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Indoor vs. Outdoor cats

(42 Posts)
goodbyemog Thu 28-May-20 17:21:27

We lost our beloved cat at age 8 this week and I'm just bereft. She had always had access to the outdoors via a cat flap. We moved recently out of London and the fast country roads proved too much for her. Have you had an outdoor cat die of natural causes? I'm beginning to wonder if I should try and keep our remaining cat inside. But would it be kind? Are they better off living a fuller life outside?

OP’s posts: |
Fluffycloudland77 Thu 28-May-20 19:34:37

I’m sorry you lost him like that, 8 is no age.

I think cat proof garden is the way to go, or an enclosures if your gardens huge.

I lost mine on the road too after moving here because it was so safe. I know how much it hurts to lose them that way.

It very slowly gets easier to live with. For a long time it feels like it won’t.

goodbyemog Thu 28-May-20 19:39:27

Our garden is too big to be cat proofed. Maybe an enclosure? But the kids are forever running in and out. I'm not sure how it would work but I want to try something.

OP’s posts: |
goodbyemog Thu 28-May-20 19:40:22

Taken last night. 😔

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Allergictoironing Thu 28-May-20 19:40:27

You will find some people coming on here and saying no cat should ever be kept indoors, they should all be let to roam as they wish. Then you will get some who think that letting them roam is just asking for an early death (that tends to be the view in many countries such as the USA and Australia).

However it very much depends on the individual cat imo, and how it's been brought up. I have 2 indoor only cats, it was one of the conditions of adoption from the rescue as the fear was that as they had spent the first year of their lives feral, they may turn feral again if let out. We have since discovered that Boycat is possibly not all there, and would probably not cope anyway!

In your case however, your remaining cat has learned about life outdoors and presumably enjoys it, so it may well be unhappy if kept in the house 24/7. If at all possible, probably the best compromise in your case is see if the garden can be cat proofed, or maybe a giant "catio" built that encompasses part of the garden?

You should also consider only letting him/her out during the day, as there's more chance of being hit by a car at night.

Allergictoironing Thu 28-May-20 19:43:23

Ah XPost.

You could still do the giant Catio thing, maybe not attached to the door the children use? ISTR a Jackson Galaxy episode where the owners put a cat flap in a window and built a boxed walkway into their outdoor enclosure?

goodbyemog Thu 28-May-20 19:43:31

We did keep them in at night. She was killed in broad daylight at 3pm. Somehow that makes it harder? In all other directions is open countryside. I just thought she would be deterred by the sound of the road. She did fine for 7 years in London but I suppose the traffic was much slower.

OP’s posts: |
goodbyemog Thu 28-May-20 19:45:28

The cat flap in the window leading to the catio sounds interesting. The way our house is we won't be able to even open a window. Even from upstairs he gets on the roof and then down the wisteria or fence. Maybe it's just not practical. The whole thing has made me hate this house.

OP’s posts: |
TippingTulips Thu 28-May-20 19:57:11

If the other cat is used to going outside, then it's likely that that cat will get distressed of you stop it going out, so I'd say let that one continue.

Then, if you ever decide to get cats again post the remaining cat, I'd recommend getting a pair of kittens to raise as house cats. That way they won't be bored as they'll have each other, and they'll have a longer expected lifespan (an average outdoor cat lives 2-5 years). Worked well for us.

Sending hugs, losing a cat is awful flowers

Allergictoironing Thu 28-May-20 20:46:26

The way our house is we won't be able to even open a window.

For window opening, I use Flat Cats, lets in breezes, keeps most insects out & keeps cats IN.

Fluffycloudland77 Thu 28-May-20 21:05:29

She’s beautiful, what breed is she?. Country lanes can be more dangerous, especially now electric cars are around. The locals always drive so fast as well.

I was going to say flat cats as well for the windows, added bonus of keeping out moths.

Humans are very creative and you’ll be able to find a solution. Where’s there’s a will there’s a way & you have the incentive.

Dog enclosures might be a cheaper option and you can buy them online. Don’t forget flaps can go through walls too.

Cattery pens aren’t complicated in their construction & you can paint them to match the house, put pots of catnip in there, hammocks, scratch posts, raised beds of turf, bird feeder right by the pen.

Cheesypea Thu 28-May-20 21:14:16

Our lovely cat was killed (possibly by young foxes) last week. He was a free sprit was a stray and neutered late. Keeping him inside just wasnt an option. I really dont know opflowers

goodbyemog Thu 28-May-20 21:15:42

The flat cat solution is ace - thank you. Realistically I'm trying to figure out how on Earth I'm going to make it work but I have to do something. I just can't lose the other one. We live in a relatively big house in the countryside with double doors that lead off the play room/dining room/kitchen. In the summer all those doors are generally open because we have 4 kids, 2 of which are under 6 that come and go all day in the garden. Realistically I'd have to confine him to one room with the door shut. And is that really fair on him? I just don't know.

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Toddlerteaplease Thu 28-May-20 21:20:27

I have two very happy indoor cats. They go into the garden, and through a hole in the fence to next door. But don't care if they go out or not. Much of the time the door is open but they are in. I'm much more relaxed knowing where they are. As I live near a busy road. However they are a breed suited to being indoors. And would probably be stolen if given free reign!

Toddlerteaplease Thu 28-May-20 21:21:12

Was also just about to suggest flat cats as well.

JacobReesMogadishu Thu 28-May-20 21:27:17

If your garden is massive could you have a fence put in sectioning part of it off near the house and the cat proof that smaller section? Then a gate in the fence to the rest of the garden?

Or you accept the risk and hope future cats if they are used to the faster roads from the start are ok? I live on a village main rd, 40mph speed limit. Lived here for 20 years and always had 2cats. One cat was run over on the road, other cat lived Until 16yo and died of old age, other cat is still alive and is 12yo.

Also have a house cat, a pedigree. He is desperate to go outside. He sits by the back door and cries. We’re going to look at getting the garden cat proofed.

cushioncovers Thu 28-May-20 21:29:15

Ah op I'm so sorry for your loss thanks

Fluffycloudland77 Thu 28-May-20 21:35:14

I think lockdown taught us being indoors with no fresh air is miserable.

If the door won’t work you’ve still got windows or walls to put a flap into.

It doesn’t have to open off a main room like the kitchen, he could have a flap from the dining room

Instagram would have lots of ideas.

Lonecatwithkitten Fri 29-May-20 07:53:08

I am so sorry for your loss, but she looks like it was an instantaneous death probably a head injury. thanks
The lockdown has actually increased the risk to cats. Roads have been much quieter and so cats have crossed roads the would otherwise have found to busy so their territory has increased as the weather got warmer. However, no one told cats that we are moving gradually back to business as usual so their territories are now cross increasingly busy roads. We did not have a single RTA from the start of lockdown till two weeks ago when the roads started getting busier.
Though in 22 years experience very busy main roads the majority of cats will not attempt to cross, it is the country road that occasionally a single car comes down fast that is the greatest risk to cats and this where most fatal RTAs happen.

goodbyemog Fri 29-May-20 09:38:13

I think your theory @Lonecatwithkitten is probably right. We moved here over winter and it only warmed up as lockdown started and the road was very quiet for weeks. She was a prolific hunter and the rabbits all seem to live down near the road. She didn't come back for 24 hours a few days ago which she's never done. She then came back at 1am howling the place down. I think she got stuck on the other side of the road and waited until the traffic died down but then why did she try and cross in the middle of the day? I know I'll never have answers but I'm just so upset. She used to follow us for bike rides down the bridal way. She walked the kids to school. And now she's gone.

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Lonecatwithkitten Fri 29-May-20 10:08:23

@goodbyemog they all leave paw prints on your heart, mine is covered even by the unowned cats who don't make it. I lost one last week several of us sobbed and have her little tabby paw print on our heart.

goodbyemog Fri 29-May-20 10:40:44

She was an Abyssinian for whoever asked upthread.

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krispycreme Fri 29-May-20 11:34:38

So sorry op. We had a pair of kittens, raised indoors - died of old age. DH has a few rescue cats in his childhood and I believe a few were hit. We're now looking to get another pair, we are in the countryside but this post just shows an accident could happen anywhere. We will be adopting so will base our decision on whether the cats are used to be out - and even then I'll be quite strict on timings. If they're not used to going out too much I'll look a getting a cat run or a harness.

FthisS Fri 29-May-20 17:20:27

I have two house cats but they are pedigree ragdolls and honestly wouldn't survive outside they are just too silly. One does walk on the lead but even then we could see a dog snarling in a garden and the cat thinks he can trot on over to say hello. One I bought from kitten (very expensive but she is a registered pedigree) and the older boy I adopted when he was 5, maybe a ragdoll adoption would be an option?

Ozzie9523 Sun 31-May-20 07:53:57

We lost our 3 year old to the road 6 months ago and I’m still heartbroken over it. However, even having been through this, I still let our other two out. We’re semi-detached and we’ve ‘cat proofed’ the side access which makes it more difficult for them to get round to the front which is helping, I now never see them round the front and we’re extra careful when opening the front door. They love the garden and being outside and I can’t and won’t deprive them of that. Would we like to spend 15 years indoors? I’ve had eight cats in my lifetime and they’ve always had a cat flap and free access to the outside and, apart from my beloved Milo, lived to old age so I’m not sure where the ‘average age of an outdoor cat is 2-5 years’ comes from. Anyway OP I am so sorry for your loss, it’s an awful way to lose them x

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