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vacuumfreak

outside cats... I just don't understand!

vacuumfreak
13 years ago

I have a friend who moved away to another state 3 years ago and in that time she has lost 3 cats! She lets all of her cats (usually has 3 at a time) be indoor and outdoor cats, and she's always surprised and devastated when they get hit by a car.

I'm not glad it happened, but really, this situation could have been avoided from the very beginning. Why don't people learn? Some very beautiful animals are losing their lives for no reason!

Comments (39)

  • rivkadr
    13 years ago

    You're preaching to the choir, at least in my case. I've never understood why people let their cats outside -- we did it when I was a kid, but we lived way out in the middle of nowhere on a dirt road, and we might get one car coming down our road (at 5 - 10 miles an hour) once a day. Our cats were more likely to get eaten by something in the nearby woods...which did happen on occasion.

    It's unsafe for the cats -- they have to deal with cars, dogs, coyotes (in my area), poison from dangerous neighbors and god knows what else, and all kinds of other dangers. If you care about your pets, why would you inflict that upon them? Because they scratch at the door/windows and meow a lot? Deal with it. They'll get over it eventually.

    And as a neighbor, it pisses me off to no end to deal with other people's cats in my yard -- I don't like cleaning up YOUR pet's waste, or having them dig up my garden. We don't have to put up with that with dogs, so why is it considered perfectly acceptable with cats?

  • irishdancersgram
    13 years ago

    I love it when they say, "But he was a feral and you can't change him, he wants to go outside", Baloney! Right now, I have 3 feral born fur babies inside...I trapped and tamed these babies and if you open a door, they run the other way....NO cat needs to be outside....Just thinking about it, makes my BP go sky high....

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  • vacuumfreak
    Original Author
    13 years ago

    The reason I posted this today is because that friend just called this morning crying that she lost another one on Tuesday... Said she has missed class (college) and cried all day every day since it happened... she'd just gotten the cat spayed last week! If ya cared that much about her in the first place, why let her outside?

    Glad I'm not the only one. I don't want to be insensitive, or lecturing duirng a time of loss, so I didn't say anything to her.

  • nicksmom
    13 years ago

    I've had lots of cats growing up and as an adult. They were all indoor-only cats. However, I recently took in my college son's stray (that he took in last year), and he has been hellish...pooping in sinks and on beds, in addition to the litter box. Never on the floor. Also, never pees anywhere. I took him to the vet, where he got a good once over. They said "he's an outdoor cat...let him out". So, reluctantly, I've started letting him out a bit during the day...NEVER at night. He's much happier...no more poop episodes. He has all his claws, but it neutered. When it's too cold (or wet) but he still thinks he needs to be out, we let him in the garage. It settles him down.

    Interestingly, I've learned that it's really only here in the US (maybe Canada, too?) that we keep cats indoors. In the UK and most of Europe, cats our mostly outdoor pets. And they live a good long time.

    I was really reluctant to let him out, though, because I've always worried about them getting smooshed. I certainly hope I ever have to regret letting him roam a bit. He seems to stay really close by, as he meets us in the driveway or comes running when we call him or shake the bag of treats.

  • debd18
    13 years ago

    I've seen nice outdoor enclosures people have built for cats and even some that are attached to the window of the house so the cat can go in and out. That seems like a good solution for a cat that is determined to be outside. Nicksmom, maybe you could install a cat door in your garage that leads to an enclosure outside for your cat. Then he would be safe and not annoy your neighbors.

  • turbocat
    13 years ago

    The horrifying thing about outside cats is that they are responsible for killing an estimated 200 million songbirds per year in the United States alone. And they are not killing them because they need the food, they are killing them for sport. So as a bird watcher I say to everyone who has an outdoor cat "Shame on you"

  • quasifish
    13 years ago

    We always had indoor/outdoor cats when I was a kid and I hated it. There were so many threats to outside cats in that area at that time- it was inevitable that an outdoor cat would be lost. I would beg my mother to keep the cats strictly indoors and she would always contend that doing so was mean. I don't know if she really thought it was inhumane to coupe cats up in the house, or if it was more about sparing her the trouble of such things as cleaning a litterbox. At any rate, I lost a lot of sleep and had a lot of heartbreak over having outdoor cats, and vowed to have indoor cats when I got older and left home. That was a long, long time ago.

    My experience has been that indoor cats are much less stressed than the indoor/outdoor cats. They don't fight, don't have to deal with territorial issues, don't get their ears all ripped up, and don't have to deal with other ends that are much worse. I think my mom, and people like her, mean well, but she was totally off the mark. I still resent her somewhat for this.

  • sam_mcgowan
    13 years ago

    Folks, face the facts - cats and dogs are descendants of wild animals and it has only been within the past few years that animal lovers have turned them into indoor play things. A lot of good dog species have been ruined by people who kept them for doing what their breed was originally developed for. Cats are hunters, and they thrive outside. Our cats are primarily inside animals but at the same time I know they really love the outdoors and truly belong outside. The problem is not cats being outdoors, the problem is cats and other animals in areas where there are cars being driven by people who could care less about them.

  • rivkadr
    13 years ago

    Cats are descended from wild animals. They are not wild animals themselves -- they are domesticated animals. As such, it behooves us, as their owners, to make the responsible decisions for them to ensure their health and safety, even if it might go against their more primal natures.

    We're descended from animals ourselves. It doesn't mean we get free reign to run around and do whatever we want.

  • scryn
    13 years ago

    I have known people that have run into a cat while driving a car and they were driving the appropriate speed and they were very upset. I cant' think of one person who wouldn't feel bad if they hit an animal with their car!

    A lot of people speed but there are cats darting out into roads all the time day and night. I am sure we have all run over something once at least. heck, I even had a deer run into my STOPPED car. I wasn't even moving.

    I am a huge animal lover and I would be horrified if I squashed someone's pet! Don't blame it on people that are driving their cars on the road (the appropriate place to be driving) blame it on the owners that let their animals wonder around. I would NEVER EVER let my dog wander around unleashed. I love him way too much. He doesn't understand what a car is and how a car can't stop in time. Only humans (adult humans at that!) understand that.

    If your cat needs to be outside then build a play pen for him or understand there may be an accident where he may not come home. You can't fault the car drivers for your cat not coming home.

  • bmmalone
    13 years ago

    my friend has 6/7 cats that are indoor/outdoor cats. After the first one was killed by a car she had a company that normally installs invisible fences for dogs install one for her cats. Works like a charm

  • loagiehoagie
    13 years ago

    Our cats are indoor cats only. That is how they were raised from kittens and they have no interest in being outside whatsoever. However I have known cats that got a taste of going out or started out life that way, and there was no way to keep them in. My first cat was like that. He was picked up in an alley and given to me. Best cat I ever had. He disappeared for two weeks one time and we were heartbroken. I still laugh thinking about him bounding down the hill around my block meowing on every step he took. I swear I could see the smile on his face. Apparently he took up with a female cat around the block and had a two week tryst! That is when he got neutered. Another time my mom called me at work frantic. Silver had gotten up on the roof across the street and couldn't get down. I left work and had to climb up and get him. I wasn't happy as heights are not my favorite thing. Anyway, that was years ago and you triggered some funny memories. By the way Silver passed away from a heart attack sitting in the window waiting for my dad to come home from work. He was a special cat. Every Christmas Eve when everyone went to bed he always went under the tree and got his wrapped present and opened it. He couldn't wait for Christmas morning! And it wasn't always catnip either. Pretty funny.

    Bobby, after the heartbreak lessens a little you might want to ask your friend if there is any way for a enclosement of some type. Obviously this is going to continue to happen and why put yourself and your kitties through that?

    Duane

  • runsnwalken
    13 years ago

    I think thats the best thing of all-if you can afford it. And if your living arrangement calls for it. However its isn't reality for a lot of people.

    Another thing too is leash training, works like a charm for keeping them safe. But then again they bug you about outside. I've stopped taking mine out on leash simply because I can't- we cant- as a family deal with them darting out the door/meowing all the time.

  • luvdogs
    13 years ago

    Yes, i consider my cats very lucky. I learned the hard way that you can't let cats run free but at the same time i believe all creatures need "fresh air and sunshine" and mental stimulation.

    My husband enclosed a large area with netting that has a cat door to the house. Any critters hunted and caught by the cats are rescued if possible but there are victims.

    All of my cats love it out there - except my b.o.r.i.n.g Persian who does very little in general.

    vic

  • petra_gw
    13 years ago

    luvdogs, would you post a picture of your enclosure, if possible? We might have to resort to something like that and I can't quite picture it. Is it a regular enclosure, but covered with netting so the cats can't run off?

  • luvdogs
    13 years ago

    Hi petra,

    i could post pics but i don't think it will show the structure well because it's quite long and has native vegetation all over which would obscure "understanding."

    So i can describe it. We have a "rec room" which has a cat door to the outside. So my husband took some 4-5 foot tall stiff fencing (we call it non-climb horse fencing) and placed it from the house way back about - well, i don't know how long it is but he told me once it encloses about maybe 5000 sq.ft. of space. We live on 20 acres. Then he bought a netting like used for the net behind home plate (cost $800) and draped it over the whole enclosure - with some overlap back down the sides to further discourage any ability to escape. We also have a gate to the enclosure in case we need to clean or find a stubborn or sick cat. There are many shrubs and some grasses in there and it's a jungle in the summer with the rains but now it's clearing out. No adult cat could get out nor do they try. A young kitten would concern me though since they might dig a little. But a young kitten probably would be too fearful to go down the ramp that goes from the cat door to the ground.

    They catch adult birds (not sure how) and mice and some larger rodents and some small snakes. They scratch their nails on the wood. The only thing i would change if i did it again is i would like it to have more height as cats like to be up, up, up.

    Hope you can visualize it better now. Any more questions, just ask. If you still want pictures, i can do that. I need the practive posting pictures anyway.


    vicky

  • alison
    13 years ago

    Since I've always lived in the inner city all my cats as an adult have been indoor cats. (Altho' I do let them out for supervised sniffing and rolling in the backyard, which seems to suffice.)

    My much younger neighbors recently moved in from the country, and don't seem to get the need to keep the cats indoors. After a teary weekend when one went missing, they decided to keep them indoors -- but that lasted only a few days. Predictably, the one they "loved best" went missing shortly after that and has never been found. Lately, I've been coming home late at night to find the "second best" cat still out at midnight -- often on very cold nights. I think they're hoping he'll disappear as well. If I can find someone who wants to take him, he may do just that. (They are very cavalier when they talk about him; can't tell if that's just the way they talk or they truely don't care.)

    Recently my uncle who lives in semi-rural Arizona visited for the weekend. He seemed surprised that the cats had to come in when we went back in the apartment. He asked: "Are they not car-smart?" I told him it wasn't them, but all the cars who weren't "cat-smart" that I was worried about.

  • petra_gw
    13 years ago

    Vicky, thanks so much for the description, I can picture it now. :o) I am going to run this by my husband, maybe we can do something like your setup on a smaller scale!

  • luvdogs
    13 years ago

    Alison - love that "cat-smart" comment - LOL.

    You know, Petra - i just went and looked at that enclosure. I just can't believe it's 5000 sq feet but it is large. My husband is an engineer but i'm going to measure it. 5000 sq feet is gigantic! It's huge, not gigantic. -LOL

  • iloveexercise
    13 years ago

    I agree with this post,but I also know how much easier it is sometimes when your cat wont stop meowing at the door to just let them go instead of keep fighting with them and telling them no.
    Only one of my cats wants to go outside.He is neutered and strictly indoors for most of his life.He got accustomed to coming out WITH US on nice days though and now meows CONSTANTLY at the door.I do my best to fight him off and tell him no,but some nights I'm just so tired and have no fight left,so I let him go.
    I would be devestated if something happend to him,of course.But I also think he is just not completely satisfied anymore being indoors.He wants more stimulation.He acts depressed and angry when we dont let him out.
    So,is it flawed logic to say that if something DOES happen to him,at least he was happy???

  • Dee1
    13 years ago

    I tried to keep my cat indoors for the first year of his life, but he was destroying the house and getting very nasty because he wanted OUT. He would see the dogs go in and out and he wanted the same privilege. I had so hoped he would be content to stay in but he wasn't. I suspect that during that first year my husband was letting him out while I was working. In fact, he confessed as much. I tried taking him (the cat) out on a leash, but that didn't work either. I think some of you judge people too harshly. That just my opinion though. Baxter will be 10 in February.

  • gajopa
    13 years ago

    My DH rescued a part Persian kitten 3 years ago. This is the first cat I've had since I was a small child. I would rather she stay inside but he is adamant that cats need to go outside and that it's cruel to make them stay in. So I spent a lot of time training her, first taking her out on a leash, then with it off staying out with her and teaching her which area of the yard I didn't want her in. Our back yard is fenced six feet or higher except for the gate that is @ 3 feet. She has never climbed the fence. In her 3 years she has accidently gotten over the fence 3 times by climbing tall shubbery and jumping down on the other side while chasing something. Each time she has sat right by the fence waiting for me to discover her. I have since had my yard man cut all the shubbery that hangs over the fence so that won't happen again. She won't go near the gate because we have taught her not too. It seems like she checks in a gazillion times a day but if she hasn't I check on her about every 30 minutes and she lets me know where she is. I agree that cats shouldn't be allowed to roam and I figure if the neighbors want a cat in their yard they will get one. I guess what I'm trying to say is that sometimes there are exceptions to the "cats should only be inside" opinion. Also, the many birds we feed are in more danger of flying into the windows than being caught by her.

  • rivkadr
    13 years ago

    If you can manage to train your cat to stay in your yard, I have no quarrel with you. Those of you that just let your cat out to wander the neighborhood -- well, that's an entirely different matter. Yes, I am judging you harshly -- what you're doing is unfair to your neighbors, and to the cat. As gajopa put it, if your neighbors wanted a cat in their yard, they would get one.

    And once the cat disappears or is hit by a car, well, then you have no one to blame but yourself. Letting the cat roam freely seems like the easy way out until something happens to your pet.

  • junebug1961
    13 years ago

    I'm with rivka. I hate seeing the neighbor's cats beneath my bird feeder and running into their waste when I'm gardening. If I wanted cats in my yard, my own two felines would be out there!

  • iloveexercise
    13 years ago

    My cat generally does not leave the yard area unless he is chasing another animal out.
    While he likes to be outside,he is a bit skiddish,so he doesnt wander all over the neighborhood.He just likes defending "HIS" territory :)

  • nicksmom
    13 years ago

    Our cat, who we recently started letting outside (at the suggestion of our vet) generally stays in our yard as well. I have seen him come running from the neighbor's house once. But generally, we shake the treat bag out the front or back door and hear his bells jingling within seconds.

  • gracie-2006
    13 years ago

    It broke my heart to hear about a friend of ours that let their cat out Halloween morning and wondered why she did not show up that evening! Halloween is a terrible night for any cat to be out! They have still not seen their poor kitty. I could just cry thinking about what might have happened to her!

  • junebug1961
    13 years ago

    Cats get run over all the time. My neighbors have all lost the first generation of cats and are on the new set. I'm sure that many of them think their cats don't leave the yard or go far. Apparently, the knowledge that the cat might end up beneath the wheels of a car isn't much of a deterrent.

  • iloveexercise
    13 years ago

    My cat is terrified of cars and wont go NEAR them,so for me that is not an issue.
    And I still believe that if he dies,at least he is dying happy instead of being shut away all his life like he is in prison or something.

  • nutbunch
    13 years ago

    So when you are home, are you in prison?

    Why would you think your cat would consider his/her home a prison? Anymore than you would.

    I wised up late in life. I let my big grey cat, Phoenix out during the day and called him home at night. When I wised up and keep him indoors only, there was a period of adjustment, then he was perfectly happy with the new arrangements.

    His food bowl was inside, his litter box, and he could sleep on the comfy bed for his cat nap. He always greeted me at the door and was all around happy.

    I think people who profess that "the cat prefers outside" really mean "I don't want to clean the litterbox everyday" or "I can't deal with a week or to of adjustment"

    I just can't think they are really in love with their cat. They just like them as long as they are convenient to them.

  • petaloid
    13 years ago

    Our three cats have always lived inside. They don't know any different, and are happy. A cat tree for climbing, window platform, toys, humans and each other to play with are part of their indoor environment.

    Outdoor cats not only risk being run over, but being injured and infected in cat fights, attacked by wild animals or dogs.

    We have become accustomed to cleaning the litter boxes. It just takes a couple of minutes a day. Well worth the time to keep our precious cats safe inside.

  • iloveexercise
    13 years ago

    "So when you are home, are you in prison?
    Why would you think your cat would consider his/her home a prison? Anymore than you would. "

    Uh, yes.If I'm at home and not allowed to leave to go anywhere,it would be like prison! I know if I'm stuck in the house bored out of my mind for more then a week I go nuts.Why should my cat feel any different? He gets DEPRESSED when he is not allowed out and wont do anything but sleep.That for me is enough evidence!

  • iloveexercise
    13 years ago

    Also,I do not let my cat out so I dont have to clean his litter box and I think that is a very arrogant statement.

    He doesnt go to the bathroom outside! He is only out for an hour or so and comes back inside.He has beautiful soft fur and is a very healthy weight and is well taken care of.

    I love my cat with all my heart and for you to try to say I dont is also ARROGANT and untrue! I love him enough to not treat him like he is just a pet to be chained inside for my pleasure.But to see he also needs stimulation and has feelings just like I do!

    Sometimes I think it's people like YOU who think they know what they are talking about getting on their soap boxes when they dont! Not everyone is the same!!!
    I said I dont think cats should wander all over the neighborhood.I said mine stays on the front porch and I keep an eye on him while he is out there.So dont presume you know everything about everyone when you dont!

  • rivkadr
    13 years ago

    I said mine stays on the front porch and I keep an eye on him while he is out there.

    My cat generally does not leave the yard area unless he is chasing another animal out.

    So which is it?

    The reality is, unless you're out there with your cat 100% of the time, you can't guarantee that it won't leave your yard, that it won't chase after another animal, and that it won't run into the street. The notion that you have that "at least my cat will die happy" if it gets run over by a car is mind boggling, to say the least.

  • iloveexercise
    13 years ago

    "I said mine stays on the front porch and I keep an eye on him while he is out there.
    My cat generally does not leave the yard area unless he is chasing another animal out. "

    Well,for me the front porch is the yard area because I live in an apartment smart @ss.

    "The notion that you have that "at least my cat will die happy" if it gets run over by a car is mind boggling, to say the least. "

    Well,there are thousands of people who let their pets out and dont even keep an eye on them.So why dont you get off my back and go judge someone else.
    My cat that goes out is 9 by the way,so he has lived a pretty good long healthy life!!!

  • carmen_grower_2007
    13 years ago

    Well, I think everybody has an opinion on this and I also think everybody is right. Indoor cats that are never out are very happy with the life they know. Indoor/outdoor cats would never be happy with completely one or the other. Outdoor and feral cats are living with what they know and you would have a hard time bringing one inside.

    A feral cat has an average lifespan of just over a year and that is sad, but they are wild animals. If they live and mature outdoors, the predators loose the advantage. My two were feral kittens that we found with their other two litter mates and got them used to us. Two of them got taken in the night when they were well under a year old and the two remaining come inside our guest house to eat every day and spend the night when it is too cold for them to want to stay outdoors.

    It is completely up to them and they are happy kitties. (yes from a former post I told you they both have loose stools right now - I'm told it is probably parasites and comes with the territory for cats that hunt for lots of their food.) Even with that, they are extremely loving, healthy with shiny coats.

  • joepyeweed
    13 years ago

    I think cats should be allowed to go outdoors just like dogs do... however neither cats or dogs should be allowed to roam uncontained and unsupervised.

  • katsmah
    13 years ago

    Someone in my neighborhood used to have a sweet black and white cat that they let out. This cat would occasionally come to my house and sit outside my screened in porch when my cat was on the porch. My street is off a busy road and I worried that this cat was running across the road. Finally, I decided that next time I saw this cat in front of my house (who didn't have a collar), I was going to take her in. The next day my daughter came home in tears, the sweet little cat had been hit by a car and was dead on the side of the main road.

  • carmen_grower_2007
    13 years ago

    Joypyeweed: Don't make blanket statements like that. Many of us live on farms and acreage away from people/cars/trains/AND CRIME. It is a great life and especially for pets and people who can roam and enjoy the freedom and solitude. The closest road to us has approximately 1.5 cars using it every two days. Sometimes one of those cars is ours.

    Yes, all wildlife has its predators but that is the price of freedom.

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