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Debate: should cats be allowed out at night?


Debate: should cats be allowed out at night?

Not so long ago, most cats were let out each evening to roam as they pleased while their owners slept peacefully. Nowadays it's becoming less common. With around one in four cats killed on the road, should all our feline friends be locked in at night? Sophie Mackenzie examines the issue for Petplan.

If you are a cat owner, you will be familiar with the feeling of being jerked from sleep in the small hours by needle-sharp claws kneading your body. Often followed by persistent yowling, a furry body draping itself over your head, or a sandpapery tongue rasping your nose... your kitty has decided it's morning.

Our feline friends don't keep such antisocial hours out of sheer contrariness, although it may feel that way at four o'clock in the morning. Cats are crepuscular: they are most active during the twilight hours of dusk and dawn, which is feeding time for the small rodents and birds on which they prey.

IT'S NATURAL

So it can seem like a wise idea to let your cat out at night, or even shut him or her out. It is a cat's natural instinct to hunt for food, after all. "Cats benefit from access to the great outdoors. They can explore new things in a changing environment, fulfill their natural instincts and get exercise," says Claire Bessant, chief executive of the charity International Cat Care (formerly the Feline Advisory Bureau).

And of course, many cat owners also prefer to offer 24/7 outside access to avoid the hassle of changing litter trays!

SAFETY ISSUES

However, Claire advises that being allowed to wander freely at night isn't safe for cats. Most road traffic accidents in which cats are hurt or killed happen at night, due to cats being dazzled by oncoming car headlights. A reflective collar might go some way towards protecting your puss, but keeping him or her inside is safer still.

Wild animals like foxes are also out and about at night, and although it's unusual for a fox to injure a domestic cat, it has been known to happen. Your cat is also more likely to meet feral and stray cats at night, possibly getting into fights or picking up diseases or parasites. And you're more likely to encounter angry neighbours if your cat gets into the habit of using the nearby gardens as late-night toilets!

WHAT'S BEST?

So what's the solution? Assess the situation: if you live in a terraced house with limited access to the world beyond your own garden, or you have an unadventurous cat that shows little interest in expanding his or her territory, it is probably relatively safe to allow your puss outside at night.

Similarly, if you live in a very rural area far from busy roads and keeping rats and mice down is an important part of your cat's job description, you may choose to let the pre-dawn hunting continue unimpeded.

However, most urban cats will live longer, healthier, safer lives if their access to the outside world is restricted to daylight hours. "If you can train your cat to come when he is called - perhaps by feeding him - you'll be able to let him out first thing and make sure he back in by dusk each day," says Claire.

You may also consider insuring your cat. After all, if your cat is a night or day wanderer, it might be more likely to need assistance from a vet, as owner Caroline Baker found out.

In the first month after she bought her roaming ginger tom Jack, he had an accident and dislocated his leg. The vet’s bill would’ve cost £3000, but thankfully Jack was covered by four weeks of free insurance from Petplan. (The company offers this to many new owners who opt to have their dog or cat microchipped.)

Caroline hadn't made up her mind whether to insure Jack before the accident, but now has lifetime cover with Petplan. She says: "This gives us peace of mind for the future. Jack disappears all day, and since his operation we've had another trip to the vet. I'm sure it won't be the last trip we make!"

Pet insurance may not sound like essential cover. But new research shows the UK’s millions of pet owners are more likely to claim on this insurance than any other type of policy. And with vets' fees rising sharply – the average single pet insurance claim now costs £650 – it's not hard to see why more pet owners on the whole are choosing to insure their pets.

What do you think? Is your cat given to sneaky stop-outs, or is he or she quite happy to curl up indoors at night? Do you believe in letting cats be cats, or do you follow a safety-first policy? Tell us in the comments below.


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Carroll Trevor
I have two x 2 year old (almost) young cats who only go outside at all with harnesses and leads on. They were trained from 6 weeks old, are quite happy about this, and are very unsure about many outside sort of things. They always go out once or twice a day for up to an hour at a time, or until they decide it is time to go in. It prevents damage to the bird life, and also, as happened last time, my beloved cat was badly injured on the road and had to be pts as a result of the injury. I could not go through this again, so decided that the girls would learn early on to be lead and it has worked very well, we wander about visit people locally, check the trees, undergrowth and they happily sleep with me every night.
Jacquie
My cat has access to the outside at all times. Fortunately I live in a rural area without much traffic. I believe cats should be outside, if safe for them. My cat has a cat flap and she knows where to go if threatened. I did try to keep her in at one time but she was so miserable.
PAT TYRRELL
I HAVE 3 CATS 2 SHORTHAIRED AND1 A PERSIAN CAT ANDA HALF PERSIAN THEPURE PERSIAN COST ME300 00 7 YRS AGO THEY ALL HAD BEEN NUTUERED HAVE LARGE GARDEN AND THEY ARE IN AT NIGHT THEY ARE HAPPY CATS
Karen Needham
I never let my Tom cat out at night, he was a cat that liked to roam:) there are alot of fox around here, and I have come across them injuring or killing them :( Lennox did get used to being in a night but never liked it :(
jean cannon
no, cats should be in at night,cats we have had in the past from rescue it was one of the conditions of ownership that we keep them in at night,these days our monty has had bladderstones,if he wanted to go out I would let him as he doesn't like using a tray,he goes out at 7am ,and he usally in bed around 6pm,sometimes he is like a naughty child and wont come in if he having fun with other cats out the front,theres too many un newtered toms where we live fighting I don't want monty getting hurt been though too much in his first few months of his life,i think newterd cats prefer their home comforts and warm bed to be honest
Rachel Carson
Until yesterday I had a 4 year old calico cat. We think she was stalking some prey in a tree when she caught her collar on part of the tree and we believe ended up hanging herself. She would regularly patrol every evening and return home with presents around 4am so when this morning she didn't we knew something wasn't right our first thought was because we live directly on the A39 she may have been run over, this was a freak accident I know but people need to know that quick release collar may have prevented this accident as she was wearing a traditional flea (buckle) collar. I believe its natural for cats to patrol, but the other half of me thinks they are safer in doors for the night.
Josie Andrews
I have seven cats all rescued, 2 kittens don't go out but the otherswill not stay in at night. They have ruined the seals on my windowsscratching to get out. Up until the last two kittens arrived my window wasalways left open for them to come & go as they pleased. Now I sleep very little during the night checking on them all the time. They don't roam far from the garden but even so I still keep checking on them. It is naturalfor cats to be out, but it is also okay for them to be house cats, it just depends on each individual cats behaviour.
Stephanie Wright
I always used to keep my cats indoors at night and at times even waited up until the early hours when I couldn't find them. However, I now have four cats and a cat flap and it would be near on impossible to keep them all indoors all night. Restricting a cats access outside can cause stress and could lead to medical problems too in some cats. Two of my cats used to urine spray in the house if they were shut in (probably because they were used to being outside all of the time before I took them in). I think cats should be able to do what they are meant to do - hunt and most of their hunting is best done at night and early morning. Thankfully, I live in a very quiet area and on a pathway so I will hopefully not have to deal with my cats being involved in RTA's. Anyone who can keep their cats indoors at night then brilliant, but for many people I think it could be easier said than done. My cats are much happier with their freedom.
Libby from the Petplan Team
Hi Rachel, thank you so much for your post, I am really sorry to hear about your cat's accident and want to thank you for posting and sharing your story at such a difficult time. Kind regards, Libby - the Petplan Team
Marianne
We live in a cul-de-sac in a village. Our choice of house was in part predicated on a desire to have cats having formerly lived in a town-centre flat on a main roundabout - in essence it had to be a cat friendly location or we weren't going to buy it. Shortly after moving, we adopted two cats from the Blue Cross, now aged about 7 & 9.They have free access to the outside world but being middle aged and frankly a bit lazy, they don't tend to wander far. But they have the choice. One of them only has three legs so we put a cat flap in the garden gate for him. It's his choice to use it or to stay in the garden.The point I'm trying to make is: They are CATS. They are not furbies, they are not toys, they don't have off-switch - they are living, instinct-driven individual creatures with their own likes and dislikes. Yes, they occasionally have a run-in with one of the other local cats. That's because they're cats. They sort it out between themselves and humans rarely need to get involved.As pet-owners (who am I kidding? make that cat-servants) our urge is to protect our furry friends as if they were our children. And of course it is possible to lead-train a very young kitten so that a trip to the outside world becomes an accompanied excursion, but one of the reasons I like cats is for their independent attitude - something which won't be allowed to develop in a lead trained kitten. I can't help but feel it's a bit like trying to keep a 5-year old child in nappies because you don't want them to go through the stress of potty training.A child doesn't stay a baby forever and a kitten grows into an adult cat. Their psychological development and well-being is as important as their physical health and to force a cat to remain indoors when it doesn't want to will lead to behavioural problems such as urine spraying and destructive behaviour, all signs of an unhappy cat. My cats are as safe as I can reasonably make them but still have the freedom to be themselves.Rachel, so very sorry to hear about your cat. If you decide to get another, maybe consider microchipping for ID purposes and Frontline drops for flea control.....?
Carol Townsend
My two elderly cats are kept in at night and with the proliferation of traffic and parked cars nowadays, I would never risk my precious bundles safety by letting them out at night. If you live in a rural area it might be ok but I don't think its fair to let your cats be at risk. It breaks my heart to see dead cats on the road.Mine love curling up on the bed with me at night and yes they do wake me for food in a morning but its all part of the responsibility of pet ownership and goes with the territory.
Nicola Matthews
I have three cats, two BSH and one Selkirk, they only have access to a cat proofed garden. They are relaxed and content. I feel cat proofing was the best money we spent. We also have one who is harness trained and we walk down the canal tow path regularly. I would not trust them( the cats) as I lost a cat roaming years ago, nor would I trust people. We do not nor have ever had issues with cat spray or destructive behaviour, they are all males , one is still entire until he bulks up. We have plenty of enrichment activities, two garden cat trees with platforms, tunnels and ropes, boxes inside etc. We also feed RAW and have noticed a much more content feeling almongst them, no sugar carbohydrate issues, super body condition, no dental issues.
Esmerelda Wheeler
My pedigree cats only have access to an enclosed run, and only during the daytime, at night they are locked inside. They're all very happy and content, and don't have any health problems. My mum's moggies are allowed to roam free and come and go as they like night or day. We live in a rural area, but sometimes people drive too quickly through the area, and we did lose one cat to the road 2 years ago, shortly after moving out here. Our cats dont have collars, as one of them got stuck on a fence some years ago while being chsed by a dog that was loose in the street and was nearly bitten. Luckily, she got herself free and got to the safety of the garden - ever since then, we haven't put collars on them. While the cats all roam free, I don't personally think its safe enough for them to do so, and so I've convinced my mum to get cat-proof fencing to protect them, which we'll hopefully get sorted soon. She has a decent-sized garden, so with a wooden climbing frame and toys for them, the cats will be more than content staying within the boundaries.
Esmerelda Wheeler
I should add, once the cat-proof fencing is up, the cats will still be free to come and go night and day. They like to chase things and bring in leaves and spiders that they catch (and occassionally birds and mice...) and we wouldnt want to restrict that, because its how they've grown up and its instinct. My pedigrees have always lived indoors from birth, so they're happy as they are, and have the opportunity to chase leaves and bugs/spiders all day in their run, so all is fine for them.
Lynn
I have 3 tom cats. One goes out only when I'm at home, comes in when I whistle for him, he stays in through the night and is quite content doing this. Im always up between 4-5 am and he goes out for a couple of hours then but always comes back at 7am for his breakfast. The other two only go out on harness and lead in the yard they are happy doing this as they are nervous cats and don't like all the loud noises outside. If I could go back I would never have let the older cat out. People are cruel to cats and they have started putting antifreeze out as they know the cats like the taste of it. I love my cats but worry myself sick when the big cat goes out. If I lived somewhere that was safe I would have no problems letting all my cats roam freely outside.
Sophie
Our male and female cat have already have many injuries and incidents in their short lives, they are only 4, and most of these have both happened during the evening. Our female was shot by an air rifle one evening, our male is often attacked by other males in the evenings but he also had to suffer being locked in a neighbours shed and trapped for 3 weeks and this happened during the day time. I would prefer to keep my cats in all the time so I know they are always safe. I plan to erect a cat enclosure fence once we get our home, this is the only real way to keep them safe.
Mark
I think this really depends on where you live - I had a few cats when I lived on a main road in a rural village, and sadly 3 of them were hit by cars over a period of several years. However we then moved to a different area in the same village that was in a more residential area and our cats never experienced any trouble again even though they were outside all the time. After all, cats are animals that can't be cooped up - they need to explore.
Caroline Haines
This is a very interesting discussion, similar to one I've recently had with my Facebook followers. I have a Siamese cat - during the daytime, he's an outdoor cat and goes where he wants as we live in a relatively quiet area, but I always keep him in at night, partly because I like to know where he is and that he hasn't got himself shut in a garage or shed (which has happened on occasion) and also for all the reasons quoted above - traffic, foxes, etc.There are definitely cultural differences about keeping cats inside. Here in the UK, we're much more relaxed about letting cats out, at least during the daytime. In the States, Canada and Australia, where there are many more and larger predators, they tend to keep cats (especially pedigrees) indoors, whereas comments I had from South Africa and Hawaii indicated that there, at least, cats have more of an outdoor life.
Tim
When I first moved out of my parents house, I wanted a cat but felt the road nearby was too busy so decided not to get one. That changed one morning when I found a wet, bedraggled and hungry cat on my doorstep. It never crossed my mind to try and keep her in at night and we went on to have nearly 12 years together until her heart condition caught up with her and she passed away just a couple of months ago. A kitten I got a few months after taking in the stray was with me for 9 years before she was tragically killed by a car - but it was early evening and the car was mine,, reversing onto the drive (and I still feel so guilty 2 years on).I currently have 2 young cats I took in as kittens from Cats Protection and although the one might adapt to being an indoor cat, her brother certainly would not! If Widget has had a successful night hunting, he won't come home for breakfast, so I don't worry if he isn't around first thing.Since I moved 10 years ago, I'm in a situation where my garden backs onto houses which face a busy main road, at the sides of the house are other gardens for quite a distance each way and 2 minutes walk to the front is a forest. I believe that the forest will be the area that attracts the cats and my only concern at letting them out at night is being woken up at 2am when one of them decides they want to come in.We do have foxes in the area, we hear them in the street, seen them a few times and lost a flock of hens to one but still wouldn't dream of keeping my cats in.
Malcolm R Tarling
Definitely no. I don't go to bed until both my cats are in. The warm weather of late has mean't that they stay out longer, but sooner or later they return, and we all get a good nights sleep.
linda freeman
There is no way I would leave my beloved cat Misty out at night. When she first came to us she was sleeping under a hedge in all weathers, she chose us from an unhappy home in the same neighbourhood. She is approx 13 -14 years now, and loves to roam in the garden and beyond in daytime, but when I go to bed so does she, whatever the weather. The garden backs on to allotments, and there is no way I would leave her prey to foxes. Admittedly in the very hot weather I feel guilty, as she would love to stay out, but I simply would not sleep. It is an occupational hazard of loving a feline that sometimes you have to get up very early, especially in summer, to let them out. Rather this than the unthinkable.
Fiona
My 2 are BSH and are indoor kitties but have access to my cat proofed Arden when I am at home. They are outside now but I will make sure I bring them in before 10pm. Spending money on securing the garden was the best money I have ever spent. I originally had a low maintenance garden and have only became a kitty slave 18 months ago, earlier this year I decided to have artificial grass laid, it's great and my girls love it. When looking for a cat I tried the CPL and RSPCA neither of which would let me rehome an indoor cat, they really do need to rethink their rehoming policy on indoor cats.
John Allen
Our cats are about 14 and 4 yrs - and it would be virtually impossible to keep them in at night - not only because we have cat flaps on the inner & outer doors, but because they are both rehomed cats which are used to spending a lot of time out of doors and their behaviour when we do have to confine them definitely shows considerable distress - the older one is BIG cat, and although of a very passive nature, we have found it almost impossible to secure the cat flaps against his very "determined" efforts to get out!Both have, I think, had their brushes with passing vehicles - but I also think that they have both learnt the lesson to keep away from such vehicles as it is a long time (at least several yrs) since either of them ran into any such trouble.Therefore my opinion is that a cat's life, like that of a human, is subject to many risks when out and about - and provided that the cat manages to survive the first few months/years of being out at night, then it is at not much more risk during the day than at night. That may sound a little cruel to some, but I think it is no more cruel than keeping a cat inside when it really wants to be outside!
paul buffham
All cats should have a right to freedom, i have two cats one being a bengal try marble male who is very active, to keep him in at night would be chaos! Its a risk you take letting your cats out at night but a risk i have taken for last 4 years, i am a firm believer that there is no such thing as an indoor cat, if you provide a cat flap then they will be inquisitive enough to go out and not stay in. An indoor cat is a cat that is refused the right to be let out by its owner.
Lesley Oliver
I have 3 cats, all rescue, all neutered. I have never allowed them out at night and never will. There is no need at all, todays pampered pets don,t need to got out and hunt. Farm cats and cats that are kept to control vermin need to be out at night but the average domestic house cat has absolutely no reason to go out at nigt and is just as happy to sleep on the bed all night long. I have a 4 way cat flap which allows them in and out all day but it is firmly locked at night.
Carol Hack
I would always try to keep my cats in at night; there is a much higher risk of road accidents or in rural areas, gamekeepers, poachers, wildlife etc
Petra
I'm lucky to live in a cottage on secured farm land surrounded by acres of fields so my cats enjoy going out at night. No way that I would let them out at night otherwise but guess I would also not have any cats if living in the city or a busy estate area. Only negative thing is that I have lots of 'presents' in the morning. Preferrable baby rabbits.
Teresa Urquhart
I have three happy indoor cats, I wouldn't dream of putting them out at night!
Sue worsey
We recently lost our dog who every evening Alerted me when Wilson our rescue cat was ready to come in,he has always slept in his bed at night. Since Ben died I have had to call Wilson myself 1 call and a whistle and he appears he's become a cat that likes to sit on my lap at night and although very wary of strangers is now a more loving cat all these changes have occurred since Ben died Has a anyone else experienced this. I agree cats should be in at night I worry if Wilson is out all night.
Britt
In the past, all my cats were free to roam day and night. I've now got a 13 year old and a 6 month old cat and have moved - not far from a main road. My neighbours all have (many) cats, some of which bully mine. So, my cats are only allowed out during the day - never at night! They don't know any different, so seem quite happy about that.
Stevan Leohart Hezseltine
My Missy and her litter sister never go out at any time, they are not interested, in fact the only times that I have carried either of them into the garden and put them down, to see if they wanted to go out they ran straight back into the house, the same thing happened with one of my previous girls Fudge.they have a large house to share with me and are quite content, as have been my previous cats.Sadly the cats next door who was an out-door cat died not longer after he moved here, even tho we live in a very quiet area.Interesting comment about reflective collars, sadly in my experience some driver actually try to run down animal including cats, from ME this would justify the death sentence
Nikki
We live extremely busy road in West London and we have the Tube at the back of us. I never let our British Shorthair out he has lots of toys and a 5ft scratch post to entertain him.
Michele
I prefer to let my cats out at night as all my cats that have been killed on the road have been killed during the day.
Lynda
We always keep our cat Heidi Haf in at night. She was hit on the road once during the day not long after we adopted her but thankfully survived with no permanent injury. We know the risk is greater at night. Also she is nervous of two local Siamese who like to pick a fight. There are also quite a few foxes around. She happily accepts the arrangement and never tries to get out of the flap after dark. When she has escaped sometimes after dark eg. if a visitor has opened the door when she is in the hall, she has always been fine but has not stayed out for long.
Jane Porter
I had two ginger tom cats who were brothers, Archie was killed by a car early on in the evening in April this year. The road had recently had speed bumps put in and traffic restricted to 20 mph. However his brother Oscar, being the cleverer of the two learnt at an early age how to open the kitchen window. The first time I came down in the morning to find them both in the garden and the window wide open. After checking that I hadn't been burgled, my son and I spent the morning blaming one another for leaving the window open. Half way through another spat Oscar jumped onto the kitchen unit and promptly levered the window open with his front leg and then pushed it open using his head. Needless to say that window was locked from then on, but on the odd occasion we are at home and the kitchen window is unlocked this is his preferred exit from the house, although he will open other windows in the house if they are not locked. On firework night I got both of the boys in before dark, and gave them their meal late. Once they were in I locked the newly acquired cat-flap shut. Oscar sat on the freezer watching me, and before I could move he got down, pushed the locking mechanism to open, stood back and let his brother out, sneered at me and walked out.And this is why Oscar comes and goes as he pleases!ps He know that the key is something to do with opening the front door, and spends lots of time jumping and hitting it - just a matter of time I think.
Fiona
My boy sometimes refuses to come in and he has the occasional all night stop out ! I don't like him being out and mostly I try to get him before its dark !!!!!
Jay pettifer
Our cat is a pedigree but i don't think that it means they should be house cats ( my friend disagrees) he couldnt wait to go out and explore. He goes out but only when i'm home, if i go out he comes in and i keep him in and he never goes out at night I like to know he is safe at home, I did the same with our old cat smokey (who wasnt a pedigree) who died aged 16 and is greatly missed, I would worry about him if he was out all night.
Jan Attard
I also have 3 cats, having lost a 5 year old on the road 5 years ago we deceided to cat secure our garden before getting any more cats> I had just the 11 year old siamese when I lost Cleo, and although she had been completely free until the fencing was finished she accepted the change from roaming the streets to having just our garden. It is large with lots of play areas and climbing frames, lookout posts (all at a point that she could not excape). She is now approaching 16 and we have a 5 year old siamese and a 4 year old Birman. They have 2 cat flaps to go in and out of the house and complete freedom within the garden to chase night creatures, they are all well and happy. It cost a lot of money and lots of risk assessments before we let the boys out but so worth it
Sandra Jenkins
I have two cats and always keep them in at night. It is far safer for them and they don't mind since they have never known anything else.
Jay pettifer
Hi Sue If Wilson and your dog were close i think he is probably using you as a kind of replacement, he doesnt know where his friend has gone and looks to you for reassurance, we had a cat called basil and a dog called zip when i was a child they were always so close and when zip died basil became the opposite of your cat he went from being a big softy to being very vicious and we think it's because he didnt understand where zip went and blamed us for taking him away from him xxx Jay
Mel
I have two cats. The older one (11 years )always comes in, even if he goes out late for the toilet. We usually get the younger one (2) in before dark and don't let her out at night. I don't settle if they are out; I lost a young cat when she ran into the road away from an attacking cat. Finding her body next morning as she had tried to struggle home was heart-breaking. If I lived away from the road or other dangers I might think differently, but I don't so in they come.
Caroline
I keep my two rag tag mogs in, I live on a main road and have seen too many dead cats on it, but I have built a cat run for them so they can go outdoors but not roam, they also have a vast amount of cat furniture and toys to hopefully keep them happy and entertained, plus it helps the local wildlife and bird population to flourish with my two predators kept under lock and key.
June
Cora is a pedigree cat Wegie, and from three months old has gone out during the day on a lead. She now has a Mynwood cat jacket which she gets excited to wear and go out. We live in the country which is not a safe place for cats at night. My previous cat was always at the vets after being attacked or bitten by various things!! Cora keeps our hours and sleeps at night in her own room and is awake all day!
Val
Totally wrong as far as I'm concerned to keep cats in at anytime. My cat has free access to the outside world whenever he chooses. An indoor cat is just unnatural as far as I'm concerned for his his life to be as full and natural as possible he must accept the consequences and much a I love him....so must I. That said I live in a very rural area.
Lacey lightowler
I have 2 DSH that have access to outside but only at 'quiet times' and most definitely do not go out at night, they are both in before its gets dark. I live in a city and wouldn't trust people not to hurt, hit and even shoot my cats! if they were out at night. I lost one to an RTA just before christmas and was devastating, if I could i would keep 100% keep mine at house cats!
Pat McCartney
HiI have had six cats over the last 20 years - all pedigree- and none stayed out at night. Some were able to go out in the evening but all were in for the night when I went to bed. It is just a bit too dangerous with the level of cats out and about + roadsPat Mc
Leigh Oswald
My two rescue cats ( from cats protection league) are always called in for the night .. The little girl would not be bothered I don't think if she never went out and never wanders far from the garden in the day .. but my boy (Russian Blue) goes on big walkabouts in the day .. but after losing a cat years ago at night (he came home two weeks later having been trapped in someone's house when they went away late at night.. I never want to go through that again).. we get them in at dusk .. We all can sleep soundly then ..The funny thing is in order to get my boy in, I call him ,rattle his food bowl and cat flap.. and on hearing this , he comes running in ..eats .. and then suddenly realises... that's it , he is locked in for the night. He then looks a bit fed up ..looks longingly out the French window... and looks at me as if to say , "I have fallen for that trick again haven't I?" .. He then philosophically goes and sits on the sofa waiting for us to join him when we watch TV or to read ,purring deeply while we stroke him... (and she joins in too)... He then sleeps on our bed till 7 .00 am next morning, when , like clockwork, he pats us on the nose to wake us up to feed him and let him out .. A routine for the last 10 years!. We are all happy and so far, touch wood .. we have two safe and contented cats. I could not sleep knowing either of them were at risk in the great outdoors.. They seem to accept the regime with no problem.
Carole Nowell
In response to your debate, Phoebe is not let out out night or any other time on her own as she is so nervous and timid that she would be frightened! When we adopted her from Cats' Protection, they were aware we wanted an indoor cat and were that Phoebe would be an indoor cat.Even after about 9 months with us, she still dives for cover whenever someone knocks at the door but we love her anyway. We have a neighbour who has a Staffy-type dog who 'hates and chases cats at every opportunity' (her owner's words), but in any case, there have been a number of cat thefts around our area, so on that basis alone, it would be too dangerous to let Phoebe out on her own.
Jo Banham
We have 3 cats or various ages, the eldest, she's 12 prefers to be in but our only Tomcat loves to be out patrolling his garden which is good for our youngest, she's 2. We have a bullyboy tomcat that has recently moved into the area and thanks to him attacking our 'Pickle' she went through a lot of pain, developed disc spondylitis in her tail and ended up having it amputated....we are reluctant to let her out at night because of this cat but it's hard to stop her and Ben harder to get her to come in especially this time of year....
Gill
I have had my darling cat Amy for 17 years and she has NEVER had a night out. We do not have a cat flap as I like to know where she is, in or out! She is deaf now but happy and contented! We have a garden which she enjoys and is very territorial - woebetide any strange cat that wanders in!
Patricia Clothier
Max wasn't allowed out until we fitted a microchip recognition cat flap. I think that was probably the best present we could have ever given him. So he now he comes and goes I think an older cat (he's 8) is old enough and wise enough to go out at night.
Gillian Manthorpe
I keep my 2 year old neutered tom cat in at night and have done ever since he was allowed out. i couldn't sleep knowing he was out.
Ray Matthews
Britain's wildlife is in severe decline. Cats are natural predators and research has shown the considerable extent of their impact. They are not, however, a 'wild predator'. Their presence is entirely due to 'man', so we feel duty bound to limit the damage.Our cat is not allowed out at night or in the early morning, specifically to limit the number of birds and mice that it kills. This 'technique' has worked successfully for three long-lived cats over a period of some 30 years.
Adam Norgett
My cat only goes out at night. He has a cat flap which is always open so he can do as he wishes. I think we shouldn't stop our cats if they want to go out, we should always give them the option.
Linda
I think it depends where you live, my two cats have never been out at night are in by six o'clock, use litter trays and are happy, I do like to know where they are and honestly don't think I would sleep well if they had access to the outside in the night.
Pamela Thomas
My three cats(recently reduced to two :( ), although not through traffic, are always bought in at night. I have anyway old black male Tom and fear that he can't be seen at night. A little pinch of Tuna each night ensures their sage return :)
Mogie Knight
I have a 15yr old lilac point Birman called Max, he has never been allowed out when I am not at home or at night. Partly because of traffic and the fear of somebody just lifting him and taking him away because he is just a big softie. Four yeas ago we moved to a house on the edge of the coutryside so no traffic and very few people to worry about, he still only goes out when we are at home. However 2years ago whe got a little black moggie kitten who comes and goes as she wants thru the top hopper in the bathroom window this is the right way for her as her mum was ferral and therefore Kizzy is a hunter and very capable of staying out of trouble, the only drawback is the constant mice and other little creatures that she likes to present at 5am. We have saved many lives much to kizzy's dislike..
kellie
I have 2 cats a 9 year old female and a 1 year old tom cat. 3 years ago I had a 2 year old tom who was poisoned by a neighbour putting out antifreeze in the middle of july! He had to be put to sleep :( I now panic when my 1 year old tom is out because of what happened. My female cat is happy just to go out and sit in the garden and doesnt stray off our property any more. Both my cats are in at night as I feel they are safer inside and they are happy being in, they curl up on the bed and dont hear a peep from them til the morning. :)
DIANE FAIRHALL
I have two black and white cats, one aged about 5 and the other about 2 (they were both rescues so I'm not certain). The younger one goes out during the day and briefly at night but goes no further than the garden. The older one likes to be out and about and is a consummate rabbit hunter, although he has more or less learned that he shouldn't bring his prey into the house. I couldn't keep him in if I tried. Of course we live in a rural area so a sensible cat is not really in danger. I trust my older cat to go walkabout, but the younger one is a bit silly. Luckily he seems to know his limitations.So in general I'd say it depends on where you live and the characters of your cats. They are not far removed from wild animals so should be allowed to roam if that is what they wish - but don't endanger them by making them wear collars.
chris maley
I have a Birman, Oliver, and he has access in and out of the house through the catflap and he chooses to spend the nights asleep on my bed and the days asleep in the airing cupboard. He only seems to want to go out during the day when it is raining or snowing! and never goes out of the garden.
m dibbins
ive lost two cats to road traffic accidents over the years,now have a 3rd cat called molly who is very well behaved, has a lovely routine which she has stuck too since a young age,i make sure she goes out at 4.30 and in by 19.30 in the evening,this seems ok with her, but i still have some nervous moments when she is out about later then usual
Tracey and Lily
We think cats should be kept in at night. Our cat, Bingo, goes out all day and enjoys herself, then after twilight she comes in to be safe for the night. And Lil actually quite likes the midnight attacks!
Ley Holloway
I have always kept my cat in at night, we live below a large nature reserve and he likes to go up there during the day, there are foxes and probably badgers in the area and although where I live is quite rural there is a road at the front of the house and traffic moves on it all through the night. We have also had a dog fighting ring in the area who have been kidnapping cats and small dogs. He is quite happy to be in and, in fact, comes in voluntarily most nights. I got home rather late the other night and found him asleep on his bed at the top of my stairs despite the cat door being unlocked. I don't mind changing his dirt tray to keep him safe.
Karen
No - Cats should be in at night. I'd rather be woken at 4.00 am -and am most mornings. I cannot go to bed until I know the cats are in - well one of them and the other 2 are!
Laura
I had 2 cats (brothers) from kittens,i have never liked them staying out all night so tried to make sure they didn,t go out after a certain time at night,unfortinatey 1 off them died of severe kidney failure 3 years ago & the vet said it could have been down to anti-freeze because he was only five.the other one usually comes in around 10 pm latest but last night he had some food and was sick pretty much straight away,i think it was the heat personally so i decided it would be much better for him to stay out for the night because it would have been so much cooler than indoors.he was there waiting at the door when my hubby got up at 4am
Mary
I wouldn't dream of letting my cat out after dark and she doesn't seem to want to be out.. I let her out in the day and she comes in and out and when I call her at dusk she is never far away. She happily chooses to sleep in the corner of my bedroom and doesn't seem to want to be out and about at night. She was an indoor cat before I had her though so maybe that is why she is happy indoors.
Kathryn
I have six cats of different ages, all of which stay in at night. I like to know where they are and to be able to pick up on any problems. They all learnt very quickly that night is for sleeping and daytime is for fun. One wakes about five and othe others go out about eight. I use Locator tags on them all, so I can find them quickly, I find them invaluable. We have found them in sheds and garages within a couple of hours of disappearing, which could have took us days. I lost a cat through poisoning last year, we think she ingested something accidentally, so I am slightly paranoid about where they are.
Mags
My 3yr old was a rescue cat, she was outdoor cat but I was too scared to let her out after dark due to a high number of foxes (saw my neighbours tom cat being attacked by one) and she is very happy to come in when I call her, curl up at the back window and then come to bed with me and sleep there til I get up and let her out first thing. She still uses her tray but I do not mind, shes safe.
Karen Spencer
We have 2 kitties aged 17 & 4 and both are allowed their freedom at night. The youngest being the most active will stay in from about 10 til 4, go out for an hour or so then return, our old lady who used to go out for 1 to 2 hours a night now nips out for a wee and pops herself back into bed. We have taught them both not to disturb while we are sleeping, if they try it's only with whispered miaows. So yes cats should be aloud out at night to explore & enjoy their life to the full, my only reservation is if they live near a busy main road - but then they shouldn't be let out during the day either!
Patricia Smith
We got our cat at 4 months old & kept him in at night but then he got wise & didn't come back. He came I. At 4.40 this morning. Luckily we are rural.
Michelle
My 3 yr old is an outdoor cat but we keep her in at night. She doesn't like it but I can't go to bed until she's in. We live in a semi rural location and had a scary experience recently when she chased a fox out of the garden. Would be too worried to leave her out.
Granville White
I have 6 cats, three boys 3 girls, 5 of which are between the ages of 16 - 17, the youngest being around 7, not sure exactly because he was a RSPCA rescue cat, I keep them all in at night and in the day I have a large playpen (16 X 10) for them to relax in, I usually use this early morning for them to go out before I go to work, then I keep them in all day while I am in work, after work I do let them roam the garden, they do explore the neighbours gardens now and again, fortunately most of the neighbours also have cats so they have never been a problem, I started to keep them in after the two of the boys went missing, up until they were five years of age they never wandered far from home, but after five years and both in the same year the two boys went missing, one went for 4 days and the other went for 9 days, I suspect this was a new female in the area thing, I can't tell you how horrible it is to lose a cat and not know what has happened to your loved one, so the boys were then neutered and I built the large pen for them to play in safety, it works well, they play with their toys and climb up the sides and play with each other, they do get let out at times but they don't go far and they are always back in the evening for feeding, the youngest does the most wandering but he has always come back after a few hours, I am not on a main road so it's mostly safe but there is some traffic in the street so every night I do make sure they are all in the house, they all seem very happy, I live in a country area and have seen foxes walking down the street so another reason to keep them in at night, plenty of toys for them to play with, best is a folded empty cardboard (innards) toilet roll, and a plastic ball, I would never let my cats out at night, never.
Graham Cooke
Our cats have never been let out at night. We have seen our cats facing up to foxes on many occasions and, even in urban areas there are lots of foxes looking for food. Cats are more at risk during the night on the roads too as drivers can't see them as easily and, although there's less traffic about, we aren't willing to take the risk. Our cat Molly is allowed out in the evening and normally saunters in around 10pm. We have a microchip operated cat flap so we can lock it at night, she can then get in but can't get out. Just as importantly, the local cats that are allowed out can't get in to eat Molly's food. They used to do that and then break the catflap trying to get out. We have had cats since about 1980 and we have always encouraged them in at night and kept them in. We have only ever lost one cat on the road, a very young cat who strayed onto the main road when there were fields galore at the back of the house. Molly seems quite happy to snooze the night away either on her bed in the lounge, our bed or, in hot weather, on the bedroom windowsill next to the slightly open window where she can get some fresh air. We always let her out as soon as we get up in the morning and she knows that so tens not to worry us too much about it.
Janet Wilkinson
I have always kept all my cats in at night,my puss cat has access all day to go out via her cat flap,so she is quite happy to come in at night,she has a litter tray in the corner of the kitchen, i could not sleep at night if i did not get her in.she always has a small treat when she comes in,so i think that helps to get her in.
Ann
I think it is entirely dependent on your circumstances and your cat/s. I have two. I have lost two to the road so we NEVER live on a main road. We always live in quiet villages and lack of traffic is our first consideration. So I let mine use the catflap to come and go as they please but we are very rural. I have had cats indoors in the past. They were siamese and burmese and were used to leads. We took them on holiday with us as they stayed indoors unless we took them out for a walk.Horses for courses so to speak!!
Linda Allen
My cat Sky only goes out when we are home& is in with us all night. He seems quite happy with this set up, he has been doing it since we had him.
eileen traynor
My teenager boy of 12 months, is black, which makes him harder to see at night, he will not wear a coller, so I cannot buy a collar to be seen. He has never been allowed out at night from a kitten, I call him every night around 8 in summer, when he comes in, he stays in until morning. I live in a small villiage which is adjacent to a well known and elite colledge, the countryside is in abundance, as is the river at the front of our property. The river was the main source of concern in the beginning, but this is not a danger now as he is riverwise. Pepper is a very handsome Lad now and I want him with me for the rest of his natural life. Even though he is into moles.
Zoe
We have had our wonderful Bengal 'Tino' from 13 weeks old. His 2nd birthday is on 8/8/13. In May 2012, I sustained a spinal cord injury and our lives were turned upside down. After being cared for by a wonderful Cattery whilst I made a recovery, My Son, Tino and I were all reunited again in April this year. Our new home on the 1st floor is adapted for my wheelchair and has a large balcony. Tino was an indoor cat as our old home was a flat on the Second floor. We were also advised not to let him out at all by the seller. Tino will happily sit on the balcony with us, especially when he can catch the 'rays' of sunshine and he loves to dance in the rain! At night however, Tino shows no interest in going out, he actually gives me the famous cat 'stare' that goes right through you, if he is ready to go to bed and I'm not! Yes we get clawed, licked, purred at and jumped on in the morning as he wants his breakfast not to be let outside, however we wouldn't have it any other way. Cats are all individuals, just as we are. Tino seems to be one of those cats who wants to snuggle with us at night instead of roaming. Yes he is spoilt, he has the Banana Leaf tree house and loves prowling on top of the kitchen cupboards and bookcases. My Son has exclaimed (wrongly) that Tino has more toys than him. He is also partial to joining in shower times in the wet room! We don't stop Tino from going out, he chooses not too. Yes naturally cats are more active at night and dusk due to hunting habits however every domestic cat our family have ever owned (apart from one) has always come in at night when called despite being able to get out if they wish.
Amy
I have 3 cats, 2 11year old ginger girls and a Ragdoll female aged 1. The two older cats go out through my kitchen window as and when they please. I have been told that Ragdolls really are an indoor breed. I have purchased a harness and lead and take her in the back garden occasionally. She has watched (and learned) how to climb up and out of the window. I wouldn't normally worry, but she has no concept of cars or outside dangers. I looked into getting a microchip cat flap. Foolishly I assumed that it would be selective with cat entry and exit. Unfortunately, it will allow any cat out without checking for a microchip. This defeats the object of me trying to keep her inside and give the other two the freedom they have always had. I contacted the company that manufactured the cat flap. To their knowledge, there isn't a cat flap that is selective on letting cats out. Can anyone offer some advice on a solution to suit all? Thank you
Sandra
I have five cats, four moggies and a Bengal. The four moggies have always had free access to the outside through a cat flap. Last year one of our moggies came home with her front claws bleeding and a serious injury to her face. We're not 100% sure what happened to her, but since then she has been very timid outside and sticks mainly to our garden.Since we had our Bengal in February this year we have completely catproofed the garden, no cats can get in and ours can't get out. The four moggies can come and go in the garden as they please, but our Bengal only goes out when we are home, as she is still quite young.
Emma Cook
My boys are 18 months and nearly a year. They are both house cats and have never been out. Both are completely happy and content. I've had cats for the last 35 years and have lost one to RTA with another 2 being injured and one almost killed by anti freeze poisoning. In my view it is not safe to let cats roam free these days especially at night. If you have them from kittens they get used to whatever routine you wish to follow.I get upset when some people knowingly let them out near a busy road then just replace them if they get killed!
Samantha
I have 2 cats, I would never stop them doing something that's in their nature. I love my cats with all my heart and when my Tom cat had an accident one night and broke his foot costing £4000 ( lucky we had pet plan) when we lived in the city we knew it was time to move, so my husband and I knew it was time to move to the sticks with only one neighbour who love us having the cats to help keep down the mice. My Tom still goes out at night and my female stays asleep on our bed. I am lucky that we live 1/2 mile away from the nearest road and we just have a dirt track that only myself and the neighbour uses. I want my cats to live a long happy life ( not sure that's going to happen now we have puppy all fun).
Lisa S
Hi, I have a 2 year old rescue cat and she is always in at night, I don't think I could sleep if she wasn't as I would just worry, she has got used to this routine now and is quite happy to be in snuggled up and comfy at home where I know she is safe, I have also taken on an older rescue cat who is used to doing her own thing and although I would like her to also stay in at night I recognise that its a bit more difficult as she was virtually living outside 24/7 before she found a home with me.................although I must say she does not tend to go far and always back in her bed when I get up in the morning, she sleeps in the utility with access to the catflap, food and her bed and my younger one sleeps in the kitchen with her litter tray , bed and food................it seems to be working well
Sandra
Amy, not sure if this link will work ,but if not google Elite Selective cat flaphttp://www.amazon.co.uk/Elite-Super-Selective-Catmate-White/dp/B000XPSH34/ref=sr_1_1?s=pet-supplies&ie=UTF8&qid=1375474354&sr=1-1&keywords=elite+super+selective+catmateWe have one of these and it is fabulous. The cat has to wear an ID tag and you can programme the flap for each tag, ie out and in, in only, out only - perfect if you want to stop some going out while giving others free access. There is even a timer on the flap so that it only lets them out during certain hours of the day.Our four moggies come and go as they please, our Bengal doesn't have an ID tag so can't get out unless we open the back door for her.Hope that helps.
Greta Warden
My recently acquired two and a half year old, pure white, blue-eyed cat, Freya, is totally deaf and, because of this, is never allowed out at night. I have a rule whereby she's outside when I'm here, but inside when I'm out and the arrangement works well. Being retired, I'm here most of the time so Freya has plenty of freedom and exercise. Although the large garden is securely fenced and because of her disability, I would never risk her being out at night. We communicate with the cat "sign" language I devised and she understands when it's time to come in. She uses both the garden and indoor litter-tray. After a difficult start with her being half-feral, she has settled into a routine, sleeps on my bed, and is a very affectionate and happy cat.
brian luff
I always keep cat's in at night because I don't like to see them get hurt as the people around this area are partial to inflicting pain & suffering to the cat's my cat's have their food all the treat's and toy's they need all of them get wormed,frontlined and jabed regular they come in with their little presents &we have nothing but praise for them I feel that cat's have more uses than dog's as they keep the vermin down and they make me more comfortable around,and more fun to watch them play with each other it's2 boy's 1girl and she gives the boy's the runaround although she is the younge
Maria
I don't believe that cats should be kept out at night even though it is in their nature to roam and hunt. Although we live on a quiet street (cul de sac) there are still the mad drivers who think it is a short cut. I like to know where my cat is at night and he has got used to us calling him in now, in fact he often appears before we call him. By keeping my cat in I like to think that I am helping the wild bird population,
ruth
have just lost a cat to the road and that was early evening. it happened when a busy major road was diverted through our village. i let my cats come and go and generally speaking they sleep on my bed at night. my ginger tom can open cat flap when locked anyway, so i pretty much think i've lost that battle!
Clive Bonner
My ragdoll likes to stroll round the back garden when I or my wife are out there. He does not like to be out alone and will follow us indoors when we go in. He has never been out at night and has never shown any inclination to do so.
Anthony Lampert
In the past we lost two cats through accidents which put us off having them as it's very distressing when this happens, so we then chose to have dogs. Eventually when our last dog died, we'd had four at different times, and we were getting older, we thought we would now go without pets to avoid the distress of losing them. Guess what turned up one night, the most appealing little tortoiseshell kitten, who was brought to our house by a friend who asked if we could look after it for one night as it was suspected it was either lost or had been dumped. By the following day there was no way I was going to let it go, but having adopted it, I worried when it was out for a long time and we decided to keep her in at night. As she's got older, she comes and goes, but seems content to only leave the house for maybe a couple of hours and then comes back. She does try to get out again and cries a bit in the evening, but not for long. She settles then most nights until morning, and as my wife is a very early riser, the cat can go out early. We adopted our son's cat also when he couldn't keep her any longer and she hardly leaves the house at all, so both of them are kept in at night. We feed them on top quality cat food, I clean their litter tray two or three times a day and they are both very happy healthy cats, in spite of being in all night.
Helen
Cats aren't stupid, and they are aware of noises that may frighten them and stay away. I have a train track 3 doors from my flat and a main road several more doors down (many, so much further from the main road). I lost my first cat in the night, but she wasnt herself and to this day I don't know where she went. She was so happy going out and distraught when she couldn't. Generally I tried to bring her in at night (she had a habit of getting into fights daylight nighttime whatever) but she howled to go out and always used to wake me at 5am for food. I now have two, brother and sister - he is not concerned so much with going out at night- may for a bit, but mostly dusk and dawn I think- she however has to have a way of escaping him (he chases her a lot) and outside is her haven. She is the most liked on the grove and clearly has a presence outside she doesn't inside - never been bitten and never shown aggressive signs- loves to be out at night so I let her and I will say cats are happiest being where they want to - their most natural. I don't believe they should be kept in unless for a medical reason
Veron
We have 2 neutered 3 year old males, we encourage them to come in for food about half hour before sunset, this way their appetite for food gets satisfied. They are let out shortly after dawn if weather is fine, although they both love rain, they then come in via cat flap to eat dry food as they require. There is another cat next door, who is out at night. Having seen that program about territories crossing over and cats coming to arrangements we are convinced that ours are quite happy to come in and go out working in conjunction with their neighbour. No fights happened as a result. We live on a small terrace in a fairly quite side road., our only problem are drivers whose choose the road for a short cut, which it isn't, and get angry reverse quickly from the cul-de-sac and roar off at top speed. Basically it all depends on your personal situation and the neighbourhood you live in.
Julie
I have 2 Maine Coons. They have been injured by a fox twice. we think they were chased in through the cat flap and the fox tore their feet. Thankfully I am insured and Petplan paid with no fuss.Now they go out every morning and are always in by dusk. They come back on their own now. They are used to the routine.We don't live by a main road, but I think they would get brave in the night, as its quiet and go to the road, and then during the day they will go thinking it would be quiet, and probably get run over.They sleep at night, all night, and then get up for breakfast.I think this is the safest way and they seem happy with the routine.Cats should go out. They bring me gifts all the time. Rabbits, moles, rats, mice and birds. They keep the vermin down in the allotments we back onto so everyone loves them.All my cats have lived until 19 so I'm hoping these guys will be here for a long time ...
Beverley
Lola, my Cornish Rex, stays in at night because she has thin fur and gets cold easily. Ricco , my rescued feral cat, also stays in at night because he wants to. I think he must have been outside for 6-8 years and so now only goes out when he wants to. Neither of them mind staying in.
Nicola
I have four cats two British Shorthairs and two Selkirk Rex, they have access to a cat proofed garden and walking outside of the house on a harness. They have NEVER been allowed out onto the road. Our last cat came back injured so never again. If you start your cats early on a harness they are fine, as with a cat proofed garden. They are all happy.
Caroline
I have three cats ages 8 months, 2 and 4 years. We are living in a rented house at the moment in between moves and we cannot put a cat flap in the house, however our landlord was more than happy for us to have one in the wooden garage door so his is what we've done. They have beds, food and water in there so have shelter if we are at work or as our four year old cat often does and wants to be out all night, she's always in there in the morning. I personally would like them all in at night and my youngest two always are but they are cats and meant to be free and I think it's just our hang up worrying about them too much. I lost Five cats at our old cottage over the space of seven years. We lived in a very quiet village and the cats we lost on the road happened at all times of the day not just at night, cats are cats they wander and take risks we as owners have to accept that but I am the first to admit I treat mine like they are my babies!.
Tina
Hmmm tricky one... I've had cats for over 20 years, my beloved Max travelled the world with me, lived in many places, always had 24 hour freedom and lived to 23! 12 months ago we moved to a village with fields out the back and a road at the front, not busy but enough. Vinnie, one of 2 CP adoptees was 12 months old when he got killed on the road at night. He was a prolific hunter day and night, his sister is a night time bed cuddler and our other 3 stay in too, aged 3, 13 and 16. Conclusion: I really think it depends on the personality of the cat.
brian luff
I had 2 kittens and they suffered from narcalepsy when they had harneses on but sadly the Russian blue was killed by an hit and run driver he was only 18 month's old this was about 10 year's ago but we still have the other one and he's the biggest baby I even have 2 carry him on my shoulder as he can be very lazy or is he really shrewd the old ratbag.
Wendy
I have a 9 year old domestic shorthair and a 6 month old havana, both are allowed out in the day however the domestic doesn't like to unless you are out with her she is scared of everything and anyone! The Havana does wander but always comes when you shout him. Neither go out as it starts to get dark and are quite happy sleeping on the bed.
Anne Foster
My female puss Mudgie III was actually purchased for my father from the Blue Cross 2 years ago aged 8 as a replacement for Mudgie II who died from old age. Dad had a large fenced off garden and Mudgie loved to be outside during the early morning and early evening but she never ventured out mid day or in the night. Do not know her past history but she is a very nervous cat. Sadly Dad died just last November and Mudgie has come to live with me (in a flat), It is impossible for me to let her out - she isn't really meant to be here according to the lease. But she seems very content to be an indoor cat now. I grow pots of grass seed for her to nibble on for her hair balls. I could not imagine sleeping at night worrying whether my puss was dead on the road or not. Selfish maybe but she is alive and well and seems happy.
Jen
I lost my kitten last year to a road accident, so when i got the twins, i decided they were to be indoor only as i couldnt bare to go through that again !! -it almost broke my heart !!! (i dont know what i would have been like if i didnt have Puss!)ever since then i also decided to keep my elderkitty Puss inside too as he is rather ill with thyroid, liver and heart problems and i would be heartbroken if the Puss suffered the same fate as Willow...Sophie-Mae and Alexander are purrfectly happy being indoor only kitties and i give them everything they could possibly want or need ((i also spoil them all rotten !! lol))
Mrs Michael
I always aim to get my cats in at night, but on the odd occasion I have had to leave one or the other out as they have failed to respond to my calls. I cannot settle unless they are in over night and have on numerous occasions got back out of bed to see if they have returned. All my cats have come from Cats Protection and they advised to get them in over night.
kelly stevens
You can not make a cat stay in or out and there is only so much training you can do. We have 2 males 3 yrs old. Both go out from 5-11pm. They are in when I sleep or I wont sleep our one cat has stayed out till early hrs due to the heat. We are out at work from 6am-5pm the cats are kept in the house till we arrive home. Have done that since they first went out, and trained from about 3 months old. They always come when I whistle they also check in at least once every hr if not more.Make a noise till we answer or they find us.One spends more time out than the other both of them clear 12 foot wooden fencing and both walk on our roof and other peoples
Keith
My cat Jasper thinks he's a dog, he will only go outside on his lead and harness. He is happy to wander around the perimeter of the garden, a couple of laps and he heads back inside. He tells us when he wants his walks by pawing his lead, he's a very happy cat, nervous of noises 'outside' but not bothered about any ruckus inside.
Sam Beeson
I now only have 2 cats, I had 3 until January this year when my 16 yr old had to put to sleep due to heart failure following 10 yrs suffering from hyperthyroidism, anyhow, I don't allow any of my cats out at night however, last year my 4 yr old screamed the house down one evening in may last year so we relented and let him out. Subsequently we didn't see him for 8 days!!!! It was the worst 8 days of my life, we peppered the area with posters and this eventually paid off when we finally got a call to advise he was found. Much to our delight we collected him but he was badly injured. We can only surmise he'd been attacked by either a dog or fox to this day he still limps on one leg, needless to say the cat flap is locked by 6 pm each evening and he's learnt he doesn't go out at night now.
Brian Hockey
I have a rescued cat called Morgan he is pure white who was nearly killed by some teenagers who thought it would be fun to string him and some other cats they killed two but Morgan was saved although his voice was damaged so now he squeaks instead of meows my wife Joyce and me love him to bits he is the boss here and I let him out at night as we live in a quite street in a sheltered bungalow Brian and Joyce
Caroline Baker
I am the Caroline Baker mentioned in this article and I can fundamentally say 2 things. Firstly I would not "own" a cat if I could not let it be a cat, i.e.go out at night, hunt and be territorial. Secondly I would not "own" a cat if I chose to bring it home to an unsuitable environment i.e. a tower block, on a busy A road or motorway etc. Our cats have a nice life and individual personalities but they are not human, they need to fulfill their natural instinct as cats. We love them and give them human personas and human personality traits but never forget that they are CATS. Jack was fortunate that where he lived there was someone who noticed that he was injured (that was Bob) and then that he was insured and Vets can work miracles these days but cats are domesticated wild animals, welcome them into your life but let them be Cats, enjoy them, not to the detriment of their nature but as an enhancement to yours.
Veronica
I have a 6 year old cat called Tannie (Tango). He is an indoor/outdoor cat. I class him as not a normal cat he has his own personality and seems that little bit different to other cats and very loving. He likes to wake me up in the morning every morning like others to go out. Various changes show that whether he will be in or out. He stays close to the house but if he wants to go out he will. He goes out the front the back and fields etc. You cannot keep a cat inside you have to let him roam free. He does go out at night and is there waiting for me in the morning. I do fear him going out at night and hope he is ok in the mornings but he knows what to do. He is a tough cat I would say but I do worry I would never keep him in.
Christine
My Dudley and Reggie stay in at night but go out all day unless they wish 2 stay in.
marion miller
No cats should be out at night.I work for Cats protection, and when homing a cat we tell the new owner to keep them in at night. to be honest I prefer all cats to be housecats. Too many dangers for them outside, and a lot of poisoning going on.
Amy
Thank you so much! The link works. As soon as I can return the one I purchased, I will invest in this one. Initially I didn't want to use one that required the cats to wear a collar. As there doesn't seem to be a microchip flap that meets our needs, we will invest in your suggestion. Many thanks x
Tracey
I live in a big city and whilst neither of my two cats roam far I haves never risked them by letting them out at night.Cats ars more active at night so if I did let them out they could choose to wander. I live on a very straight busy road at the bottom of a hill and they wouldn't stand a chance. Keeping them safe is more important and they can go where they like during the day as I have a cat flap. They are home every night to be fed so they can't mind too much,!
Sandy
I've had 6 cats and they have been house cats. The only time they have gone outside is on a harness and lead. 2 didn't need it as they never attempted to climb the fences but still only went out when I went with them. Sadly I only have one left now and she still only goes out when I go, minus the harness and lead. Apart from the road safety aspect, I have seen far to many cases of cruelty so I personally would never let any cat out alone. It is a shame but I feel their safety must come first.
Sandy Crudgington
My cat is 11 years old and is a total mixture of wanting to go out and stay in. In winter he is an indoors cat but in this hot weather he is totally wanting to be out. Kind of funny as he is missed indoors! Not so much hair around though! He chooses to be out and is a wary and clued up cat. He has lived both, in town and has enjoyed the country style freedom too - more of a hunter in the country. I feel that the natural instinct for my cat, if he wants, to go out, is to let him, as keeping him in just because "I want to" goes against his natural grain and I would feel mean to not let him expand on his natural cat-like nature. He rules, of course but only because he tells me what he wants. I think we have an understanding after all this time.
Mac
I have two Tom cats, one roams and likes to be out at night especially in the warmer months and the other doesn't, they both stay home in the winter through the night (for they are not fools) and the other comes in when i go to bed, he stays with me till morning. They each have their unique behaviours and personalities, they are creatures of animal instinct and as much as i pamper and fuss, it doesnt take away their true hunter natures. They are microchipped as is the cat flap, and they come and go as please, I live in a suburb, but they stick to the gardens and never go out front to the roads thankfully. I love them for their free natures, I wouldn't keep my cats in much the same as I wouldn't cage a bird. I have feeders for the birds in the garden, keeps the cats amused but they are out of kitties reach, they have only killed mice which is no bad thing...they would be depressed and bored locked in the house.
Mandy
I have had cats for nearly 30 years and they have never gone out at night. We never have a problem getting them in and as soon as they've been fed, they take themselves to their beds and we don't hear a peep out of them till the morning. I couldn't sleep at night if they weren't in. Working in veterinary practice for over 20 years, I saw first hand the consequences of cats being out after dark and they weren't pretty! Fights and RTA's seed fairly regular evening occurrences. I think if you train your cat from an early age, they are very accepting of remaining indoors overnight.
Kerry-Anne
I have 2 cats Banjo and Cash just over 2 years old - they had 24/7 access to the outside however Cash was involved in a road accident had to spend 6 days in the vets and endure multiple operations. He had a ruptured eye which was removed and tore his lip and had to have his jaw pinned so had to have a feeding tube (thank goodness for pet plan) - it's was a terrible time. However he has now recovered and is a health 1 eyed black cat. Since this I let them out when I get up and call them in when I go to bed. Especially a Cash is not easy to see in the dark as he's black with 1 eye and illuminious collar!
Amalia
I have 3 Burmese girls, and 1 cross breed male; Burmese/Siamese/Snow Bengal, all with the same Dad, and all 2 years old. Before they arrived I invested over £1000 to cat proof my small garden; the system was sold as able to contain lions; it didn't do so well with my lad, Moses. By the time he was a year old he was out, (but couldn't get back in), and then he showed his sisters what to do.So, micro chip cat flap, locked at night. The noise was appalling. When shouting the odds didn't work he started demolishing the house; everything not nailed down. Tried curtailing his freedom to upper areas, but scratching doors worked a treat; the noise level at night, even with ear plugs in, ensured sleepless nights, and I tried for weeks.OK; leave the cat flap set so the girls couldn't get out, but he could come in; no joy; they could all overcome that setting, just hook the cat flap inwards and proceed out in an orderly row, no sweat. At least that was an improvement on my last male Burmese who dismantled the cat flap with a few minutes flat and left it on the mat for me to spend an hour trying to refit.In 40 years of keeping families of Siamese/ Burmese cats I've lost two girls to RTA's, and both were kept in at night, before I had catflaps. I live in a rural area, but close to a large superstore, and a busy access road to an industrial estate. I just have to pray my cats will stay safe, not just from roads, but noted rising levels of cruelty towards cats.My son's 2 year female cat was drowned last year in a neighbours uncovered half full water butt; she fell in but couldn't climb out, and that happened during the day. In these days of conserving water more and more people are using water butts, but not covering them; please may I beg they do? Cats are cats and deserve as much freedom as we can give them. Female cats tend to stay closer to home in my experience, but all cats will have adventures, and my friendly crew are dab hands at getting shut in garages and sheds.Still, I'd hate to see them on leads, and, without a large garden, I can't see any option other than let them be free.
Sarah
I have a 1 year old ginger Tom he cries all the time to go out but as we live near a busy main road and I have seen several cats get killed on the road I am very reluctant to let him out we have tries to cat proof the garden but he seems to jump all fences and and get out. I worry no stop and seem to find myself following him Incase he goes near the main road he is not allowed out at night I would not be able to sleep unless he was safe indoors. Any ideas how I can cat proof a garden? I don't believe he should be kept in I would like him to stay in the garden safe.
Gina Gough
No I don't think it is a good idea, over the years I have had 6 cats and none of them went out at night, they were always all in by 11pm, it is too dangerous for them to be out at night, danger from the foxes and also the maniacs that drive around at stupid o'clock in the morning going 50+ miles an hour in a 30 and end up killing animals. T prove my point last Monday night/Tuesday morning my sisters cat was run over and had to be put down the following day. My four year old nephew was heartbroken! I certainly sleep sounder when I know my animals are safely downstairs sleeping.
Elizabeth Fennell
We have 2 male cats now and I have previously owned a male cat, all of whom came from the Cats Protection League. I got my first cat Harry over 20 years ago, I was advised by the CPL not to let him out at night and I have always followed that rule since. I often hear neighbours cats fighting at night and foxes in the nearby woodland, so I am always relieved that my cats are safe indoors. They are out all day and in the summer until 8 - 9pam, by which time they are happy to come in for their evening meal and then to settle down in safety. I would never forgive myself if anything happened to them at night, when I and my husband would be totally unaware of it.
Rosemary Moore
My cat Pixie has never been out at night and she never will! Her brother Treacle was tragically killed a year ago by a car in the night. Since then I have learned that most fatal car accidents for cats occur at night when they are venturing further to hunt and drivers don't see them. The roads may be quieter, but cars can come suddenly and catch a cat out. Pixie is a small and kittenish 1-year-old cat and Gracie my British Blue is a small 2 year old pedigree cat... Neither of them are allowed out loose, even during the day! We have a cat enclosure attached to our back door where they can spend time chasing insects, climbing on their wooden perches and enjoying the sunshine. Both of them are trained to walk on harnesses so I take them out for a walk around the garden when I'm at home. They seem quite happy like this and far more owners should keep a closer eye on their cats. Jumpy my male cat does go out on his own all day, but he is very sensible and trustworthy and he loves the outdoors. He does hunt whenever he gets a chance but he HAS to be indoors by dusk or soon after, I will not rest or sleep until he is safely indoors.
Mel
All my previous cats have been in at night and I did try with this one, but honestly he does not give in! He yowls at the top of his voice until everyone is awake. So I'm afraid he does stay out and I've had to make myself not worry about him or it would drive me mad. I used to lie awake fretting if he was out and spent many nights calling and shaking the biscuit box to get him in, only for him to start yelling half an hour later and eventually had to admit defeat. It is a quiet area though. The house is in a cul de sac with no through traffic and mainly elderly residents so is very peaceful at night, and our house backs on to a bridleway and playing fields so the only real danger is foxes. I've often seen foxes around but not in our garden so I think our cat actually keeps them away, he is a VERY feisty boy and big too. We have hens and there has been no evidence of foxes attempting access despite our proximity to open country so all in all I hope the risks are small. Certainly I think the traffic risks are much higher during the day when we have deliveries/workmen/visitors etc.
Anita Lincoln
My present little cat was a rescue, found tangled in wire in a remote area. As a result she is terrified of the outdoors thank goodness, which helps me to keep her indoors. I rescue wild and domestic birds, and most baby wild birds are caught by cats at night or early morning. As soon as baby birds are able to fly, they follow their parents who teach them them how to catch insects and to eat seeds. At night the parent birds tell them to hide in the bushes until the morning and so they are easy game for hunting cats. I always advise cat owners to keep their cats indoors between dusk and 10 am to give the birds a chance to find some food and gain some height. Apparently more birds are killed by cats than anything else. It is a difficult task hand-feeding and treating injured baby wild birds and there are insufficient trained people to do the work.
Pinnie
We have two cats. Bubbles (short haired female) I whistle her just before dusk and she comes in for the night. Missy (male British blue tabby cross) spends most of his time outside in the summer and inside during the winter. Missy would wreck the house if I didn't let him out, especially the carpets. We have provided a cat house (a cat version of a dog kennel) outside in the garden, and we often find him in it. Nature is what it is and I think it would be cruel to keep a cat in against its will.
Nick Bowring
Teddy is a Birman/feral cross. He looks all Birman. On first sight for his jabs the vet said "that's the sort of cat that gets stolen". We love him dearly. He is gentle, athletic and beautiful. Why should we risk him out at night? Not to gratify some thief!
Gilly Holmes
We have had 3 cats over the 30 years we have been married. 2 of them lived to ripe old age and our present cat has been with us for nearly 2 years. None of our cats have been allowed out at night, though all of them enjoyed going out in the day. Like other people, we would be too worried to sleep if the cats were out. I have been known to get up at 2a.m. to let our cat in, on the rare occasions when she would not return at a reasonable hour. We have a responsibility to care for our pets and this sometimes means doing things we know are right, even though they may be contrary to nature. I believe keeping cats in at night is one such thing. As I write this our cat is curled up snuggly on my legs and not bothered about outside. (Come 6 o'clock however it will be a different matter but a small price to pay for Cleo's safety!)
Angeline Coates
My beautiful cat Gracie is allowed out during the day but I always bring her in at night This can be challenging during these warm Summer nights, I've even waited up till 12:45 am but it's worth it to now that she is safe and as Gracie is a rescue it's part of her contract of adoption. During the Winter though its much easier!
Michelle Page
I have 2 boys who are nearly 3. Up to about six months ago I would get them in at night and they were happy with this. But now 99% of the time they wan't to be out . I live at the end of a road, next to a large field and hardly any traffic at night. They don't seem to venture far (do we ever really know how far they go, did anyone watch the Horizon programme? Amazing!) Right now, its raining, so they are in, and more than happy to be snuggled up (which makes me happy). But they are cats, they want to be out. My boys love to catch moths and seem to get more exercise at night. In an ideal world, they would be safer in at night, but I wan't them to be happy, and 99% of the time in summer they are happier out. Oh and I will be up at 4,20am in the morning when Oscar decides its time for him and his brother to play out again. Night all :)
meg
No i think cats should be in at night,she comes and goes through the day,does,nt venture too far,also when were out, not very often as we are pensioners, shes called in.When she as months old she went missing at night,my son let her out,she was gone two weeks,it broke my heart,i love her to bits.Our road is so busy,and there has been a few cats killed,on the road ,and also by anti freeze.She comes up to bed with us and sleeps at the bottom of the bed.
Michelle Page
Oh and I have two KatKabins for them outside. Great purchase. Bit like a dog kennel but made just for cats :)
Kerrie
I live in a small village but the main road to town runs 4yards from my back garden. I have had 4 cats killed on that road in the last 17 yrs. 2 cats were knocked down twice. We cat proofed the garden but my turkish van got out the gate one night when we had a visitor, sadly Angel was knocked down and killed ( all have been knocked down at night).We currently have 3 cat one of which is 13 her sister was killed on the road, a fluffy little tabby which was knocked down and survived but had her pelvis smashed and required operations and 3 months boarding in the vet. her large colon does not work and she requires a special high fibre diet. Our latest addition is a female turkish van that I only ltr out on a harness because it slows her down and she can't jump the high gates with it on.I would strongly advise NOT letting cats out at night as we know to our cost that cars and motor bikes also speed when it's dark and they don't stand a chance. Keep them in keep them safe.
Michelle Page
Hi Mel. I have had to give in too. I have two boys, who up to 6 months ago, I kept in over night. But now the both of them don't let it lie until I let them out. It was very hard the first couple of weeks but know they wouldn't stop howling till I let them out. Tonight it is raining (which they both hate) so they are in. Very quite on a night and live next to a field. And we are here to keep our moggy's happy. The servants that we are :)
Lynne Barrow
I do agree! .. my Cat and I now live in an apartment, and she cannot go out, but even when we lived in a house she only wished to do this if I went as well .. she was bullied by the Magpies! .. My own Cat was brought up on a farm, with loads of cats in a trailer, and really prefers to be safe, with Humans .. some cats do prefer the 'safe' life .. I do, of course, make sure that fresh air is available, but have to say that 'Indoor Cats' are often so by nature, and the rehoming authorities should respect this .. however, my local RSPCA does make it clear when a Cat would prefer to live as an 'indoor cat' .. Good luck with your Cats (who own you, of course, not the other way round!)
Yana
I think it really does depend on your cat's personality/behaviour. When i first got my cat (9 years ago) she was meant to be a housecat, but frankly the yowling and screaming to get out of the house was pretty horrific. She comes and goes as she pleases now. We have another cat - three years old. I've had them both from 10 weeks and they both love the outdoors and tend to stay out at night particularly when the weather is hottest. At one point when i kept them in the elder cat got very stressed, lost appetite and lost weight so it really was not worth it to see her so upset. . I recently moved and my partner was adamant that our new home had to be in a residential area so the cats would feel safer - we find that they stay in the garden of the property and really don't wander too far. Incidentally both my cats are micro chipped, insured and wear collars as i think it's important that at first glance it is obvious they are domestic and not feral. I always use the pull clip rather than elasticated buckle and i think this has saved my cats on several occasions as i have replaced collars about twice a year! but rather that than they hang themselves. Really sorry to hear about the cat who unfortunately hanged themselves and i hope the owners are doing ok (losing a pet is pretty rough).
Cazza
My cat was previously permanently shut out by her owner and left to fend for herself and ended up in a terrible state. We live on a busy main road and so I don't let her out. She shows very little desire to go out, only if we are pottering around in the garden. She spends a lot of her time in the conservatory. She seems very contented. Our vet suggested that when cats are abandoned, they sometimes don't want to leave a subsequent good home in case they are not allowed back in. This seems to be the case with our girl.
Wendy
On the 27th August it will be one year since I lost my beloved Pippa, a rare and beautiful 12½ year old black silver tabby, to the road at the front of my house. A little less than a year before this, we had moved from a highly built up estate in Kent to the rural beauty of the Fens in East Anglia – our dream home. We chose it carefully with Pippa in mind. We have an enormous garden with nothing but fields as far as the eye can see out the back. All her life, Pippa had been used to our postage-stamp-size back garden in Kent and would always come in when called. Having had cats most of my life, I have known the horror of losing some to roads, and could never sleep unless my cats were in at night. Since 2007 my health has kept me housebound and, as I have never been healthy enough to have children, Pippa became my world. She was my constant companion, following me from room to room whenever I went. I could hold a two way conversation with her, she was so talkative, intelligent and interactive! On the night of the 26th August she went out for her evening garden time, but I couldn’t stay up to get her in as I was simply too poorly to stay awake. At 6am I woke and went to call for her. She didn’t answer or appear and my heart and stomach knew something was wrong. I got my husband out of bed and we searched for her everywhere. We eventually found her under the hedge of next door’s front drive. She hadn’t been dead long. I believe she had heard me call and was making her way back across the road to me when she was hit. I think it was the first time she had ventured out the front as she had always come from the back garden when called in previously. She had very little outward sign of injury, just a graze to her bottom lip and one dew claw ripped backwards. My husband carried her back to me at home and I held for the rest of that day. I couldn’t put her down. I even carried her to the toilet when I needed to go. I know how this sounds, but the connection I had with my cat was so strong that I just couldn’t break my hold. I believe I could feel her spirit still very strongly and that she wasn’t ready to leave me either. I first held Pippa at a few days old and I was compelled to be with her until I felt that she was ready to be laid to rest. The next morning we buried her at the top of our garden under the bush she had taken to laying under. I was so heartbroken that I couldn’t eat and my husband insisted that we got another cat to replace her and keep me company. If I had been more physically able, I would have opted for a dog so that I could avoid the heartbreak of the cat / road scenario ever again. However, I have very limited mobility, so that wasn’t an option. After much research, we chose to buy two pedigree Ragdoll kittens, not just because they are beautiful and well-tempered, but because they supposedly do not have the same roaming instincts of other breeds and are essentially “house cats”. However, I believe strongly that a cat’s quality of life is greatly enhanced by the outdoor experience so we have gone to great expense to “cat proof” our property. We have had automated solid gates installed at the top of our driveway and planted fast growing hedges all around the edge of the front garden to discourage them jumping over the 1m high fence should they accidentally get out the front. In the back we have “double skinned” our neighbours side of the fence so that all fences that face into our garden are straight up featherboard, with no cant rails for the cats to get purchase upon. Around the top of the entire fenced area we have installed a rotating pole system called Katzecure so that should they manage to get to the top of the fence, it will roll and drop them back down in our garden. This will also discourage other cats getting into our garden. We will keep the tips of their claws trimmed so as to add another level of protection against them getting easy purchase on the wooden fencing. A metal grill gate separates our back garden from the front. The kittens have still not yet been allowed out as we have yet to put the finishing touches to this cat proofing, but once it is done, we will start taking them out, firstly on harness and lead till they are accustomed to going out with us and coming in when called. We will invest a lot of time in training them and observing their behaviour and any escape attempts until we allow them out unsupervised. We have a generous rear garden (50m x 12m) and in total, we have spent almost £6k of our savings on all this work. It looks wonderful as we have painted the wooden poles to match our fence, but that is a huge amount of money. We’ve justified it because we don’t have children and our cats create our family unit. What price can you put on that? I did not even know it was possible to cat proof a garden until I lost Pippa and to this day I still feel guilty that I did not protect her as I could have done. Since Pippa, I have done a great deal of soul searching and research and whilst many people think we are utterly mad in trying to create a safe environment for our cats to enjoy an indoor / outdoor life, I think it is simply a natural instinct to protect those you love and value, be it human or animal, to the best of your ability. It would not occur to most to let a dog wander unattended along a road, so why do so many UK cat owners think it is a good idea? Yes, cats like to roam at night but that little bit of freedom is just too great a risk, even in quiet rural areas. It IS possible to train a cat to a harness, and it IS possible to make an outdoor space safe for them to use unsupervised and I believe that if you have the wherewithal to do so, that is what every cat owner should attempt do. You also stand a greater chance of your cat being disinclined to roam if it is kept in until 1 year old. This is worth considering when getting a kitten. Currently we can leave our doors open and our kits, Milo and Mimi who have just turned 1 year old, simply sit there staring out. They are curious but because we say “No” if they reach out a paw, they have learned their boundaries. There are just too many cars going too fast nowadays and the odds are too stacked against our feline friends. As a nice end to this sad story I honestly believe that two days after our new kittens came home I felt Pippa’s spirit finally leave me. I think she was hanging around to make sure I was OK till she felt she could be at peace. When the kittens finally go out, I will take them up to the top of the garden to meet her. Have I at last turned into a “mad cat lady”? I guess so ;o)
Jackie Maxwell
I'm so so sorry for your loss but you should always use a quick release collar. I foster animals and have had a little one that got her collar stuck under her front leg. She was taken into the vets with a chest that had no hair or skin on and looked like a chicken fillet. It's not a freak accident and happens a lot, please never use a flea collar as well. They don't work. Use only flea products that you can get from a vet. You can buy them off the internet loads cheaper. Please look it up on the internet about flea collars and certain spot on stuff bought in shops as I can't put the details on here but they can be the cause of fits and death in cats.
samantha smith
we have 2 cats albert is nearly 2 years old and ethel is nearly 4 months old. they are both indoor cats and only go in the garden with us on a harness. they don't mind the harness and are pretty much like dogs when I get the leads out get excited and meow! if the backdoor is left open they don't even attempt to escape. the weather as been nice this year so lots of garden time!
Barbara
I have a 9 month old Persian who loves being out in my secure garden but he is always inside at night and when I am out during the day. I have always owned Persians and kept them securely inside during the dark hours. They have been happy and healthy living to 15 years plus. However I do think this is a difficult one as I think it depends largely on where you live and the personality of puss. I have a relative whose cat wont settle at night and just has to go out. He is around 17 years of age now and was a stray and although he has been with her for many years this probably does have some bearing on his habits. Personally having had a cat knocked down at night many years ago who was then missing for several days finally struggling home with a broken jaw, which then had to be wired this. caused my lovely girl stress and great pain , I just would not sleep knowing they were out there at risk of harm.
Tracey
My trio, called Dave, Merlot and Sheba, spend the night sprawled on our bed, so this isn't an issue. Going out would be too much of an effort....
Catherine
I agree Marianne. Our cat is very stubborn and hates being the wrong side of the door - inside or outside. We have always had a cat flap into the utility room so that he can get shelter (and in the current house sleep on the boiler in the winter!) and so if he is out at bedtime that's where he stays. In this hot weather he is much happier - when it gets colder her will stay in. If he wants to go out in the middle of the night he will make it very clear and can't be ignored :-)
joan alexander
I don't believe that the domestic cat is a nocturnal animal but I can see why owners le there animals out at night.If cats are house bound during the day because their owners work, then perhaps the only freedom they can have is at night. I am at home all day and my cats have the freedom of a garden. I trained my cats to come when called and they come in at 6pm at present. In the winter they are called in before it goes dark. The safety of my cats is my responsibility and I don't want them injured by foxes, stray cats, or cars.
Sue
Duchess our cat, adopted us a few weeks ago. She came from an unwanted home around the corner from our house. The owner was happy for us to have the cat. Duchess was put out every night by the previous owner but they did have another kitten who was kept in all the time. Duchess and the kitten did not get on at all and I feel that Duchess was out of the house all the time. Probably this was why she kept coming to our house. I now keep her in at night though she is allowed out during the day. She has made no fuss at all about being kept in during the night and sleeps outside our bedroom on the landing (our bedroom door is open ) and will jump on the bed at about 7am to wake me up and to be fed and let out. This has been her routine every night since we got her and she seems very happy with this. Many times she is happy to be in the house with us and the back door is always open during the day so it is her choice whether she is in or out. I know I wouldn't sleep at night if she was out as I would be worried about her. Our vet recommends that cats are kept in at night.
Lynn Arnold
Our Chubby was a rescue cat, and originally we kept him in, but in the end gave in and started letting him go out- I always ensure he is in before I go to bed and the majority of the time he is in while I am at work. When we go away he is with us but we have not yet allowed him to roam, this year was the first time he was let of the lead outside but we were very watchful of him. We have now had him 4 yrs and we believe he is 6/7 yrs old. He has also a terrible habit of laying in the road and we always telling him off for this. If anything happened to him nothing would ever replace him. We love him to bits.
Dorothy Welch
I have a 15 year old grey and white tom, and he is now a house cat in the day, he goes out for about one hour in the evening about 9pm, we are in a secluded spot, so traffic is not a worry. He has no tail as when he was 18 months old he was knocked down by a motor bike, the vet thought. We then lived in a town near a road. But after that he never goes any where near a road with traffic on it.
Ingunn
We have three cats, two girls who are 6 years old and a young boy of nearly 1 year. Since one of my girls was viciously attacked by a dog or fox in December last year we have decided to close the cat flap at night. She came home one morning around 8am and it turned out she had a broken pelvis, a broken jaw, her eye was hurt and she had big wounds all over her backside. It was horrible so now we keep them in at night. I do feel bad sometimes as I know they want to be outside hunting. We compromise a little by closing the flap at night so that they can come back in but can't go out. So sometimes we go to bed without them all being inside but they are always there in the morning, waiting to go out. I think they have a routine and then come in around midnight/one o'clock every night. They love being outside so I wouldn't want to keep them inside all the time even though it's scary to have them outside sometimes!
Gill
We now have four cats (a bit of a population explosion that we failed to find homes for, but we love them all) and a very small dog who isn't quite sure what he is now! They all use the cat flap freely at most times, but it is locked at night for their safety and to reduce wildlife predation. I've read statistics that say that if all domestic cats were kept in at night the loss to bird and small mammal species would be almost halved. We humans have artificially altered the predator/prey balance in our country because of our love of cats. I feel a responsibility to reduce that where I can and consider that my cats have a very good quality of life with the freedom they have during the day. I call them in at dusk or soon after for a treat time where I have a handful of individual treats to throw for them, giving them all (including the dog) a chance to run and pounce before they settle down for the night. We bring in a litter tray for the long winter evenings. Fifteen years ago I lost two black cats within months of each other to cars - they had discovered a neighbour across the road was putting food out for foxes in the evenings and they were each hit opposite her gate as they went to see if her offering was better than their cat food. That was when I first introduced a curfew!
Janet Hancock
No. Cats should not be let out at night, both for their own safety and for the safety of birds. Birds feed at dawn and dusk and are vulnerable at those times, especially when they have young. As cat owners we have a responsibility to limit predation.
Jacqueline Burns
I've been a cat owner for over 40 years and always allowed my cats to go out at night. They could come and go as they pleased through their cat flap. In February 2012 my beautiful black Hamish was killed in the dark by a car. We now have two 18 month old brothers who are quite definitely not allowed out at night. An added bonus to keeping cats in at night is that fewer wild birds will be killed as studies seem to show that many are killed by cats at night.
Jean McK
I have two cats rescued from a horrible home who are very wary of anyone other than me. I don't let them out and they are perfectly content with their cat trees, toys, boxes, each other. If the door is open, they might glance out, but don't want to go out. This has been true for a number of cats we have had. It is not true that cats "naturally" must go outside. It is all down to what they experience growing up and they do not feel deprived - it is important not to anthropomorphise. It is also the case that cats kill over 2 million birds a year, mostly at dawn and dusk. I think that we have a responsibility to the wild animals that we live with and keeping cats in is an easy way to help them, as well as avoiding cars, foxes, idiots with pellet guns, people who steal cats (there was a spate of this last year in our village - they think the person might have been feeding them to a large snake). If you want to give your cats some outside access, build a cat run. In the US, we had one that the cats loved, but had no interest in the outside otherwise. It kept them safe from the coyotes, hawks, fisher cats, and other predators as well as the human-caused risks.
Cynthia
It is very difficult to keep a cat in the house all night but having lost two in car traffic accidents, I would strongly recommend it. My 15 year old cats have always hunted during the day. Their kill is brought home and placed under my dining room table! I apologise to the wildlife conservationists for my cats' errant ways but they were abandoned as kittens into the wild and we re-homed them from the RSPCA. I feel they probably wouldn't have been such killers had they not needed to survive out in the wild for the first 4 months of their lives.
Denise Taylor
At present I have two cats - Billy who is in his early 20's and Oscar approx. 6years old. They both came into our lives as strays. We have had many cats, all of them strays. They have all been kept in at night. Of course at first they didn't like it, but they had to get used to it - and they did! Billy has access all day to an outside pen, just off the utility room. At night, he is kept in, as is Oscar. Oscar comes in and out all day long. Across tea time, when the road is busy, we get Oscar in, until the road no longer busy, and he is let out again until it starts to get dark, and then we "shout" him in again. Other cat owners have stated that their cats won't stay in at night, as they cry to go out! Children cry for what they want, but it doesn't mean that they get what they want! It's a learning curve, and it's for their own good. No excuses!
Liz White
All cats should be allowed the freedom of outdoors and I really do not believe in the idea of 'house cats' as I'm sure that if they had a choice it would be to go out. However, I firmly believe that cats should be indoors at night, that being said I have 2 Burmese one of which (Gizmo) would be near impossible to keep in, and he sometimes disappears for a whole 24 hours and even as long as 39 hours once, this has been such a worry to be over his 6 year life, so we installed cctv which put my mind to rest as I knew he was coming in two or three times a night into the utility room which has his food and a drink and his igloo and in the colder months he stays in the igloo, when the winter comes I have the joy of him staying in all night which is bliss. My other cat Dexter has been trained from a kitten that he is in before it gets dark and only occasionally does he play up with a bit of defiance, but after Gizmo I wasn't having that game again! there is 10 months between them. We live in a reasonably cat safe area alongside a park with the nearest main road being quite some distance away, but I am more worried about injuries from fighting cats as for 2 years ours were pestered by an un neutered cat which we clocked waiting on the dustbin watching their cat door, waiting to pounce-he had quite a go at the cat door once but as its microchip controlled he was out of luck!
Alison Simmons
I have always had cats and before I moved to my current address in December 2011, had let them have free access to the outside world - day and night. I had to have my old boy put to sleep last year because of thyroid and lung cancer and in July I became "mum" to two male kittens that I bought from a local rescue centre. One of the conditions that the rescue centre insisted upon prior to adoption was that I would keep the cats in for the first 6 months and lock them in at night thereafter. I agreed though I wasn't sure how the cats would react as they got older.When the boys were first allowed out in January this year they soon encountered the two adult siameses from next door - a pretty traumatic meeting for the kittens as the siameses were very much bigger than my two and VERY territorial...and they chased the kittens in through the cat flap and into the house! This has resulted in my cats being locked in at night and when there is no one at home in the day - the cats respond to me calling them in (or by rattling their treat jar) and are happy to sleep or to play with each other; I have peace of mind that they aren't out encountering traffic or the horrors from next door! As an aside, I have spoken to my neighbours about the siameses and they are more than happy for me to use a water pistol on them (the cats, not the humans) when they are prowling round my gardens....works a treat! :)
mary
I have over 40 years experience of having cats.. in the centre of a very busy market town. At first they could come & go at will...then after one very nasty fight too far a vet told me to keep them in at night. So for the next twenty plus years i did just that. But even going out just in the day there were accidents and injuries and fight wounds etc. Now i have 2 Brit Shorthairs who have the run of a Katzcured garden. No fights, no viruses and no dread of traffic....they are happy and have the freedom to enjoy the garden. Beloved cats are like children - you want to do everything you can to protect them but you have to find a compromise...this kind of secure garden seems the best. And not as costly as you might think...I have found the rescue organisations and the RSPCA still belive in total freedom as more 'Natural.' But only 'natural' in the way not neutering is..a nice romantic idea but not kind in the end.
rebecca
I have 2 cats that are brothers from the cat protection. They advised us to lock them in at night, which we do as our previous cat went missing during the night. We have a cat flap so they have the freedom all day and then lock it at night so once they are in, they are in. One of my cats goes for hours wandering, whereas the other stays close to home. I'm glad we do it this way, the cats are in a routine and once they are in they sleep all night.
Jean
We have a 18 month old female pixie bob called Dilly and have put up a cat proof fence round our garden, expensive yes, but gives us total peace of mind, she's out all day but I bring her in at night she's happy with that and so am I .We had a cat some years ago that was run over and killed at night ,I couldn't go through that again
Philip Hart
Our little old lady Poppet has never gone out at night ever since we adopted her after being abandoned by her previous owner. She's 14 now and she has been our precious little angel for 13 years.She used to go outdoors in the daytime until she had hyperthyroidism 4 years ago. From then until around 2 years ago she had a cat run in the garden.She was never left outdoors when we were out. To make up for this we gave her plenty of quality time for play. But now she is poorly with an abdominal mass and also had a stroke 2 years ago she has been full indoor housecat and we can look after her needs for he rest of her days.
Neil
Difficult one this, We are fortunate enough to live in a very rural area with a very quiet lane. However past experience has shown that sadly our cats are just as capable at throwing themselves under the one car every hour or so here, rather than the busier traffic in less quiet areas. This has happened twice, both during the day to cats with a cat flap unlocked 24/7. So it seems to me that locking the cat flap for 8 out of 24 hours is a bit pointless. I know it's dark, but I understand cats can see fairly well in the dark.We are now trying a different approach, keeping the verges along the lane cut short so there is no long grass to hunt in right by the road. I suspect it is not the cat crossing the road that gets hit, but the cat who is poised to pounce on some luckless rodent in the long grass. At this time pussy probably has eyes and attention for nothing else. Take away the reason for cat to be close to the road and maybe it will live longer.This may be total rubbish, and only time will tell, but I would be interested to hear if any others have tried this and did it work ?
Lou
Our 2 rescue cats are out and about 24 hours a day. They are about 18 months old and don't go far from the house. We live in a quiet cul-de-sac so there's no through traffic but we would let them roam anyway. They have a catflap that we taught them to use and they're very happy to have the freedom to choose whether to be inside or out. We believe cats should be out and about ~ wild cats don't come inside, do they?!!!!!!!!
Kerstin Marshall
I had a tortoiseshell cat for 19 years who was allowed out during the day but I kept her in at Night. During the summer that wasn't always easy. She loved hunting moths and then became careless and would jump after them on to the road. We live in a quiet cul-de-sac but I still felt she was safer inside at Night. I couldn't sleep if she wasn't in. And she was involved in cat fights as well. Once she came home with half her ear tip ripped off. I knew she never ventured too far so letting her out during the day was ok. She was used to it from 6 months old and she was careful enough. She passed away last year and 6 months later we adopted a 4 year old tom from a private rescue. He grew up there in a walled in garden and has no road sense. Since I don't know how far he would venture (busy roads not too far away) I don't trust him and he is restricted to our house and garden. We had the garden made cat escape proof. And he is happy enough there as he isn't used to roaming anyway. He is chipped though just in case he should ever manage to escape and get lost. So many lost cats here and so many dead ones on the roads. I don't want my cat to be one of them. If you live in a quiet rural area that is safe for cats I think it's ok to let them roam. But they do become more independant then and I like it, that my cat is such a cuddly cat. My last cat was so much more independant and only liked cuddles sometimes. My tom cat loves our company and is much more affectionate. He still has a big enough garden to roam in, bushes to hide in, an outdoor cat tree and birds to stalk (he is not much of a hunter though). And occasionally our neighbour's cat to chase if she manages to get into our garden. He is not very agile though and doesn't trust his tree climbing skills, so he is perfectly safe in the garden. He likes to be in at Night anyway as he doesn't like being outside for too long on his own anyway.
Laura
Hi,I have had very bad experiences with letting our cats out. Not just at night. We live on a relatively quiet family estate yet we have had problems with every cat we've had! Two cats we still have have had road accidents and are both now injured for life, they can walk but they are a bit wobbly, one is ok to go out as he had his accident when he was young and can now walk better but the other is older and it would not be responsible of us to let her out. The others that have been in road accidents have not been so lucky. :( Two of our cats, despite being very affectionate and extremely well cared for here, have been fed by various other houses around the neighbourhood and eventually decided to live with these other people, the people didn't even want them as we once spoke to one woman and she was terrified of cats.These were both male and I have now got two cats of my own, one male one female, and I am, understandably, very worried and undecided about what to do. As of yet I have kept them in most of the time. However the only way to ensure they don't get out (through a window or left open door) when i'm not there is to keep them in my room. They have loads of toys in there and they have each other but obviously it is not ideal and I feel terrible about it. I can not let them wander about the house though as the other people in my family do not take the care to ensure their safety like I do, we also have jack russels which are kept seperate from the cats but I would not feel safe leaving it to the other people in the house to make sure the cats were safely seperated before the dogs were let in etc. In a real dilemma because I can tell they are sometimes frustrated and I know how much they love being outside and it's their nature to explore. I sometimes let them out with me as they don't go far when I am sat outside, they stay nearby and when I visit my grandma and grandad I take them with me and they go out there (but not at night) and love it. But is this making it worse?? If I am going to keep them in should I keep them in all the time? They mean the world to me and I would hate to see anything happen to them but I also hate to see them frustrated.
Kerstin Marshall
Well said, Carol. Someone earlier stated that cats should be out all the time and that wild cats don't live inside, do they?. Our cats still have the instincts of wild animals but at the end of the day they are domesticated and not wild. And it's our responsibility as their 'servants' to protect them from possible harm. We neuter them, vaccinate them, chip them, insure them, feed them and take them to the vet if necessary. So they are NOT wild animals anymore. I do agree though that it's in the blood if some cats and their desire to be out is too strong. My neighbour's got their cat as a very young kitten from a farm and Ido believe it's in their genetics. This cat still hisses at her owners after 8 years, lets them touch her sometimes but prefers to be out all day- no matter what the weather is like. She doesn't even mind pouring rain. They do keep her in at Night though. But she always kept that little feral streak. Mine is totally attached to us and craves contact with us. Constantly wants to be cuddled and handled. So different. It all depends on the individual cat- but they are not wild animals any more. That's for sure!
Linda Pemble
I have 2 rescue cats aged 4 and 9 who stay in at night and seem very happy with this. We live on a fairly busy suburban road, on which several neighbours' cats have been killed. Ours are also targeted by the local bully cat, so the curfew is mainly for their own safety and my peace of mind. However they are keen hunters, and I believe that keeping them in, especially at dawn, helps save a few small lives particularly in spring when there are more young birds about. The cats have adapted to this lifestyle very well, although I have to say that they are extremely laid back and obliging characters. Apart from the occasional early morning, they tend to go to bed when we do, waking conveniently at 7am to be fed and let out!
Lauren
I live in London and have a 7month old tabby who comes and goes as he pleases.We have a garden which backs on to a row of other gardens, and while I don't doubt he ventures away from just the gardens he has plenty to keep him occupied at night. While I may worry about him out in the evening, he sleeps th majority of the day so limiting his time out at night would make him virtually a house cat which is not something I want for him.He may be out at night but he is frequently back and forth, he will still wake me up at night and then wander off out to play again.Although there are roads around and a main road not far I still feel happier letting him roam around and be an outdoor cat than keeping him couped up inside. I personally believe that fear of what could happen is just not a good enough reason to limit what he can experience in his life, cats are hunters he needs his time to stalk around at night.
Kerstin Marshall
That's another reason too. Recently I have heard more and more of poisoned cats, cats trapped by cat haters and then released far away from home near busy roads (how nasty is that?), cats shot with pellet guns, cats caught and used as baits for dog fighting (an illegal and cruel practice but still happening), cats simply beaten or kicked to death, etc. I honestly can't understand cat owners who believe cats should be able to roam at all times and tough luck if their life is shortened by such cruel incidents. Do they honestly believe their cats had happier lives? Locked up somewhere undiscovered maybe? Lying at the roadside dying because they were hit by a car? Or have fallen into the hands of a cat hater? Plenty of them about. Quite often the next door neighbour who had enough of the cat poop in his garden? I know my cat is safe in our garden. He can still follow his instincts and stalk prey, hide, climb, eat grass, etc. At least he is safe!
Wendy
I agree about the country roads. Ours is in the middle of nowhere, 40mph limit, but cars coming down here far too fast and it only takes one to do the damage.I think it’s commendable that you are going to the lengths of cutting the verge, but I fear your cats are still playing Russian Roulette. True, when they are in hunting mode they may be focused but very few cats are genuinely road aware – just lucky or unlucky. There was no reason for my Pippa to venture out the front, given the size of our back garden and the endless fields beyond, but she did. I was living in ignorant bliss and Pippa paid the price. I will never forgive myself for that and after 30 years of cat ownership and believing they should be allowed to roam freely, I now have a very different attitude and believe, as owners, we have a duty to protect them as a dog owner has a duty to keep their dog on a lead when out and about. I believe the ONLY way to keep a cat truly safe in ascending order is 1) house bound 2) harness only 3) outdoor enclosure 4) cat-proofed garden. The most expensive is the last, but I have no doubt it is the best for owner and cat. I investigated GPS and electronic alert systems but they just don’t work on cats and are not worth the expense. There are a number of garden cat-proofing systems that involve netting or rotating poles and a DIY solution based on one of these does not have to cost the earth if you are handy with a hammer! I think we owe it to our cats to protect them and if we are not prepared or able to do so, then a different kind of pet should be considered.
Amanda Collins
Personally for me - no. I have always had cats and always 2 or 3 together, currently owning siblings Bonnie and Clyde aged 10. My 2 go out from 5-6 am onwards when they wake me up to go, because they have a cat flap which is locked at night. They have been trained or used to being free to come and go all day and when it gets to late evening, around 9.30pm in the Summer as the doors are open anyway (earlier in the Winter) if they're not in, they're called, given some Tuna which they cry for England for and then literally go to their beds, whether it's a basket, on the sofa etc, it's just like getting children in. They have then no need to go out, are inside, safe, asleep and there until the following day. I have foxes coming in the garden too, and I they sometimes do have a "set too" so best for all to be in! A previous cat of mine was badly bitten on the back by a fox that went bad, vet trip resulted in a 50-50 chance if she'd make it due to infection, she did, but that put me off having my cats out at night. Mine can see through patio doors all what comes and goes all night all year round, but at night, they're safe indoors, know no different and for me and them it works absolutely fine.
Chloe c
I have a cat and a kitten, my cat was used to going out when she pleased. When I got my kitten I decided to only let him out in the day and lock him in at night. He is 11 months old and he now automatically comes in when its dark and cries at me until we go to bed where he sleeps next to me every night, since doing this my cat has got used to being locked in at night and she now happily goes to sleep when it gets dark! They are both happy and full of life and it saves them from the harm of cars at night, best choice I have ever made
Gemma
I grew up with cats & they were always in or out....no cat flap. Sweep the big black & white DSH was often out at night but always on the doorstep in the morning, but life was different then. Not so cars, not so many other cats and bulldogs were not a statement of machismo but a family pet. However my last 2 cats have only been allowed out when I am home and have always been in at night (again no cat flap). They seemed happy enough and still were able to bring me presents, mainly rodents incl. rabbits.I currently have a little black long hair rescue moggie who is about 2-3yrs old. He is a softie, very people friendly and wants to make friends with any animal or human he sees. As I have a footpath running around the garden he loves to say hello to the walkers. The downside is he will let anybody pick him up, he won't fight any other cat and wants to make friends with unknown dogs. One morning when he was out I saw a man pick him up, turn round and start to walk away. Luckily when I went after them he dropped the cat.So yet again we have an arrangement where he is in when I'm out, the backdoor is open when I am home & he comes in usually of his own accord around 8.30-9.pm to see me, watch a bit of TV or have a play & go to bed. He has chosen on the odd occasion to stay out all night & he is very contrite & clingy the following morning. I don't think keeping cats in at night interferes with their freedom or natural instincts or makes them anymore unhappy than the would be otherwise, it's all about routine
jenny
I have 2 cats and would not dream of letting them out at night,in our area we are blighted by foxes,and horrid people who like to shoot cats,I am very protective towards my cats and would tackle any body who wants to do them harm.I play with them most of the day, and at night i play from 9.30 to 11 so that they are suitably tired for sleep.
Thalia Panaretou
I only let my boy out with a harness too. There are so many urban foxes, night and day, round my bit (I have a regular who sleeps at the bottom of my garden) and with my neighbours letting their dogs run unattended round the neighbourhood I decided my boy would be a housecat. He's a happy boy, his toys take over my house and he's got free run of it when I'm at work, including about 5 sleeping areas of his choice. With so many cats being killed by road accidents and poisonings, I'm not ever letting him out unattended. There are just too many evil people out there nowadays.
Lindsay
HiI have a 7 year old female tortoiseshell called Missy. Normally I have kept her in at night, as I would worry where she was. I live in a quiet cul de sac and have a fairly cat proof garden -she does climb over the gate occasionally, but never far, she tends to be happy in the garden. During the recent very hot weather I felt it unfair to keep her in so left the cat flap open, and so far she has come in some time during the night.. I do worry though, and as the nights turn cooler I shall start closing the cat flap so she can get in but not out when I give her a little supper about !0 o clock, she nearly always comes in when I rattle the biscuit box!
Carol Ducker
I have always allowed my cats the freedom to roam inside and out throughout the day, but I keep them indoors at night as soon as they come in for their evening meal. They are used to the routine, settle down for the night and are happy to watch the world go by from the comfort of the armchair in our conservatory. Certainly in this hotter weather, they have stayed out longer (and we have also been around in the garden until 10.00 pm or so) but they are both happy to trot in and flop beside us when we come in.My anxiety over a cat not being around is greater than their pleasure at mousing in the dusk.
Paul Killick
I am 76 and have kept cats all my life - never out at night. Two have been house cats, and others loved the garden during the day; the two Siamese wandered into the woods, and one of them hunted successfully, including kippers and lamb chops from inside neighbours kitchenswhere the food was prepared for cooking.Out in the daylight and sunshine - why would they want to be out at night?I taught one Siamese not to kill birds, (through empathy, or some would say 'emotional blackmail' ) and she sits with me in the garden watching the robin hopping on the lawn, close by.
fiona
Cats shouldn't go out at night,I worry about road traffic,birds,other cats and also dodgy humans.My house backs onto a churchyard and gardens but even so I encouraged my last two to come in before dark,and did this by feeding them some very tasty treats in the evening,it worked well as they always came back for this supper and I was able to shut them in and go to bed knowing they were safe and also that they weren't persecuting birds.I also tended to keep them in at busy times of the day . I've gone a step further with my current three cats,they are house cats and only go in the garden under supervision.Despite my initial reservations this seems to work well and they are perfectly happy, during the day they race around the house playing with each other,charging up and down stairs and leaping over our big dog, so get plenty of exercise and stimulation.At night when the rest of the family settle to sleep they do too. I do realize however that not all cats would adapt so well to this situation.
pat wingett
HelloI live near a very busy 30 limit road, when i started to look for cats, i contacted cats protection, who when they came for a home visit suggested to me to keep any cats i get in at night.I have 3 cats, one age 13 one aged 12 and the other 11, The oldest cat recently died of cancer.I have always kept them in at night and in the day they are able to go outside. i feed them in the morning and then let them out, in the evening we call them back and then feed them again locking the door behind them.they are played with in the evening and seem happy to lay on the bed . i think to be able to prolong their life keeping them in seems to be the simplest option. they also are not interested in birds as we have never had any brought back.
Gail Dolman
I have had my cat nearly three years now and she is not allowed out at night. The cat flap gets locked when it starts to go dusk. There has only been a couple of occasions when she has not come home so we have had to leave her out. But she knows the routine and is curled up most evenings before curfew.
Angela
I have a rescue cat who must now be about 14 or 15 years old. He has always been used to coming and going, and always asks to go out at night. We live in a quiet road in a suburb which gets very little traffic at night-time. He has two cat flaps, one from the kitchen into a conservatory, and one from the conservatory into the garden. He doesn't appear to go very far from home these days, being quite content to sit in various places in the garden, and in the recent hot weather he has hardly come inside at all except for food and water (although he often drinks from our pond.) At times during the years when I have had to try to keep him indoors for medical reasons it has been a real battle, as he was used to being free when I first got him.
John Preston
I have two cats, male and female - both neutered - and they stay indoors when I'm working in the mornings and at night also: I take RSPCA advice on that one - plus I also found a stray cat that was still alive but had been run over just last week. I took it to the PDSA in the hope it could be saved but they reported it dies from its injuries (included an obvious head injury) a very short while after I brought it in. They say that they would in any case have euthanized the cat because of the extent of its injuries.I recently attempted to try my cats on harness. Daisy was briefly using one as a young kitten but was free roaming (during certain hours) from seven months old. Some of the time having her on harness went marvellously but then she responded to a large dog sniffing her by hissing and spitting at it, which could have gone differently if the dog hadn't had a placid temperament. She also simply ran off with the retractable leash one day and I was so lucky she chose to stay on the ground (since she is partial to climbing huge trees) and I caught up with her under a parked car and pulled her out. Her confidence and mine were both shaken by that incident and I decided against using harness on her again as she seemed safer left to her own devices. I do go out with my cats though and Thomas generally stays with me whilst Daisy roams a quite extensive territory locally. I generally stay with Thomas if he's out because he is sometimes bullied by other cats - probably because he was an underweight stray when I found him and although he got a whole lot bigger, I get the feeling he's more like a perpetual kitten on the inside. I had him castrated and the vet reported he remained placid throughout. I don't think he missed what they took as he probably never made use of them anyway. He only ever gets into fights with Daisy: they are mostly amicable except for one decisive one early on because Daisy used to bully Thomas when he was underweight and having caught up with her size-wise, he proceeded to turn the tables. he didn't hurt her but he made his dominance clear. I have a movie of Daisy lifting her paw to Thomas, only for Thomas to show her one massive front paw for her to compare with her tiny one. Daisy is basically Count Duckula and Thomas is Igor. Both of my cats are microchipped and neither wear collars. I tried quick release collars but we lost so many that I couldn't keep up with the cost of them
Helen
Our rescue cat Charlie we have had for 7 years and were advised by the Cat's Protection that cats be kept in at night time to avoid scraps and injury. Charlie was always indoors by 10:00pm and he would appear at the patio door as regular as clockwork to be let in for the night.He was attacked by a fox last autumn at dusk so he now rarely ventures out by himself. If I had not intervened I dread to think what would have happened to him.The foxes in our neighbourhood are becomming a real issue and the day before yesterday our neighbour found the remains of a cat's tail in their back garden. We heard the blood curdling squeals in the early hours and assumed foxes were scrapping.I am now extremely worried about other domestic cats and small pets in our area. Since the introduction of wheelie bins the foxes no longer have access to flimsy bin bags and I am convinced they are having to change their food source.
Eunice Nicholson
Hi. I live in the country side and my Bengal was run over on March 26 th. managed to get home, emergency vet etc. Head Tauma. he has survived but has lost the sight in 1 eye, still a wobbly boy having had to learn to walk again, spoon fed for 5 weeks as his jaw was broken, and cannot jump higher than the bed now. He had gone out at 4 pm and arrived back at 9.15 in such a state. Amazing that he survived really. Now we only let him out in the secure side garden, not very happy but thats how it is going to be, a very different boy now, but still love him. Sleeps so much more. I wish we had taught him to walk on a lead or something. Drivers really speed down our country lane, police are not interested at all. Keep your cat safeEuni
Julie Bailey
Our first cat was a tom and in the 1960s it was common to leave cats out, but by the 70s when we had a small tom and a female (both rescue) they were kept in at night, in fact my mother wouldn't go to bed until they were safe at home. Now I have a small female (rescue) and she stays in at night. She has a cat flap open from 7am to about 7pm everyday so can come and go as she pleases but because she seems to be able to get into all sorts of trouble and has often come home with bites requiring treatment and now has an arthritic back leg, I call her at 7pm and she always comes in.
kelly
I have 2 young cats ( a 3 yr old and a 2 yr old) and from an early age they have learnt to come in when called at night time, I would not let them out all night as we have foxes around. Once they are in its dinner time for them and they both settle down for the evening. It doesn't hurt them bring in at night, they don't know any different and the nocturnal creatures are safe from my moggies and I'm safe from 'presents' being brought home.
belinda dunstone
I think it depends on the cat. I have 4 cats. 3 are siamese and one is a long hair. My longhair boy Sox loves his independence and the outside. He will not use a cat litter tray at all. When i moved house and had to keep him in for a couple of weeks, he did his business in the bath! Even though i put a cat tray in a separate area just for him. It was just him letting me know that he wasn`t happy being kept in! He goes in and out of my house now as he pleases, he wears a reflective cat collar , although i do try and make sure he is in at night. The siamese i only let out the back garden when i am there, again only one of them is really bothered. Select breeds you have to be careful of too in case they are stolen. They all have different personalities like people and i think you have to work out what is the best for your cat!
Ruth Edwards
I have not read the comments because I am convinced that my girl should stay in at night. I have always had cats and they are always in quite happily at night. There is noi way that they are safe out there, from road accidents to stealing - I have a particularly lovely Britisih Shorthair and leaving her out at night is asking for trouble but she is happy indoors.
Scooter
I like my life!I am an indoor cat when my adopted owner is out and an outdoor cat when she's home. I don't have a collar or a cat flap but I am chipped (if I was a car that would make me go faster!).I always come in on my own, I don't need calling as the door is open, then I can snuggle up on a nice warm lap or chase toys, spiders or moths until I go to bed and cuddle up with my adopted Mum. I love the security of that.
Hilary
My old (uninsured) cat was a neutered male who had access to the outside all night and often came back with battle scars which would turn into abcesses, and needing regular visits to the vet. He managed to live into his teens but went out one night and never came back, I later learned that he had been found dead nearby having probably been hit by a car, in spite of having quite a bit of white fur. That road is a rat run, and I was worried when I knew he was wandering that far. My current (insured} cat is a female and much more of a home body. She is quite a little cat so I keep her in at night for her own safety. On very warm evenings though, getting her in can be quite a challenge! I lock the flap at night to keep her in and also to keep other cats out - we've had unwelcome visitors who come in and steal her food in the evenings.
Daniele
My 17 month old cat Lily went out at night and was attacked by a wild animal, the vet thought it was a fox or badger judging by the teeth marks and fur in her claws. We had to take her to an emergency vet as she could hardly walk, the vet did everything they could for her including amputating her back leg, she was insured with pet plan so we could afford the treatment. However her injuries were to severe and she was put to sleep. I now have a rescue cat who also loves to go out and i would feel cruel keeping her in so I try to get her in before dark. If you do let your cat out I would recommend getting them insured as that trip to the vets can be costly.
Ruth Stephen
I adopted a rescue cat about 14 months ago from my local cat protection branch. My cat Sally is 2 years old now and I have never let her outside at night time because she was found as a stray and is mostly black with white socks and a white bib. she has been known to go to the back door and expect to be let out when it is dark but I never let her out. She gets out during the day and is quite often out for hours at a time when it is sunny.
Helen Moger
We have an 11 month old Tom cat called Leo. I think cats should stay in at night due to the dangers of the road and also foxes who may pick a fight with them!! I have always been weary of foxes attacking cats, not sure if they would but it frightens me to think that a cat would be injured badly or killed by one. We are still quite worried about letting our cat out alone, very nervous parents I think!!! Just afraid that he would run out in front of a car not realising the dangers of the road. He is a very playful cat and still darts about all over the place in doors. We do let him out but only with us very close by him and watching him, trying to show him which garden is ours and the surroundings. (We live in a top floor maisonette so garden is the one at back) He does get on with the neighbours cat though which is nice. Anyone have any ideas on what we can do to be less nervous of him being out and that he would come back aswell??
P Collins
NO cats should be in a routine where they are brought in at night as the household goes to bed.
Hayley
I have two british shorthairs who stay indoors all the time. It was in the terms of sale that they would be kept as indoor pets only and I'm happy to stick to that. I think it's easier for me to keep my girls inside because they've never been out. They can't miss what they've never had. They have very little interest in the world outside. They occasionally sit and look though the window but they are more interested in what's going on inside. They have unrestricted access to all the rooms in the house and they enjoy being active indoors, always running around and racing up and down the stairs. We play everyday and they like to play together too. I couldn't rest knowing the my cats were outside, day or night, at risk from traffic, loose dogs, pesticides, poisonous plants, wild animals and neighbourhood psychos! My cats mean everything to me. They're like family and I feel incredibly lucky to have such beautiful girls. I don't feel that I'm depriving them and I'm confident that they are happy, active and stimulated. I don't think there's a clear cut answer when considering whether to allow your cats out at night. I think it depends on the cat, his history and the area, but I do wholeheartedly disagree with the idea of shutting a cat out at night. Your home should be a safe haven for your cat. The thought of a cat getting into trouble and returning home only to find that he can't get back in is enough to break my heart.
Chantal
I have two cats (brother and sister), just over a year old now. They have been spayed and micro-chipped but are really indoor cats - that is how I have raised them for fear of them getting hurt or killed. I just don't have much faith in people sadly... I only let them out when I am home and keeping a watchful eye on them. But planning to move soon to a better / quieter area with an enclosed little garden (which they going to love, as they have never had grass before). Where we are it's a paved area. My female is for too curious and will jump the wall out of this enclosed paved area to explore and has not started encouraging her lazy brother to join her... They tend to give me mini heart attacks of late... I want them to enjoy some outdoors time, but most of all be safe and I don't want to go through the heart ache of losing one or both either. Someone has suggested some collar sensor system that I could get for them to have them remain in the boundaries of the enclosed garden when out. Does anyone know of this system and if it's really safe or successful.
Tracey Chambers
Murphy is is now 4 years old. I used to have a cat flap and he could come and go as he pleased. This normally meant he would sleep all day and go out at night, always back in the house by morning. 2 years ago he didn't return one morning. He was missing for 9 days and i had given up hope, when he was found under a neighbours hedge, having crawled home with a broken front leg and pelvis. He is only here today thanks to a very skilled vet, and pet plans fantastic insurance policy, all bills were paid without any queries. His injuries were thought to have been caused by being hit by a car, and i do feel that many drivers ignore the speed limits at night. Murphy is still allowed out during the day, but i check on him constantly and always worry. He is never allowed out at night.
Carole Whatley
We have two 2yr old Burmese cross catsWe prefer them in at night because of foxes etc.Also Ollie got stuck up next doors tree when we let them out at night.Charlie(female)has a few suitors her brother does not approve of, and they are about 3 times his size, but he sees them off anyway, whilst she cowers behind him.They come in readily with a few Dreamies rattled in the bag and find their own sleeping place in the house
Gary Marsh
We have had 3 cats injured severely enough to be put down on the road, all in daylight hours, we did not live on a through road at the time so very quiet. We now own a Ragdoll and a Ragdoll somali cross both of whome are happy healthy and safe indoor cats.
Fiona Shaw
I have a 2 year old cat Poppy who has never been let out overnight. Even in this hot weather with longer daylight hours she is quite content to come in between 7 and 8 pm and is let out again at about 6 am at this time of year. I do have a cat flap but as there are foxes and badgers in my neighbourhood I am happier with her being in at night.
Jan Brownlie
We have two cats. One is a very large Oriental and the other a petite Siamese. We have a cat flap which allows the cats access to the great outdoors during the daytime. However, we lock the cat flap at about 7pm in the summer and about 4.30pm to 5pm in the winter. My husband and I feel that the cats are safer indoors after dark. We live in the country where there are foxes who would be likely to attack our cats (particularly the young one who is so tiny).
Carol Newman
We currently have two ragdolls so leaving outside at any time unsupervised is out of the question. However whilst it is totally natural to let your cats roam unfortunately in this day and age unless you live well away from the urban jungle it would seem not such a safe idea. So many unscrupulous types seem to enjoy harming animals for what is considered 'fun'. The roads are now a nightmare and cats rarely seem to savvy with traffic. A very difficult debate given the world we live in now.
Helen Fox-Stevens
without doubt cats should be kept in at night. We must be aware not only of their safety and best interests (mother knows best) but be responsible towards wildlife. The birds in our garden quickly caught on to the cats being brought in by about 6.30 p.m. and earlier in winter. As long as you start with cats as kittens there's no problem; just do not feed them their supper before 'curfew'. Wherever you live, life is more dangerous for a feline out at night and it's a myth to say it is natural. keeping animals as pets is not quite natural, but we do it, and as such we must flea-treat them, vaccinate them and see they are safely tucked in at night.
susan fergusson
I have never let my cats out at night and have trained them all to use the litter tray before they go out in the day. I don't like cat poo in my garden so why should I let my cat go in a neighbours garden. I play with my cat a lot because I feel that if they are not bored at home they tend not to wander so far. Cats do like to play with their owners and are many cat owners do not understand their cats and the cats behaviour and body language. It takes time to understand a cat and owners should spend as much time playing with their cat as they would with a dog. There are too many predators out at night for it to be safe any more and I like to know where my cat is at all times.
Sherry Bird
We try and get our cat in by 10.30 at night at the latest - we do succeed most nights, and he is usually in and settled by 9.30 pm but during the very hot weather that has been quite a task. However, we do get woken up anywhere between 4am ( summer) and 6.30 am (winter). We have tried various persuasive methods of keeping him in, but find the best is not to feed him at that time, and then he comes back after 30 mins - to 1 hour- meowing in our ears to let us know he is in. Its not the best situation , but one we can all seem to manage...!
alison
is Suzy 4 years old and a tabby cat. The cat flap gives her access to the passageway where her litter tray is. She can access the garden when I let her out. By jumping up on the decking rail then the top of the door she can go across the roof and to the front of the house. I do not like her being out all night but she sometimes refuses to come in. We have 2 foxes around here and I do worry about her safety even though she wanders back in eventually the next day. The last time she stayed out another cat came in and polished off her dinner and then scared the life out of me by coming upstairs. When Suzy does come in she will sleep the whole day away in utter exhaustion. At the moment she is coming in when I call partly because I have new neighbours which are making her more wary. I feel happier and less stressed if Suzy stays in overnight.
Lizanne Davies
My last cat Gizmo was perfectly happy indoors, which was preferable as I live in a first floor flat in London. However, my current cat, Dicksey, is a very different animal. I was considering rehoming him as it soon became clear he was not going to be happy in the confines of my flat. He now goes out as and when he wants, pretty much, and is far more chilled as a result. I am lucky in the fact that I live close to a park, he mainly goes in there and hunts frogs; and also that I have understanding neighbours.
Catherine Vaughan
I have a tabby mainecoon. She was given to me foc from a breeder in Northampton. At first she was very timid and wouldn't come out from behind the sofa, but now she is changed. She is still an indoor cat and only goes for walkies around the garden draped over my shoulders. She is constantly looking back at the patio doors to get back inside!! She loves to sit and wag her tail at the birds who come right up to the patio door but she then nods off in contentment. She is over 9 years old very fit and healthy and loves to snuggle up on the bed at night. She is very vocal and a loving cat. Her coat is beautiful and her cleaning and litter tray habits brilliant. She doesn't get fleas etc and doesn 't want to go outside. She is a wonderful companion and loves to be groomed and pampered. She is certainly not bothered about going out in the garden where there are lots of trees and shrubs and that is why I think most cats would be free from disease and accidents if they were more home bound.
Cats rock
Absolutely not. Had a cat who had her jaw smashed late at night. My cats don't go out at night.
Sherry
Having lost our original cat, a semi feral who walked into our lives and knew that road for years before he joined us we couldn't bear the thought of it happening again. When the next semi feral choose us she had no option to be a house cat but having always been a dog owner I didn't like the idea of her not going out. She took to a lead and harness so naturally probably as for a short time she lived with my elderly dog and saw him go out several times a day. Now she has a long line in the garden, goes for daily walkies and happily goes on her long line while I groom the horses and will stay in the car (not hot days) when I ride. I adore my constant companion & she seems to be happy with all the new places she sees as there is never any resistance to putting o her harness and can pester me to go out.
Anne Moorley
I always call my cats in before i go to bed , i cant rest if they are not in, i like to know they are safe and tucked up with me for the night. I have been known to stay up till past 2 o ' clock trying to find one of my cats to bring her in for the night. There are too many unpredictable individuals roaming around late into the night especially at week ends who are not animal lovers and now with our local council switching off street lighting at ,mid night means cats roaming around in the night are even more at risk of being hit by a car . So i think any responsible car owner should make sure their cats are safe inside for the night. They soon settle down and get used to the routine - even strays that i have taken in soon settle into this especially on cold and wet nights. I dont even leave my cats out all day while i am at work -i always get my cats in if i am going out even shopping.
Donna Pressland
My 3 ginger boys (neutered) are all in at night- I've always made sure that they are in by 10.30/11pm. I won't go to bed until they are all home. I sonetimes have trouble with Archie, he is a Spainish Rescue Cat who can be a little ferral at times. He yeows so loudly that you have to let him out. But around 5/6am I will let them out.Cats should be in at night for their own safety and having my cat previously blamed for soiling a neighbours bed I was able to prove that they are all in at night. Mine are in a routine and are happy. They have toys and high perches so they can all gets away from one another.
Deana Mistry
I have two cats 17 year old moggy and 4 year old rescue from cat action trust. 4 year old lived out all his life and took a while to adjust to nights in but most nights in by 8pm. Hate my cats out at night.
Jenni
We have one rescue bengal, a serengeti, and a russian blue cat, all of which are not allowed to roam.We used to let our bengal out when we first got her (she was our only cat at the time) but after her friend Riley our next door neighbour's cat got run over and dragged himself home to die we reassesed our cat's safety and spent a few thousand on getting a higher garden fence and cat proofing. The cat proofing consists of : a fully enclosed large run that they can access day and night via a cat flap, and access to our bigger garden that has purfect fence attatched to the top of the fence. They only have access to the bigger garden though for between 2-3 hours a day when I have the time to supervise them (I work from home) as two of the three can get over the netting!!!Our serengeti was never allowed to roam in the first place but has got out a few times and we've sincemade adjustments, our russian blue has never got out and our bengal loves her food so much she just wants to be near to the fridge!They are happy, loving cats with so much more space than a zoo animal, so I really don't see the harm. We need to also remember that they ARE domesticated animals, that cats ARE'NT native to England (think of the wildlife), and why WOULD any cat have roadsense?? Why on earth should we expect another species to understand about human inventions like cars and roads? If you let your cat out you must admit you are taking a big risk in our over populated human environment, none of it is "natural" for a cat. Keep them safe if you love them!
Kath
I had 2 cats - Arthur & Elsie, who both went out at night, sadly I lost one (not sure what happened to Elsie), but that happened in the day time.... Arthur goes out over night and is always there to greet me in the morning... I can understand those who chose to keep their cats in... that's fine, but he goes out and has fun with his mates..... they are cats., they go out at night, that's what they do.... I have a choice... so why can't he? But understand it's a personal choice to owners....
Angie Eglen
I have lived with cats all my life and years ago I would say let them go out at night but not now. There are too many dangers, especially cars and unfortunately people who hate cats and deliberately harm them if they go into their gardens, a cat was recently found peppered with more than 20 pellets in our area! I have also had a siamese cat stolen whilst out in the evening. I have a 5 month old siamese cat called Ziggy now and he will be an indoor cat except when I take him out on a lead. I lived in Australia for 22 years and over there it is against the law for cats to be out at night. They have a curfew and have to be indoors by early evening otherwise they are trapped by council rangers and the owner has to pay a fine to get them back. I think this should be the same in the UK, also microchipping should be compulsory for all pets and a registration fee should be charged by the council each year to keep a domestic pet. This would help stop a lot of irresponsible people owning animals and not looking after them properly as it has done in Australia.
paula
I have a 13 year old rescue cat. He is allowed out at night but only if I am up, as I will be awake until he comes back. If he has a bit of a wander and I get tired of waiting, he will come within minutes when I call him. Going to sleep with the cat outside and door closed is not an option. If he gets into a cat fight I can hear him and again he will run straight home when I call him. When we are out of the house he is not allowed out.
Leanne M
This is not a one breed fits all issue. We also have a Bengal, an extremely active breed (still not many generations removed from a wild cat), who would be climbing the walls if he found he was locked in at any time of the day or night. Contrast that with a Ragdoll, for example, who would be quite content to sit inside and never leave the house. Every breed, and every cat, is an individual case, each cat with its own personality. We live on a reasonably quiet cul-de-sac, but of course that doesn't stop us worrying about our beloved boy. In fact, we waited until we moved house to a quiet road to get a cat, because we thought it would be unfair to keep a cat indoors. And yes, he does get into fights - we are surrounded by multiple cat households, but cats have a way of working disputes out between themselves, and avoiding confrontation where possible. Above all, we believe it's important that he can come and go as he pleases. He has a microchip cat flap and a reflective quick release collar - we do everything we can to keep him safe, but his quality of life and the happiness of our cat is just as important as our desire to protect him.
Carole
My first cat Vlad I got from a tiny kitten and there was no question she was going to be an indoor cat, not only because, if I have a cat, I want to enjoy its presence and I also want to know where it is and that it is safe. Also because having to rent rooms, not always in the nicest quietest areas, there was no way I would take the risk of loosing my cat to a car or some vicious person's actions. At 1 point I moved to a shared out with a bit of a garden / jungle so my mum sent me an extendable lead and I tried to take Vlad and sit with her in the garden whilst she nosed around, but she hated being outside and any noise would spook her. As she was used to being indoors from a tiny kitten age, the outdoors was never anything she knew, liked or missed. I lost her at 17 years old, 3 years ago on the 23rd of August, of a tumour. Had she been an outdoor cat, I am convinced she would not have been with me so many years.A month after a I lost her, because I missed that little presence in my life, I got my Darcy. again a little kitten that would be an indoor Prince. Since having him, he has lived in a 4th floor flat with no outside access, a house with a garden, in which he would go roam a little while under my supervision and then go back in when I said and he never showed displeasure at this. We are now in a little flat with a balcony and he enjoys his 'sniffs'. He asks for the balcony door to be opened when I arrive from work, he goes out, has some of his cat grass, sniffs the air. sometimes, especially in the recent hot weather, he will lie on the cool tiles of the balcony, or he will jump and sit or lie down on the wall on one side of the balcony and watch the birds and the neighbours cats... and when he decides, he goes back in. He's a happy 3 year old beauty, my gorgeous boy and I enjoy his company and we talk to each other. I would not be without him, just like I could not have been without my Vlad until she died, and as I have had her cremated, I have her ashes at home so she's still with me now. I could not ever imagin finding my cat dead on the road or not ever finding them and never knowing what happened to them etc.. In 1996, I myself sadly ran a cat over, down my very own road, seconds away from my house. The cat was on the pavement and got spooked my a dog being walked and ran straight underneath my car. As I was seconds from home looking to park, I was in no way speeding but there was also nothing I could do. I was distraught. I stopped and went to the cat, there were other people there too who had seen what had happened. He wasn't dead but I was told his back was broken. He had his name and house number on his little tag = Pebbles was his name, still remember it eventhough this was 1996. I went and knocked at the persons door to tell them what had happened and they shouted at me and through the tears I was crying I felt so angry I just shouted back to them that the cat would be alive and well if they had kept him indoors and I would not have been its accidental killer. With this experience and the poor dead cats I have seen on road sides etc... this has made me more convinced that keeping cats indoors is the only way to keep your beloved kitty safe.
veronica
I have a rescue cat and she was an indoor cat....I have introduced her to the outside via a cat harness....and she stays in most of the time. I open a window near her cat tower so she can look outside and have fresh air. I come home lunchtime to let her out on the balcony. and in the evening I take her out for a walk. she enjoys going out and even if she gets outside she waits for me to walk with her. she is in every night and she sleeps on my bed. I play with her before we go to bed ....so she is sleepy. I cannot let her out because ( i live in a flat) and of the foxes and the very busy road. Loads of cats around here have been run over....I love my cat and want her with me for many years to come.
Laura
We make sure our Kingston (nearly 4) comes in each night. We shut him in the lounge overnight so that he doesn't bother the family in the night. Having adopted him from friends last July (2012), where he used to sleep on family beds at night, we were unsure how he might react to being distanced from family members at night, but he has adapted well to it. For traffic reasons, we are also unhappy about him staying outside in the night, not to mention the dawn-raiding of feeding birds at around 4.00 or 5.00 a.m. Kingston isn't allowed outside till 8.00 a.m. Whenever we put bread out for the birds, we make sure he is in the house as he is a bit of a fiend.
Gloria Jeff
We have given a home to 9 rescue cats spanning 47 years. Always trying to keep them in at night and sleeping on our bed. Along with the immense pleasure they have given us there has been so much anxiety even in the daytime when they are outside.Puss ventured into a nearby garden and was attacked by a dog.Katie was dive bombed by seagulls in our own garden. She went missing one night and came back at 2 am, her mouth cut on both sides and wire round her body. She had chewed her way out of an home made snare.Panther was hit by a car in our own cul-de-sac. He died from his injuries a few weeks later.Tessa who normally never went far, was outside the house at 5 pm but we never saw her again. She was 2 years old and we were heart broken. A month later the RSPCA found a cat fitting her description, it was't her but we gave Lucy a home anyway.Poppet was often reluctant to come in at night and we would stay up all hours until she was home.Jasmine was missing one morning and we found her just in time, trapped in a home made snare and managed to release her.Rosie often went missing till we found she was visiting a neighbour who was feeding her on cakes. She was always ill afterwards and had to go to the vet.We now have Chloe who is mainly an indoor cat, content to look out of the window or race around the bungalow.We are home most of the time and play with her and take her around our large garden on a long lead. She also has a large cat pen in the garden with different levels to climb, a tree trunk, growing kitty grass to chew and hide in plus a paved area. She sleeps all night on our bed. She is a very happy cat and we Know she is safe.
Andre
I have 2 Bengals, male and female, ex breeders which I took on. We live in a residential area where several neighbours have lost cats, especially Bengals or pedigree cats who just don't return home. Since my 2 amazing cats have only been used to their breeding pens for the first 4 years of their lives have I not really thought it best to let them out. I'm single so the two cats are spoilt rotten with new toys every month, year round cat grass patches, water fountains, multiple cat trees, winter pet electric warming blankets, treats, the best food and they have no restricted areas in my fairly large cottage. They are groomed regularly and I make a point of spending an hour each day on play time. Both of them love water so they have a little cat pool and on occasion have interrupted my bath time. My point being that if cats have an enriched environment with a lot of love and care then they do not need time outside. Especially in cities and areas with a lot of cat owners where territorial combat causes a lot more injuries than fast motorists. How about theft, hatred, malicious people and not to mention owners who don't regularly vet treat their animals who then spread diseases. All which causes great stress for both animal and concerned owner. Of course accidents will happen whether in or outside the house, in cities or in nature.'should cats be allowed out?' I believe the answer to this question should be based on whether they have a "safe" environment to roam in and not whether they should be allowed out per se. If the latter is the argument then we should, from a moral perspective rather discuss "should we have animals in cities or "unsafe" areas at all".
Caroline
I have 2 cats (sisters) 16 months old. My practice is keep them as house cats (totally indoors) for at least 18 months so that they become attached to the house (and us). Then I will let them have a taste of the garden. I have found with previous mogs that after doing this I have been able to call them in at night even if they were outside at that time. At present they sleep like logs all night and lie about looking pretty all day! We want them as pets/friends/family. They love Keira the labrador and they make a fabulous trio. I have experienced accidents outside as have other "owners" and am anxious to avoid a repetition. The cats seem to be quite happy with their lives. They were the result of an un-neutered female going out on the tiles so mine have been neutered promptly. This, too, encourages a more home based lifestyle.
miss kitty
With two very beautiful but less than bright in the feline stakes (sorry to say it but it's true) Burmese Ours stay in after dusk, mainly due to the fat that three cats in the immediate vicinity have been breakfast/ a midnight snack for the local foxes. They are menaces climbing the windows trying to escape but I we feel happier having them in and letting them work their way through a regular supply of cat teasers and toy mice and teddy bears (which they steal from our little boy and devour!!) They are just pampered really!!
Laura
If my cats were not allowed out 24/7 I would have 2 obese cats at risk of diabetes, arthritis, fatty liver, heart disease etc. they don't like the rain, nor if its too hot in the summer, so they pick their times to do their rounds outside. Yes I get woken up at random o'clock when they let me know they are in because its raining or that she has brought me a present, but I work all day and they need their freedom to choose their sociable hours weather related. Who wants to be wrapped up in cotton wool and not live life to the full! I've witnessed cats being run over on the way to work in daylight, and my cats are very unlikely to meet a dog who is not kept under control on a lead during the day. So run be free my children just let me know when you get in and be there or breakfast and dinner.
Max's mum
Our darling rescue cat Max (from Wood Green Animal Shelters) has 24/7 access to the outdoors via his cat flap - AT THE MOMENT. (We live in a relatively quiet village at the end of a cul-de-sac.) When we first got him in November 2012, he was happy enough to stay indoors after having his evening meal, but the recent very warm summer nights found him miserable indoors and WAILING to go outside - he finally learned to push the heavy-ish bedroom window open with his head....! I do worry so about him - he's only 18 months old - but I'm hoping that he will once again find it cosier in the house once the weather gets cooler. I'm constantly fighting with my conscience - is it best to keep him indoors at night and make him live a possibly longer but miserable life, or allow him to happily live the life that he instinctively chooses?
Gaynor Mills
I have two 3 year old black and white brothers. Every night at 9pm they are waiting to come in. If they have a bit of devilment in them and decide to stay out a bit later I won't go to bed until they are in. They do treat my house as a hotel during the day but they are never that far away and a rattle of my keys or calling their names or just calling "kittens", they both come running. My old tom cat was the same and I reckon keeping cats in until they have been neutered at 6 months old makes them stay close to home.
Nicola Davis
I have a 13 year old female. Up until about 18 months ago she was free to come and go as she liked through the cat flap and we live in a cul de sac. Unfortunately we do have foxes round about us, and one night my husband saw that 2 foxes had another cat cornered in our front garden/drive. He managed to chase the foxes off and the cat, unharmed, got away. I thought it would be a nightmare keeping her in at night, but we purchased one of those timed feeders, and we set that to dispense breakfast at about 4-4.30am every day, and she's more than happy. Plus as long as she can look out of the windows, again she's happy. I wouldn't let her out again at night, even if we moved, it's better to be safe than sorry.
Ann Kent
We have an 8 year old cat which I got from Stray Cat Rescue, we have had him for 7 years. I was advised to keep him in at night which we have done. If he is out later than normal, he usually comes in when called, if not we wait up until he comes in, which is normally soon after we have called him. He is perfectly happy to be shut in & once he sees the conservatory door closed he settles down for the night. My husband gets up early for work & lets him out then. We are happy that if we hear cats fighting at night "Oscar" is not involved. He has free run during the day via the cat flap or open doors & likes to go visiting though he never goes too far.Even when my daughter looks after him while we are away he still has to come in at night. We all feel much better knowing he is safe & well.
Steve & Ella
We have two cats (sisters, 18months old). They love to be out as late as possible, but we try to make sure they are locked in when we go to bed. We live in a suburban area where foxes are common, and there are a couple of moderately heavy traffic roads within 300m.We make sure they get food in the morning but then nothing else is put down til bed time, and we have a multi-lockable cat flap that allows "in only" in case they are still out when we go to bed.
Carol Wain
Hi - interesting debate. I know the arguments for keeping cats in, and the last 4-5 cats we had we kept in at night. We closed or blocked the cat flap - also the cats wore collars with bells, to help protect birds. This was even done with rescue cats. They all had to be retrained. When the cats got old we kept them in for longer, as we have suburban foxes here - it's known they mainly attack older cats or kittens. Mature cats are at less risk from foxes, who respect another fairly large predator, though I knew a young adult Siamese who was killed by a fox. When my late big black cat Charlie was in his prime, he & a fox were both sitting happily in the garden one daytime. All these cats adjusted to being in after dark; we often had to provide a litter tray.This time it's different - we have 2 young rescue cats, mother & son, which lived rough for sme time before being rescued. Harry (18 months) was reared at first by his mum in the wild, and is half feral. He is learning to trust me, but is quite hard to handle. Both of them love to hunt, mostly mice - mother Mitzi did this to feed her kittens in the wild [she had a 2nd litter, all feral]. After I'd had these cats for 6 months, they brought in 2 dead young birds. They also bring in frogs, which I try to return to the garden. They are not easy to collar - though I may still try this. These 2 cats had a long period living rough, fending for themselves by hunting. They are now keeping down our local mouse population, which was a problem for us after Charlie died - the mice invaded the house! They are both streetwise and don't walk on the road - I noticed them back away when I took the car out recently. Mitzi was lost recently for a week, but was shut in someone's outhouse durng the recent hot period. She survived well, and probably went inside the shed before dark anyway. It would be very hard to contain these cats, especially young Harry, who has lots of pent up energy. I am about to install a modern cat flap which works electronically with their microchips [it keeps other cats out] and can easily be locked, so I can keep them in if necessary. This is at times when they are ill, or around Guy Fawkes night (Nov. 5th) or New Year, when loud fireworks frighten most animals and can make them run into danger [our old dog ran off and got killed on the road when I was child]. As for other or stray cats - there are plenty of these around in the daytime too. We have the occasional scruffy tom round here, but no really feral cats to my knowledge. Also when I go away, it is easier to let my cats have 24 hour freedom - a neighbour or my son comes in to feed them twice a day, but it's too much to get someone else to monitor their movements. I can't afford kennelling, as a pensioner - not now earning (and paying care home fees too). I appreciate the arguments about cats needing to live natural lives [but they do need neutering!] - but also the RSPB view that our bird population is under attack from cats. The roads are also a problem, but round here is fairly quiet, especially at night. Inner city cats are at much more risk - my friend used to keep her 2 cats indoors while living on a busy street in a block of flats.
Pam Reid
I have had cats all my life (I'm now in my sixties) and have always let them out during the day but kept them in at night. Two years ago a very favourite cat of mine died due to being poisoned by antifreeze. A week later another cat in our road met with the same fate as did a further one a few months afterwards. Since then I got an older cat who wasn't interested in going out as she was frail, sadly she died the following year. We had a gap of 6 months without a cat, the first time ever in my life. We then got two kittens who were semi feral and apart from living rough until they were rescued at 9 weeks old, they have never been out, day or night. One of them is very nervous and I would fear for her road sense. I feel a bit cruel keeping them both in but work on the assumption that as they don't know about the outdoors, they don't know what they're missing and they don't miaow to be let out. As we've both recently retired and can travel a bit more it makes it a lot less worrying when we're away as we're not getting texts from anyone who's minding them to say they won't come in. My daughter also has an indoor cat as she lives in a road that has a lot of parked cars and sadly the people next door to her have had two cats run over. We mind her cat at our house when she's away and her cat gets on very well with both of ours. It also means her cat mixes with someone of her own species. It's all a compromise and nopt what i would have envisaged a few years ago but probably makes for a longer and hopefully better life for the cats.
Linda Wilson
I don't let my cat out at night as he gets picked on by the neighbours tom cat (he is a lover not a fighter) but there is also a main road quite close by. In the day he plays in the woods but I fear at night he may stray to the road as there is not as much traffic. I have seen many a cat early morning that has been hit on this road during the night. He rarely goes very far with the woods being at the back of the garden and I just prefer for him to be in at night.
Susie Farrell
my cat Jackson is not let out at night .None of my cats ever were because of the risk of road death. Many years ago when just about to leave the parental home for my own house , my mother let my young cats out at night contrary to my instruction and both were knocked down - needless to say it was Dad and I who ( literarly) had to pick up the pieces ) The Cats Protection advocate not out at night for good reason
Lorraine
We also have two cats, both are rescue cats & were very badly treated by cruel neighbours at their previous home. We have had them for about 6 years now & wished we 'd taught them from the start to be indoor cats. I think your idea of the harnesses is a great one - well done!One of ours was hit by a car during the dark hours in the 1st year & dislocated his hip, had to have a major operaton which cost over £800. Since them we've kept both of them indoors at night, even though they often need to be tempted in with treats. Since then the same one has been seriously ill with thyroid trouble & had further treatment at a specialist animal hospital in London, which came to over £2400. We are so relieved to have them both insured with petplan, they wouldn't still be here otherwise, & couldn't imagine life without them. We are so grateful for the assistance they've given us. Hopefully our 2 special boys will be with us for sometime yet. many thanx to petplan.
Merthyr Stevens
I do not believe in collars on cats, not even the "quick release", elasticised ones. Bad experiences....one learns from them. One of mine lost all four fangs some years ago through her lower jaw getting trapped in her elasticised collar. We were at work, and Maddie had obviously battled all day to try and free her jaw. The result was NOT a pretty sight, our poor little girl. My heart breaks for your tragic loss Rachel.....and for your beautiful furchild whose life was taken in such a frightening way.Our cats [we have just 6 now, having lost 3 to cancer in the last 9 months] are not allowed to be out and about at night. We have a catflap curfew of 10.30 pm, when it goes on "in-only", and complete lockdown once all are in. I don't go to bed unless all my furkids are in. Foxes are dangerous, I have witnessed some horrendous things.......it's better for cats to be in at night where they're safe, like it or not.
Elizabeth Holway
My cats are kept indoors at night not only for their own safety but also because I don't want to receive 'gifts' in the hours of darkness. Also if they bring something in they can spend ages disrupting the household while they chase it around the house. They seem happy with this arrangement.
Claire Haworth
We have 2 rescue male short haired cats who are now 17 months old. We got them for our daughters when they were 5 months old. My husband didn't believe in pet insurance (having had cats previously without it) but I insisted we took it out as we had never had kittens before and there is a road outside our house which people use as a short cut. We have never let Smokey and Suggs stay out at night because of foxes, other cats and the road. They have full access to the outdoors after breakfast but always are brought in at 6pm. Whenever they are let out they will always return every 20 mins or so to check that we are still here, come and say "hello" and then venture back out. It was back in April when they were only 11 months old, one Sunday, when I realised I hadn't seen Smokey for about an hour (very unusual) - I called and called him and shouted "dinner time!" which is their call to come home for a treat - it usually works. I felt sick inside and knew something was wrong. I searched all the neighbours sheds and wendy houses thinking he was locked inside; I cried; couldn't eat and my husband reassured me we'd find him in the morning. At 8.30pm (5 hrs later) my husband called him again (it was going dark) and I thought 'why are you calling him now?' as he would have come home if he could. He heard a 'miaow' and we went outside to find him lying in next doors garden by our fence. We had covered up the gaps in the boundary of the garden with bamboo to protect them from escaping when they were kittens and, bless him, he'd made it back to as near to the house as he could get. It turned out he'd been hit by a car, had a broken left leg, left hip, fractured pelvis and a dislocated right hip. I beat myself up for days thinking about the struggle he must have had to 'make it back home' and he couldn't quite make the last bit - his determination and true grit will stay with me forever. He was operated on the 23rd April (St. George's Day) and after about 11 weeks of tender care and nursing we have started to let him out again. I still worry every time they don't come when they are called and the Vets have reassured me that as they 'mature with age' they may stay away from the road. Accidents can happen anytime of the day but I want to lessen the risk and know I wouldn't sleep if they were out at night, I'd worry myself silly. My boys, or should I say 'my daughters' boys!' mean the world to me and there seems to be a greater love and tenderness between me and Smokey since I drove him to the vets, held him whilst the vet examined him, cared for him for 11 weeks (whilst confined to a cage!) - his middle name now is 'George!' There is no right or wrong way about letting cats out at night - I guess a lot depends on the type of cat you have and how much of a worrier you are! It did cross my mind to keep them as 'house cats' but I'd rather know they have had a 'happy' short life (potentially) than a long 'unhappy' life housebound.
Helen Jones
I have a 16 month old tom cat who has been castrated and microchipped, however I will not let him go out at night. He plays out all day in the garden and on the fields behind my house, but I don't think I could sleep if he was not in the house at night. He normally comes straight in when I call him, but if he doesn't, then I go and find him as he is never far. He sleeps on the bed most of the night or annoys one of our 3 dogs for fun, but he stays in until morning. I live in a quiet cul-de-sac but would never forgive myself if he was run over at night. He is black and very hard to see.
Cazza
You are so correct in what you say. Also, you did the right thing knocking at their house and I'm sure the people only shouted at you in the shock of the moment. It sounds like you did all you could. Maybe you what you said to them even changed their minds about letting cats roam around the roads, hopefully.
Deborah Wilkinson
My 2 year old cat,that i've had from a kitten, has a cat flap and comes and goes as she pleases during the day. She comes home when it starts to get dark and is happy to stay indoors until morning. I do not let her out in the dark as I am concerned about the risk of her being run over.
Linda
My gorgeous 2 cats are treated differently, Rhame my British cream is a wise older cat and therefore I trust her to go out and come back however my Siamese cross, Franky - he is kept in at night , in fact he has a curfew of about 8- 8.30 pm, I do not feed him until he comes in, once in he settles down to a snooze on the sofa and on my bed until 6am when he awakens me with a lot of purring and face licking if I am not quick ... having said that Rhame cat is an old girl now and comes in early she knows which side her kippers are buttered ,,, I live next to open fields and the big foxes are my worry, having said that the old girl leapt on the fox the other week and scratched it on the ears then chased it out the garden ,,, :-)
mandi
i have two rescue cats one girl pheobe whos about 12-13 years old never been out doesnt wish to i was told this by the sanctuary and she doesnt then i have a male cat smudge i rescued from a family that the little boy kept putting down the toilet he has never gone out as our road was changed from a short cut through the village to the main road so i couldnt let them out due to the danger of the road they dont miss out they have the run of the house toys galore and lots of places to sleep i have had cats in the past that had gone out one being my daughters cat t c he was her best friend then he was set on by two dogs and never made it i think its up to you if its safe all well and good but if your worried then don't and don't be made to feel its not right for not letting them out at least if there indoors you know where they are and there safe and thats the most important thing
Outdoor Cat Enclosure
Having a ooutdoor cat enclosure will provide your cats to move freely anytime he want.
Deb Edwards
We have a gorgeous black and white female cat, who we let out at dusk and early in the morning while I get ready for work and who accesses outside throughout the day but do not leave out overnight. She went out one evening and would not come in when I called - I could see her - so I left her for a further hour - when I went to call her - no response. I got up at 2am - went into our culde sac and called her - no response - I looked for 30 minutes. in the day light of morning and it was not late I opened the door - no cat. I looked all day and eventually at 1945hrs after searching, undergrowth, door knocking, searching, gardens, sheds and garages - I finally heard the mieow of a cat from the electricity substation that backs on to a neighbours garden and that is accessed from a road that runs parallell to the front of our Our neighbour put a ladder up against the fence and sure enough it was our cat - we waited for 3 hours for the electric company to come and unlock the gate of the compound to release her - fortunately she had no injuries other than shredded claws which makes me wonder whether she was thrown over the wall into the substation of pushed in or simply fell in. Needless to say she does not venture much further than the undergrowth in front of the house and in the garden at the rear. Anyway our cat is safely esconced indoors at night away from predators whether that be cars, drunks on their way home from the pub etc. .
Marissa
I prefer to keep mine in at night, I have 3 cats one is 20 so hardly ever goes out anyway, then 2 rescues of 13 and 8. In the summer I had to leave the 8 yr old out some nights as he just wouldn't come in but I hated it. In our old house we had a cat flap so they went out whenever but as we don't have a cat flap here they are allowed out all day then bribed in at night
Samantha
My cat is never out at night, she goes out in a morning and comes in before dark. If shes not back by a certain time i stay up and wait for her with the door open. I dont think its safe where i live to have a cat out at night, especially how we dont have a cat flap.
Rosa
I have adopted my cast last April and he was 1 year old in August. He is a very playful long hair Tuxado and loves to go out in the garder but I never let him out by himself or at night because lots of cats went missing in my area and there may be several reasons for cats gone missing but essentially I do not trust my nehibourhood very much and if anything happened to him he could not scream to save himself. I know that you can not train a cat but I think he has a good bond with me and when I say 'no' 'do not go there' he seems to understand and if he stays within the limits of our garden I let him stay. I cannot help it to feel responsable and even if I think about cat proofing the garden I thing I will always keep an eye and an ear out for him.
Maureen
I have read all the comments above, and my own view are, having had cats all my life and dogs too, that it all depends upon where you are living re: cats out or in.I believe cats are born preditors, its natural and healthy for them to want to go outside and hunt and play and just be Cats. We can train Lyons etc (big cats) to not have the drive of making their own Kill by Zoos etc, feeding them regularly, they soon become accustomed that a human will provide for the.Domestic cats will never loose the Hunting instinct no matter how well we feed them.We wouldnt dream of buying a house near traffic, and always buy places off roadways, even country quiet ones, and at present live half a mile from a small lane and surrounded by fields, my own male cat of 5 years old, could NEVER be happy at being kept inside. He wakes me up in the Summer around 5 in the morning, he is hunting in the fields an comes back around 10.00 in the morning, then eats and sleeps and wakes mid evening or a little earlier, then he goes out hunting in the hedgerows in safety of no traffic and is a very happy cat and a lucky cat as we allow him to be a Cat. Cats were not meant to be harnessed like our dogs and go for walks unless its for medical reasons, and those who say its to stop them going into the busy roads they live on... well my answer is that people who buy cats living on busy roads should think more of the cats and the life they will have to give up of freedom as unsafe for them.When we move house, which we are in the throws of doing to something smaller right now, location is everything, unless it is away from traffic, preferrably no neighbours, then we just dont move. It could be the absolute right house for us, but no point in looking as we wont move it it would mean our cats were in danger.Some people here mention Foxes attacking cats, living rurally as we do, we see foxes, badgers, deers and all sorts running across our land. When a cat is a kitten upto around 6 months, yes I agree, I think a fox may in urban places snatch one for food, but very unlikely here in rural area where there are hundreds of rabbits for them to eat, bu have to agree I am wary until my cats grow big, but many years ago, my cat was around 6 months old and we used to feed the foxes that came into our garden as we lived in the middle of forrestry, and they never bothered any of my cats, in fact the Mum fox turned up with two cubs one night, the cubs sat well back and Mum ate the food, and to our amazement when she went to leave through a hole in the hedge, she called her cubs to follow her and my 6 month old cat toodled off behind them, I was worried, but watched, the Mum fox knew he was there and seemed to accept him as one of her cubs, no threats at all to him, but I called him and got him in, as I say I have never seen any trouble with my own cats an the wildlife, indeed we have otters in our pond regularly and at least 2 badger sets on our land. My cat and they exist together. Cats arent stupid they know what to watch out for.Cats should be allowed to be cats to sum up, but potential owners who live in unsafe roads should not own cats as its no life to be housebound 24/7, or out on harnesses ! and although as some say their cats are trained to not want to go out, its more they are brainwashed, but not an ideal way of keeping a free spirit. Maybe a dog is better suited to people who dont live in cat friendly environments, i dont allow my cat out all night long even though we live so rurally with little fear of traffic, but he does have freedome for a good part of the evening, I worry less about him being out during the darker part, than during daylight really, as he stays nearer to the house when its dark but goes further in daylight searching for his prey.My last cat died at 23 years old, I inherited her as a farm cat she was left by the people who sold us the house, came and went as she pleased, had an outside cattery, with heat, light, radio and food, and she was as happy as larry, we tried to bring her inside but she climbed the walls screaching to get outside, you cant take away how she had lived her life..... she was a free spirit, lived to a ripe old age and we loved her.
Edward
Unfortunately its not just night time cats are killed in RTA's my poor pet puss was let out at 9am Sunday morning and never made it home. He was hit by a car and left by the side of the road. This was the second cat in a week killed by a car on that same road. The problem was the drivers failed to see the cats and the first unfortunate owner watched as a taxi driver hit her cat and carried on driving. He even took the time to look at the owner as he drove past and this is legal because you dont have to stop when you have an RTA involving a cat but you do for a dog. I think drivers need to be more aware of the possibility and dangers of animals that cross or run into roads just as we do for pedestrians. If a child was to run into a road would the driver treat it the same as an cat. The owners of these cats love them like family and treat them as such. Taking away your cats freedom to explore is like caging a wild animal its part of their nature. Theres no way to let you cat be free to explore without risk but helping raise awareness and having the law changed to report cat rta's can only help in my opinion. My heart goes out to all those who have lost their beloved cats
Petplan
Hi Edward, So sorry to hear about your cat's accident. I just wanted to say thank-you for sharing your comments at such a difficult time. Regards, Carla - Petplan Team.
Robyn
I have three cats, my eldest is a brindle tort and 15 years old. We've had her since she was a kitten and she always goes out at night, despite my best efforts to keep her in. If I don't let her out she will not stop crying and scratching at the door, we've even tried transitioning her into an indoor cat but she loves to go out all night and sleep inside all day! I live in a cul de sac in a small village and she never wanders far so it's not so bad but I do worry about her sometimes. However she's happy outside and very independent so I just let her go out when she wants! My other two cats, one is 2 years old and goes out during the day but always comes in at night and my youngest is only a baby and hasn't been neutered yet so she's not allowed out until she has been spayed (don't want her coming home pregnant), we do sometimes take her out on a leash and she loves it, although people look at us a bit funny when they see a cat on a leash! I think it's about your cats personality and obviously where you live that determines wether you should let your cat out all night, I wouldn't leave my middle cat out all night because he doesn't like it but my oldest loves it!
Philippa
My boy gets to choose. I disagree with those who say that cats are 'domesticated' -only in recent years have they become pets. Curbing natural instincts is cruel. If your cat is genuinely content to be kept in all or part of the day -that's great. Those of you who keep them in 'despite their whining -children don't get their own way' -please do some more research on the natural behaviour of cats and the dangers of restricting this. And your cat is NOT a child. He is a highly adapted predator with deep set instincts. Even if he likes cuddles at three - he's actually c.30 in human terms. I spend a lot of time awake worrying about Tinker, but as an animal owner it's not about MY peace of mind, it's about HIS. I can't bear the thought of him being hurt (and he's come second place in a scrap a couple of times) but his long term mental health and freedom to behave naturally are far more important than me sleeping soundly.That all said, tonight he's chosen to drape himself over my shoulder and snore/purr. He's a huge cat (size not weight) and I'm gradually going numb from having a small panther zonked out on me...Make your cat happy x
Petplan
Hi RobynThanks for sharing your comments on here. We hope you found the article useful and yes we agree it's about the cats individual personality and what suits them. Thanks, Jade - the Petplan Team
Petplan
Hi Philippa,Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this matter. We agree, it is all about the cats and what suits them and makes them happy. Thanks, Jade - the Petplan Team
Chris Croft
I had two cats for 18 years and they stayed in at night. Its far too dangerous for domestic animals to be out for hours. Too many nasty people out there and dangerous roads. Not to mention the possibility of a dramatic weather change overnight. Also, many bird nests are raided at dawn by domestic cats. No, if you want a cat then you just have to put up with the bouncing around at dawn. Mine liked sitting on the bedroom window ledge yowling at the cats outside.
Christine Baynham
For the past 16 years we have had indoor cats, they are given access to the outdoors but only under our supervision. In that time I have seen reports of cats being used as bait for dogs, poisonings, so many cats going missing and of course many killed on the roads. I can tell when any of our cats are unwell and this means they are taken to the vets early in the course of any illness. All our 3 cats are happy and seem perfectly content with their lifestyle and I do not regret for one second the decision we have made.
Sue
I have 2 cats now aged 2, I have had them since they were 8 weeks old, they are indoor cats, I lost 2 cats before both run over and I was heart broken, people don,t care and because they don,t have to report it just leave the poor cat to die if nots not killed out right, I think the law should be changed it has to be reported if a deer or dog is run over, that's why mine are indoor cats they are happy less stressed have lots to do. I have friends that also keep there cats in, and it's not only the road we have had them shoot with air guns, and taken to be used for dogs to rip apart sorry I don,t mean to upset people.
MARY WRIGLEY
MY CAT IS A RESCUE AND HOUSE CAT, WHERE AS SOMEONE WHO LIVES IN OUR BUILDING NEVER LETS HER CAT IN AND IS SO THIN BUT WE FEED HIM WHEN WE SEE HIM AND AN OLD BOY BUT SUCH A BEAUTY
Hilda Dixon
I have 2 beautiful somali cats - Always been house cats and unfortunately so so inquisitive they would go and explore the nearby town centre. The back is cat proofed so they are allowed out there if they want and only go the the front garden escorted by myself or husband to eat grass. They are so trusting and let anyone pick them up and unfortunately fear they would disappear. They are happy and totally spoilt and i would be totally devastated should they be involved an accident or someone took them away.
Hilda Dixon
I have 2 beautiful somali cats - Always been house cats and unfortunately so so inquisitive they would go and explore the nearby town centre. The back is cat proofed so they are allowed out there if they want and only go the the front garden escorted by myself or husband to eat grass. They are so trusting and let anyone pick them up and unfortunately fear they would disappear. They are happy and totally spoilt and i would be totally devastated should they be involved an accident or someone took them away.
Elaine Hayes
We always make sure our two Siamese are safe indoors at night now. 7 years ago our gorgeous Lilac Point boy went out and we havent seen him since. It is terrible not knowing what happened to him and whether or not he could still be out there somewhere or if he died somewhere alone and in terrible pain. He was chipped but that hasnt helped us find him so far. We dont live near a main road but there is a lot of wildlife around at night, foxes, badgers, deer etc and of course there are those around who just steal pets!!!!
Elaine
My Misty is 17 and always been allowed to come and go as she pleases as we have a. Cat flap. But I now have a tray inside for her as she had a scare after coming face to face with one of the local foxes.I would never force her to stay in but encourage her not to. Go out at night,and she usually comes up to bed with me and sleeps on the bed most of the night. But I would hate to take her freedom away at her age and I do live on a very quiet crescent.
Hetty Garlick
My cat definitely stays indoors. I'd never sleep if I thought she was outside. My nephew's cat was shot by someone with an airgun recently. She survived I'm glad to say. I've also heard of one or two other cats being shot in my area in the last few weeks. I never allow her out of my sight. After living with me for 16 years she's far too precious.
Jade
I have an exotic shorthair, he was a rescue from the RSPCA, brought in as a stray but he's so rubbish at being a cat. He can't jump very well, i think its due to being overbred, he gets stuck in small places and he's constantly rolling around on the sofa and falling off. For these reasons, and because he's so clearly pedigree he doesnt go outside when we are out or at night. We let him out in the daytime when we're about and prop the back door open for him to get back in. He's very good and comes running when we call him. I'd be far too scared to leave him out all night!
Vicki hodgson
My 1st cat was killed by a teenager who put an elastic band round her neck (rspca and police couldn't do anything as she was to young)my 2nd cat was run over so 12 years on I now have 3 house cats 2 crossbreeds and a Bengal .they are happy healthy cats and some people are so cruel to cats I wouldn't dream of letting them out ..if keep them inside where it's safe
Claire Bryant
I have two twelve year old toms who have always had complete freedom. I have witnessed both of them seeing off a fox in the garden send they both tend to settle down to sleep when we do. They are both loving and affectionate and trained to come when I whistle. I believe cats need to be cats and intone with the natural world. I would rather have a cat that had lived than one denied it's true nature.
Claire Bryant
I have two twelve year old toms who have always had complete freedom. I have witnessed both of them seeing off a fox in the garden send they both tend to settle down to sleep when we do. They are both loving and affectionate and trained to come when I whistle. I believe cats need to be cats and intone with the natural world. I would rather have a cat that had lived than one denied it's true nature.
Petplan
Hi Everyone, It's great to see all of your comments and to see that you all do what suits the needs of each individual cat. Thank you for visiting our blog, do check back regularly as we post a new topic each week. Please keep sharing your tips and feedback with us. Thanks, Jade - the Petplan Team
Donna
I have read through all the comments here but still don't know what to do with my cat and some advice would be great:He is 10 months, we have a cat flap. So far I have let him come and go as he pleases. He sleeps at home during the day and is out at night. After talking to a friend I have started shutting him inside over night. He is very unhappy so far, meows all night and goes crazy inside (keeping me awake). We live in a fairly quiet neighborhood with little traffic. But I guess it only takes one car... I think he is afraid of cars and the main road is further away but I can't be sure and have no idea how far he actually goes at night.There are no foxes/predators around here, only other cats and they seem quite unfriendly but so far my cat has always managed to run away and sprint home when encountering grumpy cats.He doesn't seem the fighting type but that doesn't mean he won't get hurt one day.I also don't want him to start bringing home prey and take them apart in my house at night. So far he has not done that, only once caught a bird during early evening.My neighbor told me my cat comes in through their cat flap and hangs out there most of the night which I don't really want either. I guess at least he is safe there but I don't want him to become estranged. He was also starting to stay away longer, he used to be home asleep by the time I woke up, now he was still / already away and coming home less and less.Do I let him be a cat, considering that it seems pretty safe here and nothing has happened so far, risking that one day he won't come home?Or do I "torture" him by locking him inside to be safe?I love him to bits and would not want anything happen to him. But I don't want him to be miserable either.Thanks for advice!
Rebecca
I let my two black large tom cats out at night to hun and to be with nature as the are nocturnal cats and their breed said cat and like an owl they live roam at night. Never had issues they roam and come home in the morning as we have a cat flap. Their is no reason to keep them on leads and indoors cats have an amazing sense of direction and road safety.. If you cant alow naturaul annimals to roam they will be controlled by obsessed owners who treat them like toys or control them and what not. Cats are as clever as you see fit to think. I have owned cats for 40 years and have two furry dogs and a dog grooming buiness.
Shannon
I have an outdoor cat of about a year old who loves being outdoors. We have tried to keep him inside at night but as he uses the toilet outdoors it is simply not possible, he will claw and run about mad if he doesn't get let outside. I think it is different with all cats because ideally they would be in at night but my cat has an adventurous nature and this is simply not possible for him.
Anthony
I noticed two "stray" cats in the front garden next door recently. I live in a busy street in the middle of east London.Lots of roads. And wheelie bins. So I have seen lots of incidents (good and bad) between the local foxes and domestic cats. So I would not say it's a good place for cats to be out at night.I then noticed that someone had leashed both of them. Then saw the neighbors who lived there trying to take them into the house once. So I figured they were the owners and that they were taking the cats in at night.Then at around 3am this morning when I was coming home I saw they were still in the front garden curled up in a ball on the front door matt.So it looks like the owners are basically keeping them in these conditions for their own occasional amusement by letting them in. And I guess they got two so they could protect and accompany each other? I dont know.. I dont think it's right. I dont think that's a good life for an animal. I have seen happy straws but these cats are miserable in my opinion.. Their fur looks patchy... I know cats and they dont look happy. The smaller one more than the other. I wonder if it's sick as it's so quiet and still. Maybe I'm being soft.. But is that right?
Tracy
My little girl is my world.. She is about 4 years old and got her from a rehoming centre.. She is a tortoiseshell and she suffers from epilepsy so she is never aloud out at night.. She has also had to have her tail amputated due to getting it trapped somewhere in daylight hours.. My husband thinks I'm mad they way I stress about her but when she was hurt I felt absolutely sick with worry..
Petplan
Hi Tracy, our pet behaviorist Inga Mackellar says; 'With any rescue dog it can take time for the dog-owner relationship to build and patience is very important. There can sometimes be a tendency for people to compare their 'new' dog to one they have previously owned. Dogs are individuals and have different characters and motivations. In order to strengthen a relationship try to find out what your dog enjoys doing. Is it playing ball or perhaps search games..or something else? Play for short periods of time several times a day and stop before he gets bored. If your dog is food motivated, and if practical, give several small meals during the day rather than just two meals. By playing and feeding 'lttle and often' your dog should start to become more responsive to you. I would recommend the following book for lots of ideas. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Brain-Games-Dogs-provide-stimulation/dp/1842862774/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1485177337&sr=1-1&keywords=claire+arrowsmith'. We hope that helps! Steph - The Petplan Team
Mark3
Hello, do you allow guest posting on blog.petplan.co.uk ? :) Let me know on my e-mail
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