There is a book I picked up at Petco. It talks about indoor cats versus outdoor cats.
This book is: “The Cat Owner’s Problem Solver, How to Manage Common Behavior Problems by Thinking Like Your Cat,” by Margaret H. Bonham. Ms. Bonham is indeed an expert on cats and behavior far beyond what I know.
She talks about the reasons to have an indoor cat. She suggests that you purchase fencing that will contain the cat or add a fencing piece to your existing fence that prevents a cat from jumping over it.
Here are some of the points:
1. The cat’s role in our society has changed from rural to city. They are now part of our city life and many people live in condos and apartments which means you cannot have a cat roaming.
My thoughts: This is true. Cats started out on the farm to be used to kill vermin and that was their role. In some areas of the country that is still true and the cats stay outdoors. In the city I did live in apartments for the first 20 years as an adult and that is where a lot of my stray cats came to me and I took them in. I have been living in a suburban area for 20+ years and the number of strays stopped. There are organizations that specialize in Alley Cats and feral cats and have information on how to trap and care for a cat like that. In my opinion it is how we care for our pets that is the issue. Making sure we have them licensed, microchipped and a tag on their collar so that we can find them if they stray. When I came home from work I would do a check on the whereabouts of my animals to make sure they were safe. I frequently went in search of Puffer to bring him home. So I strived to be responsible and keep and eye out for my pets. Usually, they would come running or bounding to greet me. Of course, it was dinner time!
2. The cat can get hit by a car and killed.
My thoughts: Puffer and I had an agreement. No squished kitties. He lived almost to 20+ years. He was male and he was neutered. He still roamed. The street in front of my house is a city street but not on an arterial but it is dangerous because people go over the speed limit of 25 miles per hour and it can get scary in the summer for it is flat and they like to zip along. I had 3 dogs, about six cats over the years and not a one was killed. However, I was told that a cat was killed outside our house who belonged to a neighbor. Happy comes to visit from across the street and I worry about her.
I think that the driveway is the most dangerous place. Making sure the cat is not under the car tires before you pull out is a must. I have a long driveway and I am very careful to look before I pull in or back out. I keep reminding my hubbie of this fact. So far so good.
Unfortunately, there are people who think it is funny to run over an animal. They will not stop if an animal is crossing the street. I do not understand that mentality.
So this is a major concern and one in which you do need to give thought to and decide what you feel is the right choice for you. The world is not a safe place for any creature whether human or animal.
1. Make sure your cat is healthy and happy. They will stay closer to home.
2. Make sure they are fed regularly.
3. Get them neutered or spayed it is really the best.
4. Treat them well, lots of pets and lots of love.
3. The cat can get into cat fights with other roaming cats and an infected wound needs treatment and that can cost money at the vet.
My thoughts: Cats are territorial and will fight if a strange cat comes into the yard. Nikki was the guard cat for me and would alert if there was an intruder. I discouraged Puffer from fighting and he began to realize that he was not suppose to attack. The minute I hear the signs of a cat fight I am out their breaking it up by clapping my hands and making noise. NEVER get in the middle our you can be hurt yourself. Grab a broom and use that gently — anything to break it up. After an incident keep eye on your pet for any lumps or swelling because of abcess. Be aware of other cats in the area. Rufus was the neighbors cat and he would taunt Puffer. They had it out once and Puffer did get an abscess. This was the only time in 20+ years, because I kept and eye out and an ear out. If you are diligent and when you hear those cat fight sounds go and break it up but remember to not get in the middle. I am talking about any cat fight, not just your cat.
They will fight with each other. Nikki didn’t like Breezy so she would torment her. On the other hand Nikki loved White Kitty and would cuddle with him. Multiple cats mean disagreements. It is your job to monitor it…gently.
4. The cat will stray.
My thoughts: Puffer wandered and he was male. I have found that males will wander more than a female cats. Puffer was neutered and I believe that slowed him down with the wandering. Cats will wander if they are not cared for or don’t like the human they are with. Puffer was a kitten and he followed a family two blocks down because he was not cared for by his humans. Cats are loyal and will stay with you if you care for them and love them. Caring means good food, water, a safe place to be, lots of pets, gentle care and checking in with them. White Kitty came to live with me because he didn’t like his human and she didn’t like him.
The other possibility is that a cat will “squirrel” if they don’t feel good. This means they will hide. So go and find them. It might take looking diligently but this has paid off for me. I found Sammy hiding and she needed help. I found White Kitty hiding and he needed help. They both survived to live for many years. If I had not gone in search it might have meant bad things.
5. The cat will kill vermin like rats and mice.
My thoughts: This is what a cat is all about. They are hunters of rats, mice and birds. It is their nature. They will bring you presents. They will announce that they have a gift for you!
Breezy once filled my house with a whole family of mice and I opened the kitchen silverware drawer and there they were living happily. I had been on a trip. She used to make a trilling sound. When she did that I would jump up and close a door or stop her from coming into the house. What happened to the mouse family, well, one by one my friend and I removed them. He handed them to me by the tail. I took them back outside and released them into the hedge. He announced to me not to take a rat by the tail because they have muscles in their tail.
I use the make a tunnel method (anything you have that is flat) and use a broom to get a rat out of the house. I have successfully released at least 5+ rats back into the outside with that method. I have tried the poison and it is awful to hear them thrash around. Never again.
As for animal parts well it just is. I tried to get out to the living room to clean up before my hubbie stepped in the debree. Puffer used to announce himself.
So if you are not up to dealing with this blood and gore then don’t have a cat or keep them indoors. They can get impacted from eating bird bones. This happened to Sammy. She disappeared and I found her unhappy. This was the only time that a problem happened of this nature. Another vet was excited that my cats were eating mice meat. Go figure!
Each cat has their focus. Puffer was my ratter and he was amazing. I saw him kill one one day in the backyard and it was like Wild Kingdom. Breezy was my mouser, and Sammy was my birder. As they age they stop hunting as much.
So if this does not appeal to you then don’t get a cat or keep them indoors.
6. The cat will be attacked in your yard by other roaming animals and their lives endangered or they will be killed.
My thoughts: I have a fence around my back yard and at one time I had a fence around my front yard. I was able to discourage dogs from coming into the yard. There were a couple of times that dogs did chase my cats up trees. I was actually more concerned for the dog because Critter and Cinnamon would gang up on them and scare them out of the yard. There was one dog a Jack Russell that was scary and did kill a possum in our neighborhood and chased Puffer up onto the neighbors house. He was definitely a concern but the owner gave him away. Cinnamon ended up in a tree once.
This is a concern that a dog will kill a cat. So you do need to keep an eye out and provide escape routes. We trimmed the tree where there is a board from the fence to the neighbors house so Puffer could run there if needed. On the other hand, I have seen big dogs kill little dogs.
In the neighborhood I live in it is rare to see a dog out wandering but it does happen. It you have a problem with a neighbor who is not keeping their dog contained, then put on some pressure. Everytime his dogs got out I would put them back in and leave him notes about it. The problem is now solved because I think a lot of people complained. These two dogs are great dogs so I was not worried.
My sister lives were there are coyotes and this is a problem. They will kill and eat smaller animals including cats. She thinks Sabrina got killed. I think Sabrina just died somewhere she was getting old…remember the “squirreling behavior I mentioned.
7. The cat will get a disease like Rabies and other cat diseases.
My thoughts: The best defense is to keep up the vaccinations; however, if you have multiple animals that can get pricey. I have never had rabies issues even with raccoons around. I have never had any problem other than an abcess from a cat fight. If you see or find an animal ill then call the animal control for help and don’t get near the animal. Collect your animals and keep them in till the problem is solved. Other than keep up the vaccinations if you can afford it and there are low cost options, remember that animals get sick or need medical help and it just happens. If it happens all the time then you have a problem.
8. They will eat bad things being tempted by smells and get sick.
My thoughts: I have never had this as a problem. They are more likely to get something on their paws that they lick off so be sure you rinse out the cleaners from your bath tub and sinks really well. Close the lid to the toilet. It is not a good idea to have them drink out of a toilet. I know it is funny when you see this in videos. It is not good my vet didn’t like it.
They could get into yard and garden chemicals that you put on plants in your yard so make sure you read the label and follow the directions and keep your pet out of the treated area till it is absorbed or drys. I frankly don’t use a lot of chemicals in my garden because of this reason.
9. Female cats will make yowling noises when in heat to attract males. The noise can be disrupting to your neighbors.
My thougths: All my animals were spayed or neutered at the age that was appropriate for this medical procedure to be done. Nikki was not happy after and growled but she recovered. Minx was pregnant when she came to me and I had her spayed. When I discovered that Sammy was not male but female I immediately had her spayed. This will stop the yowling behavior. There are many low cost places to have this done.
10. They will mate frequently and have kittens increasing the already overpopulation of cats.
My thoughts: There is no reason to not have a cat spayed or neutered. There are low cost alternatives out there so it is not an excuse. With the overpopulation of cats and dogs we need to realize that there is no other alternative but to have the animals fixed. Once they are born we are committed to caring for them. I had a friend tell me a cat can take care of itself out in the wild, this is not true. They survive many 3-5 years and that is about it.
Have I answered the question indoor vs. outdoor? No! That was not my intention. If you take on an animal whether dog, cat, ferret, bird, fish etc. you need to understand that it is a commitment to keep an eye on them and care for them.