Indoor or Outdoor, That's the Question....

by Renee' Matthews
(Missouri, USA)

Not the camera again!!

Not the camera again!!

Amica came to live with us just about a year ago. An American Shorthair mix in beautiful grey and black. She was not a true "feral" cat, but she was extremely afraid of people. But after working with her for several weeks, we became fast friends.

For months she would go to the door and meow, letting us know she needed to go outside. She would come back several hours later, meowing outside the door letting us know she was ready to come back in.

However in February, she had surgery and with a shaved tummy couldn't go out in the extreme cold, so we purchased a cat box and cat litter for the first time. She took to it right away. After that, she no longer seemed to want to go outside as much, but was content to sit by the window looking outside.

Now that a little dog lives in the apartment on one side and a Basset Hound on the other side, she has decided it's safer inside and rarely goes out. The last time she did venture out, I found her in the tree in front of our house!

So our outdoor cat has become an indoor cat by choice - hers. And that is perfectly fine with us. After all, she's Queen of the Castle!

As a child, I had an indoor/outdoor cat for a couple of years. Tiger was a large cat, possibly a Maine Coon breed. Mom clipped his nails in an attempt to keep him from scratching furniture when he was inside. We never realized the danger that would put him in.

One day Tiger came back tore up from an attack, probably a dog, and in shock. He died a horrible death. We realized, too late, that with clipped claws he probably couldn't climb trees to get away and couldn't fight back.

I vowed then and there to never clip or declaw any cat that would be outside at all. However, if your cat is going to be only an indoor cat, filing down the claws can be needful to keep your furniture safe. However, I would never declaw a cat. That would be like having my nails surgically removed. Besides infection or medical reasons, why would I want to do such a thing to myself? My cat deserves the same respect and care.

Personally, I believe the indoor/outdoor debate depends on:
1) The owners and their preference.
2) Living arrangements - apartment, house, etc., and surrounding
3) The cat and his/her preference.

As I said with Amica, she made her own choice to become an indoor cat, and she seems perfectly content with her choice.

--Renee' Matthews, June 6, 2010

Comments for Indoor or Outdoor, That's the Question....

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Trimmed Claws.
by: Anonymous

Hello, I do not think that trimming your cat's claws would have prevented him climbing or restricted him fighting to protect himself.

My cats all have their claws trimmed regularly. Yes they are less sharp after trimming, but they are still claws and the cats can still make use of them.

Declawing is a different thing, I would not entertain that at all.

Very sad to read what happened but it was not because you trimmed your cat nails.

difficult choice
by: Alikat

I now have 6 caats - 3 'moggies', a persian and 2 bengals. All but the bengals have been outdoor cats, but recently with heavy building work scheduled nearby I started keeping them all in. It has taken time, but they are no longer wailing at windows and doorways and have settled down really well. This has meant that I no longer come home fearing roadkill or abduction (at times a risk in this area); the risk of illness and disease from other cats has been minimised, and although there are skirmishes within the house, little damage is done to each other, as compared to the fighting wounds some have returned with in the past. For them - I do not know what they might feel, but so long as they are fed and each gets 'their time' of play and affection they seem satisfied.

A charming beauty.
by: Larry (Editor)

Hi Renee',

Amica is a charming beauty, you must have been thrilled when she came to live with you.

How unusual for a cat to choose to stay inside, but I expect that she has come to appreciate the comforts of home and you can't disagree with the Queen of the Castle can you. :0)

I'm sorry to read of Tiger's fate. I've never thought trimming claws reduces a cat's ability to defend itself or climb. It is a point worth thinking about.

And yes, you are right, there are many sides to the indoor/outdoor debate. I was once firmly on the side of "a cat should be allowed outside!" But I now have a much loved cat who is indoor only. He is happy, but unlike your Amica, I'm sure he would choose to be out there (at least until he gets hungry :0) )

Larry (Editor)

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