Do you let your cat outdoors?
We have three cats, six months and younger. Although they are predominately indoor cats, we've been taking them outdoors daily for fresh air and sunshine. Also, we hope they get familiar with the surroundings in case they 'escape' outside. Any thoughts about this? What is your experience, if you are a cat owner?
I believe all cats benefit from being outside. Not to say that you let them come and go as they please because that can be dangerous, but if you take them outside with you, and when you go in, they go in with you, I think it is very beneficial. They need vitamin D from the sun like every other living thing on the planet. They also need to get fresh air and real life hunting experience. They will be able to chase down bugs, leaves and so on outside. I have a cat that lived outside for what could have been 2 years. He was a stray, not fixed or anything but was the sweetest cat. He got bit one day so my husband and I took him in. Since he has lived outside, possibly his whole life before us, he will actually get depressed if we don't take him outside from time to time.He will cry and sit by the door. We make sure he has his tag on and let him walk the yard. He is not aloud across the street and he knows this. We keep a close eye on him but since he trusts us, he never strays to far away. My other cat, who I had since he was a kitten is leash trained. I use to take him to the park every week. I have since stopped because I no longer live by a park and he has to stay by my parents for the time being. When I did take him, I would walk him like a dog. He would climb trees, roll in the grass, greet dogs, he loved it! I would actually love to get a huge cage (like 12 by 12 feet) off the back of my first home so that my cats can go out anytime they want without it being dangerous. Outdoor play is important in a cats life and their over all health.
Mine stays inside, unless she runs like lightening. Fleas, parasites you cannot see, vehicles, yes all kinds of things that just love to harm cats.
I think all cats need tobe outside.I have 2 cats and 2 kitten. The older cats are outside quite a bit.I dont let thekittens out until they are 6 months old.Ithink all cats need fresh air and exercise.
All of mine are indoor cats for the simple reason that indoor cats often live past the age of 15. Indoor/outdoor and outdoor cats have an average lifespan of two years in the US. Between abundant wildlife, dogs, cars, and diseases they can pick up from interacting with other cats it's just a dangerous world out there. That being said mine do have the option of going outside in a playpen of sorts, a large 20 foot long enclosure I attached to the house. They love it and my mind can be at ease about them being safe. Another benefit is that they are not endangering wildlife either. Domestic cats have been blamed for the extinction of at least one bird here in the US, its best to keep those numbers as low as we can. Some people also take their cats out on walks with a harness like they would a dog. Its another option.
I've found that my cats are always happier when they get outdoor time. I usually let my cats out during the day, and bring them in at night. Just always make sure they are current on their shots, and have some kind of protection against fleas and ticks! Cats can pick these up so easily when they spend time outdoors.
Letting cats outside -unsupervised- is a cruel thing to do for wildlife and has consequences for the cat; putting them at risk for getting hit by a car, fights with other cats and wildlife, and predation. Outdoor cats often play with wildlife due to boredom which prolongs their suffering. They do not need to hunt, they are well fed pets. It is also unfair to people who don't want pet animals messing in their garden, and to people who put out bird feeders only to have it raided by free-ranging animals that belong to someone else. It is commendable and good ownership to take your cat outside while supervised in the same manner as dogs. They will benefit from the fresh air and sunshine.
I have 2 cats. They are outdoor for one reason only, they won't let me keep them inside. They were strays we decided to spay and keep. We tried bringing them inside. The result was one of them actually breaking her paw trying to get out. The other runs out the second the door opens. I wish they would stay in. We have a cat door in our basement door so they can come in when ever they want. Cats do live longer inside.
Tom and Raisin! Ahhh! So cute! Haha:-)
On a sadder note: We have a sicko here that has been shooting cats. ("BB" gun, but still...) So, I would keep them indoors (I do not own a cat).
Hearing that cats live longer when they remain indoors...then...double yes, I would keep them indoors.
People think BB guns are safe toy unless they shoot at a window. BB guns are not safe, they kill birds, and can even kill a cat. They can do harm to humans if they hit the right spot, like an eye!
True. The person I was referring to actually made the news. It is a felon, not a misdemeanor, to shoot a cat with those guns.
Hi aykianink. Tom, Raisin AND Taz-short for Tazmanian Devil, ha ha. Thanks for your comment. I hate that there is so much sickness spewing onto other living things. It's sad.
No, I don't let them out. Honestly, they are entirely frightened of being outside but they love watching birds from my bedroom window. My husband and I have seen too many cats we love get killed by being outside. Bike's running them over, cars driving off with them, other people closing the door on them and crushing their internal organs, and the cats just disappearing. I can't stand it and I won't let my cats outside.
I don't let my cats outside because there are a large number of wandering feline pets/feral cats in our area, and my cats are all elderly - I do not want them catching any diseases. Really, despite the fact that my 5 year old leaves the door open now and again, my cats show no interest in going outside. Occasionally, they venture into the garage but never outdoors. Perhaps it is due to the dogs that live on either side of us, or the scent of the coyotes in the woods. The coyotes sometimes venture into the far side of the yard when we are outdoors - another reason my cats don't go out, even supervised.
One of our neighbors was in the process of training her kitten to be indoor/outdoor-with-supervision, and one of the neighbor dogs spooked the kitten and she disappeared off down the street. This caused a lot of drama because she was discovered by one of the neighbor children, who took her into her own house and wanted to keep the kitten since "she wasn't being looked after properly".
A compromise between letting your cats outside and keeping them in that some people opt to take is to build a "catio" - a fully-screened-in outdoor patio with cat perches. I would definitely consider something like that in my neighborhood to allow my cats out without exposing them to the wild animals that seem to like our yard, or the overly curious dogs from our neighbors (there are no fences in our neighborhood, so the neighbors' dogs can easily come up on our deck).
I think that cats definitely do often benefit from being outdoors - some breeds like bengals, and other outgoing, confident cats will even readily learn to walk on a leash. However, some areas are definitely much safer for this to happen than others.
I have three cats. The youngest is about five, the other two about eight. All of them have outdoor access during the day. I live in a rural area so I feel the risks are lower than city dwellers. All are very aware of their surroundings and are far healthier then if they were locked in. I feel its best to get them familiar with the surroundings in case they accidentally get out. Also, even though they do sometimes prey on species I wish they wouldn't, they do help keep the gopher, rabbit and mice populations in check. The down side is when they decide not to come in at night, its pretty stressful to me. If you have the option of a "catio"(I like that term) I'd do it. If you choose to let them out, please don't take that away from them later. They will never forgive you.
Lot's of interesting even helpful comments here. Successful living outdoors depends on many things--the location/climate, the nature of the cat(s), and their health/health care.
Our kitty was born on a farm--the runt of the litter (and always a little frailer than any other cat I've known), then she lived indoors with us for a good while. After going out there was no more coming back in. She loved it outdoors, thriving beautifully, and she was smart/careful for that life, staying close to home. She had her own small door to the garage that we could easily monitor. She was with us 12 years, but we lost her this month. She was a wonderful, delightful, precious little friend and we miss her a lot. Sorry to ramble…
Our friends live in a remoter location but cannot leave their cats out unsupervised because coyotes will get them. There can be many other dangers for outdoor cats as mentioned in these comments. Probably, the best thing is to get advice from a local vet on whether cats are safe outdoors in your general area.
Sorry to hear the kitty passed away. Twelve years is pretty good though, right?
I'm also sorry to hear of the death of your cat. I know how attached I've become to my three just in 6 months! Good points made here-thanks for rambling, I enjoyed reading what you had to contribute.
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