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outdoor kitties - your opinion

post #1 of 71
Thread Starter 

i need help understanding this. 


why would you not allow or like outdoor kitties?


is it mainly for safety and using the garden as a giant litter box?


i live in a real quiet neighborhood. its a dead end. we have a huge backyard and our kitty loves hanging out in the backyard. she stays in our yard. we are surrounded by dogs.


she likes just going out for a bit. i leave the door open she goes out and then comes back. she does not go into anyone elses backyard. she is out in the front only if we are out there. 


we live in a court within a court. so except for 4 families there are no other cars coming in (out of that 2 dont drive). 


this is a high energy one year old curioius kitty. she loves climbing trees and just sitting there. more than half the time we are out with her.she goes crazy inside running all over the place. we now leave doors open so she has the space to run. 


i call her our dog in cats clothing. she likes being around us. and if i call her - and she has a million names - she comes running in. 


she is never outside when we are not home.


would u still keep her indoors. what am i missing here?

post #2 of 71

In your situation, I don't personally see anything wrong as long she stays close to home. 


I keep my kitties inside because we live near a busy street. We also live near a forested area and there's many wild foxes around, so that concerns me too. There's also a part of me that's paranoid they'll run away or get lost.

post #3 of 71

Outdoor cats kill an insane number of songbirds and small mammals! Even if you don't see your cat catching birds, she likely is. Native songbird populations have so much against them already with development, habitat loss and other invasive species and outdoor cats are an awful threat to them. Seriously, cats kill BILLIONS of birds a year.

As a wildlife biologist, that's the main reason I am against outdoor cats. That having been said, there are also just too many safety risks to me to letting my cats go outside. Just because she usually stays right in the yard and there are usually no cars or dogs, that doesn't mean that she'll never run away or get hit by a car or attacked by a stray dog (or coyote or hawk or something).

The only way I'd feel comfortable letting a cat outside would be on a leash under my constant supervision. I value wildlife...any my cats life...too much to do otherwise.

post #4 of 71

Indoor cats have a much longer lifespan than outdoor cats. 


In addition, cats will roam, and I don't feel like I should inflict my cats on my neighbors.

post #5 of 71
Moving this to Pets.
post #6 of 71

My cats go outside -- our one cat Clover will peek out the back door and that's about it. She has no interest in tree climbing or running around and is content to play with us humans here in the house. My other cat Ginger loves to sun in the yard and climb our little peach tree and so we let her...

post #7 of 71

When I lived in NM, the average life expectancy of an outdoor or indoor/outdoor cat was 2-3 years.  My friends had their cat's collar returned to them from some hikers that found it near a coyote den.  Our cat likes outside too so we bought a leash and take him out when its nice. No birds endangered because he is on a leash. I have seen picts of people building outside enclosures for their cats that come off of windows. They are outside when they want to be but can't get very far.


I would say in your situation, its probably not a bad idea but you are FAR more likely for your kittie to get ticks and fleas which he will bring in.  So use preventative measures for that.

post #8 of 71

I don't have the heart for outside cats.  Watched a neighborhood one get killed by a dog a couple of years back.  That said- if I had a kitty who would stay close, I would be okay with them going out in my yard WHILE I was out with them.  



post #9 of 71

We had a stray cat adopt us, so he is now an indoor/outdoor cat. He lived outdoors prior to us bringing him in this winter, he is miserable if he doesn't go out. He does roam, which I don't like, but he also keeps the mouse population down, which I appreciate.

We have another cat, a male, who loves to go out and we allow him to, but he doesn't cross the street.


Our one male won't use the outdoors as he litterbox, but the stray will, just because that is what he got used to, but he doesn't seem to do it as often. I try to keep both cats in our yard but sometimes they visit the neighbors cats.

post #10 of 71

My personal opinion is that cats should be allowed to get outside and breath the fresh air, feel the sun the sun on their back and climb trees to be mentally and physically healthy.

post #11 of 71

I hate outdoor cats. They ravage bird populations (and as a PP said native birds don't need additional evironmental factors stacked against them), poop and pee in people's yards, spray, get in fights, get killed, and frankly are a huge nuisance.


I keep my cat indoors where he belongs. And I actively discourage strange cats in my yard because I have many birdfeeders.

post #12 of 71

Relatively speaking, birds are difficult to catch, even for cats. Cats are "designed" (for lack of a better word) to focus the eye on an animal that runs horizontally. Catching something that moves vertically is much harder, meaning that a good number of the birds that cats catch are weak or sick. The biggest threat to songbirds are human beings, because we destroy habitats and pollute our environments.


My cats are indoor because we live in the city and I don't want them to get squished by a car. I have owned indoor/outdoor cats in the past when we lived in a more rural setting. Cats who are neutered/spayed roam less, and are far less likely to spray or fight.


As for fleas and ticks, I might also mention to watch out for mosquitoes. My 14yo, strictly indoor cat somehow managed to be bitten by a heartworm-infested mosquito. There is no cure for cats with heartworm.

post #13 of 71

On the one hand I don't think any animal as intelligent as a cat can feel totally satisfied never, ever, EVER seeing the outside of a house. I can't imagine a dog living like that, or any highly developed mammal.


But on the other hand my two cats never go outside! It is easy to dog proof a yard but trying to cat proof it? That is a whole other issue. We live on a very busy corner. The yard next door has a cat-eating dog in it! And even though I leash trained both my cats, I don't think either of us ever enjoyed leashed outside time all that much.


Last night my cat got outside through a window. Within ten minutes I heard a cat screaming in the yard and ran outside to find my cat huddled in a corner and another cat and slashed her nose bloody!!


So that is another issue. It is doubtful my DOG would discover a strange DOG inside our fenced yard. But my cat immediately attracts the attention of the many cats that run loose. She is defenseless and has no idea how to protect herself and was injured that fast!

post #14 of 71

I have 4 cats.  If they were 100% indoor I would go insane, and so would they.  They sometimes get worms, and leave dead mice/birds on my patio, but I find less dead things if I make sure they all come in before dark.  I would never own another cat because it was a big struggle to decide to allow them outdoors and I don't like worrying if they are going to get hurt out there or not.  I decided letting them out still the best choice for us.

post #15 of 71
I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the additional health risks of outdoor cats, particularly parasites, infectious diseases like FIV, even minor injuries getting infected, fights with other cats, etc. I see absolutely zero reason why I should expose my cat to those risks. We open the windows for fresh air and get tons of natural sunlight, and we've even still had more than one catfight through screen doors, so it's not as if indoor cats NEVER get fresh air or sun on their backs.
post #16 of 71

I don't think anyone is suggesting that cat never be allowed outdoors - several suggested having a cat outside on a leash with its people, or in a safe enclosure. The objection to outdoor cats is those that are left alone outside unsupervised (and no, glancing out the window once in a while is no more supervision for a cat than it is for a toddler).


Most people don't realize (or don't care) that the same leash laws that apply to dogs also apply to cats, so letting your cat out without supervision is against the law.

post #17 of 71

I keep my cat indoors because she is protected from random dogs, mean or bored people, infectious diseases, cat fights, and it is has been proved indoor cats live longer lives.  

While we live on acreage in a neighborhood where everyone else does and most people have fences, yet I still have cats pooping in flower beds, peeing in our vegetables before we had to get a cat safe fence just to keep these cats out, spraying my yard with their urine to mark their territory, fighting each other, and teasing my dogs all the time.   These are people's pets for sure.  In the past there was one neighbor who killed any cat who got into their yard, that individual was done with them polluting the vegetable garden. 

I have no problems with people who want to keep cats as pets, but I do have a problem when they let them become personal property of everyone and don't keep them securely on their own property.  If your cat is supervised when outdoors but not on a harness and leash of any kind, I would invest in a cat safe fence and make sure she stays that way. http://www.purrfectfence.com/

It is more than being a responsible cat owner and neighbor because if dogs surround you, her darting off to explore further could result in death. 

post #18 of 71

Although I don't personally have a problem with outdoor cats, I understand why others do, as long as the objection doesn't border on hatred or violence or complete irrationality.  Growing up our cats were always indoor/outdoor cats, mostly because my step-father was allergic to cats, so having them outside even just a little bit helped him.  Those cats did bring back all sorts of dead things, like moles, squirrels, snakes, rabbits, even bats.  Birds were very very rare, and she always showed off her most recent catch.


There are a lot of outdoor cats in my neighborhood (quiet dead-end street.  In fact, all the streets in this area are dead-end) and I don't mind them prowling around at all. Our cat, however, is an indoor only cat, although she accidentally got out the other day for the first time (since we adopted her, she was a stray before) and gallivanted around with another cat for a couple hours.  The kids were beside themselves with grief and worry, and that's not something that I want to bring upon myself whenever she's out of the house.  So she stays in.  I am just terrified that she will get hit by a car, taken in by someone else, or trapped and sent to the shelter.  Not that people who let their cats out don't love their cats as much as I love mine.  Not at all, just that that is how my anxiety over her welfare manifests itself.  She also doesn't wear a collar with identification because she is a mouser too.  We're hoping to get her chipped soon, but that won't really help if someone takes her in after finding her outside.  She isn't a dash-for-the-door type cat anyway, so keeping her in is usually pretty easy (unless DH stupidly leaves the door open for an extended period of time LOL)  I wish I weren't so anxious over letting her out, because I think that cats need fresh air and sunshine.


I also think that even if an outdoor sandbox was totally cat-poop free, it would still be really gross.  They just ick me out.


I don't think that cats are domesticated to the same degree as dogs, so I don't buy the equivalence.  Cats and dogs are just different.

post #19 of 71
Thread Starter 

hmm you know i hear the longer life.


and that's the part that tears me up.


i have grown up with cats all my life and i seem to get cats except just one that loves to go outside. some of them have indeed died an early death. some have lived long lives. 


and i am so torn about our latest.


because it seems to me - of course i am looking at it from a human perspective, that many of them want freedom, even if it comes at a cost. esp. some of my cats who have died untimely they were MISERABLE if left indoors. they'd actually get depressed. 


and so it becomes an ethical decision. for me. is a long kinda miserable life better than a short happy one. it becomes more so because of teh no kill shelter where i volunteer. there are some who are absolute runners. i understand the shelter keeps them in their pens and not letting them out becuase of disease, infections. but there are some who are constant runners no matter how old they are (unless v. old) or how long they have been at the shelter. 

post #20 of 71

I think it's cruel to keep indoor only cats.


We've always had indoor/outdoor cats. Two died at 24yo and 21yo. My oldest now is 19yo.


Cats are designed to be outside and roam.


Also, the bird thing? My cats always bring home anything they kill and we've had a few rats, a couple of birds and lots of cicadas. Never any native birds. That's over a 20 year span. Generally the cats may stalk birds but they don't really try and catch them with any enthusiasm and most often play with grass blowing in the wind.

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