Max Loved The Outdoors.

by Monica

Max Outside

Max Outside

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.

Comments for Max Loved The Outdoors.

Average Rating starstarstarstarstar

Click here to add your own comments

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Congratulations
by: Larry (Editor)

Hi Monica,

Congratulations on your two new family members!

Hmmm, too much fear or not enough fear, which is best?

I think that perhaps some fear is desirable (not just in cats) for, as you say, a healthy respect for potential danger.

But as you say, likely over time both their personalities will even out.

Sounds like you got yourself a handful - what joy.

Larry (Editor)

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Update from Monica (Max's mom)
by: Monica

Once again I'm facing this indoor/outdoor issue. We finally were able to adopt 2 rescue kittens. Derby and Charlie. They will turn 1 in the next month or two. So far they are indoor only. Given Charlie's personality I could see him being content staying indoors. He's such a "fraidy-cat"! But Derby is as adventurous as Max! In fact the two personalities are so similar, it's uncanny! I know he'd just LOVE the outdoors! But for now he's staying inside. Why? Because he has absolutely no fear, of anything.-- the vacuum, loud noises, etc. All the things that make your average cat run for cover, he finds utterly fascinating and comes in for a closer look! Max was at least fearful of cars and didn't go near the street. This Derby character-- he needs to get some common sense and a healthy respect for potential danger before I let him out. I think this will come w/ maturity. I didn't let Max out until he was about 2 yrs old. We are enjoying these two new family members soo very much!

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Spot On
by: Boston guy.

Thanks so much for your testimony,it's very validating.

I am disturbed to see that the MASPCA (Boston based ASPCA) requires owners to keep their cats indoors 100% of the time. I'm tempted to lie about my values next time I adopt.

The policy seems especially tragic because the cages there are always bursting with cats that need homes. I had my last cats for 17 years as outdoor cats. When I moved to my new home I had to spend five months in transition in a condominium, where my cats were forced to be indoors. They stopped eating, they stopped grooming. They slept all the time and were despondent when awake. When their teeth and claws started falling out from malnutrition I had them put to sleep. This is why I find it frustrating to talk with proponents of indoor cats. It seems their argument always rests on the dangers of the outside world and the need to ensure the longevity of the cats life.

I think if these people could honestly admit that they are subjugating an animal to suit their own needs for companionship it would be easier to take. I can admit that every time I eat meat an animal was penned and cut off from it's natural lifestyle and killed to bring me a meal I wanted and enjoyed but I didn't actually need to survive.

I find it much harder to stomach the self-righteous argument that a loving and responsible cat owner keeps their cat indoors. Where is the "Human" in ""Humane Society?" You would be very hard pressed to find a human who would agree to spend the rest of their life in their house for the possibility of extending their life expectancy.

I have a message for would be cat owners. If you live next to a highway where a cat would have a 5% chance of living to the age of three, get an indoor cat if you are lonely and need company and realize that you will make it your possession.

If, however, your priority is respecting the will and nature of the animal don't get a cat under these circumstances. A hacky-sack isn't a mouse, a scratching post isn't a tree, a rug isn't grass, a table lamp isn't the sun, an air conditioning unit isn't the summer breeze. Oh, and you may be company but you're not another cat. Also, please note that cats don't understand baby talk.

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Happy cats.
by: Anonymous

All my cats go outside, all the cats I ever had went outside.

Apart from what the cats want, I would NOT want them in the house all the time, that would drive me plain crazy. I've seen what happens when you lock a cat up and it ain't pretty.

My cats are out most of the time and they are happy cats and I am a happy cat person.

I'll admit that not everyone has the open space that I enjoy. My cats do not have to go anywhere near to a road, traffic is very light here anyway. As for dangerous critters it has never been a problem, the biggest threat would be a lose dog and we hardly ever have those around here.

Cats love the outdoors.

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
To Larry
by: Monica

Hello!

From what I've read recently on the internet there is a vast cultural difference between the US and the UK on this issue. I read on one site that rescue groups in the UK often will NOT allow cat adoption unless the prospective owner has a property with a "garden" (we here in the US call it a "yard") so the cat can have a place to be outdoors. Thankfully it's just the foster groups who have the restrictions here--- shelter organizations and ASPCA's here do not. They are bulging at the seams right now with nursing moms and their kittens and more are coming every day! Somewhere out there a kitten is a kitten who will chose me (the way Max did).

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
With so many cats needing homes . . .
by: Larry (Editor)

Hi Monica,

I think it's a shame that you have not (so far) been able to adopt because of your honest admissions.

Just my view but I would have thought that the shelters' main concern would be that their cats find a home with someone caring, which you obviously are. Everyone has rules, but with so many cats needing homes . . .

I'm not sure if shelters here in the UK place the same restrictions (perhaps they do.) It is pretty much the norm for cats here to be indoor/outdoor, so I would think that the shelters would have a hard time finding homes if they do!

I'm sure that you will not give up on finding a new feline companion and wish you all success, your new cat will be happy because he or she will have a human who cares.

Thank you so much for sharing with us.

Larry (Editor)

Rating
starstarstarstarstar
Dennism
by: Monica

"battle scarred and beat"
"ATTEMPTING TO SURVIVE!"
"brave the elements and predators"

The picture you paint very probably exists, but this is not the life my cats lead, therefore it is an inappropriate comment to add to my post. My cats wander their very well-groomed backyard during the day for as long as or as little as they please, coming inside for a nap on the couch, a snack, or a drink of filtered water as often as they wish. They sit on the padded chairs of my patio watching butterflies and roll in the grass at my feet as I work in my garden. Exactly where in this picture do you see a cat "battle scarred and beat, attempting to survive"? Heck, when the weather gets too chilly for them they curl up on the warm bricks next to the woodburning stove and sleep the day away. "Braving the elements", indeed!
Oh, and all of my cats have always been spayed or neutered as soon as they were old enough.


Rating
starstarstar
Indoor outdoor cats
by: Dennism

I've had cats for 40+ years and I've seen the results of the outdoor life for them..
To see them come in all battle scarred and beat, to see them come home ill and vomiting for what ever reason and to never see them again for no apparent reason is no way to treat a member of the family...
You may think that they are "enjoying" their freedom when in fact they are simply ATTEMPTING TO SURVIVE!Give you kitty a break!
Have them spayed and keep them where they won't have to brave the elements and predators...

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Outdoor Indoor.