HomeCat BehaviorSome Indoor/Outdoor Cat Facts


Some Indoor/Outdoor Cat Facts — 6 Comments

  1. I have my own stats to add. Five out of seven of the cats we owned when I was in a certain house and married still were killed by cars. In this house, we had four stray kittens walking around one day. The next we had one missing her leg. My more mobile neighbor got to work and we rescued them. Cats and traffic don’t mix. Period.

    However, for city cats, there are so many awesome answers. They can be placed on a cable that is attached to a long line secured at both ends. They slide from one end to the next. If placed right, they can explore their yard, scratch their trees, mark, etc. There are other options, like our enclosed back patio, but this is just ‘cat tv’. Might as well be at the window.

    The best solution is to add an extension on top of your fenced in back yard. It has to be at a certain angle to prevent them climbing out of the yard. I can’t find the angle (sorry) but I think it was 47 degrees… and the slope faces inward. This technique was used on ‘My Cat From Hell’ last season, keeping a kitty-kleptomaniac from ripping off the neighbors!

    Kudos on all the research Michael! Great blog.

    • You have just added to the research! Love that too. You can give a city cat a bit of a safe outdoor life with a bit of imagination. This page: the cat ladders shows innovation but I don’t advocate them! Looks too out of control and dangerous for me.

  2. You are right Michael, even the most carefully cared for indoor cats can have accidents and get ill …every good cat caretaker ‘thinks cat’ but it’s not always enough because of life and fate.
    We have to weigh up our cats fulfilment and happiness against the odds that something will happen to them outside. In a cat friendly place cats can have their freedom, sitting in the sun, nibbling grass, hunting prey, their deepest instincts tell them this is the life they were born for. Yes there are always dangers and we still need to be vigilant and never leave cats out at night or when no one is home but an indoor only cat has to adapt,he has no choice, it doesn’t mean he’s happy, it means he has accepted his fate.
    It fills me with horror and sadness when I see questions on how to keep a cat from wanting to go out which is of course only natural that he wants to go and the advice given is to frighten the cat away from the door, by various means, even a scat mat to shock the poor creature into submission. So the cat has to be browbeaten away from his natural instinct to go out and then live 24 hours a day with the people who have power over his every move. I know in some places cats are in grave danger outdoors and they need to be indoors or penned for their own safety and this is a sign of the world now,the more progress humans make the more of their natural life is taken away from animals.

  3. What a huge difference in the percentage of cat kept indoors in the UK to the USA! This doesn’t surprise me at all though as all the vets I have ever known or worked with recommended cats have their freedom. One even said cats left out at night are happier.
    We don’t leave ours out of course as we’d never sleep. They go out early morning and usually come in for a siesta mid morning, going out again in the early evening, but stay in once they come in after dark. But even when they are out for a while, they clock in often and we always give them a good welcome and make sure home is a happy place to come.
    I know it’s unsafe in some places for cats to be free but it isn’t a fullfilled life they lead no matter how many home comforts they have. However as always cats accept their fate because they have no choice and that saddens me.
    The saddest thing of all though is that in the USA not only do so many cats lose their freedom, a lot lose their claws too and keeping cats strictly indoors caused declawing to begin.

    • I believe the responsible cat caretaker can allow their cat out under reasonably safe circumstances. My Charlie goes out and sleeps under a bush near the back door or on the patio. He does not go far and I feel confident he is safe as well as have a more fulfilled and normal life. Declawing and full-time indoor cat life is part of the same approach by cat caretakers.

      I am not saying I am right. I respect the opinion of others. There are no cut and dried answers to the indoor/outdoor cat debate. I just prefer “controlled outdoors” for cats. Thanks Ruth for your comment.

    • Hi Ruth, I think what is good about the studies I referred to is that there shouldn’t be an automatic presumption that indoors is safer or better for cats. Some people make that presumption. It depends on the circumstances. If the circumstances are suitable and manageable I would like to see some Americans letting their cats out. The cats will be healthier.

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