What Happens To Some Cats Behind Closed Doors?

We hear a lot about the dangers to cats outdoors, but what about the dangers indoors? Of course there are good cat caretakers who are forced to keep their cats indoors to keep them safe and who make an indoor life fulfilled and as happy as a cat can be living that way. Giving their cat lots of love and attention, growing kitty grass for him to chew on, ensuring he has as natural a life as possible.

Happy or Unhappy cat - Indoor cat unseen

Poster by Ruth aka Kattaddorra

But there must be a number of cats living in misery who no one knows about. There is no danger indoors from traffic of course, or from wild animals or from strangers who would hurt a cat.

But in bad homes there is still danger from humans for indoor cats and an indoor cat has no way to escape from that situation! They are stuck in it 24 hours day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year….their whole lifetime.

An indoor cat is seen by no one outside, apart from if he sits in the window, but how many people look closely at someone else’s window? Not many, because of course it’s impolite.

Some cats may simply have a boring life, but the lives of others may be really miserable, particularly in the case of declawed cats who have nothing to do but eat and sleep. They can’t enjoy a good work out on a scratching post, or hook a toy to have a good kick at.

Do the people who have their cats declawed just want a living ornament? Why do they have a cat?

Those cats must be very vulnerable to the children and the dogs of the family. I can imagine them being treated like toys by the children, until they retaliate by biting and then as ‘bad cats’ are either shoved in a basement, put outside, or relinquished to a shelter.

How else can a declawed cat cope with a dog in the same house than by avoiding that dog? Jumping without claws is a risky business, so I imagine that the poor cat in those circumstances just keeps out of the dog’s way.

Hour after hour sitting with nothing to do. Maybe some declawed cats get loving attention from their owner (yes owner for all I hate that word I use it because caretakers don’t pay someone to cripple their pet). But I’d think a person who had their cat declawed rather than spend time teaching him to use a scratching post, wouldn’t give the cat much of their time at all.

I hate to think of cats behind closed doors living a life of boredom or fear and no one knows of their plight. At least indoor/outdoor cats are seen by other people and it’s noticeable if one needs help, some caring person can ensure the cat gets that help.

So while there may be many pros to cats being kept strictly indoors, there are many cons from an unhappy cat’s point of view!

Ruth aka Kattaddorra

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What Happens To Some Cats Behind Closed Doors? — 22 Comments

  1. The full-time indoor cat is obviously safe from predators and traffic so a lot of dangers are out of the way. However, the full-time indoor cat is more vulnerable than an indoor/outdoor cat in one respect in that he is living in a closed environment with the world’s biggest killer and the animal at the top of the food chain: homo sapiens.

    I am sure that most cat caretakers or cat owners are very good with their full-time indoor cats but we don’t know how many cat owners are bad with their full-time indoor cats. People can do what they like with their cat and nobody would know unless someone inside the household talked about it to someone outside the household.

    It is all behind closed doors and totally secret and there will be no evidence of any misdeed. There are no statistics, no records. How many cats are killed inside the home? No idea. No one has any idea.

    • Exactly Michael, especially in a home where there is someone with a violent temper, say a man who hits his wife or vice versa, they would think nothing of abusing the family cat too and as you say, there would be no evidence and no one would know unless someone in the house spoke out.

  2. Having strictly indoor cats can be a real challenge.
    They need much more added stimulation than an indoor/outdoor cats.
    It’s really a huge undertaking for decent caretakers. They have to direct and redirect constantly. They have to be creative in helping their cats have fulfilling lives. It’s more than a fulltime job.

    I know that I write about my Damon a lot; but, he is worrisome to me because he has so much energy that is never expended enough. I’ve thought a hundred times about taking him outside, maybe with a harness, to let him have that experience. But I’m not sure how he would react. He was 7 weeks old when I brought him in and has never stepped outside these walls in 1 1/2 years. Would he be afraid? Would he love it so much that he would keep bolting out into the path of a car every time I opened the door? Am I doing him an injustice?

    I, also, think about the lives of other cats inside peoples’ homes. Are they ignored or even abused in a way that no one would ever know?

    Very good article, R. And, super poster, as always.

    • Thanks Dee yes I think about cats we can’t see too, I’m afraid many don’t have the happy life that each and every cat deserves to have.
      Just recently a friend’s daughter has adopted a 5 year old cat, the family she came from had got a new dog and the cat was terrified of it.
      So this poor cat who had lived in her home since being a kitten had it invaded by a dog, but she had to go, not the dog! Now the woman is saying ‘I cry and miss the cat’ well serve her right, she should have got rid of the usurping dog.

  3. Yea, it would be hard I agree ruth. Especially if there are dogs in that mix, and children who aren’t exactly kind. I heard the other day of a cat being blamed for hurting a child, when I’m pretty sure it was the kids fault. It upsets me when a cat gets hurt over something a child or human does.

  4. Then there is the spectre of the cat kept in the house (or even not kept in but allowed outdoor time and indoor time) who is slapped out of the way, usually by the woman of the house, in the kitchen or around the kids, or slapped for breaking some impossible-for-a-cat-to-keep rule imposed on the poor thing. Who would know this was happening? The kids would know, but would they know it is wrong or would they think that is the way to raise a cat? (or a dog) Cats are great at accepting life as it is, they’re silent and even acquiescent victims of whatever humans hand out to them, they make do with what they can get, so it’s more than likely that a huge number of cats are in families where they are barely tolerated or even abused by some members of the families they live with. I worry for cats that we know about who are being neglected or abused but I also worry for cats we don’t, and never will, know because I’m certain there is a wide spectrum from total happiness to sheer misery in the lives of cats worldwide.

  5. That is one reason why I have a small enclosure attached to the back of the house. It helps a lot with their boredom.

  6. Ruth,

    While it’s true from the cat’s perspective that indoor/outdoor is best for THEM, at least here in ths USA in neighborhoods similar to mine, it is far too dangerous for the kitty to have access to outdoors that is not supervised.

    We have an outdoor pool enclosed in a fully screened in area, however there are tons of cats roaming the neighborhood here that have upset our kitties to the extent that Sir Hubble starts spraying and being totally aggressive to his brother (redirected aggression).

    It is not fair to either of the cats (or to us, infact) to have them have access to this area unless we accompany them, and we try to do that whenever possible.

    I have set up window box areas for them which don’t seem to bother Sir Hubble at this time where they can sit in the sun- watch the wildlife outdoors, and get a “taste” of the great outdoors. We tried that several years ago in our bedroom, but that is when the roaming cats had easier access to them and that is when the spraying began.

    So unless we move to an area in which they can be totally safe, they are relegated to an indoor life- but they will live a lot longer.

    I wish I had a way to give them more access, but alas, where we live procludes this completely.

    Great article and of course your posters rock.

    • I understand in your country that it’s safer for a cat indoors and I know you and our other PoC family who daren’t give their cats their freedom try to make it up to them by making indoor life as fulfilled as possible.
      It’s the indoor cats living lives of boredom or fear of abuse I was thinking about and how no one knows what some indoor cats suffer.
      We are very lucky in our country not to have the volume of traffic and the wild animals that you do, most peoples cats here can have some freedom.
      Quality of life is as important as quantity and I think every cat (and every human) would agree with that.

  7. I do have some cats outside. I pulled my
    feral colony when the business where they were located said no one could come on the property to feed them. I had been feeding them everyday for about 3 years. They are backyard ferals with access to a large shed that has ac and heat. Would it be safer to contain them? Yes, but it would be a miserable existence and I won’t do that to them.

  8. Yea thankfully here, they can have both indoor and outdoor. They don’t go too far mostly, just down the road or in the nearest trees which is like a sanctuary of sorts. Have noticed though it’s colder here now they are sticking close to home.
    It’s sad to read around the world that they can’t go out into areas. I guess one day will need to keep our animals always inside. Which I know they will miss dearly.

    • You are right Kylee, the way the world is going everything is for humans and as we get more and more, animals get less and less. It makes me sad 🙁

      • Yea its very sad. I actually feel really annoyed what’s happening in Australia. As we are just so close. Bad things are happening here in New Zealand too with that idiot Garath Morgan.

      • I feel so terrible for all of our Poc family that can’t have their animals outside. I understand it, really i do. Just wish there was a way they could experience both 🙂

  9. On a positive note, and I suppose as proof that the outside can hold dangers for cats here in the US, I can tell you this. I have some nice picture windows with wide sills perfect for my cats to sit on, but the members of the family who came from the outside are hardly ever in the windows. It’s almost as if they know how dangerous they had it out there and want no part of it anymore. Dodge and Zep will not even look out of the windows. Of course, it helps that we live in a big house where they have the run of things, toys everywhere, other kitties to play with, and lots of places to nap. My long hallway is apparently a race track, and they think my king sized bed is theirs. In fact, I am the abused one in this household. I can’t lie down without being used as a mattress.

  10. Great topic. Our cats hang out at the windows in our dining room- large windows that cover the entire wall. I fixed up a comfy hammock for them to enjoy “kitty TV” watching the birds and squirrels.

    I too am a queen size mattress for the boys. I just love them so very much I would do anything for them, but it is far too dangerous in our neighborhood to let them out. Not only are their stray and feral kitties roaming the area, but there are some not so nice kids- I don’t know what I would do if they hurt one of them. “I” am the one that would probably end up in jail.

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