Outdoors? Never Again.

by Wendy Gourley

Misty was a silver gray tabby cat that enjoyed her home but also loved to be outside when the fancy took her. She always came home when the weather was not to her liking or it was close to feeding time.

We live in a quite street away from the town center. The little traffic there is is mostly neighbors. Misty mostly stayed on the block, I honestly don't think that she crossed the street much. I thought she was safe in her little world.

She was just sitting there on the step, the front door was open wide. I don't know why it was open and I don't know why I was standing there staring at Misty at that moment. I also don't know why she suddenly took off like that, as if she were being chased. She ran full pelt out into the street and under a neighbor's car.

In a twinkling she was gone. I grieved for my little cat, I was certain that I would not ever want another. Just over a year later though, we took on another, a boy kitten we named Mitch. Just about a month later we added a tiny boy we called Titch and the name has stuck although he is now far from tiny. Mitch and Titch are, and always will be indoor cats.

There will be some of you reading this that will think me silly, perhaps many of you will think that. It is sad but bad things happen you might be thinking. Why keep a cat in the house all the time because of what happened to one cat, it does not mean the same will happen again.

Of course, if that is what you are thinking, you are right. It does not mean that it will happen again, or that anything bad will happen if I let my cats outside. But I'm sorry having had it happen once, I'm not risking the chance.

You may think, as I once did, that it makes a cat unhappy to be indoors all the time. I can assure you that my cats are very happy, very well behaved and very content. They have their condos, their toys, their hiding places and above all, they have plenty of attention. They are protected and safe and they know they are loved.

I almost forgot to mention. Mitch and Titch do have their time outside, safely inside their cat run. My husband built it, he is good with tools. They can play out in the air and be quite safe, no chance of them getting out, we never leave them alone anyway.

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People can be heartless
by: Anonymous

It's true that a lot of the time when a cat is hit by a car it's an accident. But there are a lot of teenage, and "macho" (I have another word for them but I won't use it here) drivers, who try to hit them on purpose because they hate cats. There are people who poison them, steal them, drop them off at shelters even if they know there is an owner and claim they were "strays", try to get their dogs to go after them, and people who are religious occult nuts who "sacrifice" them for some ludicrous belief (or maybe they just get a kick out of hurting things, people make me sick) and so on. There are so many cruel wackos out there, that I am even leery about who I let around my cats when they visit at home. I would never let them wander without my supervision or trust them to complete strangers and wild animals.

To let a cat wander out in the streets alone is no more responsible than letting a child wander them alone. Even though the cat may be an adult and the child may not be, people teach kids to look both ways before crossing roads, and not to talk to strangers, and not to feed the bears etcetera etcetera. Whatever your cat learns it learns on its own, usually via experience, because human English is hard to translate to cat, and learning from experience isn't always a good thing.

Converting them to indoors isn't cruel, it's life-saving, and they are ultimately happier believe it or not.

One of our cats that was allowed outside a long time ago everyone insisted should stay out (we lived with a relative who didn't want him inside, and she was our landlord -_- ), but he was my cat and I wanted him in. He did live mostly outside for several years, and still came home every day, but got beaten up repeatedly by the other neighborhood cats. When I got my own place I decided it was finally time he could retire indoors. He had always been my cat since he was a kitten and I was mad that he couldn't stay in and was paranoid someone would try to take him because he was so friendly (and they did, I had to bring authorities to get our cat back) and now he's happily inside with me. He doesn't even try to go out now, not once since he's been allowed to stay in. And I couldn't be happier to know he's safe and happy.

Perfection for you and your neighbors
by: Anonymous

Ever wonder how the driver feels ? Nobody wants to be the one to kill your much loved pet.
I too, allowed my feline outside time she seemed to beg for. She was caught in a snap-type trap used for pelt animals in a creek. I KNOW she suffered terribly. The story is too graphic. No more cats for me. But I implore you all, keep them indoors.
Unwanted neighbor cats that use our gardens and yards for their litter box or fight all night are being carted away to shelters. They are not CAT- NAPPED. With no ID they are just considered feral. Wise up cat people. You aren't doing anyone any favors. Especially your beloved felines, by leaving them outdoors.

by: K

My sister moved back in with us and brought her cats with her. Her 3 males were allowed out and her female isn't. All 3 of the males got stolen by a neighbor we had up the street who would take their collars off and tell everyone they were strays. (she got praised for being a 'cat rescuer', so if she couldn't find a cat to rescue, she'd take someone's). They actually trapped one and wouldn't give him back so I actually had to call the cops to get him back. Another went missing the day before Christmas and came back with a clean cut on his neck and collar missing, smelling of shampoo, and horrified of people. Someone had stolen him. One of them disappeared on Halloween, and we never found him. :( He was my sister's cat but I looked for him every day for 4 months and never found him. Everyone misses him so much. I wish they'd listened when I said to keep him in. We don't know if the people who took their collars off were the ones who took him. The 2 of the 3 that we found, are indoors-only now, and still alive. One is 8 years old, the other is 7 years old. The female that's indoors is also alive and well and 8 years old. If only we knew what happened to the one on Halloween...he was only a year old. He'd still be here if he was inside. I tried to make him indoors before he went missing, but my 'elders' disagreed. He's the one that paid the ultimate price for the wrong decision.

I commend you for making your two kitties indoors-only, and I'm sorry for your loss. :( <3

I Understand Completely
by: Kat

I don't think you are silly at all. In fact, I've been there, and had to suffer every time I got attached to a cat as a kid and wanted them to be inside only, but my parents "grew up in the country, and have always done it this way, they are meant for the outdoors. They will be fine". Yes, they are meant for the outdoors if you don't care if they come home. All of those cats that lived as they made them didn't live past 2 years old....any of them. It's sad bc the average lifespan for a cat is 15-20 years, one was even reported to make it to 36 years old. But the average outdoor cat only lives to be 1-6 years old. That's more than 3x's as old when kept inside.

When I was 4, I wasn't allowed to have a cat, bc I am allergic. But I love cats and played with my uncle's outdoors-only cat when I went over my grandma's house on weekends. We became friends, and he would sprint across the yard to play when I came over.

One day, as a 4-year-old, I went out looking for him. After looking around the yard and him not coming, I found him in the road, virtually mangled. I'll spare everyone the details. He wasn't even a year old. I cannot tell you how horrifying, and what a scarring image it is for a 4-year-old to discover a cat they love dead out in the street, bc they thought it was 'cruel' to keep him in. Seeing his body like that, I'd have to disagree. If that makes a cat happy, people have extremely twisted views on what happiness is.

I wouldn't let my cats wander outside any more than I would a dog or a kid. I have built an outdoor enclosure that our current cats can use for fresh air and playing safely, and I've even taken a few for walks on a leash. But I never let them wander alone. And this is a lesson I learned as a 4-year-old. It's a shame some people never learn. I worried before he got hit, but it's obvious when you're the one who finds him.

Another cat he owned when I was 7 got hit by a car and survived, and a year later got rabies from a skunk. He chased my brother, attacked and bit one of our 2 other cats (brothers), and me. I got 13 shots for it, but that didn't bother me. The kitten he bit died 2 months after he was bitten. The adult was only 3 years old when he died, the other was only a year old.

That kitten's brother got hit by a car a year later and died. He was only 2 years old.

It infuriates me. I said I didn't want another cat, bc if they were allowed out, they would end up just like them.

My mom got me 2 kittens for Christmas, anyway, a year after our last cat had passed. They are indoor-only, and still alive today!!!! They both just turned 9 years old recently.

Indoor cats
by: Katy

Your story touched me. I had a beautiful cat called Sophie who was oriental and she was unstoppable and used to find a way out even if i tried to keep her in. She was missing one time for a week and when she came back meowed at me loudly telling me all about it. She was very ill afterwards she had hardly any white or red blood cells and was on steroids but she died anyway.
I have 3 cats now, all rescued and 2 I've had from being kittens. 1 goes out, 1 only goes into the garden and 1 is strictly indoor. The indoor one is a Ragdoll male, he is absolutely beautiful and he only goes out on his special cat harness and leash with me. He loves this. At the moment I am in the process of making an outdoor run from an old climbing frame that my wisteria grew over, a polytunnel frame and a few bits and bobs of chicken wire.

Not Silly.
by: Larry (editor)

Hi Wendy,

Thank you very much indeed for sharing with us about your cats. I would be very surprised if anyone thought you silly for keeping Mitch and Titch as indoor cats, after what happened it is very understandable.

Traffic does mean danger, even on what we think of as quiet streets. My daughter-in-law's cat played outside when they lived in the city. Sadly tragedy struck when they moved to a comparatively quiet town in the country.

Indoor cats do need attention and to be kept amused, sounds like Mitch and Titch have that and are very happy with their lives.

Larry (editor)

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