Cats: Indoors or outdoors?

I’ve heard a few opinions about the desirability of having cats indoors or outdoors. Hopefully the thread won’t create a civil war.

I’ve had outdoor cats and dogs for years with limited indoor exposure. The cats all died very quickly. Longest was maybe 5 years. Then, I had a couple of cats who came in and out as they pleased. They survived a bit longer, maybe average was 3 years. My outdoor dogs all survived over 10 years, but they weren’t very happy about it, being leashed to a wall. Now, I have an indoor only dog with limited outdoor exposure, and I must say she’s happier, healthier, and much better cared for than any of my outdoor pets.

You offer such limited choices with no multiple options! But I suppose that’s what actually replying and expanding on this is what message boards are for. If you are asking about my own cat, he’s indoors and allowed out on the yard when I’m out in the yard. But reality is, he hates being outside, and he’ll follow me out for two seconds get his gulp of fresh air and dash back in. He’s also a chubby little monster, so even if he did have the desire to roam, I wouldn’t trust him to know how to avoid cars.

If you’re asking what people should let their cats do, that’s a whole 'nother can of worms. If that’s the purpose of your poll, it depends on the cat, and where it lives. A barn cat whose job it is to be a mouser? Probably should stay outside and roam around the barn. Fat cat in a city with lots of cars and traffic? Give it a sceened window.

Totally depends. City cats? Country cats? Working cats? Lap cats? My cat’s inside-only, since I live downtown on a busy street. My mom’s cats are outside-only, because she lives out in the country and their main purpose is to rid the outbuildings of vermin.

Barn Cats - They have kitty doors to the barn and the shop for shelter and to get away from the coyotes.

Every cat we’ve had are indoor only and all have lived at least sixteen years, two over twenty.

Our current bunch are at 17, 14 and 3.

I’ve never understood strictly outside or inside cats or dogs (exception for barn cats).

They’re your pets so I’m assuming you kind of like them. Why would you keep them imprisoned or banish them to the elements. Either extreme is ridiculous.

If you can’t train the dog to stay close to home, fence the yard. If you don’t have a yard should you really have a dog? If you live in a high rise should you really have a cat?

None of my business, different strokes and all.

ETA: We had to put Betty down recently but she was 17, indoor/outdoor.

I voted indoor, but I am a city dweller and simply cannot comprehend people who leave their cats to run outdoors here. We live in a small, quiet neighborhood, but we are bordered by two 40 mph roads and animals get run down all of the time, including cats.

Countryside? I still don’t love outdoor cats and never will, but I at least I understand it in the country.

Take a wild guess who’s in charge around here. :smiley:

Ours is a rescue cat so we promised to keep her inside and stick with it. Sure helps w/ avoiding fleas, Feluke, etc. I often open a screened window for her and that seems to satisfy her. The one time she did get out we found her a couple of days later in the backyard under a plant facing a wooden fence, not moving, responding to our call, nothing… just completely freaked out.

My cats are indoor cats as on average indoor cats live longer. But I have no problem with people making other decisions. We occasionally let the one cat that wants to go out, go out leashed into the fenced off part of the yard.


We have several outdoor only cats. They come and go as they please, and rarely stick around more than a year or so. Then we have the kids, who are indoor only, and pampered and loved and doted upon, and will live lives of utter decadence for many, many years to come.

Working cats? Like seeing eye cats?

No shit, who am I kidding. Betty definitely rode herd over us. Despite being indoor/outdoor until the end of her days she started crapping in the basement. Frank discussions and spankings were to no avail so we knuckled under and gave her a litterbox which she crapped both in and near for a couple of years.

I miss the Betty cat but I don’t miss the daily mess.

My cats are indoor only and are the most ridiculously spoiled creatures on the planet. If this is what imprisonment is like, I want to go.

I honestly don’t even think my Desmond would want to go out if I left the door open for him. He’s a huge chicken and curls into a little ball of fear when I take him to the vet. Sawyer does try to bolt for the door and might enjoy it outside for a little while, until he realized that there is no one to fill his food bowl when he meows or to turn on the bathroom sink for him.

I couldn’t push my cats outdoors with my foot. All three lived on the streets and were rescued. They ain’t having any more of that weird outdoors place.

The dog has killed two possums in the backyard, and tore up a few more, so I wouldn’t be sanguine about my cats being outdoors after dark.

It should be the cat’s decision.

I voted “other” because it really does depend on location. My city cats don’t go outside. Letting cats outside without some sort of enclosure or training to a halter and lead would be stupid in the city. In the country, it’s a whole different thing. If it’s really rural and they’re “barn cats” I’m fine with it as long as they’re still spayed/neutered and properly vetted. Indoor/outdoor I think is best way out there, though. City and suburbs they should stay inside, or have a fully enclosed area like one of these. If someone is really nuts, and patient, cats can be trained to a halter and leash but I really think people who do that are weird.

I tend to agree with this, but it depends on your area.

I live in Chicago and and I wouldn’t let my cat, if I had one, go outside. First of all there are just too many mean people. There’s so much traffic and alley cats and other wild animals.

When I was a kid in Chgo suburbs we had an indoor/outdoor cat and it was fine. She had our front and back yard as her territory and never strayed. It helped a lot of our neighbors had indoor/outdoor cats so it couldn’t go far off our property without another cat chasing it back onto it’s own territory.

I never could get the thrill my cat got of saying “Oh the sun’s going down, I want to go out so I can sit under a bush till midnight.” But she seemed to like it :slight_smile:

Shemus and Sassy get to go outside on leashes, and spend a lot of time in the screenhouse with a human to keep an eye on them in case seeing the chipmunks gets to be too exciting.