Both Sides for Bells

Bells

Bells

In the twelve years that I've had my cat, Bells, he's experienced both lifestyles. To summarize, I feel he's healthier and happier with his outdoor time.

When we first adopted Bells, we lived in a suburban neighborhood. It was a new development and therefore not very populated for the first year or two. At first, we let him out in our backyard only under supervision. He started climbing fences and exploring, and eventually he spent about 50% of his time outdoors until about 11pm when he came in for the night.

His vaccines were always up to date, he had a collar and ID, and we took measures to prevent heartworm, fleas, and the like. He did get in a scrap or two, but he always came out with only a scratch.

Our family later relocated to an apartment in the city, and poor Bells's outdoor life came to an end. During this time he gained a lot of weight, presumably from his lack of exercise. (The weight gain was also partially our fault, as we didn't realize for a while that not every meow meant "feed me". Now we know better.) We then moved into a townhome with a small backyard and lawn. He was curious about the outdoors, but would only go out under supervision (his choice more than ours) and was very skittish.

Bells and I have just recently moved to Florida. Our new home has a decent-sized, full enclosed backyard. He has already lost some weight. He chases lizards, rolls around, climbs on my car, and eats more like a normal cat.

I would definitely not let my cat outdoors in an urban environment in which the risks far outweigh the benefits. That being said, if you and your cat are fortunate enough to live in a place where they can safely explore, I strongly, strongly suggest you let them out to play!

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Meowww means food :)
by: Anonymous

I had to laugh when I read that not every meow means food. I'm convinced that with our cat Rudy, it does mean food.

We have learned tho not to give in -- well must of the time. He does go outside tho so gets his exercise, so he is not a lard boy :) It is safe here to, there is traffic of course but it is lite.

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Bells, a fine looking boy.
by: Larry (Editor)

Hi,

Thank you very much indeed for sharing Bells' story with us and for your wonderful photograph.

Your views on the indoor/outdoor issue seem to mirror my own very closely. Your sentence "I would definitely not let my cat outdoors in an urban environment in which the risks far outweigh the benefits." says it all, I think.

Still, can't help but feel sorry for Bells at the time you moved to an apartment, he must have missed his outdoor time :0)

Nice to read that he now has a backyard to enjoy. He is a fine looking boy, I bet that he is pleased that he has someone who cares to look after him.

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Tragedy in kindness

by Valerie
(USA)

I always thought I should give my cat freedom. I imagined what it would be like to not have an expansive horizon as an adventurous feline. Of course, I opted for letting him outdoors occasionally. He needed, in my opinion, some sun and some playtime free of our walls.

It seemed like a grand idea, until he started getting ill. He began having chronic digestive issues, parasites and was vomiting as soon as he finished eating... later, his eyes were draining and his teeth began to disappear, one by one.

My cat has F AIDS. He will die. It is only a matter of time. I love him dearly. I thought I was doing something loving by allowing him to roam. Now, my dear feline companion has numbered days and will pass on. Please, I beg of you, keep your kitty indoors.

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So Sorry!
by: Karen

Feline Leukemia is awful. I'm so sorry you lost your baby. I'm sure you made him very happy and gave him a charmed housecat life. That's really all we can do for our kitties, I guess. They have short lives, but really really good ones. It's something you can feel great about.

I'm off to snuggle mine now and let them know how much I love them. They'll get annoyed at me and run away, but... I'll still feel satisfied. :)

*Hugs*

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Meekers.
by: Larry (Editor)

I'm very sorry to read of your cat's passing. I know that this is a hard time for you, but I am sure that you have many happy memories of Meekers.

Larry (Editor)

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update
by: Valerie

I am sorry to inform you all, that Meekers has passed on. He choked to death on his food... he couldn't chew anymore because he lost his teeth due to his illness. Please, take care of your furry children. Their time is short. Love them well. I hope you don't have to search at your feet for a kitty that isn't there anymore. Keep your domesticated cats indoors. Learn from my tragedy and do not make it your own.

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A warning of the other side of the coin.
by: Larry (Editor)

Hi Valerie,

I am most sorry to read of your cat's condition.

Your tragic story does indeed serve as a reminder and warning of the other side of the coin, the dangers of letting your cat outdoors.

It is very brave of you to share your story with us. I hope that with your care, your cat will be able to enjoy a reasonable quality of life for the time that he is with you.

Larry (Editor)

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