Do cats really need to go outdoors?

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oscarspeedyspot

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I hope not. But one of my cats always try every effort to break down the door to get outside. I don't think that I'm a bad cat parent. But I do have very hard time to keep one of my cats staying indoor. This trouble kid was resucued from the street when he was about 5 to 6 months old. Now he is 4 year old. No matter what I tried to keep him indoor, he always found his way out. I am living in a rented house. I cannot alter any structure of the house or yard. It is impossible for me to close up all windows and doors of the house to keep him inside. I bought toys, cat tunnel, scratch perch for him to play with, He is only interested in his toys for a short while. At night, I closed up all windows and doors of the house. He will open the louver window of the door of the laudry room, jump up on the laudry dryer then climb up to the burglar-proofed gate and go out. We tried to tighted the louver, He tried very hard to open them and he broke the rivet nuts of the loaver. The whole louver fell. So he got out.  Any suggestion for me ? What to do to keep him indoor.
 

spider777

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I do think cats should be allowed outdoors. Would anyone think of keeping a dog indoors it's entire life? Or a human? Yes there are dangers outside. No one is arguing that. Obviously there are bad things that could happen to your kitty outside but for me the those risks are worth him/her being able to experience the outside world. I know indoor cat people get so angry when we outdoor cat people say we've had lots of cats live long lives being indoor/outdoor creatures. But it's true. And to be fair I did have one kitty die at about 3 when he got hit by a car when I was a kid. And it was awful. But I cannot wrap my head around the idea that because dangers exist outside therefore you should keep a cat inside it's whole entire life?! Cats are creatures of instinct. They are stealth hunters, and all of them are a little bit wild. Way more so than dogs and dogs get to go hiking with their humans, run around outside, go for walks, play at the dog park, etc.. And yes, I know I know it's all "supervised" outdoor play time but what about when they are off leash in the woods, or on trails running and chasing squirrels and digging and rolling in the mud and dirt? Cats love to do all of that! They need to. I see those poor indoor cats sitting in windows all day long staring and staring and wishing they could get out. You don't think that's suffering? How about you stay inside for a year. Never go out and keep telling yourself "It's better this way. I won't get mugged, or hit by a car, or salmonella from eating out at a restaurant. I'll just order in every night, sit my fat (and rapidly growing) backside down in front of the TV, occasionally use the treadmill and try my very best not to think about fresh air and sunshine and NATURE . Because really nature is overrated, right? The NATURAL world. Meh. Take it or leave it that's what I say." 

Try that. See how it works for you.

And the debate rages on. I'll never stop being a responsible pet owner that loves my cats and KNOWS who they really are. Last year I had to put Jefe down at 20 years old and my Spider, he lived til 17 and had honest to goodness friends all over this neighborhood that cried when he died and came to his backyard burial.

As I write this my new kitten is batting a paper ball around the room. She's too little to go out just yet. I'll get her shots first and a new pal for her and then in about a month we'll start taking supervised "field trips" to the back yard. Will I worry about her being outside sometimes? Yes, who doesn't worry when their kids leave the house? But I want wants best for her not what's best for ME. 
 
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littlewolf

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Are you kidding me. Wpuld you like to live in the same 4 walls 24 hours a day, seven days a week? It's selfish enough we develop domestic animals to be our companions, get used to our lifestyles, our hopeless inability to communicate with them, the situation we have created with unwanted pets having to be destroyed because there is no natural place for them in the wild... And now you can't find a reason not to force a cat to live in a box with you.

I find people with indoor cats to be taking the lazy option. You always have your eye on them, and some people even confine their cats to one room. Letting them outside is far more stressful in terms of worrying about the dangers they may encounter, calling them inside for meals or worrying about what they might bring inside with them.

But you put up with all these things if you love your animal. What next, do cats really need to play? Walk?

My cat is inside and outside when he wants to go explore or we are leaving the house. When it is time to come home I miaow from the door. If you don't have a yard or anything then don't have a cat. Thats like having children knowing you haven't got money to take care of them or intend to keep them in a box all their lives (and some sick people have done so..)
 
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littlewolf

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He
I hope not. But one of my cats always try every effort to break down the door to get outside. I don't think that I'm a bad cat parent. But I do have very hard time to keep one of my cats staying indoor. This trouble kid was resucued from the street when he was about 5 to 6 months old. Now he is 4 year old. No matter what I tried to keep him indoor, he always found his way out. I am living in a rented house. I cannot alter any structure of the house or yard. It is impossible for me to close up all windows and doors of the house to keep him inside. I bought toys, cat tunnel, scratch perch for him to play with, He is only interested in his toys for a short while. At night, I closed up all windows and doors of the house. He will open the louver window of the door of the laudry room, jump up on the laudry dryer then climb up to the burglar-proofed gate and go out. We tried to tighted the louver, He tried very hard to open them and he broke the rivet nuts of the loaver. The whole louver fell. So he got out.  Any suggestion for me ? What to do to keep him indoor.
Don't you think you're being selfish if he is dissatisfied but you want to keep him in a box anyway? Try leash training and taking him walkies in a secluded area.
 

adjecyca

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I ABSOLUTELY HATE FREE ROAMING CATS.. But to answer your question cats do not NEED to go outside, but it can provide some stimulation or exercise, i would prefer outdoor experiences to be on a leash or cat proofed kennel, my cat is leash trained and is very happy.. I hate free roaming cats because they destroy my gardens, furniture, and kill wildlife i want in my back yard.. It is just rude to allow your cat outside when you have neighbors, not even including the poor wildlife your cat is killing.. And repeat offenders that come in my yard get trapped and go to the shelter, i am tired of it

EDIT: i am also sure my dogs would LOVE to free roam outside, but i do not let them because it is unsafe for them, and it is unsafe for others, i feel the same way about outdoor cats.
 
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sivyaleah

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Everyone, you are responding to a thread over 2 years old.  The original poster is certainly long gone, as are most others.
 
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oscarspeedyspot

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We make compromises in life. and so do I with my cats. We eventually moved out that house and moved to another one. We catproofed the yard. Now my kitties can only roam in our own yard. It is great. The trouble one didn't like it at first. After few months, he settled in nicely. Now I don't need to worry about him getting into danger out there!
 

eb24

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When deciding the issue of having a cat be indoor, outdoor, or both I believe it's crucial that the individual circumstances be the deciding factor. It's one thing to have a cat who comes and goes as they please if you live in a rural area with lots of land and few predators/roads, but what if you live in the middle of New York City? Or somewhere that has more coyotes than people? In those scenarios allowing the cat to go outside could be what is considered negligent and harmful. It could also be considered negligent to leave a cat outside full time with no access to the indoors (for shade, food and water, ect), or to allow a cat out who is not altered, same as it would be to lock them in a small cage twenty four hours a day. It should also be taken into consideration that not all cats have the same temperament, and some may prefer to be indoors if given the option. 

Given that I live in an area that has both extensive motor traffic and a den of coyotes a half a block away, my two cats remain indoor only. They are given free reign of the home and have not only horizontal access but vertical access as well. They are given regular items of enrichment so they can exercise their hunting skills, and have multiple places to scratch and sleep. They do have limited access to the outdoors via a balcony but, given that they are both skittish, the constant sounds of cars during the day and coyote howls at night means they rarely go out there. Even if I were to move to a location where it was safer for them to be outdoors I wouldn't do it. And, that's because I know their unique personalities and that neither is adventurous or a fan of change. That said, I previously had a foster (who my parents adopted) who is the exact opposite and thrives on the adventure of being allowed out. She basks in the sun, hunts rabbits, and prefers to drink from mud puddles than her fancy bowl. And, if it ever happened that she lived with me again I would absolutely find ways to get her outside. So why would I let her out and not mine? Because I believe it's all about the individual determination and not a blanket rule. 

In the end, regardless of your individual preference, I think it's fair to say that everyone on this site is here because they love their cat(s) and want to do what is best for them. Given that the individual circumstances vary so much I think that, whether they are allowed out or are kept in, so long as each and every cat has a consistent source of food, water, shelter, and enrichment then it is for the guardian to decide what is in their best interest, and not for the rest of us to judge. 
 
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