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If you love your cat, keep her inside

Posted by at 5:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (54)


If you love your cat, keep her inside by Guest BloggerI recently read a heartbreaking story about a cat named Hadley who had been deliberately set on fire. Hadley suffered painful third-degree burns on his face, ears, neck, back and legs. A photo in a Michigan newspaper shows Hadley’s blackened ears, which vets say will probably fall off because they are so badly burned. The orange-and-white tabby is also missing half his whiskers, and much of his fur will likely never grow back. After the attack, Hadley’s distraught guardians found him crouched in fear outside their home.

Bad things happen to cats who are left to wander outside on their own. While many people mistakenly believe that their cats “need” to go outside to be happy, if you want your feline friend to live a long, healthy life, the best thing you can do is keep her safely inside with you.

What happened to Hadley is far from an isolated incident. Random acts of cruelty are common, and the more than 300 new cruelty cases that PETA hears about every week mostly involve animals who were victimized after they were left outside unattended. In June, cat guardians in two suburban Florida neighborhoods were shocked when their beloved companions began turning up dead and mutilated. Many of the cats had been gutted and skinned. Some were missing limbs. At least 19 cats were killed before police charged a local teen with the crimes.

Outside cats have been beaten, kicked, hanged and shot with arrows. Some are stolen and sold for use in hideous animal experiments. Others are used as bait in dogfighting.

Even if your kitty never encounters a person with cruel intentions, there are plenty of other outdoor dangers. Cats left outside may be hit by cars, poisoned by antifreeze or pesticides from neighbors’ lawns or attacked by a dog or wild animal. Last year, I adopted a 5-year-old former stray from a local Siamese cat rescue group. When Mochi was first picked up by local animal control officers, he had a nasty wound on one of his back legs that had most likely come from a dog attack. To this day, Mochi’s leg gives him trouble, and he sometimes stumbles when he tries to run or jump.

Cats allowed to roam outdoors are also much more likely to contract devastating diseases such as feline leukemia, feline AIDS (FIV) and feline infectious peritonitis (FIP). Or they become infected with tapeworms, Giardia and other parasites. Mochi had roundworms when I adopted him – which I discovered when he unceremoniously deposited one on my bedroom rug. Trust me, you don’t want to see your cat hacking up a still-wiggling, 3-inch-long worm.

I do understand why some cat guardians are tempted to let their cats go outside. Mochi has lived with me for more than a year now, and he still occasionally sits in front of the door and howls – in that special way that only Siamese cats can – hoping to be let out. But I simply remind him that there is no dinner bowl outside (when animal control found him, he was little more than skin and bones) and distract him with the Cat Charmer or a toy mouse. He soon forgets all about going out. By setting aside daily “kitty quality time” to play with your cat and providing lots of diversions – including access to windows, perches, catnip gardens, scratching posts and tons of toys – you can keep your cat purrfectly content in your home.

So, please, if you care about your kitty, help him or her live to a ripe old age in the safety and security of the great indoors. And if you ever are tempted to let your cat go outside unsupervised, just think of poor Hadley and his burned ears. Today’s concrete jungles are simply no place for our feline friends.

Paula Moore is a research specialist for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

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    Laura says...

    September 25th, 2009, 12:11 pm

    Years ago, I learned this lesson the hard way. My cat got hit by a car and his jaw was broken. He had to have it wired shut. I had to blend his food and put it into a syringe and pump it into his mouth thru the wires. He was completely miserable. When the wires came off, a month later, the jaw was not healed, and had to be rewired. Needless to say, he never went outside again. And neither did my other cat.

    Please don’t ever let your cats outside, unless you are with them to supervise. Animals are as vulnerable as children, and I am sure you wouldn’t let your 2-year old child roam the streets unattended. Give them one or two window seats to enjoy the view, and if they howl, just ignore it. They will be safe indoors, and as their guardians that is our responsibility, to keep our companion animals safe from harm. I have never forgiven myself for being so stupid as to let my cats roam outdoors. Don’t make the same mistake I did.

    Nicole says...

    September 25th, 2009, 12:32 pm

    People are Sick and if keeping your cat safe inside the house is the only way, then so be it!

    Kim says...

    September 25th, 2009, 1:17 pm

    I wish I could get my one cat to stay inside but he is just so insistent about going out. He is happy to hang around the yard or the yard next door, and sticks very close to home. I do worry about him, but he is so much happier this way I don’t have the heart to cut him off from it. The biggest problem is his hunting. He does bring home the occasional bird which I feel bad about, but know it is in his nature to do so as a cat.

    jade says...

    September 25th, 2009, 1:50 pm

    those stroy scare the s!!t out of me and thats exactly why none of my precious are allowd to go out, better safe than sorry!

    Gretchen Manzer says...

    September 25th, 2009, 2:17 pm

    I love Peta, don’t get me wrong. I am an avid supporter of animal rights. I am however, dissapointed and confused on petas opinion that cats should remain indoors. Sure they will live longer if they never go out…who wouldn’t. It’s about quality of life, not how many years you live. Children & dogs get hit by cars and kidnapped and all sorts of horrible things but we would never think about forbidding them to go outside! Cats should be no different. The same goes with every animal. Each living things deserves the right to explore nature and experience the sun, wind and all the wonderous elements of our world.

    Aleata Illusion says...

    September 25th, 2009, 4:39 pm

    This kind of stuff makes me so mad!That people are actually cruel enough to catch a defenseless animal on fire for kicks.People like that,if caught,should be locked up!

    Angela says...

    September 25th, 2009, 5:50 pm

    My 1 yr ols cat Nikki sneaks outside sometimes when we open the door. Sometimes, we cant get her back in! We try but she runs and stays out for a while, but she always comes back. I dont want her outside for too long where I cant see her, but sometimes she goes and comes back the next morning. I hate when she does that, but I dunno how to get her back sometimes cause even food and milk wont get her back in when shes determined to stay outside for a while. I keep a very close eye on her to make sure she doesnt sneak out when we open the door, but she can be sneaky. I agree with cats should stay inside, they should be allowed to go outside if someone does watch them and they come back after a few minutes, but my my cat nikki isnt like that, so we try to always keep her inside.

    Julia says...

    September 25th, 2009, 5:55 pm

    I cannot agree with the advice to keep cats indoors for their whole lives. What kind of life would it be, never to experience the fresh air, sun, rain and wind of planet Earth? Never to meet any other cats or living creatures, apart from the ones who confine you? Never to play, learn or have adventures of your own choice? Never to have privacy for your bodily functions? Those who honestly feel that their neighbourhood is too dangerous for a cat can make the choice not to own a cat and to support a cat shelter instead.

    Jasmine says...

    September 25th, 2009, 7:22 pm

    Gretchen, I have to agree with PETA on this. Cats are safer indoors. If a cat is used to be outside, it will love being outside, if it is not used to it, it won’t enjoy it. Cats can (and do) live a happy life indoors. I have had many cats for years. Some loved the outdoors, some would just go outside “to use the toilettes” and immediately go back inside. One of my cats didn’t like being at home… one day a neighbour found her (not so far from home but out of sight for us) hung on a wire fence. She was probably hung for several hours, dehydrated, weak, tired, scared and injured. Maybe someone did it to her, maybe someone chased after her, maybe she was hit by a car and ran and tried to get over the fence and injured herself… no matter what the reason is, she chould have died. We were lucky enough that the neighbour saw her, early in the morning. After she recovered (her leg will never be fully recovered, it is now a bit distorted, she lost a finger and she has a limp) I took her to my flat in town, where she stays indoors all the time. She is used to it now, she doesn’t even care what’s going on outside. She is purrfectly content indoors. And I know she is safe.

    Mrs. Joan Squires says...

    September 25th, 2009, 9:33 pm

    I have always had cats in my life. Presently, I share my home with 4
    felines that were rescued from a hoarder 5 years ago. I lived in a “safe”
    residential area in Mississippi from ’76 to 2000 and during that time took
    in countless strays. These felines were in and out of the house at will and
    were never harmed by people. However, a cat with feline immune deficiency came along and 2 of the cats were infected and had to be euthanized. I was heart sick and when I left that area and moved to California in 2000 I kept my cats inside where they were safe. One cat got out of the house unnoticed when I had company and never was found. We have coyotes in the area and that was probably his ill fated demise.
    The four cats that share my home now are “house cats” and very happy.
    I am very protective of them and their safety and quality of life are a very
    high priority with me. They have a “cat tree” and “cat bench”, each at a
    window for bird watching. I also love the birds and am protective of them.

    Jamie Rivet says...

    September 26th, 2009, 12:30 am

    I volunteer at Toronto Wildlife and I have to add a missing part to this discussion: cats kill hundreds of millions of wild animals every year. They kill threatened species of birds, squirrels and rabbits that have a nest of young to raise, mice and chipmunks… We spend an incredible amount of time and effort and money at Toronto Wildlife trying to rehab animals after cat attacks. Here is our website specific to this issue:
    http://www.keepanimalssafe.ca/
    It is the cat’s nature to kill, but it is not supposed to be in the wild in the first place. The only reason this (completely avoidable) tragedy is occuring is because of irresponsible people who keep cats.
    If you give a damn about animals at all, then do not let your cat out.
    Remember that cats often wound an animal and “play” with the struggling victim for many hours. If you would not torture an animal for extended periods, then why let your cat do it?

    Mitchell Anne-Marie says...

    September 26th, 2009, 1:01 am

    I live in France and a horrible thing happened, a few weeks ago, in the South. A dog has been abandonned by his masters on the road. He was so afraid that he looked for humans (I don’t know any longer what this word means) to keep him company. Unfortunately, he came across two teenagers who set him ablaze. People were so shocked (TV presenters, actors such as Alain Delon, Zidane, our most famous footballer, and many anonymous people) that the teenagers were tried in the presence of the dog, their victim. Thanks for everything you do for the animals! Anne-Marie Mitchell

    april says...

    September 26th, 2009, 9:19 am

    I was letting my cat out and she got a nasty respiratory infection and fleas. She is now inside!! One day, right before I let her out, I saw some neighborhood bad kids being mean to a feral cat and yelled at them. George stayed inside more after that, too. She does walk on her leash in the yard, so I will stick to that, even if it looks funny to the neighbors.

    jeanne says...

    September 26th, 2009, 12:27 pm

    Life is dangerous… perhaps we should lock everyone up…
    oh, and people trip on things… perhaps we should shackle them so they can’t be hurt themself…
    and look around at all the obese people with high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes… perhaps we should muzzle them and control their food intake…
    and all those crazy extremists who indulge in sports, omigod!… they should be imprisoned… who do they think they are putting demands on our medical system when they are injured… just lock ‘em up.

    I ask… where does that control freakiness end?

    Your suggestion that an animal’s life is safer is not for the sake of the cat’s quality of life… but for your own. An indoor/outdoor cat is more independent, is exposed to more vermin and parasites and generally gets dirtier. Therefore they require more work and vigilance on the part of the owner.

    News flash… unless you undertake a routine parasitic cleansing, you also are loaded with parasites… whether you have pets or not.
    I routinely give an herbal parasite formula to myself and my cats. …and when my cats come in from outdoors… their coat is sprayed with a mixture containing Dr. Bronner’s eucalyptus soap, neem oil, and cedar oil… and then are brushed before they can distribute leaves and dust all over the house.

    How would you like it if your spouse/parent/roommate decided you are at risk… so kept you locked up in a gilded cage? …remember its for your own good. …its a jungle out there.

    miriam says...

    September 26th, 2009, 5:00 pm

    I have 12 cats and they all live inside with me in a great room filled with cat trees clean litter boxes fresh water and premium felline food! I have a big fan, a/c and two big windows overlooking a golf course and a screened patio they go out in for 2 hrs a day. They only had vaccines when babies and never ever have been sick since and its been 9 yrs. They are all wonderful and sweet and have the best life and thats the way it should be!

    Georgia says...

    September 26th, 2009, 5:24 pm

    I agree with Gretchen. My cat loves lying in the grass, rolling in the dirt, and finding a nice place to sleep under the bushes. I would hate to be locked up indoors all day, and I know my cat would too. For my own life, I would rather risk being hit by a car etc, than never leaving the house. I know how much better I feel when I’m outside, amongst nature, and don’t think I could take that away from any animal.

    That being said, I’m sure some cats prefer to stay inside, or are content with an outdoor enclosure, but I think we each need to decide for ourselves what is best for each of our individual animals, based on their unique personalities.

    MARCIA HANNA says...

    September 26th, 2009, 6:21 pm

    WHY DO I LOVE, CARE AND RESPECT ANIMALS MORE THAN PEOPLE???? ACTUALLY I DO NOT CARE FOR PEOPLE AT ALL, BUT I DO LOVE ANIMALS WITH ALLK MY HEARTH

    Bill says...

    September 26th, 2009, 8:58 pm

    Keeping cats indoors isn’t just for their own health. There are 40 million pet cats allowed to roam free in the US. There’s at least that many stray and feral cats. These free-roaming cats kill more than one billion wild animals per year. These include small mammals, reptiles, amphibians, and hundreds of millions of birds. Cats even learn to wait by hummingbird feeders to kill hummingbirds.

    Even well-fed cats and cats wearing bells kill. Most cats kill. It’s a natural instinct. So if you care about animals, including our wild neighbors, please either keep your cats indoors or only allow them outside on a leash or under very close and constant supervision. But by all means don’t allow cats to roam free. Leash laws shouldn’t just be for dogs.

    Amanda says...

    September 26th, 2009, 10:44 pm

    Well said Jamie. I understand why some people think kitty has a right to be outside, but you and your kitty’s rights end where the rights of other animals (birds, small wild mammals, neighbors’ animals who could easily be stressed by their presence in their territory) as well as humans who have a right to be free from your animals poop and presence if they wish. We domesticated them, and it’s downright unfair and wrong to unleash a non-native predator on wild animals with few places left to go and who have a right to be there. If you must let your cat out, please have the common decency to take him or her on a leash or at least build an enclosure that will keep him out of danger and others’ yards.

    Sherri says...

    September 26th, 2009, 11:34 pm

    Vinny, cat, gets out everyday, on leash, for about 2 hours. We would never leave our family unattended. We have a Vinny and a Joey – we think common sense and caring is not so common.

    Brandy says...

    September 27th, 2009, 10:51 pm

    I feel OK about letting my kitties outside. We have a very high fenced in yard and I am always up to date on their vaccinations for FIV disease and rabies, plus I give them Revolution to fight disease against mosquitos, fleas, and ticks. One of my cats goes outside to use the bathroom just like a dog would, in the morning and when I get home and again after dinner! He also enjoys just laying on the furniture of our back porch in the afternoon. I wouldn’t allow them to leave our backyard ever, and I check up on them just as if they are my children. One is 7 and the other is 8.

    Sharon says...

    September 28th, 2009, 10:59 am

    I have to agree with Gretchen. I am also a PETA supporter and have been for many years. I took in a stray about one year ago and had all the necessary shots and had him neutered. I have a 12 foot slider and he sits there pawing at the glass.I was going to keep him as an indoor cat –but–I can’t stand to see him long to be out back in the garden. I let him out daily and worry each time. To me, it’s more important that he “enjoys” his time out in the sun,chasing butterflies, then cooped up in the house–looking at the outdoors. I have my fingers crossed that he will be fine.

    Michael says...

    September 28th, 2009, 7:26 pm

    I just cannot believe that humans have the right to take freedom away from an animal that has no say in the matter. What could be more fundametally essential and priceless than the sun, a fresh breeze, the feeling of the grass and the rain etc? It is absolutely heartbreaking that animals get hurt outdoors but I personally would prefer a short sweet life than a long one filled with longing and loneliness. Let’s not forget that many indoor cats are also left alone all day long. Unlike humans they cannot pick up the phone to call a friend, read a book or watch television. I can’t imagine the boredom they endure. My family took in a cat that was an indoor one and she took a little time getting used to the outdoors. Her curiosity got the better of her and before long she would not come back inside. And she became a completely different cat. She gained weight and muscle, stopped crying all the time and became confident and feisty. Nothing makes me more sad than to see a cat sitting in the window longing to be free. It’s just wrong. It isn’t any different than seeing a dog chained outdoors. There is nothing more important than freedom. But of course everyone should exercise common sense. Don’t let a cat out if you live by the freeway etc.

    Michael says...

    September 28th, 2009, 8:11 pm

    I must add something else. Imagine that a herd of elephants let’s say, found you as an abandoned baby. They adopt you and take care of you. They tickle your belly and feed you gourmet food. They buy you expensive clothes and jewellery and even build you a bed made of gold. Of course they keep you indoors just to be safe. As wonderful as they treat you, can you even for one millisecond imagine never, ever seeing or talking to or touching another human being for as long as you live? That would be insane.

    kerry says...

    September 29th, 2009, 2:58 pm

    If you adopt old lazy kitties or baby kitties who have never been exposed to the outside world, i have found its easy to keep them indoors. its definitely the ideal situation, but i think some people who work full time and are gone long hours must have doggy doors to let their doggies go out into fenced yards. if this is the case, there is no way to keep cats indoors and still let the doggies go in and out. so sometimes its better to adopt kitties that are facing certain death at the shelter and let them take their chances with an indoor/outdoor life The really important thing is that any cats that are let outdoors ( or might escape outdoors ) are spayed and neutered. I think more of us than admit it have been adopted by stray cats who refuse to come indoors at all. we need to be sure that these cats are spayed and neutered.

    Danielle says...

    October 1st, 2009, 9:24 am

    I just wanted to add that very recently a cat in Philly was found wrapped in duct tape everywhere but his head…thank god he was saved and is doing well and was adopted! I can’t even imagine how someone could do that to a helpless animal…they found the guy who did it though and he’s only 19 years old! what is this world coming to?????

    Kathy M. says...

    October 1st, 2009, 5:17 pm

    People need to take responsibility and keep their cats indoors. Even if the cat wants outside, they will adjust. Talk with your veterinarian if you need help with doing so. It is overwhelmingly in their best interest to not be outdoors. Quality of life? Being loved and away from harm in your home.

    Brad King says...

    October 1st, 2009, 7:08 pm

    Cats are natural wild carnivores. They are not a domesticated species (yet) and thankfully (unlike dogs) are not incapable of feeding (and to a certain extent) defending themselves.

    There are elements of our society that are a danger to animals and people. We don’t suggest that people shouldn’t go outside because of the dangers that may be lurking, so why do it with an animal whose natural environment is sitting in a tree and not on your sofa?

    In fact, the treatment that these animals get in domestic homes is what makes them so vulnerable to attack outside. They have been taught to think that people are friendly and will play with them or provide them with treats, whereas the reality is that they should be terrified of us.

    More than half of all cats will be euthanised as un-wanted, run over by a car, tortured by a sick person or picked up for a lab because they don’t know that the best thing to do when they see a human is run away.

    We need to start returning all species to their natural habitat, and that is not, my friend, your sofa.

    Linda Salvatore says...

    October 1st, 2009, 11:27 pm

    I agree with everyone who says to keep your kitties inside. There are so many sick people who harm animals. Why would you want to subject your cats to any of that??? I found a stray that ended up having fiv and when I took him into the vet he told me that he sees this often. He also sees alot of the cats that are left outside are ending up with cancer of the mouth because of the pesticides in the grass. I have three cats and would never endanger their lives by letting them go out no matter how much they cry at the door. Set up perches at the window and they will be happy with that. PLEASE KEEP YOUR CATS INSIDE!!!!!!!!

    Amen Sigala says...

    October 1st, 2009, 11:47 pm

    Thk u for this news…it is horrible this cruelity is still being done!!!
    I
    t is actualy very important like any living being to have fresh air & walks. So it is best to walk one’s cat just like everyone walks their dogs. I have seen many cat owners do this & is a solution in keeping one’s cat safe & healthy, as well as one’s self. We need walks too….=0)
    Love & Peace to everyone who has suffered such loss and suffering & to their beloved cats.

    Paul W. says...

    October 2nd, 2009, 3:09 am

    I can’t agree with people saying that cats should be free to “explore” nature, etc. If you decided to keep a cat, then it must completely different from a wild cat. Just like birds: would you open a cage to let your bird fly for a while in the open air? Sorry, it is my opinion that neither cats nor dogs should be allowed to go outside alone and come back as they please. Cats hunt. So do some dogs. There are many other problems related to it. We should go out for a walk with them but that’s it.
    And regarding people who commit acts of cruelty – they should be persecuted and sentenced in a same way as if they committed such crime on another human. I still don’t see any reason why should there be a difference in law. If he set a cat on fire, I’m sure he would love to set your kid on fire, too, but he is simply too afraid of the law. That’s how murderers grow – they start on animals.

    Thanh Binh Nguyen says...

    October 2nd, 2009, 3:33 am

    Have anyone came to VietNam before? If you here, you can see many many cat. And they are cute (of course) But beside that, people very cruel to them. Hadley is a lucky cat, cause she still alive. Here, bad people can eat cat like normal. That why I can’t have a cat. All my cat before have the same way to say goodbye to me: catnapped. Finish. So I don’t want to raise anymore cat until I have time to take care of it. I’m in class 9, student :D

    Carly says...

    October 2nd, 2009, 6:01 am

    I agree that cats should be kept inside but i also know that they have a very inquisitive nature and they will pine to get out. There are some horrible individuals in this world that hurt animals and, in horrific cases like this, set them on fire. We should all try and keep our pets safe.

    Lisa says...

    October 2nd, 2009, 10:10 am

    What is the point of having a cat if you are going to keep him imprisoned? Just to keep yourself happy? I think it is very cruel to imprison an animal. Yes there are risks out there, but we all take risks every single day (inside and outside our homes). If you kept a child locked inside for the entirety of their lives it would be illegal. If you do not live in an area where it is safe to let the cat outside and live their natural lives then do not get a cat, it is selfish.

    gloria says...

    October 2nd, 2009, 1:25 pm

    I donot know if this will help, but in certain situations like mine …I feed stray cats ouside because I have 2 dogs who hate cats…They are very street smart, the cats…I have put a collar on them that has a bell and is made so that cat can’t get choked or tangled up on something… I really feel sorry for abanded animals…My dogs were abanded also…

    Bill says...

    October 3rd, 2009, 10:29 am

    Modern housecats are not wild animals that can be set free. For thousands of years they’ve been domesticated and selectively bred. They are no longer like their wild predecessors. One side effect of this is most cats kill for pleasure, even when well fed. Setting them free upsets the balance of nature and results in the death of countless wild animals (including endangered species). Bells on collars don’t prevent this. Most parks, wildlife refuges, and other natural areas are overrun by feral, abandoned, and free-roaming pet cats. A sofa is more suitable habitat than the outdoors and most outdoor cats can learn to be happy indoor cats. Allowing cats to roam free and kill wildlife is something no animal rights person or responsible cat owner should do any more than a responsible parent would let a child play in traffic or shoot birds for fun. Wild animals have rights too.

    Amanda says...

    October 4th, 2009, 5:56 pm

    Brad King, housecats are NOT wild animals. I suggest you check your sources.

    Lisa says...

    October 5th, 2009, 7:07 pm

    I agree there are some areas where a cat is better off inside (cities, extreme cold climates) but listing off a bunch of extremely heartbreaking senerios is not enough to keep my cat inside. People are tortured, raped, murdered, exploited and susceptible of catching many incurable diseases but I would never tell someone the best way to fix these problems is to “stay inside”
    My cat Eva who I rescued from the SPCA loves the outdoors she rarely leaves the yard although she is very shy and it has taken her 2 and a half years to feel comfortable going outside I would never take that away from her. I have lost several cats to either cars or wildlife but I think a cat just like us no matter how many possibilties of failure deserve the chance to see the world, to feel the grass on their paws to run free………even if it is just for a moment!
    I would rather live one day free than a 1000 incaptivity

    Jennie says...

    October 7th, 2009, 12:13 am

    There is more to consider here than some people’s assumptions about how domestic cats are most happy. Over half of North America’s migratory songbirds are in decline, from habitat loss, pesticides, radio towers, and predation by domestic cats. These birds already had native predators, bad weather, sudden famines, and outbreaks of disease to contend with, without all the pressures on their populations that humans have added. When a domestic cat kills a bird, that is NOT “natural”- it’s an extention of a human killing a bird. How someone who claims they love animals thinks that their idea about a cat’s “quality time” killing birds justifies their own irresponsibility as an owner, is beyond me. Frankly, I’m sick of other people’s cats coming in my yard and killing small animals that I care for in my backyard. Don’t bunnies and small turtles deserve quality of life? They are part of someone’s family, too.

    B says...

    October 22nd, 2009, 7:46 pm

    Ok, I see both sides on this. In fact there are two kitties in our house. One, we took in only weeks old and all she knows is our house. The other, I took in months old as a stray. That cat has refused to ever be home bound. It always found a way to escape no matter how hard I tried to keep him in. I finally gave up after a couple years and he is now allowed out during the day. Never at night though cuz there are coyotes and owls where I live.

    Andrew says...

    December 6th, 2009, 9:01 am

    This is not a black-and-white argument. While these are very heart-wrenching stories of what can happen to cats let outdoors, many prominent cat behaviorists and psychologists argue that cats trapped indoors are not living a quality life. They are hunters and explorers, something that most homes just don’t offer much of. Furthermore, studies show that indoor cats can suffer from diseases such as diabetes that result from too little activity and exercise.

    You can have cats that are indoors from birth, and they will still sit in the window and watch longingly outdoors. How would this be if it weren’t in their genes to be out there? And of course, if a cat were an outdoor cat to begin with, she knows too well how enjoyable it is out there.

    So, while I understand this protective urge we have (I’ve had two indoor-only cats), I’m not sure it’s a 100% case that pet cats should ALWAYS be indoors. It’s more rational to consider the totality of the situation — if I lived on a farm or in a rural area, then maybe I’d let the cat out, but in a busy urban environment I wouldn’t.

    Lastly, this article also unwittingly supports the misconception that cats are lone creatures. Humans too often think because cats are low-maintenance they can be left alone for long periods of time or need little interaction. In nature, cats live in colonies; so while they hunt alone (unlike dogs), they aren’t solitary creatures. Thus, a cat trapped indoors alone all day on a regular basis is not necessarily better off than one that’s let outside. Sure, he’s alive, but at what quality of life?

    So, this article would be more complete and accurate if it addressed the totality of a person’s situation — size of the cat’s indoor home, whether other cats are in that home, how often the human is home, how much activity and stimulation the cat(s) get, and what are the precise dangers outdoors.

    If you follow this article and keep your cat indoors, make sure she has plenty of stimulating toys and ways to climb (and change them around to keep interest), consider getting a companion cat, and be sure to keep her active (like chasing a laser-pointer toy or remote-control “mouse”).

    Charla says...

    December 12th, 2009, 2:39 pm

    Cats confined to the house, birds locked in a cage, dogs on a chain, turtles in a box, fish in a bowl, lions in a zoo. Oh how we humans like to reign over the animal world.
    Can we not care for an animal without demanding complete control.

    Bill says...

    December 13th, 2009, 7:14 pm

    Free-roaming cats in the US kill billions of wild birds, chipmunks, frogs, and other wildlife every year. Domesticated cats kill out of instinct, not out of hunger. So never allow cats outside unattended or off a leash. Cats kept indoors can be happy and healthy. I see too many cats stalking wildlife and being a naturalist I root for the wildlife whether it be the innocent victims that fall prey to cats or the predators that stop cats from their wasteful killing. We don’t allow our dogs to roam free. We shouldn’t let cats either. I do care for animals, especially the innocent victims of irresponsible pet owners who let their pets run free.

    Erin says...

    January 9th, 2010, 11:35 pm

    I see where you are coming from, but it’s like how people release undomesticated animals back into the wild. If you take away their happiness and natural envirnonment then they have a long but uneventful and mourning life. If your cat likes the indoors thenn so be it, but if your cat likes to play outside for a little while then that should be fine too, as long as you are careful and check on him/her.

    Bita says...

    February 11th, 2010, 5:43 pm

    Suffer of Persian cats:

    I’m not really sure if we have the right to limit cats from going out or not.It’s the hard decision and it looks like the one that parents make for limiting their teens from going to some places. But I agree that those happenings are extremely sad.

    I live in Iran(Persia) and I love cats more than any other animal. U can’t imagine how miserable are these beautiful Persian cats here.Most of the people hate them and look at them like an enemy of their health and tidiness.They even don’t let them eat the rubbishes because they don’t want their alley dirty. In some near alleys I saw 3 cats that had cutted tails which means some evil children are living there.
    I love them anyway and I know some other people who care. I try to feed some of them anytime that I can but it’s not enough and my family limitations doesn’t let me to take them home and do more.
    You know that there are several problems in Iran for people that don’t let them think about animals!
    I appreciate your job anyway.
    pardon my poor English.

    Gillian says...

    April 7th, 2010, 11:46 am

    This topic really truly gets to me. PETA are fighting for the freedom of animals, well supposed to be, yet you are quite happy to keep cats indoors all day where they can stare outside, seeing what they are missing out on.
    Elephants you are trying to keep in the wild are being shot by poachers just like some cats are harmed by humans as well. Looking at it in that respect it’s as if those elephants would be safer locked up too!
    All animals should have a life of freedom, animals should not be kept in zoos, aquariums etc, and cats should not be continually kept indoors.

    joy says...

    April 22nd, 2010, 3:44 pm

    Well……the cats being outside can be a real burden for the neighbor. I have a neighbor that has 4 cats that are out regularly in the small apartment complex. I live in a townhouse and regularly have to fight to get in the door without a cat coming in as well. On several occassions a cat has come in and not noticed until later when i returned home, its been running wild in my home with my dog. My place is a mess at this point. 2 of the cats will hang in the tree at my back door teasing my dog, while another is in my front flowerbed deflowering or watering it. It smells, and I cant leave my window open. My dog barks at these cats and my cat loving neighbor thinks i need to train my dog not to bark as her cats are just doing their “cat” thing. I actually want my dog to bark and warn me of someone or something outside, this is not a matter of training my dog, its a matter of courtesy of being a friendly neighbor. While she Loves her cats,I truely love and enjoy my flowers and landscaping as well as peacefully watching tv without my dog barking because there are 4 cats wandering next to the townhouse. These cats even get into my car, on several occassions i’ve opened the car do just to be suprised by an anxious cat wanting out! I think there needs to be some type of limits when it comes to being a responsible pet owner. Just because you own a cat or several and they like to be outside, doesn’t mean the rest of the apartments also need to live with these cats and the destruction that they cause.

    Heather M says...

    July 30th, 2010, 3:07 am

    It boggles my mind that anyone is saying cats should be free to roam around. I hate you people. Yep. I hate you.

    You’re crying about the cat not having a choice to be stuck inside. How do you know that the cat would choose to go out if it knew that some stupid kid was likely to torture it? You can’t say you’re giving them the choice when they have no idea what they’re up against. It is likely the cat would want to stay inside. Unfortunately, you can’t tell them this. You have to take responsibility and make the choice for them. The same way people do for, oh, I don’t know, children? Morons crying about how we don’t do this to people. Um, yes we do! We don’t let children just wander off on their own because we realize they could get hurt, lost, etc. It’s the same as a child, not an adult person.

    If you want to let your cats have some fresh air and sun (laughing at the dumb a** that said rain, as if cats looooove the rain) then once again do the responsible thing and buy a harness, a long leash, and have somewhere safe and secure where the leash can be attached, be it a fence or a large metal screw that is put into the ground to which the leash can be attached. Make sure they have food and water available, and keep an eye on them.

    If a person kept having children who died under the age of five due to letting their toddlers run around unsupervised outside you would all be furious, would you not?

    I see your cat wandering around outside, I take him/her to the SPCA so that you can pay to get him/her back. I’ll do this until you learn.

    nancy says...

    December 20th, 2010, 12:05 am

    My neighbors let their cat wander outside. I play with her in our yard and she meows at our door for an hour after I need to go back inside. They rescued her. She was on the street and pregnant. She showed up on their door. I met her after she had her babies and the babies were gone. Anyway, I would like her to be inside but they think she needs to go outside. If I had a cat there’s no way the cat would be outside. It’s negligent. I do think indoor cats need a lot of toys and fun things to do. Even simple things like a box can be used as a new toy for a short time until they move on.

    nancy says...

    December 20th, 2010, 12:08 am

    Heather-I completely agree. Cats don’t know the things that could happen to them outside. That’s the responsibility of the people. Would we let a toddler make his or her own decision about wandering when they don’t know the dangers? It’s the same responsibility. It’s sad.

    Suzanne says...

    March 19th, 2012, 12:12 pm

    The solution we came up with is it to wake Wickett on long, leashed walks in an H-frame harness. My walks with him are fairly conservative, but my friend Doug the pro dogwalker has more confidence and lets him walk the tops of eight-foot fences. I don’t know why more people don’t leash-train their cats.

    Wickett is a rescued Bengal, and his tree-dwelling ancestry really shines through. He’s up for it unless the temperature gets below freezing–and while he usually wants to be out for longer, he also enjoys the experience of scampering over his own threshold when we return.

    I wish we could be sure he’d walk along with us if off leash–which he tends to do if you casually drop the leash for a second, knowing you can grab it if needed. He hasn’t bolted, but I don’t want to risk it.

    Another good thing about this is that he now knows where he lives, so if he escapes by accident (unlikely, since I’m superparanoid about it), he will probably explore his territory and come home. His territory as he sees it is mostly our alley and our city block–he doesn’t feel the need to really roam.

    And walking a cool leashed cat is a nice advertisement for things feline. Tough, macho young men on the block fall in love with him. That may inspire them to adopt a cat, or to intervene and stop animal cruelty if they see it.

    Darren says...

    January 22nd, 2013, 9:02 pm

    I don’t think people who do this stuff should be ‘locked up’ – I think they should have the exact same thing done to them that they did to the animal (I know this would never happen but it should) – Also about human rights – I would say they lost the right to call themselves human the moment they do something like this. – oh if only I was in charge – that is exactly what id do to the evil ‘people’ – and I use ‘people’ very very loosly.

    Cooper says...

    February 5th, 2013, 8:29 pm

    Cats allowed outside are suffering horrible terrible deaths and exposed to every animal abuser around.

    Cats are pleased and happy to be indoors only. Give them some great window perches, great cat furniture, toys, play with them, and build a screened outdoor enclosure or screen a deck if you really need to, or put in one of those greenhouse windows as a cat window.

    Put up signs for visitors that say “don’t let cats out!”

    If you have a party or a a lot of visitors, have the cats spend time in a closed room with toys and cat furniture so you don’t have to worry about escapes.

    Please get your cats microchipped so if they escape you can get them back!

    Cats are NOt wild animals. They are domesticated and happy to live inside. You can even grow kitty grass for them to chew on.

    If you own your home (or get landlord to do it) close in an outside porch or stoop so there are two doors to get into house. That way, they can’t just run out a door that opens directly to outside.

    When you open the door, hiss loudly or use a water pistol so they go AWAy from the open door, not toward it.

    Lou says...

    March 6th, 2013, 1:24 pm

    Gretchen Manzer, the world isn’t as it as. There were days that you could let your cat outside and even the threat of them getting run over was slim to none. We don’t live in that time anymore, and we can’t let our cats into an environment when such detrimental harm can come to them.

    It’s not as if keeping cats indoors is trapping them or dampening their quality of life if you see that their needs are met properly. My cat has tonnes of toys, scratching posts, a cat tree and access to fresh air. I always air my house so she has fresh air, but I also have the windows on a latch so air can come through and give her some fresh air but not enough to get out. She spends time sleeping on the window sills and soaking up the sunlight, but shows no interest in going outside.

    She is the lovliest cat with a heart of gold, very well behaved and affectionate. She has a strong predatory instinct which I think must have been inherited from her mother being a stray, but that’s seen to with hours of playtime and her love of her climbing frame/cat tree.

    I really think it’s necessary to keep cats indoors, as this article has shown we live in a different day and age now and need to accept that and adapt around it. I don’t think my cat is missing out if it means being tortured by twisted neighbors and having her ears burnt off.

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