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Old 07-02-2005, 12:25 AM   #1
Ingrid
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OT- Cats in or out?
Since there seem to be a lot of cat owners around here, I'd like to pose this question--Do you think a cat is better off indoors all the time, or allowed outside. My last cat was an indoor/outdoor cat (at her discretion) and lived to a very ripe old 21 years. She didn't even have a litter box until she was about 18 and couldn't make it through the night without waking me to let her out. I loved the fact that she was so independent and had such an interesting life.

We (actually, my adult daughter & her kids who lives with me) have a one-year old cat that we've had since she was a kitten who has stayed inside. My daughter is afraid she will wander and get hit by a car, lost, etc. My husband is concerned about ticks getting a ride into the house (big Lyme's area, here.)

I feel bad keeping her in--she meows to go out since she slipped out for a few minutes the other day--and I need some arguments for and against, if you don't mind.

Thank for your time.
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Old 07-02-2005, 02:18 AM   #2
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My cat Binky (see avatar) lives indoors, but is allowed supervised visits outdoors. He actually tollerates a leash on a tie down that screws into the ground (like you use for dogs). He sneaks out at least half a dozen times a year, mostly during nice weather but you couldn't push him out in the winter! He got out overnight 3 years ago (he's 7) and we searched until all hours of the night for him (he jumped thru our bedroom screen upon seeing another cat) and miraculously came back the next day. I find it funny we keep him in for his health and safety and so he doesn't use other people's gardens as his litter box, and he tries to get out a lot. Then there are cats you can leave the doors open for and they won't budge. I don't live in the country, but there is a river and woody area just blocks from our house so I keep him in unless we are all in the yard together. I keep up on his rabies and feline lukemia shots because you don't know what wanders through the yard when we're not around. Hubby and I couldn't agree on whether dogs are in or out so we comprimised and got Binky. He's a hoot and almost dog like anyway, you just don't have to let him out to do his doody. Soooo, I guess my opinion is keep 'em in to keep 'em safe, but take them out to play and eat grass and keep an eye on them. Besides, you never know if you have a kooky neighbor who thinks "if I find one more cat turd in my petunias, it's gonna be buckshot in that cat's hinder!" We had a neighbor like that growing up and another neighbor who felt leash laws don't apply to cats. Well, it was nothing but heartache in the end. Besides, you can give them satisfaction of the hunt instinct with treats and such without wondering what gross thing they'll kill to leave on your doorstep. Here we worry about West Nile virus, not so much from mosquitoes biting cats, but they give the disease to birds and cats may kill one or get it from an already dead bird they might find. Hope my 48 cents helped you out!
PS I have heard that indoor cats live longer, but that obviously wasn't the case with your little lady! But it's a thought I guess...
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Old 07-02-2005, 07:21 AM   #3
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IN. IN IN IN.

I feel pretty strongly about keeping cats indoors for health and safety reasons. You NEVER know what they might encounter outside!

Shelters wont even adopt to anyone who plans to let their cats outside.

This was always a bone of contention between my Dad and me....he grew up on a farm where EVERYTHING (including him sometimes, if his father was not too happy with him...) lived outside!
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Old 07-02-2005, 10:06 AM   #4
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Hmmm... I have two indoor cats who just aren't good with the big, bad, outside world. One cat got out just before hurricane Hugo hit when he was living on the coast. He was gone for two weeks and we thought he was a gonner. One day he turned up sitting on a neighbors car - he's not been an outside cat since. He has always tried to sneak out whenever the door opens but he never tends to go far. Now that he's almost 18 years old, i think he only sneaks out to prove that he still can since he just sorta stands on the porch when it does happen.

My other cat was hit by a car as a kitten (that's how i got him - friend of the vet who spared him and fixed him up). He's very scared of the outside world and hasn't ever really wanted to go out. That's changing as we live in a place with LOADS of birds and squirrels that come onto the deck. I think he's getting curious.

However, we have a breeding pair of red-shouldered hawks out back so i really don't like to let them out at all! The hawks have attacked one or two cats in the neighborhood already, so when i do let my cats out on the deck it's ONLY under supervision... Once, my older, slower cat got out while the hawks were screeching and circling overhead. I about had a breakdown trying to get that rasty old man cat indoors. (I LOVE the hawks but don't feel the need to feed them like i do the other birds) Also i do like the fact that the cats don't have ticks or a chance for contracting Leukemia or Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) as readily. I was a researcher on a FIV (Feline AIDS) project when i was in college and the affects are horrible.

Ok, saying all of that, my aunt is taking care of a ferral cat colony behind her house and they are always outside. They seem to be doing quite well but get in quite a few skirmishes which require attention. Two are indoor/outdoor cats, one of which would prefer to be indoor only. I hate having to check them all the time for ticks but they're usually pretty clean.

But overall i don't think indoor cats are necessarily less healthy - my old geezer is very healthy. Perhaps they don't have to eat as much (less excercise) but they don't seem to be missing out.

-hh
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Old 07-02-2005, 10:26 AM   #5
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I have two indoor cats who never go out, and two outdoor cats who never come in.

I think cats can go in, go out, live inside, live outside, whatever they want to do, so long as they're vaccinated, have their claws, are fixed, are loved, and very well cared for.
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Old 07-02-2005, 01:30 PM   #6
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Some towns have leash laws, even for cats. I personally don't think it's fair to have cats outside, but if you do, please make sure that it he/she is vaccinated and has its claws. They need to be able to defend themselves if they are let out in the "wild."
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Old 07-02-2005, 01:40 PM   #7
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indoor. it's healthier and a little bit cleaner.
mine has snuck out a couple of times, when we've neglected to watch the open door or properly shut the screen door. I just about have a heart attack and think the worst, but she comes back in with some coaxing and chasing.
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Old 07-02-2005, 01:41 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by KellyK
IN. IN IN IN.
that pretty much sums up my thoughts.
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Old 07-02-2005, 02:01 PM   #9
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I'm with Silver.
Plus, it depends on where you live.
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Old 07-02-2005, 02:05 PM   #10
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Thank you all for your input. Or should I say INput. Ava (the cat) has her vaccinations, will ALWAYS have her claws, and does seem happy for the most part. I think I just feel a little guilty not offering her the wonders of outside. Maybe the next time she slips out, and with two young kids in the house during the summer, it's inevitable, I'll let her have a "supervised" visit. My daughter let her out during a thunderstorm the other night, just to show her it's not so hot out there. She stayed under the porch roof.

Part of this whole thing is that I still miss my Kitty, and kind of wish Ava were more like her. Kitty met my kids at the bus stop, walked them down, said hi to me when I got home, tapped on the window to go in or out, slept on my bed all winter. Ah, shucks, I'm getting misty. . . . Anyway, thanks again.
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