who are excellent cat owners who take good care of their animals. I also know people who keep indoor-only cats in what I personally consider to be deplorable living conditions...so the indoor/outdoor issue is only part of the equation.
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post #10 of 48 (permalink) Old 01-24-2005, 07:32 PM
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Every country is a different situation. But if you look at city, suburban, and even semi-rural environments in the U.S., there are countless dangers that present themselves to kitties. Now, not all of the country is like that, there are some very rurul areas without a lot of traffic, etc. that can pose a threat. But for the average American cat, outside is a very dangerous place. And it certainly isn't natural. Automobiles are not natural predators, are they? And look how many cats they kill a year... Roaming dogs are not natural. Neighbors who will poison or shoot your pet are not "natural". And cats themselves are not a part of the ecosystem and can do some serious damage to local wildlife populations. I can't help but when someone says that being outdoors is always more "natural" for a cat...
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