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I Learned About Outdoor Cats the Hard Way

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I have to start this blog with a difficult and painful confession: I used to let my cats roam outdoors. I am a card-carrying PETA member and an ethical vegan, and I speak out about animal abuse to anyone who will listen to me. Yet I let my small furry family member go in and out a cat door—which I supplied for him—for years.

Like most people who think that outdoor cats are happy cats, I didn’t think about the dangers that outdoor cats might encounter such as dogs, other animals, automobiles, open garages and sheds that they could get locked into, abusive humans that could harm them, and the list goes on and on.

One morning, I got up to make coffee and spotted Orange, my orange tabby cat, sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor. He roamed outside most summer nights, and I assumed that he had just come in for his breakfast. But he looked strange. He just sat there with none of the familiar meowing or rubbing on my leg to say “good morning.” Upon closer inspection, I noticed that his mouth was hanging open strangely and that there was drool and spittle all over his face. I freaked out, thinking that he had been poisoned, and rushed him to the vet. It turns out that his jaw had been broken. The vet said that Orange was either hit by a car or possibly by a human with a two-by-four.

I was devastated. Orange’s pain and suffering was my fault. And it gets worse. The vet had to wire Orange’s mouth together to try to heal the broken jaw—a wire that was to stay on for six weeks!

I closed the cat door permanently, but the damage had been done. Because of the difficulty that Orange had eating and drinking through the small space between his teeth that the vet had left open, he lost weight—lots of it. He also became dehydrated, and as a result, I had to administer subcutaneous fluids by inserting a needle under his skin once a day. He was miserable.

When the six weeks were up, I took Orange back to the vet to have the wires taken off his jaw. Within one day, his jaw had dropped again. The wires did not work-the jaw had not healed. Orange had to go back to the vet to be rewired again for another six weeks.

We had to euthanize Orange in the end. He was in kidney failure at the time that his jaw was broken, but we had it under control, and he had many years ahead of him. But between not eating and not getting enough fluids in him, the toxins took over, the weight loss was extreme, his depression was deep, and his little body just couldn’t fight anymore.

Cats are curious animals. Many people feel that cats must get their stimulation from outside the home. Wrong. Your cat can get a thrill from chasing a ball of aluminum foil across the floor. Check out Ingrid E. Newkirk’s book 250 Things You Can Do to Make Your Cat Adore You. It’s filled with many fun activities that you and your cat can enjoy together indoors—along with an abundant amount of information to help you and your cat share a long and healthy lifetime together.

There are a few cities in the nation that are contemplating enforcing cat curfews. Laws completely banning outdoor cats are being debated. Outdoor cats are put at risk every time their paws hit the pavement, and we are experiencing a companion-animal overpopulation crisis of such enormity that millions of individual animals sitting in shelters must be euthanized nationwide. Many of these homeless cats come from unspayed or unneutered cats who were let outside to roam.

I learned the hard way not to let my cats outdoors. They are like little children, susceptible to all sorts of dangers. I don’t know anyone who would let their 2-year-old child roam the streets, day or night, unattended.

Why do we perpetuate the myth that cats are miserable when they are kept indoors? And why do we risk causing pain—and even death—to those we love the most?

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    nancy says...

    February 7th, 2011, 2:58 pm

    My neighbors let their cat outside. I play with her in my yard. I try not to think about it but I’m scared for her. They say she won’t use a litter box because she used to be a stray so they must let her out to do her business. Should I ask them to keep her inside or is it not my place? I don’t think they would listen but maybe I should try. Please give me some advice. She tends to stay in their yard or our yard or in front of both of our houses (from what I’ve seen). However, recently I saw her under my car in the street and it was very perturbing to see she is getting comfortable going further. I only saw that once but of course I don’t see her all of the time.

    Brandy says...

    February 8th, 2011, 1:53 pm

    I am sorry about your loss. :(

    susan says...

    February 8th, 2011, 2:01 pm

    Any of the family cats that I’ve had over the many many years only went out in a kitty carrier to our vet n back..the cat I’ve had for all her 16 years never has been outside, she’s very happy following me around, lying on my bed or in a chair sleeping, talking to me and just being brushed while on my lap. To me, my Karma’s just like a small furry child for me, I absolutely adore her even after 16 years.

    Liz says...

    February 8th, 2011, 2:02 pm

    I learned that same lesson the hard way, years ago. Do I wish I lived in a perfect world where my kitties could come and go at will, perfectly safely? Yes. But I don’t live in that world, so my babies stay inside with me.

    That said, I do now have one outdoor cat. When I moved into my current house a few years ago, it came with a cat–an unspayed, perennially pregnant, seemingly feral tortie. I trapped and tamed two litters of her babies before I finally got her to trust me enough to get her in a carrier and to the vet to get spayed. I’d love to have her inside, but she can’t even stand to be inside the garage for more than a few seconds. She’s no spring chicken, so she doesn’t leave the yard much any more. I give her the best shelter I can and hope for the best. I certainly don’t think her hardscrabble life has made her “happier” than my pampered indoor kitties.

    rick says...

    February 8th, 2011, 2:04 pm

    have 7 cats, all are indoor outdoor. thankfully i live on a dead end surrounded by water on 3 sides, no other interactions with cats or dogs , just raccoons(which are extremely friendly) i have taught all the “little” kids on the block to love these beautiful animals and never harm them, so far so good ,but the fear is always there around halloween ,3 of my boys are all black

    Carol says...

    February 8th, 2011, 2:07 pm

    First and foremost…..I am very sorry for your loss….what a very sad story! I have two cats…one of which I retrieved from an outside nest. The mother had already moved one of the kittens…I was able to rescue 3. I found homes for two of them and I kept one. I had to nurse him around the clock as he was very young. I had to teach him everything from eating to going potty. Unfortunately, the one kitten that was moved spent his entire first year outdoors, I couldn’t catch him. He is now all grown up I have managed to befriend him and he does come inside to eat and sleep. My other two cats have never gone outdoors. My problem is that because (baby) was an outdoor cat the first year of his life…he can not tolerate staying inside for days. He will make me crazy begging to go out…..running from window to door to window crying and whining (loudly I might add). I do let him out and I worry the entire time he is out. I worry of all the things mentioned above that could happen to him. I am hoping that eventually he will settle down and gradually stay indoors all the time. Just wanted to share!

    Momo says...

    February 8th, 2011, 2:07 pm

    I too have suffered the consequences of letting my cat Finleigh outside. She was wild at heart and couldn’t be tamed. She was hit by a car in July and killed :( I can’t help but know it is all my fault. My two cats now are both indoors and they love it. I miss my furry little friend everyday.

    Mandy says...

    February 8th, 2011, 2:10 pm

    I’m so very, very sorry for what happened to Orange and for what he had to go through. I’d be in therapy for years dealing with the guilt.

    IGB says...

    February 8th, 2011, 2:10 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear about Orange’s tragic end. It’s so true, they are exposed to many dangers. We have two 10 year-old indoor cats who we kept indoor simply because we have moved so much, and some places could not accommodate their outdoor living, while in some others we were simply too afraid they would get lost. This last place we moved in is an older neighborhood with lots of cats roaming outside. This is how we have started feeding two alley cats, brother and sister. They seemed to have been spayed and neutered (clipped ears) but they’re feral. It breaks my heart every time one of them doesn’t show up for a day, and also when one came with a swollen paw he couldn’t walk on. They get chased all the time by the neighbor’s dogs, and I cannot imagine what would happen if they couldn’t jump fences, climb trees, and run. However, it also broke my heart when they killed a squirrel and a bird in our yard. They are hungry and they hunt, so I know they’re natural instincts, but it was still hard to accept.
    So, I agree, I don’t know who’s cat had these kitties who ended up growing up beautiful cats in our neighborhood, but they are at risk of starvation, diseases, more kittens (if they hadn’t been spayed & neutered), possibly killing wildlife, and it’s really an unfair life for such lovely creatures.

    Lesli says...

    February 8th, 2011, 2:10 pm

    Show her this article.
    Tell her that the kitty girl will learn to use the litter box on her own.

    Ash says...

    February 8th, 2011, 2:12 pm

    I had an indoor/outdoor cat when I was growing up, and she would get in the neighbors’ flower beds, and my mom told everyone that if she did that, to just spray her with a hose and she would leave it alone. She came home one day with a bloody nose, and it was obvious that someone had hit her in the face with something. Luckily she was alright, but she had sinus problems from then on (she lived to the ripe old age of 16, but she was an indoor cat for the last years of her life). My mom actually takes her cat outside sometimes on a leash with a body harness, and the cat loves it. She walks around like a little dog, and people get a kick out of seeing someone “walking” a cat. But it’s because she lives in a rural area right next to the highway. She only takes her out in the spring, and the cat is fine being indoors for the rest of the year. She’s a fat lazy thing lol. :) Ever since the incident with my childhood cat, all of mine after that have been strictly indoors.

    John says...

    February 8th, 2011, 2:12 pm

    Once maintenance men at my moms apartment complex dropped all the free roaming cats into the desert. My mom knew this because they heard them joking about it the day after all the cats went missing. Knowing this we went with our neighbor into the desert and tried to find her beloved cat we did find her plus about 6 more cats it was crazy to see so many glowing eyes in the dark desert. This was many years ago I’m not sure if anything happen to them.

    glenda says...

    February 8th, 2011, 2:13 pm

    OMG! My two cats go in and out……recently the cats had to stay in because of the freezing, below zero temperatures and the were going absolutely crazy………..as soon as the whether became warmer, the went out….I don’t know what to do now…..should anything happend to them, I just couldn’t stand it……..I’m going to insist on them being inside cats from now on.

    des says...

    February 8th, 2011, 2:15 pm

    I could never allow letting my cat Jackie out of the house even though some family members said she’s “suffering” being an indoor cat her entire
    life. She leads a full happy life as an indoor cat she got out once as a kitten for a night and never even tried to go out again. I can’t imagine how any pet owner
    would be okay with letting a cat out especially after reading what you and your kitty went through!

    muna says...

    February 8th, 2011, 2:17 pm

    I walk my cat on a leash. That way he gets the best of both worlds. He can be outside and remain safe. Occasionally I let him off the leash bt I’m with him when I do.

    Kelly says...

    February 8th, 2011, 2:22 pm

    Nancy, I personally wouldn’t attempt asking a neighbour to keep their cat indoors. It could cause a lot of tension between you both. I would however show them this article. They’ll likely pay attention much easier than if you approached them specifically requesting that they keep their cat housebound. As for the whole stray cat won’t use a kitty litter tray, I think that is rubbish and just an excuse to get you to mind your own business. Any cat will use a kitty litter tray with plenty of encouragement and patience. I know plenty of people who have taken in feral/stray kitties, myself included, and all of the kitties have taken to their designated toilet area. Cats thrive on routine and familarity. All it takes is placing their scent (to put it politely) into the box. If people can clean up a dogs mess then why not clean up a cats mess from the garden by using it in a kitty litter tray?! We do the same thing with dogs. If they mess in the house you simply place it outside in a location you want them to go. Its common sense. It sounds to me like maybe your neighbour just can’t be bothered. That’s my opinion anyway.

    corina says...

    February 8th, 2011, 2:26 pm

    my cute cat is also indoor all the time because of my neighbors. all of them are very cruel. and because I read this sad story.undoubtedly I will not let her outside again.I love her very much,and she loves me

    Ace says...

    February 8th, 2011, 2:30 pm

    Nancy — thank you for worrying about that kitty. I would worry about her too– especially if I saw her under a car. BOTH of my cats (who are indoors only) used to be strays – they both use the litterbox — one had litterbox problems after living with me for 7 years – i took the time to find out what was wrong (indcluding taking her to the vet– they checked her and she did not have an infection)and I took care of her litterbox problem and she is fine now. Try speaking nicely to those folks. If she won’t use her litter box it could be for a number of reasons– Urinary Tract INFECTION — take to vet to find out; OR litterbox not kept clean — OR cat doesn’t like specific type of litter (hey I myself hate some brands of toilet tissue- a human “litter” equivalent), OR litterbox is in high traffic area — OR if they have more than one cat they need more than one litterbox — OR — if the litterbox has a hood, take the hood OFF– some cats need to pee and poop in safety while they can SEE what is around them — it’s a cat thing– self-preservation — it’s instinctual and some cats have it more than others.
    And YOU can, in the meantime, send a protective light to surround that kitty. Once you have done all of this, keep an eye on that kitty and if they don’t want her anymore– then perhaps you can take her in? And if you have any more questions, click on my name (above) and you can email me thru my web site.
    Thanks for caring!!!
    Ace

    Ace says...

    February 8th, 2011, 2:32 pm

    PS– Laura– i am so sorry about your kitty!!!
    And yes, they ARE like 2 yr old children- vulnerable — WE are all they have.

    Jayne says...

    February 8th, 2011, 2:32 pm

    I just rescued two kittens and I know that I do not want them to be outdoor kitties. They are so interested in the door and I am very afraid that they will one day make a run for it and not know what to do. They are both chipped. I was wondering about taking them out on a leash with a harness. Just wondering thoughts on this because I could this leading to them thinking it was okay to go out the door? any thoughts?

    Jordan says...

    February 8th, 2011, 2:37 pm

    we had a big grey tabby with diabetes, we kept him in, but he would escape on occasion. one night we couldnt catch him, and that was the last night we saw him. with his illness and the coyotes in california, he nevr had a chance. he was 10, but he could have had more time with us.

    my current cats have my dogs to play with. they also have cat grass to eat, toys to play with, cat trees to run in and out of. one cat never had the urge to go out. the other had the urge as a kitten but has since stopped her attempts to run due to our vigilence. honestly, the dogs would prefer to be inside on their beds than outside alone anyway. none of my animals are unhappy, and all of them are safe.

    Laura Frisk says...

    February 8th, 2011, 2:40 pm

    Hi Nancy,

    Never hesitate to give advice about an animal’s welfare because you feel it isn’t your place. You might start by showing them this post! Also, politely remind them to keep her litter box very clean, that might help to get her to use it. Good luck, and good for you for speaking up!

    eileen says...

    February 8th, 2011, 2:43 pm

    my daughter has had her cat for nearly two years,he is an indoor cat,for the simple reason,we have two main roads,around our house,and the amount of cats that are killed each year is very scary.Our cat is very content,we alway’s make sure that he has enough play time,we make little toy’s to keep him happy,so don’t be worried about keeping you’r cat indoors.Our cat is very healthy and happy. :-)

    kim says...

    February 8th, 2011, 2:45 pm

    I to used to let my cats roam outside. I believed that if they couldnt be outside catching mice they would be sad. However that is just a myth. I to learned the hard way. It was christmas eve, and i was having a small christmas party at my house. My cat named Tippy was making his usual rounds to everyone, purring and rubbing and being his playful self. I picked him up and kissed him and told him hat a good boy he was. A few hours later the guests started leaving and i heard some yelling outside. My friend ran back into my house and said there was a dead cat on the highway and not to let the kids outside cause it was the most awful thing she had ever seen!! My heart felt like it was in my throat as i silently prayed to god that it wasnt Tippy. I ran down the driveway where everybody was standing and they all had a horrified look on their face. I got to the highway and never in my life have i ever seen anything so horrific!! You could barely tell it was a cat. But i recognized the little white tip on his tail. The guilt will never leave me for what i did, and how he would still be with me had i just closed off his kitty door. We are now in the process of building on to our house and setting up a secure outside add on for my remaining cats. They are perfectly happy in the house, and most importantly they are SAFE!! They do not need to wander outside, they don’t understand the dangers that await them as soon as they walk out the door, they are my babies and they want to live more than they want to catch a mouse or to. Please keep your babies safe, they need you to make the right choice for them as they cant.

    Ace says...

    February 8th, 2011, 2:54 pm

    John – did anyone rescue those poor cats in the desert? What those maintenance men did was “Abandonment” and that could have been prosecutable.

    Liane says...

    February 8th, 2011, 2:56 pm

    I completely agree with your post – animals should be looked after just like you would look after a child. My cats and rabbits are my furry children and they have a happy life living indoors. What upsets me – besides guardians keeping their cats outside day and night – is the fact that many UK animal shelters will not allow you to adopt younger cats and kittens if you can’t let them live as an outdoor cat. Absolutely ridiculous! That just reinforces the myth that cats are happier outdoors…

    corrina says...

    February 8th, 2011, 3:03 pm

    I built a cat enclosure for my two curious kitties, as Easter 2010 my TJ was hit by a car. I never let my babies out unsupervised, but it only took seconds for him to wander out the front and into the road. My boyfriend was heart broken, he was the first cat he had ever owned and he loved him dearly. We buried him in our garden and placed a cross with a plaque.

    I know it’s hard to keep them in. I do, but it’s harder to hold their lifeless body in your arms.

    Tamara says...

    February 8th, 2011, 3:28 pm

    Our orange tabby is rescue from an island off the coast of Honduras,Central America,where my husband and I lived for two years. We lived on a ground floor there,so the moment the balcony sliding door was open,he’d bolt out.And I was ok with it because, as a first-time cat owner,I too thought that would make him “happy” and we were in a very low traffic area.The problem was the other cats: our cat was not neutered (he was a double cryptorchid,meaning his testicles had not descended out of his body) because the local vet had not been able to locate his testicles and the poor cat had had to endure two very painful surgeries.So he would go out and have these incredible fights that were heard all over our neighborhood in the middle of the night,he would “amrk” his territory by spraying urine on every corner of the house (really awful smell…the worst smell EVER) and the worse thing was how he’d show up back at our doorstep:dirty,wounded,full of bites,bleeding.I was so scared he wouldn’t come back one day because those cats fight viciously,usually over females in heat or territories. Anyway,we brought him back to the US 7 months ago, we finally managed to successfully neuter him and he is another cat altogether:happy,clean,no more smells,no more fighting.He does get the urge to go out on to the balcony but,since we now live on an 11th floor,I put a harness on him and stand right next to him all the time in order to avoid the urge to jump up onto the balcony.Don’t let your cats go outside,there are too many dangers and they are too precious to us to be hurt or killed.And ,of course,please spay and neuter.

    Heather says...

    February 8th, 2011, 3:33 pm

    I have all inside cats as well. The other thing to think about is what they may bring in to you from the outside. Fleas and germs. They may eat a dead animal that has something that can be transferred to them or to us. For the sake of all involved keep them inside. I set up a screen and cat tree by the window so they can sit in the sun. Also they sell bird feeders that you can stick on or close to the window so the kitties can be entertained.

    Tamara says...

    February 8th, 2011, 3:38 pm

    My cats were always indoor cats and one day my persian cross got out. When he came back 2 of his paws were burned…a chemical the vet said. Likely he got into a shed or garage or something and walked across spilled chemicals. After months of daily vet care he finally passed away. Instead of banning our other cat to the house we trained her to stay in the back yard. This way if she did get out she wouldn’t leave the yard. It took 4 months of rewarding her with treats when she stayed in the yard and putting her back in the house when she left it but she finally learned and she never left the yard again. We moved houses a few years later and the training carried over to the new house. She never left the yard. She lived until almost 17 years old and had a very happy life where she could be out in the yard with us or snuggled in the house with us.

    liz says...

    February 8th, 2011, 3:48 pm

    im glad i have read this article because i was feeling guilty about keeping my two cats indoors, i was scared of them coming to harm outside,alot of cats have gone missing around my area and we also get urban foxes on the prowl to,they seem happy and they get fresh air daily in my built up yard which is safe has its fenced in and i supervise them.i couldnt bear it if anything should happen to them so thanks for the helpful comments.

    libby says...

    February 8th, 2011, 3:51 pm

    A stray started coming around my house with a torn ear. Then he showed up twice bloody. So, of course, I started worrying about him so I brought him indoors (difficult at first) and adopted him. Then I went and got his “brother”. He won’t even go near the door! They love the indoor life. Toys, snacks, people beds, bookshelves…..what’s not to love about the indoor life. I’m currently designing “beams” around the ceiling so they can go up. There is no excuse for letting a cat out. There is an outdoor solution inside for everything! Did I mention I’m allergic? Claritin! Solution for everything. :)

    Linda says...

    February 8th, 2011, 5:27 pm

    I have 3 cats and they are not allowed outside. I have a screen door to the deck which they can look out if they want and feel the warm breeze in the spring and summer along with a bay window they can sit at and look out. My neighbors on the other hand let their cats out all day and night. Makes me sick as I am the one who pets them and feeds them since these people could care less about them. Acutally went and had one neutered since she had no money. A law should be passed to put a curfew on these pets being outside along with dogs also. Some poor dogs are out all day and night.

    Patty says...

    February 8th, 2011, 5:34 pm

    Thank you for sharing this experience. I know how you feel at the loss of your beloved Orange. I grew up with the mind-set that cats needed to roam to be happy. Our kitties always spent time outdoors. One disappeared for 5 YEARS!!! Amazingly, he showed up at our back door again, only to pass on a few days later. He had been attacked by a dog. If only he could have shared where he had been for those 5 years!!! Still under the mind-set that they needed to be “free”, years later I allowed a baby kitty that I simply adored to go out one night to go potty. I found him a few hours later in the parking lot in front of the house. He had been run over. I was an absolute basket case. After that, still with the same stupid mind-set, I allowed my kitties to go out, but on a leash and supervised. That worked until one of them almost hung himself trying to jump off the deck. Why do we hang on to such stupid notions? My kitties are now indoors all the time, protected from harm, coyotes, owls, whatever happens to be out there. We’re all much happier, and I sleep much better at night. Anyone who is still stuck in that “outdoor” mind-set, please get rid of it!!! You will have your babies much longer if they stay inside. Oh, and another thing. This is just a theory on my part, but after my ex-husband gave me a sonic toothbrush, my 2 kitties stopped eating and eventually died. Another kitty (perfectly healthy and overweight) that I adopted shortly after they passed, also showed the same symptoms after being here for a while (still using the sonic toothbrush). I unplugged it and put it away, thinking that might be the cause of the problem, was able to bring him out of it for a while, but he eventually passed also. I have two new kitties now, not using the sonic toothbrush anymore, and they are perfectly fine. I love them too much to “experiment” with the toothbrush again. They say sonar screws up the whales and dolphins, you know. Just thought I’d put that out there in case anyone has had a similar experience.

    Paul says...

    February 8th, 2011, 6:47 pm

    Can anybody suggest a good cat enclosure that you can put the cat in outside?

    Carla says...

    February 8th, 2011, 7:04 pm

    Oh, my God. That story is so sad. My first cat was an indoor/outdoor cat, but not by my choice. He adopted us, coming to our house for a handout and shelter until we finally gave in and took him in. He would meow constantly to get out, and my dad being home all day would grow tired of the meowing and just let him out finally. He died in 2009 from an aggressive form of cancer. Even though he died from cancer, that’s not to say that he didn’t have his run-ins with the outdoors.

    He had gotten into quite a few fights. One day, he came home beaten up by another cat. He fell into a depression, and we were afraid he was going to die. He didn’t want to do anything but sleep. He was covered in scratches and had a large lump above his eye, forcing one eye to squint. He looked terrible! After two days, he came out of his funk, but we were afraid we were going to lose him.

    In the end, he lived to be around 13 years old, and was beloved by our family, but I would NEVER risk having my cats go outside again. My two cats right now are happy indoor cats, and I would preach that to anyone. There are just too many risks for an outdoor cat.

    Thank you for sharing your story. I know it was a hard lesson to learn, and we’ve all had our share of those. Hopefully, this will get through to someone and help to save their cat from suffering.

    PETA Prime says...

    February 8th, 2011, 7:14 pm

    Hey Paul,

    Laura posted something on PETA about just that subject on PETA Prime a few months back.

    Thank you!

    Trudy says...

    February 8th, 2011, 7:36 pm

    I don’t get it. Who said cats are not happier outside? Inside cats get bored and fat, especially if home alone all day. They are our captives. It is true that the UK (which doesn’t really understand the concept of indoor cats) and the US have very different values — you think the Brits are being reckless, we think you are being overprotective.

    Magdalena says...

    February 8th, 2011, 8:34 pm

    I am very sorry for Orange, because sadely, I know how you felt..When I was little and living with my parents on the country, we had about 10 cats; sometimes some of them would have kittens, so there were more than 10, and sometimes something would happen to some of them, so there were less. And sometimes when one of our cats would go missing, I would see it as a “good” thing, because than I could live with a thought that maybe the kitty decided to go to someone elses house who had cats and stayed there (because some of our male cats actually did that), and I didn’t wanna think about the alternative, seeing how we practicly lived in the woods. But some of the worst things that could ever happen to me, the thing that scared me for life, was the sound of a car runing over my cat, because I have lost so many “children” that way, that I don’t know the number..I just remember the sound that will hount me as long as I live! And the thing that made me so furious was the fact that I was helpless, because I lived with my parents who strongly think that cats are only ment for outside! But now I am grown up and have myown apartment in which I live with my love, my darling, my child = my cat Mimi :) and he is only indoors, but still one of the happiest kitties in the world! He has his toys, me and my boyfriend play with him all the time (when ever he wants to), he has no distraints (like if he wants to check out my plate to see what I’m eating, he is welcome to ;) ) and in these 4 years he has never shown any signs of unhappiness because he is indoors. He knows that he is loved more than anything in the world and he is happy in his little family, in his little world that is only my apartment – for him it’s all he wants and needs :)

    Joey says...

    February 9th, 2011, 3:43 am

    When I was young, my parents let the cats we had go outside and none of them lived longer than a year of half. Some got killed by cars, other just disappeared and I can’t even think about what happened to them.
    It made me so sad everytime so when I grew older and had my own cats it was an evidence for me that they won’t be roaming the streets day or night.
    I do believe my cats are happy inside. They do not try to go out and even the 2 cats that I picked up from the street show absolutely no interest to go back there. They are actually the most scared of strangers and the outdoors!
    The older cat is 4 years now, healthy and I hope they will keep on living many more years safely!

    Jennifer says...

    February 9th, 2011, 9:26 am

    I understand completely how you feel. My adopted stray, Blacky, used to go out every night for a “walk” before bedtime. But one night she didn’t come back. We called and called. Searched by torchlight all round the yard, scoured the streets and neighbouring lots, and no sign. I got up early next morning, frantic because she still hadn’t returned. I called again, and again, but still nothing. My husband went for a drive to see if there was a body on the nearby main road. Luckily, I thought, no. I was beside myself with worry! I had all sorts of horrible thoughts going through my mind, locked in a shed by accident, hit by a car, chased by a dog…. and on it went. I cried, so much. I felt so bad for her, worrying that she was hurt somewhere and I couldn’t help. After 5 days, I got up early one morning, only to see her sitting on the mat at the back door, looking bedraggled and “odd”. As soon as I opened the door she slowly hobbled in. She was a mess! Her fur was wet and dirty, she was so skinny, and there was something wrong with her back legs, but all she wanted to do was sit on my lap. I sat on the floor, while my daughter fetched a saucer of water for her and some food. I knew straight away that she needed a vet. For the first time in her life, she didn’t fight the cat carrier, but she cried all the way to the vet, which didn’t help me either! When we got there they showed us in very quickly, and quickly diagnosed that she appeared to have been hit by a car, and had a badly broken leg and a broken pelvis! Poor baby. I left my little helpless baby there, so that they could pin her leg and fix her. The cost wasn’t ever going to be an issue. When they shaved her for the op, they found tooth marks on her skin too, so it looks like she was also bitten by a dog! The horror of it, she must have been lying hurt, probably got hit running away from the dog, and waiting for me to find her to fix her pain. They couldn’t pin her leg in the end, and had to improvise a plate which they also couldn’t screw on as usual, and had to wind wire around the bone and plate to stabilise it, because it was so badly shattered! When we brought her home, she had to be confined to a spare shower so that she was somewhere safe that didn’t matter if she missed the litter tray, and she had to be prevented from walking too much and especially from jumping. She was a very determined little minx and used to escape regularly and just show up in the lounge, with a loud MEOW! We had to go to all sorts of lenghts to keep that shower door shut and keep Blacky out of harms way. Now, 2 1/2 years later, I still feel sick when I think of what she went through, all because we thought she needed to go “out” to do “cat things”. She can do them all, right here inside the safety of our home these days!!! And, she’s not a fan of dogs (but never was!)

    Tanya says...

    February 9th, 2011, 9:47 am

    Anyone thinking cats should be outside are thinking of what our cats are decended from. There are responsibilities that come with pet ownership that lots of people over look. Cats will kill wildlife due to instinct not hunger. How sad for our wildlife. I think pets should be part of your family and kept safe. Cats allowed outside are subject to all comments above and diseases like feline aids that shorten their lives. I own 4 cats and none run for the door or act unhappy. A pet is a pet and a wild animal is a wild animal. Unfortunately there are not enough good people in this world to make up for all the bad. Too many beautiful animals are euthenaised due to no fault of their own. All because humans think it is their right to own a pet. I think its the pets right to have a responsible owner.

    Lisa Towell says...

    February 9th, 2011, 2:31 pm

    Laura, I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for this article — hopefully Orange’s sad story can help other cats.

    Angie says...

    February 10th, 2011, 5:21 pm

    Laura, I’m so sorry for your loss. I own a gray tabby. Sparkle is a very happy and healthy cat who only outside activity is going to the vet. When my family first got her as a kitten (she’s now 8 years old) we debated on wether she should be an outdoor cat or an inside cat . I was against her being outdoors and argued the same reasons you made of predators and cars. I strongly suggest to anyone to cherish your pets as you would your human friends.

    Tempest says...

    February 10th, 2011, 6:52 pm

    Six of my seven cats are 100% indoor cats. I have one cat that is semi-feral. I have never been able to completely turn her into an indoor cat. Some feral cats can be retrained to be content being indoors, some of them can’t. This animal is slick–she gets out around people’s feet. Fortunately we live in a very quiet neighborhood. I would prefer that she never went out but she is one of those animals that will find a way. Yes, I have had more vet expenses with her due to her nature. I’ve had to have two abcesses removed. Maybe as she ages she’ll become more content to stay inside.

    Patricia says...

    February 11th, 2011, 1:15 am

    I have 5 beautiful cats they are neutered and are never allowed to go out. now they don’t even try. they are happy sleeping all day and evening on our bed. they stay clean and healthy. people have to learn you must get your cat neutered or spayed and keep them in doors at all time. they are not missing anything by not going out. they play in the house. I am very sorry for your terrible loss. you had to learn a lesson the hard way and lose your beautiful cat.

    susan says...

    February 11th, 2011, 3:25 am

    I have lived with cats my whole life, and over the years have unfortunately had to allow them less and less ‘freedom’. I live in Cape Town, South Africa, which many regard as a challenging place to be in some respects,certainly for animals. Many people keep big dogs in fenced properties as security, a death trap for a curious and unsuspecting cat. There are sadly, some medieval attitudes towards cats from some people from this continent resulting in ghastly cruelty and then of course the traffic, always a hazard. We animal lovers suffer so when our pets are hurt.

    Dorothy says...

    February 11th, 2011, 5:28 pm

    I”m so glad I read all these postings………..although I do not have a cat any longer.
    I did have a lovely cat when we lived in a condo/apartment, and he would wander
    over the adjoining balconies. Unfortunately, one of our neighbours found him on
    her balcony and put him in the open parking lot! Of course, he had no idea which
    was our outside door and we never saw him again. I spent days visiting neighbours
    but no luck. I even went back to our last house three streets up. I cried buckets
    but never saw him again. Even a visit to the humane society yielded no clue. The neighbour never apologized or tried to help in any way! I hope she never got any animals…………I dislike the fact that people get a pet for their children
    and don’t expect that they need to be responsible for the pets as much as their
    children.

    Tucker says...

    February 11th, 2011, 10:11 pm

    GOD BLESS YOU CAT NAMED ORANGE, REST IN PEACE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Linda says...

    February 11th, 2011, 10:40 pm

    I am so sorry for the loss of your beloved Orange. What a sad story. I have 3 cats all rescues and I keep them all indoors. I have heard too many stories about cats being hit by cars, cats eating the grass and getting mouth and throat tumors due to the pesticides and then having to put them down, cats getting killed by coyotes or raccoons, and fights with dogs or other cats. To tell you the truth I never thought of ever letting my cats out and they are very very happy to be indoors. I am so sorry that you had to learn the hard way and I hope that this can be a reminder to so many who continue to let their cats outside.

    Erika says...

    February 12th, 2011, 2:24 am

    I lived in the country on a dead-end road, and my Phoebe put a hole through the screen door and brought me “presents” (mice, rabbits, and birds) on a regular basis. Though we never had traffic on our road, I did worry. I had to leave that house, and Phoebe now lives with my mom, in town, and she doesn’t get to go outside. She hates it, but I love my mom for keeping her safe.

    Michele says...

    February 12th, 2011, 8:47 am

    I have three black cats all adults all near 10yrs old. I never once left any of my cats outdoors. They stay inside. I wouldn’t even think about it. The streets are way to dangerous for any animal to be out there. About two months ago a stray cat came up to my place and I noticed this cat returning everyday since I fed him the first time. The last snow storm we got I opened my window and there he was just sitting there in the snow and it was several inches deep. I wasn’t sure howhe would get along with my cats and I didn’t want to risk that to be honest. But I called him over and picked him up and took him in my place and fed him and gave him a warm place and TLC I still have him now and although he doesn’t get along with my other cats he’s not going back out on the streets again. My third cat who I recently adopted from the S.P.C.A is still new here. And I love them ll too much to let them out where they could get hit by a car, Abused by idiots, Biten from other animals, Or worse. They are all home and well Loved.
    I also have four red eared sliders (Turtles) and two Albino Rats. Yeah they are all my babies and I spoil them rotten.

    Carol says...

    February 12th, 2011, 10:16 am

    I started training my 3 cats with harnesses when they were kitten…now when i go out with them, they do not stray…just enjoy the sun and watching birds and squirrels…when I say “let’s go in they go in”. when they whine about going out(especially in the freezing weather up here in MN)and I don’t want to they look out the window and act pitiful, but they know I can’t stand the cold…so whine on!

    copan_dan says...

    February 12th, 2011, 3:27 pm

    The article talks only about possible harm to our furry pets but fails to mention the death and maiming to local wildlife by these same pets.

    I have always felt this attitude was extremely hypocritical.
    I love cats and have a one-eyed female from the local shelter. She never goes outside for two reasons. Her safety and my principled stand on not harming the wonderful indigenous birds, lizards, snakes, mice, squirrels etc. that have as much right to live a normal life as my cat, or dog.

    Cats and dogs are not an endangered specie but that little warbler or that yellow-legged frog just might be. Our furry friends make great companions but don’t forget they’re also predators that kill for fun or to get missing nutrients that cheap food isn’t providing.

    Poor Orange may have been killing the local birds and someone didn’t think that was okay or someone just hates cats. Either way a loved animal friend is gone. I am completely in favor of the ban on outside pets allowed to roam free. That would provide a much more humane environment for all creatures, not just a select few.

    Lou says...

    February 12th, 2011, 9:01 pm

    I have advised many people to keep their pets at home. Their response is that it is “cruel.” Is it LESS cruel to have your pet shot, poisoned, abused, hit by a car, or attacked by another animal?
    I warned my neighbors that my Huskey, by it’s innate nature as a hunter, would kill anything that came into my FENCED yard, but they didn’t listen. My dog killed 2 of their cats & many others, since no one here keeps their cats at home, nor has them spayed/neutered.
    I would never dream of allowing my dogs to wander alone & am even afraid of them being inside the fence, as people here steal dogs to use them to train their Pitt Bulls to fight.
    If you LOVE your animal — keep it at home!

    Renata says...

    February 13th, 2011, 8:22 pm

    Our six cats (until recently seven) live in the house and in a safe and comfortable pen (a catio) we built at the back of our house, in the garden. When the weather is good we also have our meals there and we have a bench, a table and chairs. We also have shelves at different levels for our cats so they can climb and stay high as they like so much. Our vet always says how relaxed and happy they look. In our bedroom we also have a cat tree that reaches the ceiling and they like to climb it and also sleep at the top.
    We haven’t learnt the “hard-way” we just figured it out. I honestly don’t think one needs much imagination. As I wouldn’t allow a two-year-old to go out alone, I don’t allow my cats. To me it’s just common sense. We live in London, but even if we were in the countryside it wouldn’t be different. There are cars everywhere, roads everywhere and cruel, sadistic people everywhere. IFV is also common (and deadly).
    Unfortunately in the UK the myth that cats should be free to roam outdoors is strong. Of all the AR groups we know (and we know many) NONE is condamning such a dangerous habit.
    There is an average of a cat injured or killed in the streets/raods in the UK every two minutes and a half. Why AR groups, rescue centres and so on in this country do nothing (and some even take the bother to attack US-PeTA for their recommendations) is beyond me.
    Someone should do something. What about UK PeTA that keeps soooo quiet about this issue?

    Renata says...

    February 13th, 2011, 8:37 pm

    I wanted to add something else. When I moved to England from Italy and had my first cat here, people had persuaded that here it was “safe” and I should leave him going outside. He went, although never in the night. I didn’t have a catflap and I let him out and tried to keep an eye on him, however he liked to go into other gardens and climb trees and then shout because he pretended not to be able to come down. I was always so worried. It seemed to me to be so dangerous: easy for a cat to cross the gardens and go on the road. I quickly realised that this idea of safe England was a myth and when the other cats joined, the door was closed. Then I got married and we moved and we built the catio in our garden and it’s really beautiful for them. Even a balcony can be enough for a catio. If you love your cats invest in a catio. If you don’t love them enough well, then … you shouldn’t have them!! :-)
    What I wanted to say is that my eldest cat spent almost a year going outside, but when I stopped allowing him outdoors, he just got used to it. Cats are very clever and “opportunistic” in the sense that they get used to things and get the best of them.
    Please try to keep your cats only in safe restricted areas even those who have an outdoors history. As Ingrid once wrote: “It doesn’t matter how far away the main road is, your cat will find it”.

    Phoenix says...

    February 14th, 2011, 12:23 pm

    I am terribly sorry for your tremendous loss. Your story was hard to read, and it made me cry.

    Peggy says...

    February 14th, 2011, 3:17 pm

    Another alternative is to use cat fence (I use Perrfect Cat fence) to fence off a portion of a yard so my 2 cats can go outside in a contained area. They cannot get out and nothing can get in. So, my cats have inside and a small side yard outside. The fencing has been up for almost 3 years, with not one escape. My cats don’t even try to get out of the fencing anymore, though they tested it a lot in the beginning. So sorry for your loss.

    cbb says...

    February 14th, 2011, 6:36 pm

    I have had the pleasure of caring for and sharing my home since childhood with many cats over many years in various locations – all of them I have loved dearly.
    They have all been indoor/outdoor cats. I believe a cat should be able to safely and reasonably enjoy a tree, a lawn, chasing a leaf blowing in the wind, and yes even hunting a field mouse or bird. I believe an animal does not belong to us to confine and force to live a life according to our needs and rules. I do what I can to insure my cat’s safety. I spay and neuter, I feed them in the evening and keep them indoors at night, and I provide a safe environment. I would no more force a cat to stay indoors all the time than I would keep a bird in a cage. A cat should be able to be a cat – not a “pet” to keep us company. I only hope if those of you who choose to keep your cats indoor do not declaw them too so they don’t scratch your furniture – If you do you, might want to consider a stuft animal instead of one with a wild nature and natural instincts.

    Cindy says...

    February 14th, 2011, 6:54 pm

    I’m very sorry for your loss. It’s so hard to lose one.
    I put one of my rescue kitties outside because she would not go to the litter box. She was rescued from a house where the people moved and left her and 3 other cats in the house with no food, water or box. This kitty & her sister were kittens and for about a week just defecated/urinated anywhere in the house. When I took them in, she simply would not go to the box.
    Finally after cleaning up after her for the hundreth time, I put her outside And of course she was bitten by some other animal which caused a horrible infection. After $300 at the vet, she is OK now, still won’t use a litterbox. But I’ve fixed up my outdoor shed as a kitty house, so it’s not quite so frustrating for me and easier to clean.
    I will never put another one outside. I’ve been looking for plans to build an outdoor screened enclosure for them – I think we’ll all be happier with something like that.

    Lorrie says...

    March 3rd, 2011, 9:33 pm

    I’m so sad to hear what you and Orange had to go through. We do gain wisdom from our experiences.
    I was involved with a feral cat rescue group for years until my home topped out at 10 cats, all indoor only. Two of them were deaf and four others were trapped as feral adults so I chose to keep them inside. My husband built them an enclosure that was attached to an outside wall with access through a cat door. He used PVC pipe and fittings and 2″ x 4″ wire for the sides and top. Be sure to enclose the top too as raccoons will find their way in via the cat door, we found this out the hard way.
    I added platforms and tree limbs and the cats LOVED it. They had real grass to eat (be sure to make a door on the outside of their enclosure for mowing), and the sunshine and birds to watch (and not be able to eat).
    The one thing that is interesting is that not all of our fur balls used their “porch”. Two of my rehabilitated feral kids chose to always stay in the house! That in its self tells me something!

    karen says...

    March 3rd, 2011, 9:40 pm

    For those who have cats that drive you crazy to go out – how about a screen room type area off the kitchen door? You wouldn’t have to put it on a slab and I don’t think screening is all that expensive. I have a friend who took one of those 10 ftx10ft chain link dog kennels and put some shade cloth on top ( like they have over the plants at garden centers) and made a nice little outdoor room for her kitties. Her husband built a couple of shelf type lounging benches and they hung some toys for them to bat around.

    Rita says...

    March 4th, 2011, 11:35 am

    The safest way for a cat to go outside is only on a harness, with you on the other end. It is also relaxing to walk your cat, not having to do anything important but just saunter along peacefully with your cat.

    Even though you never allow your cat to go outside, do walk all cat(s) around your house or property until they are familiar with the immediate area so that if they slip outside they will not suddenly panic at being in a strang environment. I did that with my cats and the one time I did not close my door securely my cats got outside. They did no more than hang around eating grass and I got them all back inside. I am sure that was because they were familiar with the outside of my house and did not panic.

    Lori says...

    March 4th, 2011, 12:39 pm

    I am so sorry about what happened to Orange. Whoever hit him should be ashamed for not stopping to help him. What I don’t understand is why the vet didn’t use plates and screws to hold his jawbone together when it didn’t want to heal. If it was the joint that can be surgically repaired too, but it is quite expensive to have done.

    “Jayne says…

    February 8th, 2011, 2:32 pm

    I just rescued two kittens and I know that I do not want them to be outdoor kitties. They are so interested in the door and I am very afraid that they will one day make a run for it and not know what to do. They are both chipped. I was wondering about taking them out on a leash with a harness. Just wondering thoughts on this because I could this leading to them thinking it was okay to go out the door? any thoughts?”

    In response Jayne, you CAN teach a cat things. I taught a five year old indoor/outdoor kitty I adopted to not dart out the door. Took about six months of consistent training, so she did get out a few times but was quickly caught and brought back inside. I taught her to sit next to my bookcase, which was about 5 ft from the door (I lived in a trailer). When coming in I’d knock on the door first to get her attention as she always greeted me at the door and tell her “Get back”, then open it carefully a crack to put my leg in her way, just in case, as I came in. After six months I didn’t have to do that anymore, just knock on the door and say “Get back” and she’d do it. My vet was impressed because I told him as an indoor kitty that meant she stayed “in the house”. For the next 11 years her paws never touched the ground and she was perfectly happy and spoiled rotten indoors.

    4mula1 says...

    March 4th, 2011, 2:33 pm

    there is a leash law for dogs. why not have one for cats?

    shirley says...

    March 4th, 2011, 3:53 pm

    I’ve had cats all my life. I live in the country on 10 acres, 100 feet from a two lane paved road, busy in summer, especially and have always had ‘outside’ cats. I find it somewhat curious, but not surprising that so many comments here reflect belief that animals have human emotional tendencies, ie ‘sad’ ‘happy’ etc., yet these same writers seem oblivious to the human need to be in a state of freedom, the ability to be unconfined, untrapped, unbound. Which is it? Are our animals like us….or not?.

    Which of us would raise our children to be ONLY safe, ONLY unchallenged, ONLY comfortable, ONLY well-fed, ONLY warm and dry. “ONLY” is the key word here. We would have all that ‘safeness’ in a well -kept prison, wouldn’t we?

    My mail cat Corrigan came to us at approximately age 2, a stray taken in by a relative who then gave him to my family.
    He developed hyperthyroidsm at age 16, kidney failure at age 17, and when both were no longer under medical control and he became sick with them and could no longer be helped by meds and shots and was not able to recover, I had him put down at age 20. My heart was broken and at this moment I’m still often stabbed hard by my memories of him, by my longing for him to come in, yowling for no reason, demanding I feed him a treat.

    He LOVED outdoors!! I would watch him stalk everything that moved. He would roll in the grass under my smoke bush, he would run after the maple leaves in the fall, would hide in the brush in the field, waiting for some unsuspecting fieldmouse, would follow me around as I worked in my gardens, finding everything exciting, tho he was cool in revealing just how pleased he was at his world outside. I watched his pleasure, his luxuriating in the feel of the earth on his body when rolling, his posturing, his,dare I say, delight(a human emotion).

    There were risks. There always are. We can stay in our homes, never leaving, always fearing danger and be cast as neurotic or we can venture out, watching for danger, but feeling the price to pay for our freedom of movement is well worth it.

    All was not rosy. He had been in fights w/ a neighborhood cat, had gotten stuck in a tree crotch and hurt his paw, stayed out all night worrying me to death but always appeared the next day. when his health started be shaky, he would develop an infection, would need antibiotics.

    Animals, for all their domestication by humans are still themselves. They still hold their own instincts, DNA, urges, that make them unique. For some reason I have a problem believing they enjoy their best life cooped up in safety. And maybe, we apply our own personalities and temperaments to them. Those of us who choose the price safety brings believe it to be best for their animals. Those of us who know the thrill, excitement, beauty, fulfillment of venturing into new places, even w/ possible dangers, see that as a good place for their animals to tread.

    My sympathy to all those who lost their beloved creatures.
    Just a different opinion on inside/outside living accommodations.

    Janet says...

    March 4th, 2011, 6:07 pm

    I can see why some of you like to let your cats roam. But the other considerations are so strong against allowing it:
    I, like a previous commentator, have enjoyed the company of a neighbour’s cat. I became very fond of him and the neighbours knew I liked him. One day he went missing. I made posters for them and searched as best I could. He has never been seen since.
    I have also heard of raccoons that attack cats as prey. My brother saw this with his own eyes and tried everything to get the raccoons off the poor cat! The raccoons killed the cat and partially ate it.
    I have seen hundreds of “Lost Cat” signs, I have also seen what cats do – dead birds in my own yard and watched while a cat ran off with a bluejay…

    We have domesticated the cat. They are happy indoors. Let’s keep them safe and healthy.

    rosa says...

    March 14th, 2011, 11:04 am

    Thank you Laura, I always thought that would be impossible for me to have a cat because, living indoors, they would be a miserable. I thought that, even if I would have a garden, I couldnt cope with the anxiety of having a cat outside exposed to any danger. Your point of view is absolutely reasonable. At the moment I have a stray dog, a gift of God, who is very nice, sweet and easy to live with.

    Duchesssammi says...

    October 7th, 2011, 5:27 am

    I GET SOOOO angry – furious– when I hear the total nonsense- about once a outdoor cat- they will always need to be!!!
    I just want to scream, Give me a break,,,if your 2 yr old was beating on the door to go out would you just let them???

    I have rescued MANY MANY MANY cats during my 40 + years of age…and YES the first week or two,,,,maybe even three.. the cat will beg to be let out…in various ways… All I ever did was discourage the cat gently and bring him/her into another room, I would maybe offer extra food, play with the cat, pet the cat, in so many words take the cats mind off of wanting out…and Lo and behold before you know it… the cat no longer has any interest in going out.

    To me No offense -to anyone I am going to say something that may rub some the wrong way- I apologize, but it seems that so many people in today’s society instead of taking responsibility for themselves, there children, their pets…they resort to making excuses- what I call cop-outs-
    AND I am a firm believer in that when you take in a pet, it is a for the lifetime of the pet, it’s like when you give birth to a child you are responsible,,,,-
    so if you do not want to take the time to work with your cat -whether it be wanting out- to other behavioural issues-Then DO NOT ADOPT A CAT!!!
    I worked in the animal field for over 28+ years- from the lowly kennel hand -scooping poop all day– to being a licensed-certified Vet Tech in 4 states for 20 years- to studying and learning grooming, to Pet-sitting jobs that helped put me through college….To rescue groups that I still work with- to finding strays and helping them on my own…..

    NO GOOD comes from allowing your cat outdoors!!! No one can ever give me a indisputable valid reason!

    I am very passionate in my Protecting ALL animals- and Pets you adopt are your responsibility for their entire life and if you cannot do the right thing– DO NOT ADOPT ANY PETS!!

    Sorry to be so harsh- Facts are facts.

    Duchesssammi says...

    October 7th, 2011, 5:50 am

    ONE more thing… EVERYONE that still thinks allowing their cats outdoors -NEEDS to do this…
    Find out what agency in your area is responsible for picking up road-kill—-
    if what they tell you alone – doesn’t scare the life out of you—
    Then Please stick with stuffed animals.

    Kristy says...

    May 29th, 2012, 12:28 pm

    I am so sorry!! I have had a similar experience and had to euthanize my kitty also. It has been 8 years and I still think about him every day and feel very guilty. My kitty now can go outside, but only on my screened patio. I cannot go through that pain and loss ever again. I am very sorry about your loss, and you will eventually need to forgive yourself, if you have not already. I didn’t want to forgive myself, but I had to. I just realized that I need to educate myself before I do any major changes with a pet. And I pray I don’t make a mistake like that ever again. Take care! XO

    charles says...

    June 13th, 2012, 8:05 pm

    I feel so guilty about letting my 10 year male feline friend BANDIT outside night of 5/29/12. 5/30/12 I found him dead on the street in front of the house, it was the worst thing i ever seen. I buryed him in the garden in the backyard. He had always been a in-outdoor feline.9/9/11 We moved to a different house with 3 acers in the back & a busy street & very small front yard. Bandit was the best thing that ever happened to me. 1 dayin 2002 i heard a meeooww at the front door, and there was a handsom very young long hair solid black feline. He came in i feed him some ham & water. A person who was there took him home with her, and low & behold a week later he was meeooww at door again. I knew then he trusted me & the ham.Got shots & neuter. A few days later he was very sick, the vet said he had a parasite in his blood , he was sent home with a 10% chance, but with meds &love he made it. I found out he belong 2 people down the street,he never went back 2 them Also he had a feral mom.He was so loving & happy.Bandit-4/15/02-5/30/12. It was the happest 10 years of my life. If im blessed with another feline he will stay inside during the night.

    M Sauer says...

    July 2nd, 2012, 2:59 am

    I’m so sorry you lost your precious “Orange” baby. Sorry, to for all the rest of you that lost their furry friend, too. Just last week I lost my 5 yr old, Spatz. He was a healthy happy kitty, that was only allowed outside during the day, till the pet’s 5 pm supper time. I wish now that I had trained him to stay inside again, as I did his brother, Jazz, after he didn’t show up for over a week, one time. My neighbor found Spatz under a tree not breathing, no blood or trauma anywhere. I live in the country, wide open spaces, on a private, shared driveway and he never went any further than just over to another neighbor’s yard.

    What he did do, though, is bring rodents and birds to the door, to show me what he had killed. I went to Google and this is what I found:
    animalpeoplenew”s.org/IMPORTANT_MATS/catPoisoning.html
    When I read this, it just killed me to know that my precious kitty could be with me now, if I had just put up with his incessant, hollering to go out. But, having noise sensitivity, it seemed too much to take his “pressuring” all the time. I trained his brother to stay inside and I could have trained him to, also. I never knew that this “secondary poisoning” was happening to so many pets. Stupid Me! I thought that cat’s wouldn’t eat a poisoned rodent/bird, as they could tell it was bad for them. I’ve had outdoor cats for some 60 years and only one other outdoor cat disappeared to never be found. This message needs to get out to all cat lovers. I’m surprised there aren’t warnings anywhere you can buy cat food (on line or in stores), in vet’s offices, in pet magazines, TV pet shows and any place having anything to do with cats. I will never let my cats outdoors again. NEVER!!

    OUR CATS ARE NEVER SAFE OUTDOORS, NO MATTER WHERE WE LIVE OR HOW REMOTE OR HOW FAR IN THE COUNTRY IT IS, WHETHER IT’S ON A BUSY ROAD OR NOT!!!!!

    Joey says...

    August 6th, 2012, 1:32 am

    So very sorry that you lost your beloved orange. My little girl Sami, isn’t allowed out I have her well trained. When I go out and sit on my outdoor patio she is allowed out with me, she has been trained to not go off of the patio, she will go up to my opened garage and lay there looking curiously into the garage but will not go in! I can open my doors in the house and talk to people and she will sit right there and doesn’t try to dart out, I’ve spent just a few weeks teaching her this isn’t allowed! She is like a well trained dog, as was my other cat jetta, which after 17 beautiful years she developed a tumor on
    Her mammory gland and when treatment was only keeping her alive for
    Me I decided she’d had enough and put her to sleep! She looked and played like a young cat, mainly because she was an indoor cat! Please keep cats in!! Thx they’ll love u for it!!

    vanessa cast says...

    August 14th, 2012, 12:26 am

    OMG thats so very sad i stopped reading after the part where he’s put down, it made me cry that is so horrible i have 4 cats and they are my life they NEVER go outside im so protective of them i dont know what i’d do if something happened to one of them!

    Katherine (Kat) says...

    August 30th, 2012, 7:52 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss, RIP Orange. I know it must be very hard, even though I see this article is from over a year ago, you must still miss him very much. I’m sure he’s waiting patiently to see you again some day.

    I unfortunately also know a great deal about the loss and pain of one of my kids due to the outdoors, and it infuriates me because it was never my choice to let him out, it was my parents, who had always had cats outdoors because it used to be SAFE and they had them for years. But I know in this generation, it is most definitely not. I’ve seen too many cats get hit by cars in front of our house, people have poisoned them, our one neighbor used to try to get his dog to attack them, when I worked with a vet office a half-dozen cats were brought in shot by both guns and arrows-likely done by heartless teens, one had rabies, and I’ve seen WAY too many people who’ve ADOPTED “strays” or “ferals”…usually not too long after I’ve heard someone say they’re missing their pet cat. The most common of these, which is ironic as the most common bad thing to happen to to a pet outside, is not by people who hurt them if given the chance, but more often people who believe they are “rescuing” a cat or dog by stealing it from the home it already has.

    (personal story in next comment)

    Michelle Maxted says...

    September 12th, 2012, 3:10 am

    Just reading through these comments, found my 9 month old cat dead on the pavement early hours of this morning 5.00am…..beautiful ginger and white, we called him Garfield….His brother is at home and doesn’t realise what has happened, we buried Garfield this morning….I thought it was fine to let cats out and always have, I like to see them running around the garden enjoying themselves, climbing up the shed and chasing insects….Oh how sad and devastated we are, after reading these comments I won’t let his brother out now, he will have to be an indoor cat. Garfield had such a lovely kind personality, and big purrs….oh how sad we are and tears are rolling down my face as I’m typing this. I had to search on google to find comfort. So sad!

    Jotto says...

    September 24th, 2012, 10:50 am

    There’s a black and orange cat living in a junk pile beside the house. I call her “Old Harlot” because she is perpetually pregnant, and she’s been around for years. This pussy-cat is built like a weathered battleship; you can feel this about her if you touch her, with heavy bones, thick fur and muscle. You know she has outrun hundreds of squirrels and mice in the fields and trees around, and has withstood harsh -20C winter nights for years. She must be well into middle age, though. The younger ferals push her around all the time, she just defends herself and owns only enough territory to get by.

    I befriended Old Harlot. We are at the point where she will eat directly out of my hand, though she’ll always be easily spooked. She had a litter in the junk pile spring 2012 and I decided to keep the cutest and most energetic. It has white, orange and black fur. I named her Pouf.

    Pouf is about 5 or 6 months old (I’ll never know for sure), and since she isn’t used to staying indoors yet, she gets bored and whines. But she’ll mellow out, and I’ll keep playing with her. Plus, buying more toys may help. I suspect one of those food dispensers where they have to roll it around to get the food to fall out would keep her occupied.

    From one of Old Harlot’s previous litters came a very vicious feral cat, who I called Panther. She actually took down a big grey squirrel, which was longer than her and at least half her own weight. If you could stand the constant carnage she caused, she was magnificent. Had she lived as long, she would have become an even better hunter than her mother.

    And it was when I saw Panther’s battered body on the side of the road that I knew letting Pouf outside any more would be too dangerous. Old Harlot’s success is rare and unlikely, and her life does not show that cats in my area can safely go outdoors. It shows the rare exception among dozens of mangled ears and frostbitten paws and crushed skulls, and all the ones that simply vanished, possibly to coyotes. Pouf can get used to staying inside or in a cage outside, or she can expect to have the same end that most ferals have. I will not cling to her evolutionary history, she will be staying inside.

    Katie says...

    October 20th, 2012, 9:13 pm

    I too have an indoor/ outdoor cat. I worry about him constantly but he is very persistent about going outside. He will cry and cry and cry in the middle of the night to be let out. He gets in face and knocks everything of my nightstand until I get up. How is it even possible to convert him to an indoor only lifestyle?

    Kelly-Paige says...

    November 21st, 2012, 8:56 am

    I’m so very sorry for your loss- this article moved me deeply, especially as I am about to move my two precious cats from a rural, outdoor life, to indoor apartment living in town.
    I’ve been feeling terribly guilty about this, but as they are both very loving mama’s-boys, I hope that the change won’t be too traumatic.
    Is there perhaps a reference article on how to adjust your outdoor cat to an indoor lifestyle? It’d be more than helpful!

    jasper121 says...

    November 30th, 2012, 9:19 am

    i am extremely sorry for your loss. i cannot imagine anyone hurting a cat by using a 2 by 4, it just makes me bleed inside and entertain thoughts of doing the same thing to your cat’s murderer, i am aware that it was 1 of 2 possible scenarios but…of course a cat being accidentally hit by a vehicle is tragic and should not happen. anyways, we humans sometimes have to learn the hard and painful way. people have accused me of being overly protective of my cat by keeping her indoors, but i do strongly believe it is necessary. i also want to protect her from diseases and poisonous outdoor substances from plants, chemicals(neighbor’s) etc. they are truly little children but more curious and possess amazing physical abilities that could get them into trouble.

    Fritz says...

    December 5th, 2012, 7:23 am

    I adopted a stray cat and it was desperate to go outside. My other cats where adopted as kittens. They get supervised garden visits and that satisfied my older cats. But the ‘stray’ nearly always wanted to ‘escape’. So I bought a cat harness and started taking her for walks at 4am to avoid the dogs. Lots of people leave their dogs off leash and have zero control. I also take her for nature walks in the mountain reserves. This satisfied her and she no longer leaves the garden when I take her outside.

    But beware other pet walkers with dogs, your cat will flip and claw and bite. Usually you will also trade profanities with their moron owners. Try to avoid them or if impossible put your cat in the nearest tree.

    EJ says...

    December 13th, 2012, 4:49 am

    People should be extremely concerned about the immense killing of small and helpless wildlife (birds, squirrels, etc) by cats that are allowed unsupervised outdoors. How can ANYONE say they are an animal lover if they don’t care one bit that THEIR CATS are killing innocent creatures for the pleasure of it? How is that ethical? It’s horrendous and anyone with compassion whatsoever would never want to be responsible for THEIR CATS killing innocent creatures. Or are true cat lovers NOT animal lovers and only love cats? That’s extremely odd and very selfish. Please for the sake of your pet (cats) as well as have some amount of respect for the beautiful wildlife and keep the cats indoors.

    Robin says...

    April 28th, 2013, 12:29 pm

    I’m so sorry for ur loss.. I was out on my porch 5 yrs ago and a kitten ran up on the porch . She’s about 6 wks . I take her to the vet the next morning . The vet says your gonna want to see this I’m like okay . Someone shot her in her leg. She was a baby I was mad! Why would someone be so cruel . Well she has a rode in her leg now. Now she’s five she busted my screen out the window and got outside she came up missing. I didn’t stop for one minute looking for her. We have a factory across the street . I felt she was there maybe stuck due to her leg. Well I look around all the house I just never thought she was where she was at on once again my cat is in a bad spot . She would’ve never got out on her own. It was a 9 foot drop . Well she’ll be at the vet tomorrow for her leg. I knew something wrong I felt it . I don’t let her out. I was in the scenario of what could happen to her. Any thing can happen to your cat . But u have to protect them just like they are your kids. My cats are indoor but one . They only go out when I do and they don’t get to roam . I hope 17 days stuck stops her the next time she wants to get through a screen . To be out doors .

    Annie says...

    May 2nd, 2013, 3:47 pm

    I am an animal lover so don’t take this the wrong way but do any of these pet owners (I say pet because this goes for dog owners too) ever think that maybe just maybe that their neighbors do not want their cats roaming around on their properties? I have found non-stray cats going to the bathroom on my hammock and other outdoor things I leave outside. Do you realize how bad cat urine smells? Do you realize how irresponsible not picking up after your dog is? I am tired of it! It is not the animals that are the problem – it is the owners. Why do pet owners in general not realize that everyone in the world does want your pet on their property?

    TK says...

    May 16th, 2013, 2:36 pm

    I had three cats and foolishly believed they were too smart to go in the street, as I had *never* seen them do so in the 12 years I have been at my current house. The two older ones are 14 and 13. The youngest was 3 and the most timid of them all. Well I opened my door to find him dead just outside his cat door two days ago. Vet said he was most definitely struck by a car. I let my baby down and the grief and guilt I am feeling right now is indescribable. Be smarter than me. If they can’t stay in at least keep them in at night. I guess he felt braver then or got chased, I don’t know it doesn’t matter now.
    RIP Orange, my Little Joe and all the countless others.

    Dorothy says...

    May 20th, 2013, 10:17 am

    I just want to say i love cats very much, i have 3 of my own and they only stay indoors (they are extremely happy). I just feel bad about myself because I can not save every cat/kitten when i see them out in the streets. I wish I could just take them all home. Recently I have felt depressed because I could not save a cat stuck inside a truck. I had just gotten out of shower my neighbor had a visitor and I could hear the cat crying for help, I tried to dress in a hurry but the truck sped off. I can still hear that kitty in my head, I need to let it go but I just cant. That is why cats should not be left to wander outdoors.

    Robin says...

    May 28th, 2013, 9:13 pm

    i am so sorry. :-/ i put my cat outside after 14 years. i thought that he was cooped up in the house for too long. i thought it was a good idea to put him outside. thought he could go in and out whenever he wanted too.He was attacked last year. Had to have his toe amputated. Then later that year he acquired an infection from more injuries. We took him to the vet.. he passed away there. i miss him very much. Please everyone, if you are going to have a cat, keep it in doors. Other wise, don’t get one at all. Get a guinea pig instead.

    Cat says...

    June 6th, 2013, 5:43 am

    Way back in the good old days, I lived on 2 acres on a street next to a small forest, no biggie…My brother and I got two kittens from the grocery store. One was calico and one was my Bootsie..(Black with white breast hair and white paws (male)..Both were outside cats. I went on summer vacation to visit my grandmother cross country and then my mother left to come pick me up..leaving the neighbor to tend to them..they lived in the garage at night..no problems right………wrong………..When I came home
    two and half months later, there were no cell phones and you trusted your neighbor..we could not find Bootsie, looked everywhere, could not find,even at the shelter…I cryed and resigned myself to school, 2 months later walking home I saw Bootsie on a neighbors driveway sunning himself, picked him up and ran all the way home..I was so excited..I guess that neighbor saw me and followed me home, where we both argued who
    the cat belonged to…That neighbor showed me and my mother a big vet bill to put my cat back together from a bad cat fight..and Bootsie did not know who I was, so my mother decided to give my cat of 3 years to the neighbor, because my cat did not recognize me…and she didn’t want to pay for the big vet bill…so the moral of the story is anyone can show proof of vet bills paid automatically gets custody of your pet…even if i had the money my cat forgot who I was after only 2-3 months…I confirmed that with my current vet 40 years later..so my two cats are now indoor cats of
    5 years and I just built a catio and they love it..

    Liz says...

    June 27th, 2013, 4:52 am

    I am so sorry for you and for Orange…your pain and horror come through your story vividly. I’ve had cats since the mid-80’s and have always been terrified one would get outside and be hurt (my first one did get outside once (dumb hubby left the door open while paying for the pizza), but he was extremely anxious to get back in the house once I figured out he’d gotten out – he zoomed in as soon as I opened the door. That was very lucky (incidentally, his name was Lucky).

    To this day I train my cats to fear the front door…I train them to stay away from the openings of the other (safer) doors, but I want them terrified of the front door because it’s too easy for them to slip past while you’re greeting a guest or paying for your pizza, or whatever.

    Your story is so valuable, and thank you for posting it and opening up with your pain. I would like to add another danger that I never see mentioned anywhere – there are a lot of chemicals used on vegetation and other things outside, including decorative plants, sidewalks, trees, bushes, weeds, and even grass. A cat outside can’t avoid it, they are very often exposed to poisons virtually anywhere they may step, sniff, or chew. All those photos you see of cats sniffing a pretty plant or flower – guess what? Most of those plants have toxic chemicals on them.

    So I echo your plea for people to keep their cats indoors only. I’ve talked to too many people who don’t like cats and then are shocked when they meet mine because they cuddle and interact with me, and they’ve never seen that with any of their friends’ cats. Guess what? That’s because we bond indoors, and I’m not tossing them outside. Cats are extremely happy living indoors, and I believe that they prefer it – as long as they’re being treated well indoors.

    Liz says...

    June 27th, 2013, 4:57 am

    I forgot to mention, I recently adopted a semi-feral kitten (9 mos old now) and he wants nothing to do with “outside”. He quickly bonded to me like superglue, and is always near me. More than anything, he wants a human who will love him, and a home. I think that says a lot…

    Nooks says...

    July 16th, 2013, 7:20 am

    I’m so pleased to have read all of these comments, some, very difficult to read, as I have been struggling with the guilt of keeping my gorgeous Manx fur-baby, Coggie, in my home. I simply couldn’t bear the thought of any harm coming to her as I am more than well-aware of the potential of humans and the horrors they can committ. Thanks for your inspiring comments and I feel happy that there are so many animal lovers out there! xx

    Candice says...

    July 16th, 2013, 1:09 pm

    Have a one year old Siamese cross. I have begged, gotten into fights with my household about not letting him out. Now he cries at 4 every morning AND they let him out. I tried so hard to raise him the right way. He was always following me around when I’m home now he’s just moody and cries to be let out cos they obviously do when I’m not here. He has been neutered and I try so hard to teach him to stay in BUT then someone will let him out! Am so angry, I will be moving for work soon and I want to take him with. Feels like he isn’t my baby anymore and he hates me cos I’m the only one that doesn’t entertain his bad habit. He’s even gotten shot with a pellet gun recently.

    Shorty says...

    July 19th, 2013, 3:48 am

    Well all I have to say is I am sorry for what has happend to your cat. It is a horrible thing to ever have to go thro.… but further more I have two cats 1 is retiring next door with my neighbor and her son stays with me both indoor/outdoor cats to me keeping my cats in.… it’s like cabin fever who wouldn’t want to go out and explore, yes small and anything could happen but for my cats I believe in them and loving abouse my cats where they come back for more! Momma kitty next door is very territorial for both my, and my neighbors yard. It’s so funny to watch her jump off the table to be let out to just chase off 3 dogs that is his neighbors house. BRAVE lil Kitty.… and Sven he is just a BIG bag of love

    Kristin says...

    July 21st, 2013, 7:45 pm

    Hi your story is very sad about Orange and has hopefully saved many cats lives.
    I wish I would have read it sooner ……
    My daughter & I got a beautiful young cat of 5 months old it was a long hair orange @ white calico female she was originally an indoor cat but slowly by first training her on a harness & then letting her out in my fully fenced yard to play with our dog & sticking close to home I thought she would be safe because she always was closeby then i started using a cat door & she became very independent & when the summer started she always came home late since it was so light out till late ,
    Until one day , my beautiful cat Nutmeg did not show up , I knew something was wrong I immediatley put up missing cat posters & called shelters to see if someone found my beloved cat . I was hoping for a miracle a happy ending & would keep her an indoor cat for the rest of her life about 10 days after she went missing I got a call from a women that lived only about 1 block away she said there was orange & white fur all over in the yard next to thiers . I hoped & prayed it was rabbit gur as there are numerous rabbits around the area , it wasnt rabbit fur it was the remains of my gorgeous wonderful pet that I adored spread out about 20 feet it appeared as though s coyote got to her there wasnt much left .
    I thought I was doing her a “favor ” by letting her go outside cat lovers if you think you are doing your cat s favor you dont ever want to live through the pain & guillt I am feeling now & probably for weeks & months to come I have to go to therapy & go on an antidepressant . Please , PLEASE in the memory of my beautiful Nutmeg keep your cats indoors & its never too late to turn an outdoor cat in to a strictly indoor cat .

    Bailey says...

    August 1st, 2013, 1:46 am

    I wish I had read this earlier honestly. I had a kitty named Morgan (we called him Morgan freeman). He was born an outdoor kitten. We caught him at about 8 weeks in our backyard. Everything was going pretty alright. He was outside most of the time. We tried to keep him indoors but if he stayed inside he would meow at 3 or 4 am to be let out. He wouldn’t stop crying so that became the routine. We moved and he had to be indoors this time because we lived next to a major street. One day my mom left the key in the garage where he was and he ran out I called for him until midnight and continued searching. I asked people if they had seen him. I know what probabaly happened to him and I shed a year everytime I think about it. He was 7 years old and was with me since elementary school. I am graduating now and it’s hard not having my best friend here. We got a new kitten named Nala. She has zero interest in going outside so far. We found her in a storm drain on 4th of July so that doesn’t surprise me. I wish I had closure with Morgan and I wish I had tried harder to keep him inside but I can’t change things now

    Stacey says...

    August 17th, 2013, 2:41 am

    This article is so sad. A similar thing happened to my cat the other day and I just picked him up from the vet today with the wire in his jaw. Does anyone know of a situation were the wire was successful with helping the jaw heal?

    epp says...

    August 21st, 2013, 9:08 pm

    Here in Norway no one, except those with expensive race cats or lives in the middle of a heavily trafficed city, keeps them inside.

    Marina says...

    September 6th, 2013, 10:16 am

    All love to Orange… You got smart fast, believe me—it takes some of us much too long. Between the two of us, my mom and I lost two kitties to feline leukemia they acquired while roaming, one to a gunshot wound (a neighbor shot her), one to being hit by a car, and another simply disappeared never to return. Then a friend lost her cat after he ate anti-freeze. Finally, we both made our yards secure with climb-proof (and dig-proof) fencing, and limited our cats to that much outdoor space. If you just have a small yard or a balcony, consider one of those wire enclosures. Sure, it’s maybe a bit more work to keep indoor cats happy, but those who don’t have the time to make that kind of a commitment probably shouldn’t adopt an animal in the first place. They deserve more than that from us.

    Betty Moser says...

    September 16th, 2013, 1:12 am

    God bless Orange, it is brutal world we live in my kitty Tifa was found sitting on the side walk by my son and daughter. She don’t want to go out any more.she is a happy indoor kitty( in fact sitting on my lap as I type).

    William says...

    September 23rd, 2013, 11:58 am

    Its nice to provide safety to feline pets. One way to is to have outdoor cat enclosure.

    Sam says...

    October 4th, 2013, 7:40 pm

    For the several people that mentioned that cats have certain instincts and that we have no right to “imprison” them…don’t keep cats. If you insist on their rights to being wild and free, then don’t go half-way and think you can keep them as “companions”. And I say companions since “pets” seems to be a bad word for several of you. We don’t let the laws of nature kill our small children…we don’t give in to our whining children…and we don’t think that being bored is justification for teenagers to do stupid things. Just as our children are our responsibility so are our furry family members.

    Aleasha says...

    December 21st, 2013, 1:43 pm

    I learned the hard way, too. We used to let our cats wander outdoors. Sadly, at just 4 years old one of our beloved cats was killed by a raccoon. Now we have a kittywalk system and our cats love it!

    Rhys says...

    March 19th, 2014, 8:05 am

    How about destruction to wildlife??? I hope someone here has commented on that?! Is there no-one that concerned about the welfare of other animals they may impact as well? I live in Australia where endemic wildlife is being slowly eliminated by feral animals such as cats. Not a happy camper… Farewell

    Linda Schmid says...

    May 7th, 2014, 9:58 am

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with letting your cat outside as long as you have a fenced in yard like we do. (Mine stay in the yard at all times when they do go out and never leave). I even have a little homemade house outside for my one cat who likes to spend the afternoon outdoors.

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