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Outdoor Kitties
03-27-2015, 09:59 PM,
#1
DancingLady Offline
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Outdoor Kitties
I know this is a hot subject, and I am NOT trying to start any arguments here, but I just wanted to start a discussion about outdoor kitties.

Where I live, we are in a small town with lots of country people in the surrounding area. It's not unusual for people who have property to have outdoor cats that may or may not come inside. Cats are not just pets for some people, they are needed to keep the mice under control in the barn and around the property. As we all know there are inherent risks to cats when they live outdoors most or all of the time. Some sadly don't live long lives. However, the outdoor cats I have known seem to be some of the happiest cats out there.

Have you ever had an outdoor, or primarily outdoor cat?
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03-28-2015, 04:45 PM,
#2
kfander Offline
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RE: Outdoor Kitties
Until recently, my cats have been indoor-outdoor cats, who were mostly indoors, but allowed to go outdoors during the day. When night approached, the cat door would be set so that it would allow cats to come inside but not to go back outdoors. Still, I have always had to worry when one of them decided to do an all-nighter. Yes, I have also lost two cats, probably to a fox. One of them was a feral cat that I had taken in many years before, and who would go absolutely nuts if she were restricted to the house. I miss her very much, and I blame myself but, at the same time, she lived to be twenty-two years old. She had a good life, and a happy one.

Depending on where I was living, there have been times when I have restricted my cats to the house. When I have lived within a city, for example, it wasn't safe for cats to be allowed outdoors. During that time, I lost another cat, but for just the opposite reasons. Because she was not allowed outdoors, she was not familiar with her surroundings outside of the house. She escaped one day when a friend opened the door, apparently panicked, and I never saw her again. Had she been permitted outside from time to time, she would have known her way around, and maybe this wouldn't have happened.

Currently, I have three cats. Two of them (sisters) are twenty-four years old, so they are no longer so interested in going outdoors, although they probably would from time to time, if I allowed them to. But because being restricted to the house isn't driving them crazy, I am not giving them that option. The third cat is just over a year old, and she has never been outdoors. But she wants to, and tries for the door every now and then.

It seems to me that the safest course of action for her is for me to take her outdoors from time to time, under my supervision, so that she is familiar with the property, knows which doors lead to our house, and can locate a couple of safe spots, such as our second-floor fire escape and a shed that I have in the back yard, in the event that she might one day find herself outdoors.

I don't think that the question is one that can be easily answered. Yes, there are dangers outdoors. At the same time, there is the question of whether the cat's quality of life is enhanced by the added stimulus. I have raised four cats into their 20s as indoor-outdoor cats, and that's longer than most people have with their cats. If you have children, do you restrict them to your home, or do you allow them to play in the back yard sometimes, or in the park? Do you educate them at home or do you allow them to leave the safety of their home in order to attend school? Do you think that a child would be healthy and happy if he or she were never allowed to go outdoors?

The answers are not so easy. If we assume that children need fresh air and outside stimulus, could this not be true of cats as well?
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03-29-2015, 02:37 AM,
#3
BobCat Offline
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RE: Outdoor Kitties
(03-27-2015, 09:59 PM)DancingLady Wrote: I know this is a hot subject, and I am NOT trying to start any arguments here, but I just wanted to start a discussion about outdoor kitties.

Where I live, we are in a small town with lots of country people in the surrounding area. It's not unusual for people who have property to have outdoor cats that may or may not come inside. Cats are not just pets for some people, they are needed to keep the mice under control in the barn and around the property. As we all know there are inherent risks to cats when they live outdoors most or all of the time. Some sadly don't live long lives. However, the outdoor cats I have known seem to be some of the happiest cats out there.

Have you ever had an outdoor, or primarily outdoor cat?

When living out in the country, we have had outdoor cats for precisely the reasons you mentioned in your post At the same time, they were still very much our pets. It was actually a bit more stressful, due to the higher risk of the outside elements. Nowadays, our two cats live indoors. Eddie, our youngest has never ventured outside. Herman, our older cat, has had quite the outdoor experiences. I know she misses her prowling days Unfortunately, she has gained more weight.
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04-17-2015, 01:22 PM,
#4
Shihtzufan Offline
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RE: Outdoor Kitties
I had an outdoor cat once. We lived in a quiet suburb at the time and didn't think it was a risk...but he was hit by a car. After that I vowed that all my cats would be indoor pets. We let our current cat in the yard for fresh air, but we are always supervising when that happens.
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04-29-2015, 02:13 AM,
#5
dashboardc33 Offline
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RE: Outdoor Kitties
The cat we own right now is an indoor and outdoor cat. She absolutely loves it outside. She meows at the door until we let her outside. Some people think we are so mean by having our cat outside, but that is where is happiest. She almost always stays in the yard. I'll be working on the garden and she'll be rolling around on the patio sun bathing herself. I agree that animals are happier outside. As long as they are up to date on their shots and aren't getting into anything dangerous or poisonous to themselves, I don't see the issue with having them go outside when they want to enjoy the sun. My cat even likes to go outside in the winter. Granted, she doesn't stay out as long, I think she just wants some fresh air.
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05-02-2015, 12:59 AM,
#6
kfander Offline
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RE: Outdoor Kitties
I can't help but think that, if we can assume that children and people, in general, need to be outdoors once in a while in order to be healthy and happy, the same might apply to cats. At the same time, I can appreciate the dangers that exist for cats who are outdoors, as I have lost a couple of cats. They were twelve and twenty-three though, which is longer than most people have their indoor cats. There are no clear answers to the question. There are places where cats are certainly unsafe, such as residential areas with hight traffic, because cats aren't very good with boundaries. Unfortunately, in rural areas, there are often other dangers, such as coyotes and fox.

I have raised four cats into their twenties who were allowed almost unfettered access to the outdoors, except that I would set the cat door so that it was one-way at night; they could come inside but not go outdoors again until morning. Since most people talk about their cats as being old when they are twelve, and I have two cats who are twenty-four now, I can't believe that this has been a terrible policy.

Yet, after losing two cats, probably to a fox, I haven't allowed my cats to go outdoors, but neither do I accept that it is wrong to allow your cats to go outdoors. In my case, my two older cats aren't so interested in it anymore and my younger cat has never been outdoors on her own, although I may allow her to in time.

Right now, I bring them out with me for a while every day, when the weather is nice, and they are pretty good with that. Ella, my one year-old, begs to go outside all the time now, so I might decide to let her at some point. I am not living at the same place I was at when I lost the other cats, and my cats have always been safe here. I have a home in mid-Maine, but we sometimes spend our summers up north, near the Canadian border.

There are dangers for children outdoors too, yet most people will concede that it's healthy for children to spend time outdoors. So we take reasonable precautions, and we encourage them to spend time outside, in the yard or in the park. Many people even send their children to school, despite the known dangers.
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08-12-2015, 10:23 PM,
#7
Susan Offline
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RE: Outdoor Kitties
When I was younger we lived in the country so all our cats were outdoor cats. A lot of them didn't live long lives because they would get hit by a cat or eaten by another creature. It was always heartbreaking when they went out at night and never came back in the morning. I now life in the city so I have two indoor cats. There are neighbors who leaves their cats outside and it makes me sad whenever I see one lying death on the sidewalk or middle of the road. I worry far too much so I could never have an outdoor cat. Unless thye went outside with me and stayed in my yard where I could see them.
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