A Plea to Indoor Cat Owners

By Asfara Ahmed

There are two things I love, cats and nature. More importantly, I love cats enjoying nature. Watching a cat climb a tree is one of the most beautiful things a person can ever observe, which is why I have such a difficult time understanding why some “cat owners” or “human companions” as I like to refer to them, insist on having strictly indoor cats.

I spent my childhood enjoying long carefree afternoons roaming around outdoors, three or four cats in tow, climbing trees, stealing fish (them, not me) and chasing butterflies (mostly me, sometimes them). It was glorious. My cats were real cats. They were cats of the soil, the type you could respect, the type who could survive out there in the wilderness and who looked down on you for your lack of survival skills. They killed birds and mice and offered you first go out of the sheer kindness of their hearts, or maybe pity, I’m not really sure. However, that’s how I knew they loved me, because they stayed with me in spite of the fact that they didn’t really need me. Now that is true love.

Charlie


The above photo is by Michael (Admin) of Charlie, his three legged cat, to illustrate the article.

Cats love being out in nature and unless you live in a really cold country, no cat should be made to forgo the experience of exploring the beautiful world we live in. That is just inhumane. Cats are natural hunters and there is an elegance to their technique and sheer focus that is unmatched by even the most artistic of human endeavors. Sure, a few species may go extinct now and then but that’s how Mother Nature intended it to be.

Cats are like children, you don’t want them sitting inside the entire day, not getting any fresh air and becoming obese. Take them outside once in a while. You may just have the time of your life. I know that those wonderful afternoons spent roaming around outside with my cats are some of my happiest and most cherished memories. So, go out, venture forth. Let’s help our cats live their nine lives to the fullest.

Asfara Ahmed


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50 thoughts on “A Plea to Indoor Cat Owners”

    • Thanks for the post. Meant for the author.

      I am extremely lucky to live in a very cat-safe area in the US. For anyone who cares to read, here is part of the story about allowing Tootsie to go outdoors.

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/38194075@N05/5454332471/in/set-72157623556736054

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/38194075@N05/5614956152/in/set-72157623556736054

      When I adopted her, she was scared of everything- well not quite, but any noise outside, and really scared whenever I even opened the patio door.

      I finally decided, though what personal cussedness I can’t remember (well I can, sorta, see links above), to let her go out on a supervised basis. She sticks close to home, and follows me when we go “walkies” around the condo complex I live in.

      Tootsie now is a much happier and calm cat as a result of being allowed to go outside. I made the decision based on my “cat knowledge”. And, I’d never been faced with having to keep a cat indoors.

      But, I do appreciate the challenges that others in less ideal situations face. I moved to Ithaca for a year- academic sabbatical, and a friend found a rental house for me. The owners would be in Boston, also on sabbatical, for a year. In some kind of weird moment of prescience, I asked them via email, “I don’t suppose you could include a cat?” I don’t know what got into me to ask that.

      Well, it turned out that indeed, they had a cat, and had been worrying about taking her to Boston with them. She was very used to being an indoor outdoor cat. But, coyotes were roaming the neighborhood where they would rent in Boston. So, along with the rental house, I got a rental cat! They were delighted. I was delighted.

      The coyote problem is a serious one in some areas. If my small area wasn’t so safe, I’d probably be building an outdoor cat enclosure by now.

      Reply
      • From what I read, the biggest threat to outdoor cats in the USA are (a) cars (b) coyotes.

        We don’t have predators that kill cats in the UK other than people with air rifles 😉

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        • USA has predators that use BB guns. My mother’s cat came home with a BB pellet in the tip of her ear. And yes, coyotes are a huge problem her in many places, wild and urban.

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  1. With respect to indoor vs outdoor cats, I realize cats are stalkers, prowlers and hunters. However, they are also living creatures who, in today’s society, need more protection than they did years ago. I have 5 rescues, none of which go outside. I think my oldest 2 are around 15 and they did acclimate well to being indoors. One is a burn victim who is blind and would never survive outside. The last one is an aloof, little brat. They have their sun room, their MANY cat trees and an abundance of toys.

    My little “Cinder”, the burned cat, is one of the sweetest cats I have ever owned. When our babes came along, all three at once, Cinder became their guardian angel. Instinctively, she knew they were very fragile being preemies. I don’t think she would have been quite so protective had she been an outdoor cat. Her disability has honed her senses, beyond the norm, to physical inadequacies. She is a remarkable cat.

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  2. I feel sorry for the genuinely kind people who live there, I’ve ‘met’ many of them through our anti declawing campaign.
    I think I’d have had to emigrate too if I’d been born there.

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    • I agree Ruth. Dorothy Wandruff writes about the people of some states as alien to her. She lives in California which is relatively enlightened. For her some other states are like foreign countries. That is the impression I got but I may be wrong.

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      • It has been my experience that the Northeast and Midwest (= Central USA) seem to be particularly unfriendly regions. I knew a man in the Midwest who actually bragged about permanently injuring a neighbor’s cat with a pellet gun just because he saw it walking on top of his car!

        Reply

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