Are housecats cruel?

(66 Posts)
daisywaisydoo Tue 15-Oct-13 19:16:37

I've recently said goodbye to my two beautiful cats due to stupid roads sad

Is it ever fair to keep a cat indoors always?

I think it's quite fair if it's a choice between that or being killed on the road. But if you're going to get a cat then get an older rescue one that won't mind being kept inside so much.

See the other thread on this page about cats in flats.

expatinscotland Tue 15-Oct-13 19:22:54

Of course it is! People keep them indoors only all over the world, as the vast majority of people don't live, cannot afford to live in a bloody house with a garden.

I've had nothing but housecats for years.

I sometimes think if they have never been out they don't know any different, and some cats don't like going out.

Then there are some with FIV that aren't allowed out, and need a home.

I am sorry to hear you have lost two. When you are ready you could contact your local cat rescue and see what they have in the way of indoor cats.

daisywaisydoo Tue 15-Oct-13 19:29:12

Ah great my fiancé says cruel but I agree with what they've never had they can't miss grin

I'd love an old friendly rescue cat but at the same time there's something about having them from kittens, you're their only mummy and just awww.

Thanks Sparklingbrook it broke my heart!

RandomMess Tue 15-Oct-13 19:31:15

Have to say all the persians I know don't seem that bothered about venturing far! Some breeds are far less adventurous than others.

ercoldesk Tue 15-Oct-13 19:33:16

Our local cat rescue always says if it thinks cats are happier indoors or not. Of our three, one prefers indoors, one will go out for 10 minutes or so at a time, and one will go out for hours. I really think it is a temperament thing.

I have four of them, and they seem very happy.
Only one has tried to get out, she did manage it which resulted in three and four cat, but she's not bothered since.
They are all people cats, they want to be with us, generally sitting on my head.

Wolfiefan Tue 15-Oct-13 19:34:50

I read this as "are the cats cruel?" Doh!
YY to FIV cats staying in. Deaf cats too. Do you have space for an outside run? Yes cats need entertainment but that doesn't have to be outside. Depends on the cat and where you live.

Really older cats bond with you just as much as kittens would. If you take an older cat from a rescue (which can be hard to home) then you'll be doing (to quote Zebraowl) A Good Thing. (And if you buy kittens you'll be doing a very bad thing ... but's that's a whole other issue).

We got Sparkling Cat from the Cats' Protection as a 4 year old. She is so affectionate and wants to be with me whatever I am doing, we have a real bond, and she loves DH too. smile

wickedwitchNE Tue 15-Oct-13 19:43:42

If you have a decent amount of space for them downstairs at night then no not at all. I have two indoor cats, one likes going in the garden every so often for half an hour and the other likes sitting at the open window watching the birds. I leave the window open for them whenever we are in but they have proved themselves that they have little interest in going out properly. This is after we also lost a cat, and I decided to play it safe. We do have lots of room, scratching items and toys however, and there are two of them to play with each other - if you want kittens I would consider getting two to keep them from getting bored.

wickedwitchNE Tue 15-Oct-13 19:45:31

Oh and I second older cats from a rescue every time!

daisywaisydoo Tue 15-Oct-13 19:46:58

Yep would definitely get two, that's what we did last time and they seemed happy together until they got too brave!

We live in a bungalow so all our space is downstairs grin

daisywaisydoo Tue 15-Oct-13 19:49:42

Part of me does want an older rescue cat but I have a baby and worry they may not be child friendly, whereas a kitten would grow up used to her.

ClaraOswald Tue 15-Oct-13 19:50:38

My two are 99% housecats, only going outside in summer when both DH and I are in the back garden. We only started that when they were 5 and they are 10 now. They'll sniff around, swear at the neighbours dogs and then go inside and sunbathe in the kitchen.

Mine are brother and sister twins who have always got on very well after being neutered early. They are happy to share almost everything and most evenings one or other or both end up draped across me.

I am always secure in the knowledge that they are safe and they have toys out all the time, they have the run of the house during the daytime and usually find their own little corners to curl up in which are ever changing.

daisywaisydoo Tue 15-Oct-13 19:52:09

ClaraOswald that's what I'd love. I wish I'd never caved in and let mine out sad

BonaDea Tue 15-Oct-13 19:52:36

I think it's cruel unless you are home most of the time AND willing to play.

If you live near a very busy road, don't get a cat. Simple.

Out neighbours have two house cats and I think it's awful. Like caged birds. hmm

Daisy you're wrong about older cats and children. The beauty of getting an older rescue cat is that you know exactly what sort of temperament you're getting. The rescue will know whether a particular cat will be good with children or not and will be able to match you with the right cat.

ZebraOwl Tue 15-Oct-13 19:52:49

Golly. Quoted. Get me wink

My two cats are indoor cats. Because they put their paws down quite firmly on that one. (Blond!cat ended up outside last week & scared himself daft...) The vet told me it would be cruel to keep trying to persuade them they would like to play outside & that with enough space & stimulation cats can live perfectly happy & fulfilled lives as indoor animals.

As the others have said there are cats who absolutely HAVE to have an indoor home (eg blind/deaf/FIV+) & lots of others for whom it would be preferable. Lots of these cats are generally harder to home, so giving them a new home would be the very antithesis of "cruel".

Surely it is crueller to risk cats' lives on the verybusyroad if it is possible to avoid it?

KepekCrumbs Tue 15-Oct-13 19:55:55

I have a foster family who aren't allowed out. Have you thought of fostering a litter before you decide about your next cat?

Bona There are many, many older cats in rescues that really couldn't care less about going out. I've got quite a few of them myself. Even though they have a cat flap a good few of them never bother to venture outside. These cats are hard to home and are taking up space in rescue centres. If people were to home them to an indoor home the cat would be very happy and the rescue would have more space to take in more needy cases. I don't see how that could possibly be a bad thing.

Fluffycloudland77 Tue 15-Oct-13 20:06:21

I think if its the cats choice then no. We had a chinchilla who if taken out would run up the garden straight away. She just wasn't interested.

The ones we had from kittens did go out, we tried keeping them as indoor cats on the breeders advice but it made them miserable and the relationship between the two broke down completely.

Like TCN says there's so many older cats out there looking for a home who'd be happy to be a house cat. You could get two. Or three.

Greydog Tue 15-Oct-13 20:09:49

our much loved cat was a house cat. She hated - and refused to go out! She would occasionally stroll out into our little back yard, where she was surrounded by high walls and felt safe, but the only time she got out she ran back in and never tried again. So some cats are really happy, and it depends on the cat. Nothing like caged birds.

daisywaisydoo Tue 15-Oct-13 20:10:21

I'll look into rescue cats smile I think there's a rescue place not far from me.

Snog Tue 15-Oct-13 20:12:08

I have an older, rescue cat, who simply doesn't want to go outside. But she loves her indoor cat grass!! I think it depends on the cat.
If you live near a busy road it seems only fair to choose a cat that doesn't want to go outside.

Ooh see if they have a website daisy. i love looking at the cats that are up for adoption. Even though Sparkling Cat maintains she needs to be an 'only cat'.

usualsuspect Tue 15-Oct-13 20:18:27

My cat never ventures any further than the back garden.

He doesn't go out of the house at all if it's cold grin

PrincessFlirtyPants Tue 15-Oct-13 20:19:03

I have an indoor cat, when she was a kitten she refused to go out. When we open the front door she runs in the opposite direction, it would be a full on fight that I would lose to get her to go outside. I would never force her.

Fluffycloudland77 Tue 15-Oct-13 20:21:51

At least with house cats you can go out for the day knowing your cat isn't bullying next doors rather adorable tortie, or the little tortie from over the fence or the old tabby from up the road.

boofted Tue 15-Oct-13 20:36:46

We have 3 indoor cats and they are extremely happy and affectionate. One of them sleeps with me every night with his head on the pillow and his body under the duvet. 2 have never even tried to venture out and one goes out to chase off the cat that lives in our garden. He comes running back in all bushy pretty swiftly.

daisywaisydoo Tue 15-Oct-13 22:11:24

Good news!! grin

Checked the rescue website and RSPCA and both mention being reluctant/refusing to rehome near main roads, which counts me out.

Had a browse on preloved and found 2 cats that must be rehomed together, 4yrs old, in the next town from me.



McFox Tue 15-Oct-13 22:15:14

Oh no, that's horrible, sorry.

My cat hates going out and hasn't done for years. She could if she wanted, but she just isn't interested. Each cat is different I suppose.

CatOfTheDay Tue 15-Oct-13 22:26:47

We have 9 housecats! We have a big house, and several scratching posts/high shelves etc, and they have the run of 3 floors.

The only one bothered about going out is the one that never can - the 9 year old deaf boy who styles himself as a hard alleycat (but the 3 time he's escaped he's always ran into trouble with neighbour's cats and dogs... ) He's quite happily sitting on my head at the moment though, giving me a stiff neck.

I tried to let elderly cat out when she was younger but she kept running back in again, and the rest aren't bothered!

Our new two year old rescue cat comes out with me when I take the bins out, but follows me straight back in again.

Fluffycloudland77 Tue 15-Oct-13 22:31:08

Your cats are gorgeous catoftheday

CatOfTheDay Tue 15-Oct-13 22:35:51

They are aren't they! smile (biased!)

That's great Daisy. Why are they looking for a new home?

If that doesn't work out (maybe they've already been homed or something) then contact the rescues anyway(regardless of what it says about roads) and ask about house cats. All rescues have them (I'm fairly sure) and of course roads won't be relevant for them.

YY the busy road may count you out at Rescues but you could always ask if they have any indoor cats.

This thread has made me quite sad. It is cruel to keep a cat indoors. They are hunters, they like to roam, they like to explore different scents, they like to be independent. Did no one see the documentary 'the secret life of the cat?' some cats walk for miles.

I agree that FIV, blind, deaf cats should be indoors, and some cats may choose to stay indoors, and some elderly (15+) cats may be happy with a warm spot by the window.

But the vast majority of cats want to be outside, they should not be denied the choice.

The answer is simple, if you live near a main road, do not get a cat.

Greydog Wed 16-Oct-13 10:44:07

The clue in this, Noits - the word SOME cats. It's really very easy. Find a cat that stays in, as we did. She was terrified of going out, and it would have been beyond cruel to throw her out to be a hunter. She would have been dead by the end of the night. So if you live near a main road - get a house cat.

Some people have to keep their cats in when they don't want to due to the neighbours and cat poo on the lawn malarkey. sad

My neighbour has 4 cats and they have a catflap but just pop out for a wee etc. They are always in otherwise.

Every cat is different I guess.

curlew Wed 16-Oct-13 10:52:37


If you can't let a cat lead a proper cat life, then don't have a cat.

LaRegina Wed 16-Oct-13 10:53:32

Yes I would assume housecats are cruel - surely that's why people keep them in? confused

LeGavrOrf Wed 16-Oct-13 10:56:57

I think some older cats are real house cats. I second getting a cat from a rescue, as hopefully you will be able to find one which has spent his life indoors and will be used to staying in.

I don't think it's cruel at all.

And as cute as kittens are, they are a complete sodding pain in the arse for about 6 months, running about being annoying. Cats are a lot more soothing company (obviously if you pick one with the right temperament) and would fit in more easily with a family I think.

Greydog Wed 16-Oct-13 10:58:12

But what is a "proper" cat life? Do all cats want to be out in all weathers, always? Not all cats do, and some cats just to stay in all day, every day. Like people really. Some like to be out, and others don't

LateForMyOwnLife Wed 16-Oct-13 10:59:17

We had two rescues - my boy did go out, but never ventured far and would have been fine as a house cat - we think he's had a hard life as a stray and enjoyed his home comforts.

DH's girl on the other hand loved being outside - when we were trying to keep her in for the first few weeks of having her she used to jump out of the bathroom window onto the flat roof to get outside.

It is entirely dependant upon their personalities I think.

tryingtokeeppositive Wed 16-Oct-13 11:05:19

We have 3 house cats - they love it. Occasional mooch in the garden but otherwise completely uninterested. Our vet says keeping cats in is the sensible thing to do these days, but we just let them do what they want, which happens to be staying in.

Yes as I said ok for some cats, but not the majority and definitely not kittens.

It just makes me sad when people in flats have young cats or people don't let them out because they are 'valuable'

I agree a cat who has always lived indoors may not want to go out, but given the opportunity it would most likely want to. And the argument of well they don't know any different is just wrong.

Some cats would enjoy an indoor life but it is important to provide lots of space, stimulation, a variety of sleeping places and company.

curlew Wed 16-Oct-13 11:41:38

"but we just let them do what they want, which happens to be staying in."

That's not a house cat. That's a cat that likes spending most of it's time in the house. Very, very different.

If we lived in a perfect world, where only cats that were 'wanted' were born, and rescue centres weren't stuffed full to bursting, and thousands of cats were not being put down every day because there are simply not enough homes to go round, then I would probably agree that only people who can offer 'perfect' homes should have them.

However we don't live in that world. At the moment far, far too many cats are being born for the number of homes available. So the choice for many cats is to be adopted to a perhaps less than perfect home, or to be put down. (Or, in 'no kill' centres, what it means is that these cats are taking up space and so the rescue has to say no to other desperate animals which probably then go on to die on the streets).

In that case if you have a home to offer to a cat, then as long as you are not paying someone to have bred that cat, and you take one from a rescue, then you are helping that cat and the other needy cats in the country as well. The important thing is to find a cat that won't mind being inside.

Adopting a cat in that situation is being kind, not cruel.

catameringue Wed 16-Oct-13 22:00:47

Oh dear.

It's not 'cruel keep domestic cats (aka the pet cat) safe indoors, in the same way it is not cruel to keep a dog under constant supervision, a rabbit in a hutch, a cow in a field, and any other animal that is not wild.
All of these constraints could be cruel if they were abusive, like battery hens or not exercising pets etc.

Look up the word 'domestic'.

Ok now, consider why no one lets any other pets, like dogs, out unsupervised. Dogs hunt, so surely its unfair to stop them killing things by that argument?

Then lets consider what makes a pet happy. I think avoiding harm is quite high up that list.

Then Google information on the impact of domestic cats on local wildlife populations. What's more cruel - preventing a cat from killing or letting mice, voles, rabbits, birds etc die a slow and painful death at the paws of millions of cats?

Op, taking in two cats sounds lovely, good luck to you. Please the ignorant comments.

curlew Thu 17-Oct-13 08:11:43

"Then lets consider what makes a pet happy. I think avoiding harm is quite high up that list."

No it isn't. Because animals don't have that level of thought. A cat crying at a window to get out can't think "I'm kept in here because there's a busy road out there and I might get hurt". All it can feel is the instinctive drive to roam, to hunt, to explore.

There is nothing wrong, obviously, with a cat that chooses to stay inside. Many do. But to impose an inside life on a cat is cruel. And selfish.

boofted Thu 17-Oct-13 19:52:28

Totally agree with catameringue

catameringue Thu 17-Oct-13 23:59:00

So curlew you think curbing the 'natural instincts' of anything is cruel?

Let's decriminalise murder then, assault in general. Stop medicating schizophrenia. Some people have an instinct to want several wives on the go so you must be in favour of that. I'm also experiencing a strong natural instinct to want to slap some intelligence into you so I'm sure you'll oblige me.

Let's all do what we instinctively want to do tomorrow shall we, and see where Chairman Curlew's bonkers theory gets us.

expatinscotland Fri 18-Oct-13 00:10:38

'It just makes me sad when people in flats have young cats or people don't let them out because they are 'valuable''

So if you're too poor to have a house with a garden not on a busy road, no cat for you! Better they get put down then.

Hhaha, yeah, my kittens are so unhappy in this flat.
Tell that to Zazzles who is currently asleep on my neck,, and Matilda who is on my pillow.
Eponine and Jemima are on DD's bed.

Honestly, I get that people care about animals, but on MN they just end up being weird.

catameringue Fri 18-Oct-13 00:36:55

"No it isn't. Because animals don't have that level of thought."

So, if beings have unsophisticated thoughts with little comprehension of the world one should embrace that?

I presume therefore you let your toddler out at night unsupervised to let it respond to its' basal instincts. Enforcing rules, schooling and discipline - none of that featured then.

CanucksoontobeinLondon Fri 18-Oct-13 03:33:42

My two boys have lived all their lives inside. Initially with their old owner who lived in a flat, and now with us in a house. One of them is mildly curious about "out there" but the other wants no part of it. If you get a kitten it will grow up never knowing any different. Or if you go for a rescue, ask them for an indoor cat. They're likely to have quite a few possibilities. Plenty of people live in flats, and sometimes they have to give up their pets. Or they die. Lots of elderly people with house cats living in flats who die and then their families either won't or can't take in their kitties.

And I'm really sorry for your loss.

TotallyBenHanscom Fri 18-Oct-13 03:57:32

It would be cruel to send an indoorsy cat out, and cruel to keep an outdoorsy cat in. As an owner of <ahem> some cats, I totally agree that it depends on the nature of the cat.

Our most adventurous cat likes nothing more than waving around in the top of the highest trees, and the quietest one will fix you with an Alan Rickman stare if you dare suggest he moves from the sofa.

curlew Fri 18-Oct-13 06:20:47

Catameringue- I can only presume you were posting under the influence of catnip.......

GillyBillyWilly Fri 18-Oct-13 06:37:16

I have 2 cats smile

The first one I found when he was only a few weeks old.... Someone put him in a plastic bag, tied it up and put it near some bins near my flat angry

I found him and moved him in with me but I lived in a small flat so he never went outside. About 6-9 months later I moved back in with my parents who have a massive house and garden.... He had plenty of opportunities to go outside but never wanted to and would prefer to stay indoors.

When I moved to London I took him with me and he became anxious and started overgrooming.... I think it was the stress of moving and new surroundings.... After trying all sorts of things the vet suggested we get another cat so they could be friends and have company!

So we got a kitten from a rescue centre and they are best of friends now!

Both house cats.... I didn't really know how to have 1 house cat and 1 outdoors cat so they are both house cats.

They are happy and lovely and I love them! smile

GillyBillyWilly Fri 18-Oct-13 06:47:05

I might add that we actually have a cat flap at the back of our house that the previous owners fitted and our cats refuse to go anywhere near it!
I think they are more than happy being indoor cats.

Some cats, however, would go absolutely nuts if you even attempted to keep them indoors so.... Every cat is different and it's about what works for you and your cat(s).

GillyBillyWilly Fri 18-Oct-13 06:50:25

I'm also assuming that by asking "are house cats cruel?" you actually mean "is it cruel to have house cats?"

Or are you actually wondering if house cats are cruel and spend their time plotting against you and planning on taking over the world?

catameringue Fri 18-Oct-13 08:53:03

And curlew I have already presumed that you are utilising Broadmoor's wifi access.

GillyBillyWilly Fri 18-Oct-13 09:03:21


boofted Fri 18-Oct-13 20:00:53


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