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Letting cats go outside -yay or nay?

(42 Posts)
DefinitelyOdd Tue 23-Aug-16 13:33:59

So I have two cats. A four year old stray girl and a 14 month old rescue boy. Since I have had them, my living circumstances have prevented me from letting them out (lived in a flat then on a horribly busy road). But now we have moved to a small village and I am starting to think about letting them out .

My boyfriend is adamant that they should stay inside as this is all they have known and are happy but i cant seem to make a firm decision.

Any advice? Or can someone just make the decision for me please.

FuzzyWizard Tue 23-Aug-16 13:48:16

I'll follow this with interest. I've always had indoor cats before- indoor cats tend to live longer as they avoid so many of the dangers that kill cats or make them unwell (poisons, road accidents, fights with other cats, FIV, much less likely to get fleas and ticks). In the UK keeping cats indoors seems to be quite uncommon though and the RSPCA recommend letting cats outdoors. I've just adopted a cat who had been indoor/outdoor in the past though and we were planning on letting her out once she's settled in. She has however shown zero interest in going outdoors so far. She's only been here for a week and a half though so couldn't go out yet anyway but I was expecting keeping her in to be more of an effort. She's going to the vet tomorrow so I'll have a chat to them then about it but I am now thinking about keeping her as indoor only.

BertrandRussell Tue 23-Aug-16 13:51:51

Cats should always be able to go outside- that's the sort of animal they are.

NoFuchsGiven Tue 23-Aug-16 13:54:31

I have never had an indoor cat, to me it seems cruel. my boy would be seriously miserable if I kept him in, We moved 3 weeks ago and the longest I could keep him in for was 5 days when we first got here.

CatsTats Tue 23-Aug-16 13:56:06

My 2 started off as house cats, then a window got left opened by accident and BCat got out. They've been going out ever since. BCat just sits on the garden wall and GCat just eats the grass in the garden.

DubiousCredentials Tue 23-Aug-16 14:00:46

Personally I can't imagine not letting a cat outdoors. I love that our cat is essentially free range and comes and goes as she pleases. We are in a village location and our garden backs on to fields so I think she has a wonderful life. I tend to see it as quality of life over quantity.

In your situation though your cats might not want to go outside if they are used to being indoors, but I do think you should give them the opportunity.

Icequeen01 Tue 23-Aug-16 14:19:11

I'm another one that feels cats should be able to go outside. I would just leave a door or window open and let them decide for themselves. I know someone who has two rescue cats, a mum and daughter, and he can leave his patio doors open and the cats just sit at the open door taking in the fresh air but have never shown any interest in going any further.

FuzzyWizard Tue 23-Aug-16 14:25:37

I think it's interesting that keeping cats indoors here in the UK is seen as cruel. Jackson Galaxy is strongly against free-roaming cats and he doesn't seem like someone who would be cruel to his animals. I might invest in a leash, and if she likes it outdoors and I'm feeling flush a Catio so that she can get a bit of outdoors time safely.

PinkSparklyPussyCat Tue 23-Aug-16 14:27:39

My cat has always been able to go outside but we are going to be cat proofing in the next couple of weeks so he will be confined to the back garden.

I think it really depends on the circumstances as to whether a cat goes out and I believe they can live a happy life indoors, FIV+ cats for example. In your situation I would try letting them out. You may find they aren't interested after being indoor only cats.

Deianira Tue 23-Aug-16 14:28:59

Mine has always been in/out - he grew up in the countryside, where he was often away for days at a time. Since moving to a town, he's a lot closer to home, tending to be mostly in our garden or the neighbours' gardens, because he isn't a big fan of the road or the cats who live on the other side of it. Even so, though, unless it's raining hard or very very windy, he's out at least half of the day (more like 20 hours a day in good weather) sleeping in the garden or running about chasing bugs. When we moved, keeping him in was an absolute nightmare, and he was clearly very unhappy - I wouldn't want to have him live like that. Plus even the move away from the countryside means that he is more obviously bored more often because he can't amuse himself as well - I think if you do decide to keep cats in, you really have to also be willing to actively find ways to help them play and hunt and so on inside, which some people do.

Greydog Tue 23-Aug-16 14:30:25

I had an indoor cat. She liked going out into our small, walled yard but go out into the open front garden would make her panic and cry. So, she stayed in, and was very happy to do so. Depends on the cat

Deianira Tue 23-Aug-16 14:30:50

That should be 'some people don't' at the end there...

cozietoesie Tue 23-Aug-16 14:33:00

Seniorboy has always been an indoor cat - he went a-wandering at my mother's place for 20 seconds in about 1997 apparently and he went out of the front door here about three years ago and was quickly returned by a passing group of Japanese students. (He was frozen in fear in next door's garden.)

My mother decided to have him as an indoor lad after losing 5 or 6 cats in quick succession to cars on the quiet country road outside her house. I didn't disturb that approach.

eddiemairswife Tue 23-Aug-16 14:36:33

14 cats during my adult life. All outdoor cats except for the first few weeks. Fortunately I live at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac, so little traffic danger. I hate emptying and cleaning litter trays.

BluishSky Tue 23-Aug-16 14:39:48

Get some cat fencing. Outside, but safe.

Titflaps Tue 23-Aug-16 14:43:44

I have house cats. One has epilepsy and her sister stays in too. Both have a mooch in the garden in the summer but the people who lived in our house previously had a cat killed by a dog in the garden 2 doors up. They're safe, warm, fed and loved.

Archfarchnad Tue 23-Aug-16 14:45:52

"Jackson Galaxy is strongly against free-roaming cats and he doesn't seem like someone who would be cruel to his animals." I know, it's one of the few things he says that has me rolling my eyeballs. BUT, and a big but, the American countryside is also a lot more dangerous than the UK - mountain lions, bears, snakes and other cat killers.

I think all those indoor cats are responsible for a lot of the behavioural problems Galaxy has to deal with - cats not getting enough opportunity to get rid of surplus energy in hunting-type activities turn against their 'guardians'.

I think if cats have never known anything but the indoors they can tolerate it because they don't know what they're missing. But it's very cruel to a cat who knows and loves the outdoors - Archcat doesn't go far but he absolutely insists on his right to go outside. At night when we keep him in, mainly because of the danger from cars, he's absolutely obsessed with devising ways of slipping through doors and windows. If that were all the time he would be hugely frustrated.

FuzzyWizard Tue 23-Aug-16 14:59:19

I agree that keeping a cat in that clearly wants to go out and likes the outdoors wouldn't be right. Having said that I don't think in the OP's situation I would be rushing to let adult cats, used to and happy with an indoor life, outdoors with all the attendant risks.

happyvalley4 Tue 23-Aug-16 15:10:34

You should let them go outdoors if they want to. Fitting a cat flap is a good option because they can then come and go as they please.

Don't force them outside and don't shut them out - if they're out, make sure they can always get back in.

I'd like to add that you should get them microchipped before you let them out in case they get lost. And have them neutered ( if not already done). You will also need to get them wormed and be aware they can pick up fleas and ticks when outside so you'll need to treat them for this.

It's also a good idea to let them out before a meal and then they'll come back for their food.

IMHO cats should never be house cats. They're free spirits and need to be able to go out and explore. I'd also like to add that I've never lived near a main road because I don't want my cats getting run over. But if that was my only option Id rather they had a shorter fulfilled life than a longer boring one.

Good luck!

DefinitelyOdd Tue 23-Aug-16 15:13:58

Ok I have put my big girl knickers on and opened the back door. The smallest one has just wandered back to his windowsill seat and gone to sleep and the big girl sniffed, had a little sniff and then came back to sit and snooze.

Bit of an anti clinax really, wasnt it?

DefinitelyOdd Tue 23-Aug-16 15:15:58

Oh and they are all jabbed, neutered, flea pilled and wormed.

And i have just spent the last hour trying to update their details with petlog. Which are finally correct.

qazxc Tue 23-Aug-16 15:17:04

My 2 rescue cats have gone from semi feral to indoor cats, but it was their choice. Even now if they wanted out they could quite easily jump out of a window or go out the door when we do. They just genuinely seem quite happy to sit on window sill and not go outside.

Fluffycloudland77 Tue 23-Aug-16 15:20:21

If there happy indoors I'd probably leave them be because they might not have street smarts.

One of ours was indoors by choice.

FuzzyWizard Tue 23-Aug-16 15:22:21

Haha! My mum's indoor cats are like that. Even if the back door is open they wouldn't be interested. One cat that they had before would occasionally venture onto the patio for 5 mins and then come back in.

crayfish Tue 23-Aug-16 15:28:12

I technically have indoor cats but they have a large outdoor run which they can access from the house and come and go into as they please. They had spent 7 years purely indoors in my flat and showed no interest in going out, but when I moved into my house they did so we built the run. The love it and I think it's a good compromise for cats with no road sense or who aren't used to going out.

My cats are bengals and the breeder explicitly requests that you don't let them out. No idea why, maybe so they don't randomly breed with other cats? But I would just do what was best for mine.

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