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Discussion Starter #1
I want my kittens to be inside cats, but Mack will sit in an open window and just whine sometimes and I feel bad. I won't "just let him out" but was wondering about them collar and leash combos? I was kind of hoping to not even give them a taste of outdoors and hope they'd be like my last cat, with no interest of going outdoors, but wondering what others do? I feel bad when he cries at the window. Usually its if he sees the kids outside and he's better once everyone is inside, but its not necessarily because he's inside alone, he just needs to catch someone outside to whine. He's not neutered yet, but will be soon. He's over 2 lbs now and 12 wks old. He has snuck out onto the deck a few times when a door gets left open or sneaks out when someone comes in, but just lets you pick him right up and bring him back in and doesn't bolt when the door is opened, just casually investigates. I've had other kittens that bolted the moment you opened the door and living in town, eventually they'd wonder too far and don't come back home or someone else decides to take them in as their own, so don't want that to happen, plus in this new house we live on a busy corner, so I'd be more worried about them being hit by a car.
 

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#1 thing I'd do is get him neutered, or he will pine to go out as he gets older. Does he have lots of toys to play with? Do you play with him with interactive toys, such as a fishing pole type, like "Da Bird". I've had a few kittens that just were very keen to go outside, but most kitties, if they have enough amusement inside, or another cat or pet to play with (dog, rabbit), are content. As far as taking cats out on a harness and leash, some cats enjoy a little walk around a property and then are content to come back in, but some are not and can turn aggressive when you want to get them back in the house and they don't want to go. Also it's amazing how quickly some cats can slip out of a harness. My two cats are strictly indoor, and the only way they go out is in a pet stroller. They enjoy seeing a change in scene and I get some exercise walking at the same time. They get enough exercise through their play in the house, and are in good muscular condition. I don't recommend letting your cat outside....I lost an indoor/outdoor cat once to two stray dogs that mauled it and fractured its leg, it was a 16 y.o. cat and it did not survive the surgery. There are other dangers such as aggressive cats, cat-hating neighbors, traffic, and even birds of prey. Not worth the risk imo.
 

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Yep, we plan to get him nuetered very soon and to get Peanut spayed as soon as we get back from vacation. Right now every extra cent is going for that, but as soon as we get home, they're both heading in to be "fixed." Yes, they have toys all over the floor. LOL!! Not to mention all the little things that aren't exactly toys (such as boxes, etc). We have a few interactive toys, but they don't seem interested in playing with us. They are held, petted, etc lots too though.
 

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I don't think he'll mind once he's neutered. Just like Shepherd Book, the outside LOOKED really fun and exciting..until he got out there and it scared the living beejeesus out of him.

Now it's MUCH more fun to watch it from the safety of his window. The noises you consider whining might just be talking. My guys talk to the birds all the time. Chatting and mewling.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
That could be too. He might just be "calling" the kids back in, although after he does it he goes to the door and sits waiting. Either waiting to make his escape or waiting for them to come in, not sure?
 

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I've done a nifty compromise: She only goes out on the weekends.

Also, I've got a second-floor balcony with a sliding glass door, and I've inserted a kitty door, so she can go out on the balcony all she wants, and thus go "outside" while remaining out of harm's way.
 

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Collar or harness and leash are do-able. There is a big difference from walking a cat than a dog. Dogs do not climb up the tree trunks and then have you standing below like an idiot holding a leash that disappears up the tree into the leaves. Or they crawl under a bush and there you stand holding the leash waiting for them to come out again. One new neighbor thought I was casing their house for a burglary and called the police on me for loitering.

The neighbors became close friends, but all the neighbors still think of me as that crazy cat lady who walks her cats. Occupational hazard. I enjoyed walking my cats. Can't do that any more with the disability. Don't feel safe taking them along on the scooter. I would love an outdoor enclosure for the cats linked to the house by a cat door, but it is expensive and I can't afford it now.

So indoor they all are and they seem happy. They always have catnip toys and things to claw and eachother to chase. Much safer as I live on a very busy State road.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
LOL about "walking" a cat being different then walking a dog. I love your little scenarios!! I know, I always think "if only we could just make the deck so they couldn't easily escape it, they'd love the outdoors and it'd be safe for them to go out!!" Oh well, maybe someday. ;-) For now I'll just spoil them in the house.
 

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I actually did want to start a thread about outdoor cats, but since this is up, can I just jump right in? (haha can you tell I'm new?)

My kitten is 6 months old and we're going to move soon to a new house in an area with more woods and safer roads. I really believe in animals having the right to explore the outdoors, especially cats. They seem to need more than just what's indoors and I feel bad for caging Cookie inside for her whole life. I've had outdoor cats before at home, but Cookie is the first cat who's my responsibility and I'm not sure how to train her to be an outdoors cat, and if it's even a really smart idea. Any ideas/comments?
 

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Ultimately its a personal choice, but your new place is just exchanging one set of dangers (cars) for another (wildlife). Personally, my cats have always been inside-only unless supervised or on a lead. It's the law here, but even if it weren't I would keep them safe inside with me.

I you do choose to let her out, at least make sure that you have her microchipped and with a collar, so if she wanders too far there's a greater chance of her finding her way home.
 

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Nope. Mine are staying indoors. When I was a kid, we often went to my Great Uncle John's dairy farm. They had a pony and an old Percheron horse to ride, lots of dairy cows, a sheep or two for my aunt and two Angora goats. They had these ninja chickens that were always attacking us as well as ten peacocks and peahens which didn't chase us and more cats than you could shake a stick at. I loved May, June and July at the farm because of all the kittens. I could not have a cat at home because of my Dad's severe allergies. Later in the year I would notice the number of kittens would become very scarce and found out they did give some away, but most of them just disappeared or they might find some of the little bodies dismembered around the farm. The foxes, raccoons, oppossums and coyotes hunted them and ate them. No domestic cat has a chance around wild animals. My Uncle would set up a cat corner in the barn with the cows where they could sleep safe from the wild animals; but any cat that went out roaming at night was risking their life and eventually did not come back some night.

The neices had indoor pet cats, but their cats were not allowed out of the house or they would disappear as well. This taught me that cats, pet cats, are only safe if kept indoors; between the cars, dogs and traffic in the city and the predators, disease and accidents on the farm and in the wild, a domestic cat was toast.

Outside cat life expectancy is 7 years. Inside life expectancy is 15 years.
 

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I realise that I live in a very different area but I would think those figures include totally feral cats and not just those who live both in and out - if so the number of newborn kittens killed by predators or born with difficulties would bring down the average life expectancy enormously.

Most of my cats have gone in and out at will. When Trixie died last October she was over 20 years old. The last one to die before her died from a chronic health problem that was not made any worse by him being allowed in and out (and the vet thought that not just me). We acquired him as an adult so any guess at his age would be just that but he was certainly more than 7.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
My parents kept my cat when I moved out because I was going to a nanny job so couldn't take her with me. By the time I got a house she could come, she was too used to my parents' house being hers, so I just left her with them. Anyhow, she was an outdoor cat, because my mom became allergic to her. (She was indoor/outdoor when I still lived at home) and she lived to be 14 yrs old. So I think outdoor cats in the country can do fine too, although there are more dangers to living outdoors.
 

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I realise that I live in a very different area but I would think those figures include totally feral cats and not just those who live both in and out
I'm fully inclined to agree with this. Total ferals, with no constant food source... three years, I see it. I always see that mentioned around here and I never see a study backing it up, if there is one I have to wonder how many factors are involved in that statistic. Indoor/outdoor, yes it is more risky, but not that risky. I've known indoor/outdoor cats to die young from cars or wildlife, I've known others to live to a very old age. I think there's a learning curve and if they can survive that their odds of living to an old age just increased. Also I think some cats simply don't have the right mindset to be allowed outdoors, the overly friendly, overly carefree ones. And of course location is a huge factor as well, if you've got a lot of predators or a lot of cars... not a good idea to allow a cat outdoors unsupervised.

Blacky came to us from the street, she's been living indoor/outdoor 24/7 for 10 years now, in the summer she's outside 80% or more of the time. A lot of that spent in the sun room, technically still the house, but she can leave it any time she chooses. We live by a busy road but I'm not worried about her, she is terrified of cars and wants nothing to do with people, and hardly ever is more than 50 feet from the house. I know a lot of people that feed ferals (I volunteer at a cat sanctuary) and many of them are fed for years and years in colonies without premature death, a fair number of the volunteers feed stray cats (and have for years) or allow their cats outdoors as well. In fact we feed a feral as well, for a few years now one has come in to eat Blacky's food almost every night.

My cat Blaze was allowed on the balcony any time he wanted (except in winter when the door was often closed) but taking him outside into the big wide world was another story! He'd pee all over himself. We did eventually - when he was 15 years old - start taking him into the backyard regularly, at first he was absolutely terrified but he warmed up to the idea slowly and now he loves it out there... he wanders around spraying everything and eating grass, he has a great time.

Anyway, to the actual topic, I think your cat could just be meowing wanting the people to come inside, and that neutering may settle him down as well. Allowing him to get used to the outdoors is a personal choice, it may not be an instalove with them and the outdoors, and if you take the time to get them used to it you will definitely have to put up with a cat that wants outside a lot, and be commited to allowing them out often (on leash being the safest, of course).
 

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Just speaking from personal experience, growing up we had cats most of the time. Not one of them we had more than a year or so due to eventually never coming back from an outside trip. I lived in the city at the time.

When I moved to the country, my indoor/outdoor cats never fared much better, including one being shot before she was a year old when she went down to the little pond on our property and some boys shot her over the fence. She dragged herself home with a crushed pelvis and had to be put to sleep and none of the cats I had lived past a year or so due to predation and the highway. Bear in mind, that no one I knew had indoor only cats. I vowed to never have another inside/outside cat. The next cat I brought home lived to be 16. There was such a huge difference in life expectancy that, for me, I am happy with my decision for my cat to live indoors ... safe.
 

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I realise that I live in a very different area but I would think those figures include totally feral cats and not just those who live both in and out - if so the number of newborn kittens killed by predators or born with difficulties would bring down the average life expectancy enormously.
Not really. Since there's no way to quantify truly feral cats that don't really have any human contact. In human population studies, they usually exclude people under 1 year of age from life expectancy estimates. Infant mortality is high, regardless of species. It's such common practice I assume they would do the same thing with cat populations. (And, again, there's no way to "count" a litter of kittens that have never seen a human).

I assume the quoted life expectancy would have be quantified from a national survey of veterinarians. That's generally the way these kind of statistics are done when there aren't any solid records (such as you find at first-world hospitals)

I'd also like to point out that there might be some bias here. You guys are disinclined to believe the figures because the cats you know lived long lives. However, you should be aware that posting on this forum indicates that you have at least an above-average interest in the well-being of your cats and probably take more preventative actions to safeguard them while they're on the prowl.

There's also a huge range of what an "indoor/outdoor" cat is. Indoor-only cats have pretty similar experiences across the board. But an indoor/outdoor cat can spend 95% of its time outside and still be indoor/outdoor. Do you see what I mean? So, if your cat is primarily indoor, but you let them out into the yard a few hours a day, their life expectancy would likely be higher than the average (which would assume spending 50% of its life outside.) Honestly, I can't think of anyone I know whose indoor/outdoor cat spends half their life outside. The most is probably 1/3.
 

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I believe cats are safest indoors. But when I moved to the country I ended up with several barn cats who moved in and refused to leave. They were not placeable anywhere so I neutered/vaccinated them and let them stay. They were cared for, had a heated tack room to sleep in, and got fed premium canned food. There were 4. Julie was hit by a car on my quiet country road. And a few weeks ago Thomas died of cytaux, a deadly disease carried by bobcats (and now some domestic cats) and transmitted by ticks.

I have now brought the remaining 2 barn cats, Conrad and Erik, indoors. We will make it work. It's just too great a risk and it's one I will no longer take, period. I KNEW this was a bad idea and I talked myself into it--I won't do it again and I caution anyone else about taking those risks--there are MANY of them, including some you would never be able to imagine.
 

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I live in a village. In my little bit of it (houses in my short street and the other houses that back onto the lane paralell with my garden so about 24 houses in all) there are 18 cats I can think of. Of them 5 are totally indoor cats. Of that two are kittens that the owner intends to let out later.

The other outdoor cats range in age from 6 months to 17 years.

There is only one adult indoor cat and she is 16 which is good but there is no significant difference in life expectancy between indoor and indoor.
 

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Obviously you have had a different experience than I .. and I'm glad! The indoor/outdoor cats I've had have all been indoor cats that went outside when they told us they wanted out, so were primarily indoors. Still didn't help with their longevity in our case, sadly.
 

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Just to add that I have been thinking about my visits to the vets and, while I have been asked whether or not they stay in catteries which seems to be regarded as increasing the risks they face, I have never been asked whether they are indoor or outdoor cats. Maybe this is because most cats here are outdoors at least part of the time.
 
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