my cats made the choice for me!
neighbors moved and left their 2 outdoor only cats with us. i tried to move them indoors,its safer.but my 2 indoor cats never learned to get along.i always kept them separated. the introduction of 2 more cats was additional stress.i tried to keep them separated,but its a tiny cottage-style house,simmering cat resentment was always there!
one of my indoor cats was so stressed,he began to bite himself and pull his hair out.i could either remove the stress,or put him on antianxiety meds. i put the outdoor cats back outside.
i separated my indoor cats to opposite ends of the house.the cat with anxiety has stopped hurting himself and all is back to normal.
i put a fence around my yard,bought a doghouse(heating not needed, we have no real winter here),and i provide food,toys, attention and vet care.the no-kill shelters in our area are full and not accepting more cats. the kill shelters would probably have to euthanize these 2 elderly ,non-descript black cats. i wish the indoors would have worked,but i could not let my cat suffer stress or rely on meds in order to live peacefully!
the outdoor cats have lived their entire lives outside,and seem content.they stay in my yard 95% of the time.i do worry about cars,but i cant see any other solution. my neighbors moved to an apartment which does not take pets. by telling the neighbors not to drop them off at the kill shelter,i saved their lives.
i have had indoor-only cats my whole life.never dreamed i would allow any of my cats out. but it was the only thing i could do,and actually,the outdoor cats seem to enjoy their lives more than the ones i have indoors do-more stimulation!i fear the dangers in the outside world,so i am looking into building or buying a large enclosure.sometimes,u have the best intentions in the world,but the cats themselves have other ideas.
i just was not able to add more cats without exacerbating existing tensions and turning one of my indoor guys into a self-harming wreck!
by Tara Gill
(Mississauga, ON CANADA)
I remember as a child going to the SPCA to adopt a kitten which I was able to pick out for my 11th or 12th Birthday. Brought him home (neutered) and took him when he was small outside on a kitty leash to explore his new surroundings.
My cat was an outdoor cat by day and indoor at night but would frequently stay inside for the day if desired. He responded quickly to his name when called in for the night. He was very healthy and we never had any health issues with him including fleas, etc...
He lived almost 2 decades before he was killed by a vehicle, hopefully he didn't suffer and died instantly. I will always have fond memories of him and even though he had such a tragic ending to his life, I am content knowing the lifestyle he lived gave him the opportunity to socialize with his other feline friends. He was a healthy, happy, content cat!
Cats and roads do not mix nor do prisons :o)
We got our cat who was half Persian and half something else from a cat home. He scratched you if you over-petted him and was left in the home for 9 months without anyone wanting him. We fell in love with him due to his beauty and took him home, vowing to give him the 'space' and the time he needed to change.
He also wagged his tell like a dog which was cute although now I think it was emotional stress which I think near to the end of his life he was getting in a more comfortable state and got excited when around us, happy and content.
We kept him in for a month to get used to the house but he constantly pawed the door, wanting to get out. We live near a road but also with some woods and a little field and of course he loved going out and we got a lovely, beautiful cat who had turned a behavoural corner in his life. But sadly after 9 months of his wonderful company, he got hit by a car died in a ditch.
I was devastated and blubbed like a baby for the loss because he was my special baby and in some case an example of adopting something can be an incredibly gut wrenching thing when you lose something you have invested a lot of your life in to give them a better life.
Would I change letting a cat out? Never, that is why they were created and love doing. Would I get another cat when I live by a road? Only for selfish reasons and if I want to let my beloved pet gamble with his life again. It is too gut wrenching for me to lose a cat to a road until we move to a better situation, or at least maybe I should buy a hamster instead!
So an indoor cat would be nice to have but I simply think it's more for us rather than for their welfare and this could be a selfish reason more than by being a kind cat owner.
(San Antonio, TX, USA)
Thank you so much for this article. I have been struggling with the idea of putting my indoor cat outside. I talked to my vet and she made me feel horrible for even considering the idea.
We have to put our 1 yr old cat outside due to family allergies, shedding and damage from her scratching. I have tried soft paws because I am against declawing and also tried training. I think it is better for her to explore and not be cooped up inside all day too.
She can be free and yet still safe without getting in trouble all the time. I felt much better after reading this. Thanks again!