my cats are outdoors by day and indoors by night

by greta
(london)

I have had three cats of my own to date but my family have had cats all along, all of which were outdoor cats, and none came to any trouble apart from the unneutered tom who was shot by a local trout farmer for stealing his trout.

My first cat was siamese and he was an outdoor cat. He had so much fun running circles around the neighbourhood cats and they all used to collect on a doorstep at suppertime and await their respective owners calls to come in.

He did once find himself under a passing car but the wheels missed him so he was in shock but untouched otherwise. A neighbour fed him marvel milk, neat in a pile ( unbeknownst to me ) and he got hit by a car in the countryside because, the vet said, he was overweight. His pelvis was fractured but he was fine after ten days and lived to 17 when he ate a family of baby mice as they appeared in our kitchen and a few weeks later was so dehydrated the vet said it would be kindest to put him to sleep. I found out later the mice had been poisoned by the council in a neighbours overrun house.

I got two asian brothers after that. One a black bombay and the other a blue but from the same litter. I was advised to keep them indoors but I know how much fun an outdoors cat has and we are all at the mercy of dangers but hate to be imprisoned so let them learn the ropes after the age of ten months.

They lived 8 blissful years until tragically the bombay got trapped in the hallway and when a neighbour opened the front door to go out he ran straight into a passing car. This was devastating and still is hard to believe. But it was an accident which could have happened to anyone really. I still don't see we have the right to imprison another living creature.

We don't own cats really even though we think we do as we feed and buy them and spend a small fortune protecting them from evils of life as we would a child. Children grow away from us and become independent as do cats and they stand as much chance as we do really. I would hate life stuck indoors and its unlikely I would die of it even if I wished to!

Cats can't speak but the difference between a cat who has it all, albeit for 8 years or less is pretty obvious I think to a cat who doesn't. It is us humans who suffer the loss of a pet that dies. It is us that we are protecting in the end at a cats expense when we rob them of their freedom.

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Prisoner.
by: Anonymous

I'm sorry but I am keeping my cat a "prisoner."

I have known too many cats go missing, some have been hit by cars others have just disappeared without a trace. I have witnessed cars being deliberately driven at cars. I am not letting my cat outside.

This "prisoner" has all she needs, she is not unhappy, she is a well behaved contented cat.

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Loss is part of nature.
by: Larry (Editor)

Hi Greta,

Thank you very much indeed for sharing your story of your cats and your very well thought out view on the indoor or outdoor issue.

What a weird neighbor you had. I would not have thought that anyone would give unliquidized powdered milk to a cat!

Yes it is us humans that suffer when a pet passes away. Loss is part of nature, but still much of the danger that we try to protect our pets from is only there because of humans.

Larry (Editor)

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Dangerous encounter, but still believe in the outdoors . . .

by Nancy
(Hawthorne, FL)

I live in North Florida on a lake. I've always had indoor/outdoor cats, bringing them in at night to be on a screened porch, believing that their quality of life is so much better.

However, as with humans, now and then danger lurks close by. Yesterday it was a cottonmouth moccasin, and very close to one of my cats. At times like this I revisit the possibility of keeping them indoors. Again, I decided that we don't lock up our human loved ones because their is danger of accidents or predators, so why do we want to lock up our cats?

My two cats are now 10 and 11 years of age. They're both spayed/neutered and always kept up to date on physicals and shots. They are laid back and love their lifestyle. I understand the risks.

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getting a cat inside at night.
by: Anonymous

I've heard that the way to get cats to come inside at night is to set their mealtime a good hour or two before dark, and feed them in the house. They'll come home to eat, and you can keep them in until morning.

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getting them inside.
by: Anonymous

How I do wish that I could get my cats inside at night. Like you I worry about an encounter with snakes or other wildlife. It is much too late now to keep them inside all the time they have had their freedom all their life. It is a worry.

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Glad that your cats are loving their lifestyle.
by: Larry (Editor)

Hi Nancy,

Thank you very much for your contribution to the indoor/outdoor cat debate.

I'm very glad that your cat is alright after her, or his, close encounter with a cottonmouth. When I think of the danger outside for cats I automatically think of vehicle traffic, because that's what the danger is here, well that and humans. I'm very glad to say that there is no problem with snakes!

The point that you make about us not locking up our human loved ones, is a good one. Although we do protect them from danger when they are young and inexperienced. Is that how we should think of our cats? I don't know anymore, I used to be pretty firmly in favor of cats being allowed their freedom, now I just don't know.

But anyway, I'm glad that your cats are loving their lifestyle and long may they do so. Tell them to keep away from the, uggh, snakes.

Larry (Editor)


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