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Question for people living in a suburban area: Do you let your cats outside?

 
Annah Rachel
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I've always had indoor cats, but I know my cats would love it outside. I'm so nervous though. What if they ran away or got hit by a car??
 
Tyler Ludens
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I have had both indoor and outdoor and indoor/outdoor cats. Indoor cats live longer. Indoor/outdoor and outdoor cats are vulnerable to being hit by cars (one of my favorite cats was killed this way a couple years ago ) and attacked by predators (one of our outdoor cats was mauled by some varmint but recovered). Safety can be greatly increased by teaching them to come indoors at night.

Our indoor cats have two big screen porches where they can lounge in the sun, smell the breeze and watch the birds.

(I probably shouldn't have responded to this because I live in a rural area)
 
Lolly Knowles
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I live in town and do let my cats go outdoors 3 seasons a year.

But I have a large fenced yard that they are usually content to remain on this side of. It hurts to lose a pet to a driver, but the time they have spent enjoying the sun warmed patio or stalking through the grass is worth it, I think. Or maybe my most recent loss that way was long enough ago that the pain has diminished somewhat.
 
Leila Rich
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Maybe it's a cultural thing. I've never heard of anyone here not letting their cats outside. Some get run over, most don't.
Actually I just remembered, friends had Burmese cats which are apparently totally stupid about roads and they weren't allowed outside. At over a grand per cat, that's not surprising!
Of course those in apartments don't have a choice.
 
Jonathan Patrick
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I have 2 indoor cats and one outdoor cat. The outdoor one has been to the vet twice for abscesses after getting wounded in fights. I'd keep him indoors if I could get away with it, but he tends to let me know that he's pissed by well, pissing everywhere. Since it seems his injuries occurred at night, I compromise by shutting him indoors then, and giving him free access during the day.
 
Warren David
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We have three cats. We have had all three since they were kttens but they are not related to each other. One three year old and two that are about two years old. They were all probably born in the wild and were very keen to go outside anytime they saw a door open.
We could not live in a house with adult cats using a litter tray. It was bad enough when they were kittens so we allowed them to venture outside as soon as they were big enough. The local feral cats showed them the ropes and they have been ok. I would hate for one of them to get run over or something but cats are free and can soon be replaced.
 
Ken Peavey
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gossamermoonspider McCoy wrote:What if they ran away or got hit by a car?(


Defeat Worry with Reason.

The cats have food, warmth and shelter and are familiar with the home. It is as much theirs as it is yours. Will YOU be running away? Cat's come home at supper time.
Cats are just about the most dextrous land animal in the world. Combine this with large, sensitive ears used to pick up the tiny noises of a small rodent, they can surely see, hear, and feel a car approaching. Odds are not in favor of vehicle-cat collision.

 
Robert Overturf
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Location: Des Moines, Iowa (Zone 5)
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I'd rather live happy and free with the possibility of getting hit by a car, than I would staring out at a world full of adventure that I'll never know. To each their own but I prefer dangerous freedom to peaceful slavery any day.
 
S Bengi
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Let let the cat live in a natural/permaculture way. they might only live 90% of the indoor lifespan but they will live happier.
Zoo animals live longer, but I dont call that life.
People with life sentences in prison live longer than the general population.
 
Clara Florence
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My cats were indoor only fr 5yrs when we lived in an apartment. Yes they adjusted but they were depressed the whole time. Now they are back in the garden they are so much more content. They voluntarily come in at night, usually to get the best pillows. I decided it was cruelty to deny a cat the basic right to put its paws on the earth and walk amoung plants. My cats do not venture beyond the garden boundaries and spend their time following the humans around. The biggest danger to a cat is usually other people. So fence the yard to prevent them wandering the whole neighbourhood if you are worried.
 
Kat Jones
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I currently have an indoor cat. He loves the outside, he has large windows where he watches the birds, feels the breeze, and naps in the sun. But we have coyotes here, and they're pretty rampant! So I'd rather protect my baby.
 
Genevieve Higgs
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My neighbors on both sides have electric fences. We live in an urban area and our balconies are continuous on one side, separated by a ten foot gap bridged by a brick-wall on the other. When the fattest, calmest, and oldest (wisest?) of the cats got out she snuck through the fence and got zapped coming back. I could see the electricity arc going from the fence to her nose in a blue flash. In addition each neighbor has a big mean guard dog. The people who live down stairs have a guard dog too, although it isn't mean, it just wants to play, which puts the cats into attack mode since they have never lived with a dog. The youngest two cats are still in that kittenish "eat anything" stage and the people around here use cockroach poison, and termite poison, and rat poison, and pigeon poison. Oh, and there used to be a beautiful boy cat who would come to visit us - first I had to pull an airgun pellet out of his shoulder, then a month later he disappeared. I think the guy who lives behind us didn't like his singing (he used to meow greetings as he trotted up the road).

And I still wish that my sweethearts could go outside. They love watching the birds, they love sniffing the breeze, they love eating the grass I bring in in pots. The best time of the day for them is early evening when a moth or two will come in and flit around - its like open gym for them.

The reason why I have cats in the first place is because the culture around here is pretty anti-cat. Some americanized people import fancy breeds, and some people tolerate them to get rid of snakes, frogs and rats, but generally they are considered unclean and treazonous. So every now and again I find a poor kitty that needs rescuing, if I can't find it a home it ends up living with me. One day I will be able to buy a house and set up a cat-run. Until then the priority was to rent near to where I work so that I can commute by foot.

I whole heartedy endorse the indoors/outoors idea in most circumstances. If you make a regular schedule of letting them out for a few hours then putting down their food they will come back like clock-work. If cars are a worry you can make an attractive area for them away from the road (bird attracting bushes, sandy area, sunny dry place). If dangerous animals are a worry a cat flap or a refuge might help - not so sure.
 
Rebekah Moore
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My cat was just a stray that adopted us he still roams outside and is happy. We feed him give him a bed,love and time to go inside.
If I were you I would let my cat outside. I have neighbors that have inside cats and they always look miserable and stare out the window.
Its your choice but, I would let them outside if I were you it would be good if you have a fence. What ever your choice is remember if you were a cat which would you choose.

 
Cd Anderson
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It deeply bothers me that my neighbors allow their cats to roam free...

Why should I have to deal with their cat in my yard, getting into my trash, digging in my kids sand box?
Their cat in my yard cause my dog to bark. This can be a problem at 5am!! or when the baby has just gone down for a nap. It's not acceptable for my dog to run free, why is it okay for your cat?

Most importantly though is that cat owners seem to forget that their cats may carry a parasite that can be very harmful to unborn babies and those with immune disorders, Toxoplasma gondii. Because your cat poops in my yard I have to wear gloves to dig in the yard/garden at all and leery of letting my children dig in their own back yard. I think cat owners should be held to the same standards as dog owners. Cats should not be allowed to roam free in an urban setting.
 
Adam Klaus
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when the cat's away the mice shall play....

maybe the problem is that people concieve of owning cats. maybe cats are just part of the urban ecology, and their presence makes it a healthier ecosystem.
nothing healthy or untroublesome about rodents run wild in the backyard.

cats are good when they live like cats. love life.
 
Cd Anderson
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Adam Klaus wrote:when the cat's away the mice shall play....

maybe the problem is that people concieve of owning cats. maybe cats are just part of the urban ecology, and their presence makes it a healthier ecosystem.
nothing healthy or untroublesome about rodents run wild in the backyard.

cats are good when they live like cats. love life.


The same could then be said of dogs. Dogs would keep the raccoons and possums away and my dogs have done better at rat catching than my cats (though I think the scent of my cats keeps most of the rodents away) but no one suggests dogs should be allowed to roam.
 
John Polk
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Most cities have ordinances about roaming (unleashed) dogs.
Dogs can be serious threats to children, pets, livestock.
They often revert to their feral 'pack' habits.

Cats, on the other hand are solitary hunters that seldom attack anything bigger than themselves.
They pose no real threat to humanity, or 'village life'.
They have been valued by civilizations for thousands of years for their ability to control rodent populations (and disease).
If mankind was as clean as a cat, we wouldn't need them.
 
Rich Conley
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Location: Richmond, VA
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S Bengi wrote:Let let the cat live in a natural/permaculture way. they might only live 90% of the indoor lifespan but they will live happier.


Indoor cats typically live 12-14 years. The average lifespan for outdoor cats is somewhere around 3 years. Between cars, coyotes, FLV, infections from fights, etc, there's a lot of things that can go wrong. Many of them do live long lives, but a lot of them also don't make it through the first couple years.

If your cats are depressed indoors, they need more stimulation. More places to climb, more toys/etc.
 
Adam Klaus
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Quality over quantity, every time, even for cats. I cant imagine how long I would live if I were kept safely inside! In my philosophy, allowing animals to express their innate instincts is a basic tenant of animal husbandry. Cats being cats means cats being outside, for as long as it takes them to expire all nine lives. Avoiding death is no measure of life. It is our human fear of death that leads us to impose this philosophy on our animals. There is a better way, where we facilitate the fulfillment of our animal's inherent instincts. Cows graze. Dogs sniff. And cats roam. That's life.
 
Landon Sunrich
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Rich Conley wrote:
S Bengi wrote:Let let the cat live in a natural/permaculture way. they might only live 90% of the indoor lifespan but they will live happier.


Indoor cats typically live 12-14 years. The average lifespan for outdoor cats is somewhere around 3 years. Between cars, coyotes, FLV, infections from fights, etc, there's a lot of things that can go wrong. Many of them do live long lives, but a lot of them also don't make it through the first couple years.

If your cats are depressed indoors, they need more stimulation. More places to climb, more toys/etc.


Just my personal experience. I have always had indoor/outdoor cats (meaning they come and go as they please) I have NEVER lost a cat in as few as 3 years. Not even close. Several of our cats have lived into their late teens and early 20s including one that got nabbed by a coyote 3 freakin' times. Most of them seem to live to the 12 to 17 range.

Some times cats disappear sometimes they disappear and come back but I've never had a cat who wasn't curious about and wanting to explore the outdoors. My vote: unless you're cat is declawed let them roam outside.
 
Dale Hodgins
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The sellers of pet food would prefer that both cats and dogs be kept safely away from their natural foods.

I'm not sure where veterinary folks stand.

Some cat rescue places will not allow adoption, unless you agree to permanently imprison the animal.
 
Sean Banks
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in case you are unaware.....outdoor and feral cats are the number one reason why songbird populations in the United States are on the decline.....the second are window collisions. Just keep that in mind before you let your cats outside.....
 
Bob Louis
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I live rural. My cats have always been outdoor cats.... until now.

I lost my best pal to a heart disorder a few years back. He was the world's best mouser. When he died, I tried to remove every reminder of his ever having been here. I was devastated. The missing items just made it worse. So, I went to he animal shelter and got a sickly kitten who looked a lot like my gone guy. My pet limit has long been, one cat that doesn't get pregnant (or impregnate). I'm sticking to that, as I got up to as many as eight cats once.

Anyway, this new kid had never seen a life outside a cage since he was four weeks old. He was 20 weeks when I got him. He had entered the shelter with his mom and healthy brother, who soon were adopted. He was still messed up when I got him, though he's doing well now with no flare-ups of his feline viral rhinotracheitis. He has no idea what stress might be. He is well adjusted to indoor life.

My cat has zero street cred. He'll never be a mouser or a fighter. So, he's my first indoor cat. I have learned that the payoff for not having an outdoor cat is, smaller wildlife is all but tame and the squirrels and chipmunks that have been attracted to my bird feeders will just hang out with me and I can talk to them. I kind of like that.

I'll tell you all this: Marauding dogs and tomcats are problem animals and will likely encounter a .22 short if they come around here. I got in that habit protecting my cats on my property, and I continue it, even with an indoor cat. Tomcat spray on my doors, or the wildlife made nervous by dogs, meets with a zero tolerance program.

=========================================================

Streetlights are for people who are afraid of the dark.

Dogs are for people who are afraid of the quiet.
 
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