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Debate: should cats be kept indoors?

 Debate: should cats be kept indoors?
This article contains: cats feline indoors cats house cats

Cat lovers: do you think we should let our feline companions roam, or should they be kept inside for their own safety? We've taken a look at both sides of the debate - but what do you think?

Keeping cats indoors: the argument
Health factors: An indoor cat will be safe from predators, careless drivers and accident- and fight-induced infection and disease. Yet real scientific evidence that keeping a cat inside prolongs its life is decidedly thin on the ground.
Hunting instincts: For those horrified by the idea of keeping a cat away from prey, think about the other ways in which our bond with cats has altered their behaviour, such as how they happily eat food from tins and packets. You could say this is just another part of the domestication process.
What will make them happy: Not all cats are the same: some will always try to make a break for freedom, but others will be perfectly happy inside. 'There's an argument that cats that have never been outside can be content as they don't know what they are missing, and there are some very good indoor 'activity centres' that help,' says behaviourist Debbie Ottway.

Letting cats roam: the case for freedom
Health factors: Letting your feline friend outdoors on a regular basis helps counter obesity and allows them to exercise. Plus there are the health benefits of access to fresh air and fibre-rich grass.
Hunting instincts: Although most cats love to hunt and kill birds, the RSPB says there is no evidence that domestic cats are having any impact on the UK bird population. According to the charity, millions of birds die naturally each year, and cats tend to take sickly birds that would have died anyway.
What will make them happy: 'Cats may be adaptable, but they still have animal instincts. Keeping them confined can lead to depression, listlessness and lethargy. In multi-cat households, there might be insufficient space for cats to have their own territories, which can lead to stress and aggression,' says behaviourist Jane Williams.

What do you think? Let us know by commenting below:

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I think it depends where you live. If you live in a city with many hazards then you need to pick a cat that has never known the great outdoors. However, if you live in the country then out doors is ok in the daytime, but not at night.
They should be kept indoors due to the fact that the mess they leave in other peoples gardens can have serious health issues.
janet bailey
I have a bengal tabby cross. Because my last cat was shot and killed and i was heartbroke , I knew if i owned another she would be a housecat i trained her from a young age to wear a halter for when she sits in the garden this suits her as she has an extendable lead im always there so she is safe. She is like a dog in some ways. If anyone should walk down my path at night she will growl. Also some months ago she let us know when there was intruders in the back garden by jumping up the window and growling . She still has flea treatment and her annual injections. she is safe and happy and thats what matters x
In the past we used to grow our own veg, the problems occured at night cats would crap in the seed beds and later in the actual vegatable plots. why should we be responsable foor other peoples cats mess. Over the years the number of dead we have found with fatal wounds caused by cats has been very high.We now have a dog what would cat owners say if the dog was allowed to crap in their garden.Due to aforemented vegatable growing we have had to stop as we couldnt trust the food that had been dirtyed onResponsability needs to be taken by cat owners not just passed on as a cat has to roam
Carol Kemp
Let them out, day or night, by way of a cat flap or open window when pos.. Have kept cats for nearly 70years including war years, always let my cats out. There is however an exception, a young kitten or cat is fond of chasing leaves and without guidence from Mum, or another family cat, can easily chase a leaf or paper into the road and get run over! All kittens must be taught road safety by another cat! Don't worry about foxes as they will not harm healthy cats. I have taken videos of my cats outside at night, using a trail camera, and have footage of foxes and cats together inc. one where the fox and cat were trying to get the same blackbird from a hedge at night. Cat went in persuit of fox who had the bird. It isn't only cats and foxes that catch birds, rats, stoats and other birds such as magpies and crows catch birds all the time. Chickens, are very bad, go for small birds learning to fly. Cats have an undeserved bad reputation regarding killing birds! An outdoor cat is a healthy cat, less chance of fleas, better coat, less hair balls, better paws - stronger, not overweight and lives longer. My pet hate is people who say a cat is old after the age of 10 years - rubbish! If my cats don't live to 20+ they have died young! My first cat lived through the later part of the war and lived to 28 years. She was outdoor and indoor cat who ate fresh fish I caught her from the river, rabbit as well as leftovers. My 5 cats get fed on pigeon, rabbit and cat food. Ages, all in their teens. Worm your cats, don't let people worry you about this, if your cat goes out worm it regularly as foxes carry worms that can be passed on to cats as well as some skin conditionsfor - which there is an easy remedy for. It is important to check your cat and watch for any signs of illness, your vet will advise you on these. Don't wait and see, if your cat doesn't look well, it's likely it is not well, take it to the vets. An outdoor cat is a happier healthier cat provided it is looked after!
I belive in letting cats in your garden, if its rural, and not in the city, or by busy roads where they can be knocked over. Iv had a cats for years, one now she is 16 she just goes in my garden she cant jump, so she is safe. But very much a house cat now. I have never let my cats out at night time i find that very irresponsible. But cats are hunters, so from an early age if you want a housecat keep them indoors. And to all the people that have harmed cats with antifreeze and guns. I hope you all live a very sad life, what a mind you must all have to harm a, dumb animal. HOPE YOU GET REPAYED!!!!!!
I think it totally depends on the environment you live in. Indoor cats are more likely to go missing if they do get out by accident as they have not experienced there surroundings. Some people take there indoor cat out doors on a lead for fresh air and exercise which is ridiculous in my opinion it makes them want out more which leaves them stressed. I never got cats until I moved out the city with a garden and plenty fields to run around in. I'm a strong believer if you have a pet make sure it's got it's jabs, microchipped and the flea and wormer up to date. If I tried keeping my cats in they would go nuts. Cats only go on a three house radius normally and thats there territory, so are perfectly safe to go outside. Any cat is in danger of something happening to them whether it illness, cars, predators or even abuse by humans. Let them out and do what there meant to do and have a happy life.
I'm for both. I have a Siamese and was indoor from the start. He isn't street wise and would definitely find the death bed if I just let him out on the street. I do let him go in the garden but only when I'm out with him. Also there is the danger of pedigrees getting pinched. However I do believe letting your cat smell and feel fresh air is really important.
Eric Jackson
I think it depends on the cat's nature and the circumstances but if you can possibly let your cat out then you should. My cat was an indoor cat for the first 18 months of his life when I lived in a flat but I could just tell that he was frustrated and longed to go out, sitting on the windowsill watching the birds and trees for hours on end and making regular inept bids for freedom. Now I've moved to a house with a garden and the enjoyment he gets from it is a pleasure to watch. It satisfies all his natural instincts and provides so much more stimulation and variety than before. So if you can let your cat out then please do so, I know that my cat's life has been greatly enriched by it.
I live in the middle of nowhere and have always had a cat flap so my lovely moggies can let themselves in and out. The drawback to this is that they bring me home presents that are not always dead and have been known to take refuge in the wardrobe, only to be heard nibbling things at three in the morning. On the other hand, my friend lives in a city, and has a wholly indoor cat that has just celebrated its 18th birthday (yes, cards too) and looks the picture of health and vitality.
Mrs Carroll Trevor
I have two lovely young cats from a rescue centre. I very sadly lost my most beloved cat who found us when he was very young and became a superb pet. He crossed and recrossed our small village street for 5 years until he made a fatal mistake and I had to have him put down. This nearly broke my heart, but decided that we should get a pair of kittens. They are siblings and we have had them from a very early age and they have learnt to walk out in 'walking jackets' they sniff, go to the bathroom, stalk, watch birds and have fun outside most days. They also have a cage attached to the house that they spend hours in. They have access from the inside of the house via a cat-flap and they are happy, madly active 10 month old young cats now, they play in the leaves on the side of the house, catch beetles and are safe from cars, other cats, dogs, etc.
Karen Bowman
I have very mixed feelings on this one, however I do love to see a cat go outside, roaming and hunting is in their nature as I am sure you will all agree.I have had many cats over the years, usually a mix of rescue 'moggies' and persian chinchillas, all have brought me much pleasure but ultimately heartache in the end.I have 2 white persian chinchillas at the moment which are quite valuable, I therefore agree with several of the comments above, I simply can't risk them being stolen, nor can I trust their lack of 'streetwise' capabilities. I do let them out in the garden when I am there and it is a joy to watch, I just have to keep my eyes on them as one in particular is a little like houdini! I also have a long cat run which can be a help especially if you have a private garden.I don't think there is a 'right or wrong' - my elder cat (who is only 6) prefers to stay in, going out for several minutes and then returning to her safe home. My younger one never wants to come in.Just a reminder though for all indoor cats, be very careful as they can get very bored and subject to all kinds of mischief which can give just as worrying problems. My two both managed to get hold of a lily petal (I thought just the stamens/pollen was poisenous and I remove these) but I was wrong. My vet informs me that any contact with any part of a lily including the stems and leaves can be fatal, causing renal failure within 3 days and NO SYMPTOMS. As I couldn't confirm they hadn't eaten any both of my 'babies' spent 3 days on a drip in the vets as a precaution, I was lucky they are ok, but it could have been very different. I am also thankful for PETPLAN insurance which is why I'm adding to this blog.So I think there are pros and cons for both but if you can safely let them out, even under your watchful eye then I think that's best. I would never ever allow them out overnight though. I also agree with some comments other peoples cats do ruin your garden, my ladies prefer a litter tray :)
Personally I think it is cruel to keep a cat inside and it is irrelevant the type and nature of a cat, and although cats are domesticated and they have learn't to live amongst us human beings for hunderds of years ,lets not forget that although domesticated they may appear to us humans, outside of this domain cats are and alway's will be naturally wild animals who instinctively love to stalk and hunt their prey and freely roam about,this is something that they are not taught but are instinctivly born with and to keep them indoors would go against the grain and the true nature of these beautiful creatures whom love to live and lead a solitary life and will at times fight with other cats so as to maintain and protect their territory just like their big ancestors do out in the wild,plus not forgetting they are creatures with a territorial nature and do not live in packs like dogs. I do understand some owners wanting to protect them from the dangers of the roads and keep them safe but in truth it still goes against their nature,I lost a cat six months ago due to him being killed by a car and I was devastated to say the least and I am still not over it but if I had my time with my cat all over again I would not change a single thing because I know he was a happy little chap that was free to express himself and be in touch with his wild side and that is something I would never compromise or impose my will on animal no matter how painful my loss has been.
I have four cats, two dsh and two Purebreed bengals. The bengal boys are kept inside and the two dsh have free reign to do as they wish. When owning a Bengal you would be daft to let it out, they don't just hunt small prey they hunt other cats (a well known fact) but the biggest reason I won't let my babies out is because they would get stolen to order ( which is very very common in this day and age). I am disabled and am home 24/7. I play with my boys for a minimum of three hours a day, they have a nutritionally balanced diet, they have a cat wheel on which to run for hours at a time, they play constantly with each other, get up to mischief an awful lot, have floor to ceiling climbing frames and are TOTALLY adored, loved and cherished! Would I let them out? Not on your life! I could not bear losing them they are too precious to me. Do you think they have a bad life? No didn't think so!
Helen McMillan
I have 6 cats, all indoors and they are perfectly happy. I also work in a vets and see all the horrible things that can happen to cats and it worries me too much to let my cats outside. One of them does get taken out now and then but they don't seem to mind not going out at all. They are still vaccinated, treated for fleas and worms and are spoilt rotten.
Linda Nadolny
Ideally, I think that cats should be able to access the outdoors, if at all possible. However, I currently live in a 1st-floor flat, so my 2 cats unfortunately have to be indoor cats at present (they've only ever been 'flat' cats, from the time before I acquired them).
Linda Nadolny
I feel that this is an ill-informed remark from someone who clearly does not like cats! In my experience, cats are clean, fastidious creatures who generally bury their 'mess', as you term it.
I lost three beautiful young cats to cars before getting the good sense to close the cat door from the inside. Three cats grew up knowing the outdoors only through windows and when I went outside myself. It didn't hurt them a bit. When they came of age - somewhere between two and four years old - I extended their supervised hours outside, then gradually let them go out alone, only in the daytime. Having experienced the heartache of losing cats to cars, I am very proud that the two oldest cats are looking to die of old age, aka renal failure. It is true that cats enjoy the outdoors, but they enjoy being alive even more. Traffic sense in a cat is developed only gradually. My cats' cat door is never locked these days, but they still spend most of their time in the house, and only go out on exceptionally lovely days, except for the one who actually prefers peeing outside to peeing in the dirt box!
I have had cats for about 35 years and strongly believe they should be able to go outside, as and when they want to. My current two have a cat flap and a litter tray so they freely choose whether to be in or out. Yes, it breaks your heart when a cat gets run over, it happened to me 3 years ago but I wouldn't change a thing. She may have had a shorter life but she certainly crammed in the adventures. Seeing them chasing bugs and leaves, trying to climb trees, rolling about in patches of sunshine and sleeping under shrubs, you can see how happy they are. It also keeps them fitter, healthier and slimmer. Yes, occasionally they bring in presents and yes, you sometimes uncover poo when you're weeding - get over it!
penny james
Im a believer in outdoor cats despite the dangers they may face. Most cats are happier leading a please themselves life style and it is just that which makes them attractive pets to a lot of owners.
I think it comes down to where you live and the cat it self. One of my cats mainly LOVED being indoors and lazy, but if she did go outside she would just generally plod around outside the front of my house, which is near a back road and not that busy, but was unlucky to be hit and killed by a car that was using our road as a race track!!!But i didnt let this put me off, so with our other cat I let her out, she also generally didnt go to far. But one day she followed me and my daughter (i was in a rush and unaware) we crossed a very busy main road to get to the bus stop and she tried crossing to get to us and go hit. She had to be operated on and have 6 weeks of cage rest.When the time came that she was allowed back out, i decided she was going to be a house cat..... but...... she hated being stuck in and would try and escape at any chance of a door or window opening. I decided the best thing for her was to rehome her to a quiet house surrounded by fields.So as i said i think it comes down to the cats personality and where you live.
A friend of mine had 2 Berman's and they were never allowed outside. I felt sorry for them. But reading your comment has changed my mind somewhat. I do think any animal should have the experience of fresh air and a certain amount of freedom, and the way you have decided to let your cat live is agreeable to me. Dogs don't have a bad life, so if the cat has never known any different lifestyle it is a safe option.
My rescue cat is frightened of the outside world! Suits me as I would be worried each time he went out! The traffic speed down my road at 40-60mph day and night, if he was involved in a road accident he would not stand a chance !! If he was a different type of cat that was more confident the situation might be different. You have to treat each cat on his own merit, is he happy inside ? Then keep him in? Is he an outside cat ? Then let him out !!
I think it depends on the temperament of the cat and where you live. I have had 'flat living' cats for over ten years and they have been quite happy to just laze on the balcony. However I am just about to move to a house with a garden and once my cat is settled I'll let him explore but only during the day and when I am at the house.
This is a very sore subject for me, as I have recently had one of my beloved cats killed in a RTA, a few yards from the outside of my house. It was early evening on a hot sunny day, we don't live on a busy road, & he had been out several times before, always keeping well away of any traffic. - so I don't understand what happened on this occasion. He was only 15 months old, & I miss him so much................... So although, I have a good reason for keeping cats in, I do believe that it is better for them to have their freedom to roam. My other cat plays for hours in the garden (as did her brother) & is a joy to watch, so it would be wrong to deny them this pleasure. I make sure that they have access by cat flap to safety inside, & always by dusk, that 'they' are safe & sound indoors.
Sharon B
I adopted 2 kittens from the RSPCA at the same time. When they were 12 months old, I started letting them out during the day.After only 3 weeks of allowing them outdoors, one was killed in a RTA; it turned out he was a real wanderer and had managed to walk about 1/4 of a mile to a main road and cross it to get to a small woodland on the other side. I was absolutely devastated.That was 18 months ago. His brother was kept in for a few weeks after the accident but he became frustrated and withdrawn and would sit at the back patio doors crying to be let out.I took the decision to start letting him out again but only at night time when I was in the house (I work full time so am not around from 7am to 6pm).Some people may criticise me for keeping him in all day but it is much safer; I live in an area that is very quiet at night but sees a lot of traffic during the day, due to a builder's yard around the corner. There are always vans and lorries turning in our street and parking up waiting for the yard to open.He is more than happy with this, he is fed before I go to work and has a supply of biscuits to snack on during the day and fresh water to drink.He is spoiled rotten and has so many toys I'm forever tripping over them, along with a huge climbing frame and 3 scratch posts!He has free run of the house and can go wherever he wants, although he is quite lazy and likes to snooze in his bed.I let him out as soon as I get in from work and he doesn't go very far and pops back every hour to say hello.Sometimes he stays out all night, particularly when the weather is nice, but a lot of the time and particularly on cooler nights, he chooses to come home.Most of the time in the summer, he curls up on the shed roof and goes to sleep and I can't get him in for love nor money...In winter, he rarely goes out as he doesn't do freezing cold!I think it's up to each individual cat owner to decide what is right for them and their furries and as long as a cat is happy, healthy, well cared for and loved that's all that matters.I really get annoyed with people who moan and whinge about cats pooping in their gardens because a lot of them let their dogs poop all over pavements and that, as far as I'm concerned, is just revolting and unacceptable.Ok so not all dog owmers do it...but not all cats crap all over neighbouring gardens!I would also suggest that perhaps it's not just cats making a "mess" but foxes and other animals too.
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I think it depends on the cat. My last beloved cat was kept inside. She was a rescue & from a kitten had been locked inside, found by the RSPCA, then kept in an outside pen. When I rehomed her I also kept her as a house cat but walked her on a harness outside. My pevious cat was killed on the road (dreadful). Tabby never once bothered, cried to be out - she was brought up this way. The cat I have now came to me as a stray, just found me by walking up our field & I adopted him, we think he was abandoned, he is not feral. Difference is he has obviously lived this way for some time. He enjoys coming iin but onnly for some time, then he wants out! He would be very unhappy kept it &not allowed to hunt down the field (Tabby did not have that drive at all), though I worry a lot about him & the road. So, it just depend on the individual.
Iain Kinmond
We have two fantastic Bengal boys one is 5 1/2 years the other is 10 months old, they go out for the morning and have access to the house (cat flap) by 1pm they are in for the day, they are fantastic pets, but not cuddly, the younger cats best friend is a 13 week old poodle pup, who will one day become a hearing dog for a deaf person.
Val Danvers-Wright
I am in a dilemma at the moment about this. I have always believed that cats are naturally outdoor creatures and have let them out to roam during the day, but made sure they are all in once it gets dark.However, in 3 years I have had 1 cat go missing (never found him), one got killed outright in an RTA, another went missing and I found him after 5 weeks, then a short time later he was seriously injured in an RTA and is now recovering from having his pelvis pinned and plated and still having bladder problems, and another who disappeared for a week and then 3 days ago got savaged by a dog and is now all sutured up after losing part of her leg muscle.Perhaps we have been incredibly unlucky, but I really have had enough of seeing my poor cats killed and injured. The 2 recovering ones are obviously being kept in, but I am considering never letting any of them out again. This may cause problems with 4 cats in the house, but at least they will be alive.
Ema Brunton
I have a ragdoll cat which is too docile to go out but I always take him out to friends houses, in my boyfriends garden which has high walls and fences so he cannot run away. Some cats are quite ferrell and should be let out, some are not so much like mine that are useless at judging danger and need to be kept in. Problem is - my cat is too hyper at night as he doesn't get much exercise through the day and I get little sleep from him playing and meowing at all hours! Had I known what I know now I think i'd not bother having a pet! :(
My cat is an outdoor cat. I kept him in all day, every day until a week after he'd been castrated, and since then he's been out every day. I don't let him out at night, but some days, like today, it's a warm night and he's been out since 7pm. It's now gone midnight. He's stayed out 3 nights until dawn (He's 16 months old). I live near a main road, with open fields, with mice and voles on the other side of the road, so want him in at night, but he can be stubborn, like tonight. I keep calling him. I suspect he's sat in my garden somewhere. I'll keep trying.
Amy Atterbury
I've never had a cat before, but i had my first kitten in march, he is a house cat, as we live on a main road and i have seen so many cat get killed. but as some others have mentioned, he has a harnis and extendible lead so he can roam around in the garden with that on and he is very happy, he has done this from a very young age and i know that he has some freedom as other cats do as well as being safe from traffic.
As I am a breeder of 40 years-- ( Siamese and Orientals ) -- live in the country on a quiet lane I have ginen this a lot of thought-- including insurance --- stud cats i haven1t I found anyone willing to cover them !!! NOW my boys are in their heated houses with large runs BUT they won`t be in a RTA ---my girls are kept in as I don`t want any miss matings ---again with a large run they can use SO ts peoples choice BUT please don`t if live near a busy road OR a high block of flats
I live on a side road, but it's reasonably busy. My cats have a secure run, 20x30 feet square, by 6 feet high, in the garden, accessible from a catflap. they have fresh air, sunshine and shade, climbing frames, ledges to sit on, space to jump about and run (the access "tunnel" to it is 70 feet long!) Limited space, admittedly, but 24/7 access. And I don't have to worry they aren't in at night; or that they will be injured, killed or stolen from the street, and if I want them to come in all I have to do is rap on the window and they're in like a shot. If I go away, the catsitter doesn't need to worry. They still hunt; many's the time I've been offered a live mouse.... and yes, it cost money to get it put in, but my cats are worth it.
i recently adopted a 10 mth old male cat,he has just been neutered.i live in a reasonably quiet street..my back yard is large with 6ft brick walls....and all the yards back onto eachother with the same high walls..and a long ally way running through the middle of them all.my cat came to me 2 weeks ago and has just been neutered..so going to keep him in for a while yet.i will never let him out the front door..but plan on letting him out the back door in a month or two supervised for the first few times during the day.i don't think all cats should be kept indoors....as some shouldn't be outdoors..depends on your cat and the area you live.i do believe all cats are born with natural instincts..to hunt,mate and climb...these are not things we teach domesticated cats ....they are born with these...this is why we spay and neuter them.my cat was spraying urine everywhere and crying all night to get out and mate..its an instinct! neutering does help with the mating side of things..but the instict for climbing and hunting for a young healthy cat can not be neutered...how would you feel if you came to a new home..and once you entered that was it....you would never leave that house again..only watch others living it from a distance??????would it really be a life worth living..really???course not..we as humans take risks every day crossing the road,getting behind a wheel of a car...but we still want to do it....we are not safe from disease either...we even are not safe from our own breed..some humans are killers too....but we don't live in fear of the what if...or unknown..etc...we just have to do whats best for our own cats and whats makes them happy..indoor or outdoor cats..depends on the cat...
Julie Anne
I was not exactly planning to take custody of a cat, when one appeared night after night next to the communal bins eating food put out for the fox. I noticed this pretty little tortie and white always seem ravenously hungry and would eat anything potatoes, rice (which is not usual for cats). After pounding the pavements and knocking on doors, posters, checking to see if she was microchipped (she was not) I finally took her into my one bed flat and got her flea'd and wormed. I then checked to see if she was neutered and she was. Someone phoned from my posters and said she had a garden and two other cats and a rescue dog and would take her in. I thought this would be a more suitable environment than my one bed small flat next to a busy road on the second floor, so I took her to her new home. Five day's later she escaped and over a further five days and I was once again out shaking a biscuit box calling her name Bin Bin (Bindi for short - which I named her as this is where she was found). One morning a neighbour called early and said 'it's a miracle she is back by the bins', and there she was. She had travelled up to 2 miles back to the bins by my flat. So once I again I took her in and realised this time it was for good. Not an ideal scenerio, but she had chosen where she wanted to be. I got out the litter tray, got her some toys and got her innoculated and purchased a harness and extension lead (which she hated to start with but after a short while she was fine with it). Every day, often twice I take her behind our flats into the overgrown communal garden which is very small but enough for her to watch the birds (without harming them) and she even occasionally climbs into the tree and sits there watching the wildlife. She gets some exercise, and it is a joy to see her connecting with nature in a 'safe' environment for both her and the wildlife.Although she lives mostly indoors, she does occasionally go to the door whenever she fancies a look around her territory, checking the scents of who has been visiting and after about 20 mins to half an hour she happily heads back to the flats, and up the stairs and sits eagerly by the door as I unlock it to let her in.The point of this is if a cat can be perfectly happy as an indoor cat, then certainly it can be conditioned gently to stay indoors from dusk to dawn. It is common sense, more cats get injured and die during the period of dusk to dawn in road traffic accidents. Cats are likely to kill more birds from dusk to dawn and too many garden birds are in serious decline due to many things, farming, pesticides, habitat and yes, cats! Along with this, cat's are much more likely to fight at night as territory is battled over at night in the cat world and injury is common. As long as cats, when indoors have a litter tray, scratch post, toys and water bowl; they can be trained to stay safely indoors at night. Cat's senses are scent, visual and as long as they can watch the comings and goings outside from a window or two, they can be perfectly content to do so. If my cat is perfectly happy to be an indoor cat with daily visits to the garden with me, then the issue of just simply keeping pussycat indoors for a few hours during the night is nothing but common sense and is good for your cat's welfare, wildlife etc.
Julie Anne
No, your wrong my cat came to me as a stray. I tried to rehome her to a home with a garden but she came back to me and was found by the bins where I found her in the first place. I live by a busy road and live two floors up. Due to the ecomonic crisis cat homes have waiting lists and are having to put many rescues to sleep so that was not an option and she chose by travelling 2 miles back to me from a house with a garden! I take her out on an extension lead and harness, she enjoys it but after 20 mins she heads back to the flat. On odd occasions she lets me know when she wants to have a wander and I take her whenever she wants to have a look around. She is not frustrated and we spend much time having gamestogether. She is innoculated regularl,y flea'd and wormed and fed Royal Canin Ultra Light and Pure Feline Dry food mixed in to keep her weight in check, occasional tuna in springwater (not brine as it harm's their organs) and quality fish as a treat now and again. So please, don't make assumptions on every cat. I am sure some prefer the great outdoors but my cat is happy, healthy and goes out on a harness and extension leash often twice a day and even at dusk. Oh and is insured.
We keep our cats in. We have had two cats killed in RTA's sadly. We have kept cats for many years, we have always had outdoor cats that have been fine, but we had two outdoor cats in recent years, and one died from an RTA at only a few years old around a year ago. We got another cat and kept her in strictly as an idoor car because of this. Our other cat that was still used to going out we continued to let him out reluctantly, simply because he was used to an outdoor life, he loved to hunt and bound around at the field at the back of our property. We tried to keep him in for a bit but he was sad and just sat staring out the window or at the door meowing the whole time. We then got a third cat, he also was kept as an indoor cat from a kitten for fear of him being involved in an accident.Our only remaining outdoor cat seemed to be fine, he was a typical tom and was very street wise so we thought, but he was not seen yesterday, we were calling him all hours and looking around with a torch. Sadly this morning in daylight when I went to go looking for him I found him on our neighbours drive, he had passed away. The circumstances are odd, as it looked like he had been in a traffic accident but was far from the road between a bush and my naighbours caravan toward the back of their drive. It was very sad indeed and still is.I think perhaps we should have restricted him to being indoors, but then he would not have been happy as he was always an outdoor cat right from when we rescued him at only 6 months old. One thing is for sure, our other two house cats that have never known any different will never be going outside. It is sad for them, as a cat chasing butterflies, birds and anything else in the garden in the sun and rolling around in the sun is clearly something they should experience, but we just can't take that risk. They seem happy enough, and this was they should live a long and happy life.
I've had a 20 month old for 4 months now & she is a house cat (i live in a flat). She went out once with her first family & always had the choice to go out again, but never did.I have a small balcony, where she often sits to listen to the birds chirp, under my supervision of course!! Not once has she ever tried to climb up.She will not step outside the front door, even when it's left open for a long time. She seems very content,eats well, plays with her toys, of which there are many!!! ;) Spends time curled up with me.... Is allowed everywhere (apart from the kitchen worktops). I even took her to my mums when i had to stay overnight & I gave her the option to roam the garden but she would only sit in the doorway. So, I'd say that cats choose for themselves & really don't believe they'd allow us humans to control them.As for the comment regarding 'mess'.... he must be a dog owner! Cats are extremely fussy/clean animals!!
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Hi i'm after some advice really. I took on 2 male cats who are now about 10 months old. They were abondoned when they were only 2-3 weeks old (best guess) and one had a bit of his ear missing. Which I was told was possibly done by whoever abondoned the litter to tell them apart. They were very nervous at first and still are with new people. It took one of them a week to stop hiding behind his bed. But they quickly became very affectionate with me. I worry that I am being cruel by keeping them indoors. But I live in a 2 bedroom flat and I think if I let them out they would be straight on the road. Some neighbours have cats that they let out and they are fine but im not sure mine are streetwise enough to avoid the road. The problem is also I work Mon-Fri so if they were lete out in the morning they would have to stay out all day as there is nowhere for me to put a catflap. They seem happy enough and have never tried to get out when I come through the front door. They have each other to play with and chase around the flat and so get plenty of exercise. They have a large scracthing tree/activity centre which they love. But they do spend a lot of time looking oyt the window which is making me think i should test them outside? One of them in particular is very nervous and meeows frantically if I leave a room and shut the door. This could be attributed to being taken from their mother so young I guess. But im not sure how he would cope with other animals and people in the outside world. I would value any input from cat lovers?
Sorry Linda its you who is misinformed, our gardens are used as a toilet by every cat for miles around and its awful, it smells nasty and why should my wife and I have to clear up after other peoples pets? Plus you've obviously never heard of toxoplasmosis. or you wouldnt have made that comment. Cats should be subject to the same rules as dogs, keep them on your property and only let them out on a leash, and make cat owners as responsible for their cats as dog owners have to be for their pets
you ignore the fact though that its an offence to let your dog do that and you can be held to account if your dog uses a public place or someone elses property as a toilet. Too many cat owners take no responsibility for what their cat does. are in denial about toxoplasmosis and really dont care about the impact their cats behaviour has on other people. just because the Smiths kids up the road are thieves doesnt mean yours should be allowed to be and the same goes for cats and dogs. it is not acceptable for either to be allowed free reign by their owners to use the world and public places and other peoples gardens. keep your cat on your property or on a leash as we expect people to do with dogs and stop criticising those who quite rightly dont like to have to clear up their own or public land after a pet that YOU chose to have has made a mess that you dont or wont clear up
Roger Barker
I was looking for a forum to share my experiences in the hope someone may find it useful, so here we go...! :-) We had a bengal and planned to keep him doors (to prevent him from getting stolen etc), but after a year he started to get very aggressive and would make a dash for the door. He was miserable, so we made the decision to let him out. At the time we lived in a cul de sac in a village a good 100m away from the main road (he would venture that far but not often). He was so happy, and it was obvious that the breed demanded the great outdoors - they love to climb and hunt. We then moved to a new house a short distance on the main road. It's not a busy road, there are speed bumps all the way along, but unfortunately he got run over (whilst we were on honeymoon!). It was absolutely gutting, but we have no regrets in letting him out as he was so content.We then decided we couldn't have an outdoor cat, so opted for an indoor breed; a ragdoll. Having done our research we decided to go for two sisters who could amuse each other (in the hope that they would be fit and happy). Whilst they are clearly more content with being indoors and do indeed keep each other amused, the job of keeping indoors cats should not be underestimated...! I clean the litter tray twice a day and hoover twice a day too (as their tracking gets all over the house). Also, the pet fur with this breed is a consideration! If I don't keep the litter trays immaculate they wee/poo on the curtains, and the smell is an issue too (we live in a small cottage, so it permeates the entire house!). We are now looking to re-home them, as my wife is pregnant and we're worried about the hygiene, not to mention the extra stress/workload of keeping them. In short, Outdoor cats are far less maintenance and if you live in a quiet area I see no problem in letting them out. But beware, even slow roads with regular traffic will pose a significant threat as the cat will simply run out in front of a car due to it believing it to be a predator coming towards it (it will wait until the last minute before deciding to make a run for it - in front of the wheels). Indoor cats (if you choose the correct breed) will be perfectly happy indoors, but you must have the time to be able to look after them (play with and most importantly clean up after them!). Where we're at in our lives we have decided not to have a cat until we move to a quieter location and can let them out. Obviously each person's circumstances are different :-) Hopefully this has helped someone out there...! Roger
Julieanne Stephens
I have two cats and live in a quiet neighbourhood full of trees near a beach. My garden is a decent size and my cats go out quite early in the morning and I leave them out until nighttime when I bring them in. They have access to the house at all times during the day and during the colder months my boy will come and sleep the afternoon away, my girl will do this in the conservatory outside. In the warmer months they like to be outside at night - all night if I let them - but I still get them in as this is the time when feral cats roam, possums come out etc. There is hardly any traffic at night and our street is quiet BUT the chance of a drunk driver going too fast goes up dramatically. I think cats should be allowed out during the day as long as they have access to the house but they should definitely be in at night for their own sake and the sake of birds. Night is when cats like to hunt.
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I have three young moggies (one is a rescue) who have lived indoors since they were kittens. I live in a large flat where they are free to roam anywhere they please. They live a happy, healthy lifestyle and I provide them with plenty of toys, beds and scratching posts. I recently witnessed a friends cats get run over and I attended the scene to try to save the cat it was the most devastating thing I have ever witnessed. It was a cat who had crossed the same, usually quiet road many times in the 9 years it had lived. Unfortunately it was an unlucky night and the cat sadly died by the roadside. I also know several friends who have had cats run over and killed and another mauled by a fox, it's for that reason that I would never let my cats outdoors I couldn't bare it if one of them were killed. I don't view it as luck of the draw I view it as a tragic accident that could be provented by keeping the cat safe indoors. I do take my cats out on harnesses for short walks which they have adapted to well. From my experience it hasn't caused them any stress by being walked outside and then coming indoors. I see it just like walking a dog!
You should not force your cat to stay inside. It's OK if they are an indoor type of cat, if they WANT to stay indoors. But if they want the freedom that they deserve, you can't restrict them. It's the cats decision. Yes, the outside world is scary, it's dangerous. For humans too. But you don't keep yourselves locked up, do you? You don't tell your adult or older teenager children to stay at the house, to never go anywhere unless you're with them. You can't do that to a cat! If your cat is a kitten, then they're too young of course, but when a cat grows up, just like your kids, you have to let them out and live their own lives. A home is a HOME, not a PRISON. Don't control the lives of a cat, because you are their companion, not their controller. That's why people have cats, not rabbits or hamsters, because cats have that wild, independent streak. By denying that, you are shaping and changing the cat to your need, not the cats. Which would you prefer, to spend a long, healthy life shut away in prison, never allowed to get out? Or an exhilarating life where you meet thousands of people, make hundreds of friends, see amazing places, but die soon. Let the cat decide, not you.I have a beautiful cat, his name's Shadow, and I really love him. The whole family does. Shadow gets to roam wherever he wants, and we often leave doors and windows open for him. He is allowed to go where he wants to go. If Shadow was shut up indoors he would hate it. He'd be safe, but there would be nothing worth being safe for! I remember how Shadow made friends with this stray cat, Snowy. They were best friends. Snowy disappeared, and I don't know what happened to him, but at least he had a happy life. If I had shut Shadow away, they would never had made friends. Shadow would have no cat friends at all too.Think about it, you would want your children to be friends with other kids. Just like you SHOULD let your cat be friends with other cats. Every time I see Shadow running about, climbing and jumping, I marvel at how sleek and fast he is. How free he is. It would break my heart if something happened to Shadow. But he is a cat. Not a baby that needs cuddling. A cat. A companion. I wouldn't deny him his freedom.Thank you
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I think any animal should get fresh air! But u don't have to let them out into a dangerous area just let the sit in your windows while there open ! And for people who want there cat to enjoy natural ins....... go out and buy birds that they can catch and eat ! You also can buy large pans and plant grass indoors for them to enjoy . That's what i am about ti do with my 7 month old male cat so he does get the stimulation he needs
This is simple.Cats should be confined to their owners house and garden only. (garden would have to be fenced off otherwise house only)100's of thousands- millions of cats die every year on the road and many more suffer serious injuries!! If thats not reason enough to keep them in you are cruel and insane, the cruelty of keeping them in is far less than the cruelty of chancing them on the roads.Many bird species suffer this is cruelty to other animals. People have to clean up other peoples pets crap, this is clearly not right or fair on them, it also leads to cats being poisoned shot killed in gruesome ways etcAlso it would reduce stray cat populations if let cats are mingling and mating with each other. Which is good for cats and wildlife. Clearly the pros of my way out weigh the costs and it should be made law.
This is simple.Cats should be confined to their owners house and garden only. (garden would have to be fenced off otherwise house only)100's of thousands- millions of cats die every year on the road and many more suffer serious injuries!! If thats not reason enough to keep them in you are cruel and insane, the cruelty of keeping them in is far less than the cruelty of chancing them on the roads.Many bird species suffer this is cruelty to other animals. People have to clean up other peoples pets crap, this is clearly not right or fair on them, it also leads to cats being poisoned shot killed in gruesome ways etcAlso it would reduce stray cat populations if let cats are mingling and mating with each other. Which is good for cats and wildlife. Clearly the pros of my way out weigh the costs and it should be made law.
This is simple.Cats should be confined to their owners house and garden only. (garden would have to be fenced off otherwise house only)100's of thousands- millions of cats die every year on the road and many more suffer serious injuries!! If thats not reason enough to keep them in you are cruel and insane, the cruelty of keeping them in is far less than the cruelty of chancing them on the roads.Many bird species suffer this is cruelty to other animals. People have to clean up other peoples pets crap, this is clearly not right or fair on them, it also leads to cats being poisoned shot killed in gruesome ways etcAlso it would reduce stray cat populations if let cats are mingling and mating with each other. Which is good for cats and wildlife. Clearly the pros of my way out weigh the costs and it should be made law.
This is simple.Cats should be confined to their owners house and garden only. (garden would have to be fenced off otherwise house only)100's of thousands- millions of cats die every year on the road and many more suffer serious injuries!! If thats not reason enough to keep them in you are cruel and insane, the cruelty of keeping them in is far less than the cruelty of chancing them on the roads.Many bird species suffer this is cruelty to other animals. People have to clean up other peoples pets crap, this is clearly not right or fair on them, it also leads to cats being poisoned shot killed in gruesome ways etcAlso it would reduce stray cat populations if let cats are mingling and mating with each other. Which is good for cats and wildlife. Clearly the pros of my way out weigh the costs and it should be made law.
This is simple.It's in cats ancestry that they should roam. They are predators, so keeping them inside is cruel. Don't get a cat if you live near a main road!! Besides, I would rather have a happy cat being able to explore than a depressed cat.Many birds die from cats but they also die from other predators. Cats normally kill the sick or injured which would die anyway!Cats crap in gardens because they're not trained. I have a cat who comes back inside to go to the toilet.Animals have sex....it's a fact. We don't hear anyone complaining about babies being left in orphanages. If you don't want them to have sex, then make sure they can't!!Cats are prone to obesity when kept indoors. Clearly the pros of my way (because I love cats and don't hate them) outweigh the costs and that's why the law doesn't change. Oh any while we're in the subject, when do you ever see a cat in the news? Dogs hit the front pages all the time due to irresponsible owners. Don't own a pet if you can't train and look after them properly! It's as simple as that really.
I think there are a lot of judgemental people on here.I have large Siberian Forest cat, my second one, and she has been an indoor cat all her life. She has wardrobes and shelves to climb and sit on to survey her domain. The few times I have taken her out she climbed up onto my shoulder and shivered. She was afraid of the no walls place. She is happy, healthy, and my best friend. I personally stand on the side of keeping her indoors to avoid an accidental death and the fact that she is a purebred that many people would love to have. If I owned my home I would build a catio for her and have a large caged outdoor space for her but I don't so I keep her in and keep her occupied to the best of my ability. If you want to let your cat roam and the cat wants it the by all means let it out - I don't stand by "a cat is a predator and must be free" nor do I demand that a cat will live much longer as an indoor cat. I know what worked for me and my four legged companion and that is it.Just because you might not agree doesn't make your belief absolute and someone else's wrong.Just saying.
I have a tabby cat and an oriental, the tabby is fiercely independent and would prefer to be outside than inside and the oriental has absolutely no common sense and has got out twice and both times couldn't find his way back and was miaowing randomly at gates etc. so I think it depends completely on the cat and the area you live.
Hi Rere,Many thanks for sharing your comments. Please do come back and visit our blog for more debates in the near future.ThanksJade - The Petplan Team
Hi Ian,Many thanks for sharing your comments. Please do come back and visit our blog for more debates in the near future.ThanksJade - The Petplan Team
I have 2 cats. One is indoor as he wouldn't be able to hold his own outside with other cats, he is very nervous and scatters when there is a noise. My tabby is allowed out as he has always been out and he knows how to look after himself. I'll just add that I live next to fields and a quiet road so there was no issue letting him out. He plays with the other neighbourhood cats so he's not an issue. I believe if you have a relatively safe environment with quieter roads then it's find to let them out depending on the individual cat.
Hi Sizzle, Thanks for sharing you comments with everyone. Please do come back and visit our blog for more debates in the near future. Thanks Jade – The Petplan Team
Melanie Cooke
We have had outdoor cats but after ours and a neighbour's young cats getting run over, plus 5 being purposely poisoned nearby, we decided to keep ours in. They have free run of house and garden and still hunt. I felt guilty at first for keeping them confined but when I see big trucks/removal vans/kids driving too fast on our quiet estate, then I'm glad mine are safe. Glad we have 2, as they chase round and play fight.
d johnson
indoor for me,I lost 4 outdoor cats,all under 5 years old,kept my next 3 cats inside lived to be 15,16 & 20
In my opinion Cat's should have the option to do either. I firmly believe that people should and could if they wanted, provide suitable indoor and outdoor resources to fur fill their Cat's enviromental enrichment, but also keep them safe from the Road. Meaning to provide for their behavioural and physical requirements. An it doesn't mean radical or unwanted changes to the home. There are thousands of useful suggestions on line, in books and magazines. I'm not going to deny some of which people would need to dig deep in to the pockets for. Not everything can be found cheap, recycled or free. But if people love their Cat's I'm sure they'll find a way to provide this for them. For me every Cat deserves an environment that delivers to their needs.
My two older cats come and go as they please. The house was bought specifically with getting cats in mind and is in a cul-de-sac in a village near arable land so very little traffic and plenty of space to come and go. Mostly they stay in the house or garden but its by their own choice. My other cat, who sadly died from a heart condition earlier this year, used to roam widely around the neighbouring fields. I would never have wanted to keep any of them in. They like their lives.
I try to keep my cats in as much as possible although I do let them out on occasions. I have noticed that the more often they go out they gain confidence and wonder further. One of my cats went missing for 4 days so I didn't let her out for a few weeks. This seems to work as she does not wonder far now and my other cat only goes out for about 20mins to an hour. If you have the time you can train them with food to come when you call and give them rewards. Apart from all that I do think they are safer inside and if you live by a main road I would not entertain letting your cat out as their is far too much traffic. Also There are ways to cat proof your garden so they can't get out . I saw my neighbours cat get run over and it put me off letting my cats out . Ideally I would cat proof my garden so they could go outside but not leave the garden .
My cat goes out during the day but because 2 years ago he was run over he isn't allowed out once it is dark. He's 6 and very happy. He didn't go out until he was about 3 because he didn't want to go out he just by the door and ctied to come in. He is now a successful hunter and since being run over he doesn't leave the back garden
I feel it is irresponsible to allow unneutered/unspayed cats outdoors due to the high populations of unplanned litters, unwanted & stray cats, and the spread of potentially fatal diseases caused by unneutered animals fighting over mating rights. Other than that I don't think there is a definitive answer to the indoor/outdoor cat question. Every cat is an individual with its own personality and each home environment to which a cat belongs is different so each situation can only be judged on its own merits. The more cats you have, the more space they need so in some cases outdoors is definitely a good thing to prevent stress. On the other hand some cats don't particularly like the outdoors so forcing them outside would be distressing. If you live near a main road, the risk of your cat/s being involved in an rta are high so then you have to decide whether or its worth the risk letting your cat wander. Some cats aren't equipted to deal with the great outdoors. I have 10 cats. 7 go outside 1 is an indoor cat by choice, 1 is an indoor cat because she hasn't been spayed yet, and one is an indoor cat against her will because the last she went out she disappeared for 4 days and came back terrified, hungry and had somebody else's carpet stuck in her claws. We suspect someone tried to steal her :-/
I am a cat owner and currently have six of different ages, all rescue all with very different starts in life, I choose to keep my cats from roaming free, I am fully aware that not everyone shares my passion for felines and some people really don't appreciate other people's pets fowling in their gardens, so with all this in mind I choose the indoor option, they all have full Roming access inside the home and I also have a purpose built run in the garden so they don't miss out on fresh air and feeling the grass under their paws. I can assure anyone who is against confined living all of my cats are in top condition with no health problems and are extremely content and highly affectionate. I think it has to be an individual choice and I don't believe there is a wrong or right answer. I do what works for me my family and mostly my cats.
Margaret lamb
I have 2 cats, both are very happy indoor cats, I play with them all the time, they are safe, warm and clean
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Personally I think they should be kept indoors I 4 1 am dick n tired ov other people's cat's cumin in my garden n pooing it's totally wrong wen my own children cnt play in the garden because ov this, if ur a dog owner u get fined 4 ur dog mess I think cat owners should aswell, I dnt c y I should ave 2 clean up after somebody else animal wen I avent gt any myself
You are more likely to catch toxi going about your everyday life than catching it from cat crap.
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I have two 17 year old persians,they are my beautiful boys,we now live near a busy road,so i have created a large pen around the front door for them within a communal garden space to sit in the sunshine,the door is open all day for them as i am mostly home,they have scratching posts,toys,and the company of our miniature morkie dog.They are both happy content and purr an awful lot :) i know one of them is much more street wise than the other and have been conflicted as we used to have a garden for them to enjoy but they have adapted well...i know i do the very best i can for them and that is enough.
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Thank you for your kind comments - Jade - the Petplan Team
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IF you keep cats inside then you are FUCKING BITCHES
A very interesting read, clearly everyone has mixed feelings on indoors or outdoors. All I would like to remind people who use the argument 'cats belong outside' is surely all animals do. Every pet we humans keep was once wild, now yrs of breeding and domesticating them results in them being caged. Dog owners are required to legally microchip their pet, walk them in many public places on a lead and if the crap anywhere you must pick it up. Cat owners have no idea what their cats fo whilst out, you are merely guessing if you think your cat 'doesn't go far'. Many people do not like or want a pet, but they end up with cats in their garden. Dog owners would get fined if they let them roam free around towns. Many cats are completely happy indoors and if all were required to remain inside and get walked on a leash like dogs this would become 'normal' . Dogs were wild once too! Many still exhibit certain behaviours, terriers all still go mental for squirels etc, not all other dogs do. Any human who owns a pet should be accountable for what the pet does, cat owners are not when they roam free. Many don't bother spaying/neutering so they can make a fortune with kittens or we just end up with more ferral cats. Add to that the sickos that think hurting a cat is ok and the increase in traffic now surely your lovely pet is safer inside.

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