Should cats be kept indoors?

FortyTwo

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The PETA thread gave me the idea for this debate.

I say yes. They are not wild animals, so it is our fault that they are here in the first place and we shouldn't let them interfere. Not only do they kill plenty of songbirds (I know there are statistics somewhere and they are disturbing), they also unknowingly put themselves in danger of being hit by cars or worse, since along with the songbirds, plenty of very evil humans exist.

What are your thoughts?
 

cornsail

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Indoor cats are safer and generally live longer. Outdoor cats have more freedom and perhaps lead more fun and interesting lives. I'm undecided.
 

Alice-Bee

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Yes..yes...yes!!!!

Im sorry but if dog owners have to be responcable for their pets mess and the like then cat owners should be too.
I live on a cul de sac and at least 4 houses near mine have cats. We take pride in our front garden and since we moved in two years ago have had countless dead mice, chewed birds and poops in our garden.Why should I have to clear up some other persons animal mess?

I posted in the gripe thread about this.
 
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Moll Flanders

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I let my six cats out through a cat-flap during the day while it is light outside. They have a litter tray indoors which they come back in to use Alice!:rofl: Actually my oldest cat refuses to use a litter tray and she does go to the toilet in one of my neighbour's gardens.:oops: My cats are all spayed/neutered so they don't wander far and my garden backs onto other gardens.

I don't let them out when it's dark in the morning or evenings because they used to catch too many birds and mice so I realised that they are much less able to hunt during the day. I live in a cul-de-sac and the road isn't busy and they have a back garden to sit in.

Rescue centres usually specify if the cat needs access to a garden or not as some cats have lived indoors and are scared to go out and if you live near a busy main road then obviously the cats shouldn't be let out. The only predators round here are foxes but my cats are in at night so they don't socialise with each other.:)
 

Alice-Bee

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I dont mean they should be locked up all day. A well trained cat should be no problem outside.
My neighbours cat uses the garden opposite them...they watch it doing so too. THAT is my problem with cats being outdoors.

Horse owners too.
 

SummerRain

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As I understand it (from forums) outdoor/indoor cats in the UK live much longer than those in the USA. The majority of UK cats are outdoors/indoors and the average cat age is about 14, whereas in america I have heard that outdoor/indoor cats only live about 5 years, which is a big difference if that is indeed true. It's hard to find outdoor/indoor comparisons for the UK because it is much less common to have a solely indoor cat.

I think the stimulation and freedom outweigh the dangers in the UK as long as you live away from a busy road, and not in a city. The danger/harm to wildlife does bother me a lot and is the one thing that stops me saying "definitely outside" - certainly keeping them indoors at night should reduce that a lot though and still give your cat some freedom/stimulation/etc. I don't think there is anything wrong with keeping a cat inside - especially when there is so many cats who desperately need homes, but I think if it's relatively safe (nothing is ever completely safe) to let them roam, it is a better life for them.
 

Lord Snot

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As I understand it (from forums) outdoor/indoor cats in the UK live much longer than those in the USA. The majority of UK cats are outdoors/indoors and the average cat age is about 14, whereas in america I have heard that outdoor/indoor cats only live about 5 years, which is a big difference if that is indeed true. It's hard to find outdoor/indoor comparisons for the UK because it is much less common to have a solely indoor cat.

I think the stimulation and freedom outweigh the dangers in the UK as long as you live away from a busy road, and not in a city. The danger/harm to wildlife does bother me a lot and is the one thing that stops me saying "definitely outside" - certainly keeping them indoors at night should reduce that a lot though and still give your cat some freedom/stimulation/etc. I don't think there is anything wrong with keeping a cat inside - especially when there is so many cats who desperately need homes, but I think if it's relatively safe (nothing is ever completely safe) to let them roam, it is a better life for them.

I pretty much agree with this. People always forget that in the UK we don't have the wildlife in the US that kills cats. The worst thing we have out there is foxes and there is virtually no evidence that foxes actually kill cats. Cats do sometimes get hit by cars, but they are often un-neutered males who roam. You just need to be sensible about it and look for ways to protect your cat from traffic, or decide if your home is really suitable for them.

If a cat isn't allowed outside, they need to be provided with other ways to express their natural hunting and exploratory behaviour. I don't think most cat owners have the time or inclination to make sure their cat is getting what he or she needs, physically and mentally. And I assume de-clawing grew so prevalent in the US because cats had no way to naturally file down their nails, and people couldn't be bothered to cut their claws or get them cut. That's sad.
 

thefadedone

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A few years ago I lived in a townhouse/apartment community and I had a neighbor two townhouses down who had 6 indoor/outdoor cats. The neighbor in between us was constantly ****** off about the cats peeing all over her son's outdoor toys, leaving paw prints on her car, peeing all over her back porch, etc, etc. One day she got so sick of it that the night before she set up a can of cat food soaked in antifreeze and left it underneath her car where the cats frequently slept at night. :eek: The can was empty by morning, the cats were poisoned, and I'm not sure if the all survived.

So yeah, I freak out a bit now whenever people talk about letting their cats outdoors unsupervised. :(
 

Freesia

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Both of my cats are outdoor cats. My oldest cat was born on a farm and has always been accustomed to being outdoors. The young one is semi feral and freaks out when she cant get outside. I cant even take her to the vet.

There is a cat next door which is often in our yard and it is a real pain - fights with my cats, but people round here all have cats outside, you can always see cats sitting in front yards and gardens as you walk around the neighbourhood. Loads of dogs too.

Pretty much noone keeps their cats inside here. It is not the way.
 

Forster

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A few years ago I lived in a townhouse/apartment community and I had a neighbor two townhouses down who had 6 indoor/outdoor cats. The neighbor in between us was constantly ****** off about the cats peeing all over her son's outdoor toys, leaving paw prints on her car, peeing all over her back porch, etc, etc. One day she got so sick of it that the night before she set up a can of cat food soaked in antifreeze and left it underneath her car where the cats frequently slept at night. :eek: The can was empty by morning, the cats were poisoned, and I'm not sure if the all survived.

So yeah, I freak out a bit now whenever people talk about letting their cats outdoors unsupervised. :(

That's horrible.
 

Freesia

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Oh and I forgot to mention- Gypsy isnt actually litterbox trained. I need to get round to doing it. When I tried to do it, after her spaying when tried to keep her inside, she used her cat cushion as a toilet and tried to sleep in the litterbox.

I think that it is the culture around here, a lot of people lived on farms only a couple of generations ago, so animals generally are loose. People always walk their dogs past the house without a leash, which can also be annoying. but there is a beach here. and it is set back from the road.
 
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FortyTwo

FortyTwo

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As I understand it (from forums) outdoor/indoor cats in the UK live much longer than those in the USA. The majority of UK cats are outdoors/indoors and the average cat age is about 14, whereas in america I have heard that outdoor/indoor cats only live about 5 years, which is a big difference if that is indeed true.

I have a hard time believing this is true. All of the cats I've had and met have lived at least over 10 or 12. Unless, of course, their lives were cut short because of illness or accident. My one cat is actually only a year younger than me and he's still really healthy.
 

KLS52

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Thor and Mandi were indoor/outdoor cats and they both lived 16.5 years.
Tommy was my only indoor only cat and he died at 14.
Cybil will be 17 in August and she is mostly indoor but will venture out during the summer months.
All of my other indoor/outdoor kitties died between the ages of 9-12.

For the most part, I believe that cats should be allowed outside. It just feels natural to me. But I totally understand the reasoning behind wanting to keep them indoors. If one can have a happy cat while keeping it inside, then great. New kitty was declawed by his previous owner, so obviously he will be staying inside. Luckily for me he doesn't show any interest in going out.
 

RabbitLuvr

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My friend had an indoor/outdoor cat. She left the kitchen window open so kitty could come and go. One year, there was a massive ice storm, and temperatures were below zero for over a week (which is unusual here). Kitty had gone outside before the storm, and never came home. I don't know she was taken in by someone else, or died in the bad weather, or starved, or was hit by a car..... Kitty was 7.

My MIL has a cat who is mostly indoor, but he is allowed to go out in her fenced back yard, if he's supervised, and is not allowed to leave her yard.

Streets around here are fairly busy, and many people drive over the speed limit. It's not really safe for cats to be outdoors.
 

Freesia

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Well, Hobbes is 18 and has been an outdoor/indoor cat. His BFF is 19, also spends a lot of time outdoors.
 
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mlp

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I have a hard time believing this is true. All of the cats I've had and met have lived at least over 10 or 12. Unless, of course, their lives were cut short because of illness or accident. My one cat is actually only a year younger than me and he's still really healthy.

That's kind of the point - outdoor cats are subject to all kinds of accidents - being run over, being killed by other animals (including humans) - and are also subject to all kinds of contagious diseases, including feline aids, feline leukemia, etc. That's what reduces their life expectancy. Sure, an indoor/outdoor cat who avoids the hazards of the outdoors should have the same life expectancy as an indoor cat, if all other factors (food/shelter/medical care) are equal.

The life expectancy of an outdoor only cat will be reduced even further, because he will be subject to those hazards 24/7, instead of only part time. In addition, extreme weather will additionally stress his body, unless he happens to have access to a fully heated shelter in the winter.

Around here, in the past four years, none of the cats I have left outdoors has even made it to his second winter. That's the life expectancy of outdoor cats in this area - less than two years. The majority don't even make it to their first winter.

If you live in an area that's pretty much predator free, well away from traffic, and with neighbors you trust not to put out any kind of poison (rodent poison will kill cats as well as rodents) or intentionally mistreat your cats, then yeah, your cats may have a reasonably long life as indoor/outdoor cats.