Lynn, as you can tell in the title, thinks that domestic cats are “meant” to live indoors. It is the use of the word “meant” that interest me.
Lynn is the Executive Director of the Blue River Watershed Association in Kansas City. She has looked after animals all her life and I’m sure that she has looked after them extremely well.
She says that her cats “stay indoors no matter how much they whine, cry or ask to go outside”. That seems like quite hard language to me. It seems like a very strict regime is in place in her household. A lot of people would agree with it.
Also, it seems to me that there is no room in her thoughts for alternatives which may both be as safe in respect of cat welfare and health and be as protective of wildlife as a domestic cat living indoors full-time. What about, for instance, a large enclosure in the backyard? What’s wrong with that? I sense that she has enough space to consider a large enclosure.
Perhaps there is a fear of bugs. Obviously an enclosure cannot keep out insects and they be hazardous but is this an important consideration?
In America properties often have a lot of space around them because there is much more space in the country in general than in Europe. Why are there so few enclosures in America?
Lynn has mischosen the word “meant”. Domestic cats are not meant to live inside a person’s home all their life. They live inside a person’s home for a good reason and it is a compromise. We know the reason (a) welfare, (b) wildlife protection. It’s as simple as that. You can achieve both with a nice cat enclosure.
The advantage of a cat enclosure is that the cat gets much more stimulation in a natural environment which actually is better cat welfare. A cat living indoors full-time is good for cat welfare and health but sometimes stresses and boredom can be built up for the cat which can be bad for cat welfare. A more refined compromise is, as mentioned, an enclosure.
A domestic cat is “meant” to live partly inside and partly outside the home. That, I’d suggest, is the ultimate target but often it is a target that is unachievable for common sense reasons. Then the cat must live inside the home. As usual it is a compromise and a balanced decision depending upon all the circumstances and the environment in which the domestic cat lives.
There are many options for domestic cat living arrangements but if you say that they are meant to live inside a home then you are automatically cutting out of the equation all the possible options which may be better for cat health and welfare and just as effective in wildlife conservation.
Do you think that domestic cats are meant to live indoors all their life?