Indoor or Indoor/Outdoor? What is best for them? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-20-2005, 11:21 PM Thread Starter
 
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Indoor or Indoor/Outdoor? What is best for them?

I know a lady at work who has a small family of cats at her house (one of which is 21-years-old), and they are all indoor/outdoor cats. She swears that it is necessary for cats to be able to get outside and play regularly, getting some fresh air and exercise.

My fiancee on the otherhand tells me that cats do better indoors. She said every veterinarian she's talked to says that they area healthier and live longer if kept indoors.

Which is it? I personally think that we should let our cats start going outside a little but she disagrees with me.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-20-2005, 11:30 PM
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It's true that cats do live longer if kept indoors. They are not subject to certain diseases and have limited exposure to danger, such as cars or wild animals. Of course, this depends somewhat on where you live.

Fresh air is great for the cats, and there are safe ways to get it, such as outdoor enclosures or leash walks. My feeling is, why take a chance on letting them out when they can get fresh air and be safe?

My cats go on occasional walks but mainly use my screened porch for fresh air. There are alot of predators where I live -- coyotes, racoons, etc. -- so my kitties will always be indoor cats.

Owned by Pepper and Pumpkin RIP Snickers 8/22/00 -- 11/28/06

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-21-2005, 04:50 AM
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I agree. There are ways of your cat going out and getting fresh air safely. Generally, cats that go out have about half the lifespan of indoor cats. There are also the vet bills to consider. Cats that go out will inevitably get into mischeif and you'll end up with a lot more vet bills for abcesses and such. Obviously, the dangers vary depending on where you live. I live in an area with some traffic and quite a lot of coyotes, so letting them out is not an option. However, I do take them out on leashes (takes a little getting used to at first but they love it now) and they have a brand new screened in balcony to go out on.
Also, if you're in a house, there are very inexpensive ways to build an outdoor enclosure, with a kitty door from the house, so they have access to the outside but are still safe.
Good luck!

Victoria
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-21-2005, 11:56 AM Thread Starter
 
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We live in a large city so there aren't really any predators around, though there is some traffic through the neighborhood.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-21-2005, 12:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jread
We live in a large city so there aren't really any predators around, though there is some traffic through the neighborhood.
The total opposite of me -- we have no traffic but lots of predators.

Are your cats spayed or neutered? If not, definitely keep them in, or you'll have kittens in no time.

Traffic would certainly be a concern, as would other neighborhood pets and strays. Dogs and even other cats could pose a threat to your cat's health.

Also consider that your neighbors may not be happy to have your cat wandering through their yard or sitting or their porches. One of our members with an outdoor cat has had problems with her cat peeing in the neighbor's sandbox. Some people are not cat lovers and could mistreat the cat if it causes them problems.

I don't know the specifics of your situation, but these are just some things you should think about.

Owned by Pepper and Pumpkin RIP Snickers 8/22/00 -- 11/28/06

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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-21-2005, 12:36 PM Thread Starter
 
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Yes, they are both spayed and there is already one little cat that visits everyone on our street. She's very sweet and everyone knows who she is and likes her.

There's just a part of me that feels like it's wrong to keep a wild animal locked inside all day. I feel like I'm keeping them from being "cats" and being overprotective. I'm also highly allergic to cats and I hear that indoor/outdoor cats aren't as hard on allergies as indoor cats (don't know if this is true).
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-21-2005, 12:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jread
There's just a part of me that feels like it's wrong to keep a wild animal locked inside all day.
I feel that way about birds. I'm always sad to see caged birds.

However, cats really aren't wild -- being domesticated, they need the safety of a home. I'm sure you know what a tough life strays and ferals have.

They still have wild impulses like chasing birds and mice, but they can be perfectly content indoors with adequate play. And, as was already mentioned, there are safe ways to let them out.

Glad to hear your kitties are spayed.

Are your cats begging to go out? How old are they?

I have no idea about the allergies. I've never heard that theory. You might want to start a thread about that -- there are others here with allergies who may know.

Owned by Pepper and Pumpkin RIP Snickers 8/22/00 -- 11/28/06

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-21-2005, 02:33 PM Thread Starter
 
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One of our cats tries to run out when the door is open too long. She has a time or two but doesn't leave the porch, then she runs back in as soon as I call her. She was adopted from the local animal shelter at 2-years-old and was a street cat before, so she knows about the great outdoors.

Our other one, who is only a year old, seems curious about what is through the door but does not try to run outside. We adopted her when she was a tiny little kitten (so young that she had to be bottle-fed) and she has lived indoors her whole life so far. Her mother was feral and so she definitely has a little of a "wild side" to her and constantly wreaks havoc on the house. We get her toys and play with her but she still has too much energy to ever be satisfied. I figured that the outdoors would offer her more room to play, etc.

We used to live in an apartment downtown and had a balcony as we were on the second floor. I always took them out on the balcony at night where they night light would attract bugs for them to chase and kill. This has been a good skill for them to learn because they make sure that NO bugs survive if they get into our house. Now that we are in a house, though, there is no place for them to go out and get fresh air like they could on the balcony. We have a back porch that we could screen in, but it will be awhile before we can afford to. Maybe I should just wait and do this, that way they'd have a place to go outside but still be protected from any dangers. I may also try leash-training them.

BTW, here are some pics:

Daisy (3-years-old)



Opal (Just over 1-year-old)

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-21-2005, 02:39 PM
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It is a lot easier for me to not let my cats outside.

When I used to let my cats outside, there were vet bills. The kitties had to be vaccinated regularly. They had fleas and tapeworms.


Nowadays they are MUCH cheaper and easier to maintain since they are indoors. I don't have to vaccinate them as often.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-21-2005, 02:57 PM
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My vets told me that cats really should be allowed to go out. He did stress though that they must be kept in at night. This keeps them healthier and stops them roaming and taking risks which they are more likely to do at night.

Gia
xxx
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