Max Loved The Outdoors.
My emotions over this debate have recently resurfaced as I am searching for a new kitten to add to our family after losing 3 of my three twelve year old cats recently- We lost Max to cancer in Oct '08 after a 3 year battle and then my tortie, Sassy to Congestive Heart Failure just 6 weeks later.
I have been submitting applications for adoption to several local rescues and have been turned down due to my honestly admitting that I have always allowed my cats the freedom of choice to go outdoors.
Most importantly I believe that each owner needs to weigh their individual circumstances with each individual cat. Certainly, if my neighborhood carried a greater risk (traffic, large feral population, urban setting, etc) I may also chose to not let my cats out unsupervised.
Sassy was virtually and indoor cat (her choice) but my Max loved his yard so very much. There were times when, as he fought cancer, I was tempted to not let him out so that I could keep an eye on him at all times. But if I had, I truthfully I believe he would have died from "failure to thrive" before the cancer got him.
To watch him in the yard was to see joy personified. We called him our Peter Pan as he never seemed to outgrow kittenhood! Even at 11 and 12 yrs of age he would run so fast he would appear to be just a blur of black, climb trees, ambush my other male cat from a shrub, visit me as I hung laundry.
He was extremely agile and the picture of health except for the darn cancer that kept re-growing on the surface of his hip. He always found the best shady spot in warm weather and sunny spot in cool weather.
After his active daytime frolicking he'd often recline on the back porch scanning over his "domain"- the picture of contentment on his face! We were tightly bonded he and I, and with all of his actions he "spoke" to me about his love of the outdoors. People who've never experienced that kind of communication with their animal cannot understand.The indoor/outdoor cat debate.