Victoria, British Columbia

The Debate on Inside Only Cats

Many people think it is cruel to have an inside only cat. There is nothing further from the truth. It is proven that you will have a healthier and happier pet if you keep your pet inside. We have domesticated these animals, and given the proper care, attention and stimulation in the home they can lead a much healthier life without any aspiration to go outside. Just provide lots of play time and stimulation for your cat with a nice window to look out of and they will be “purrrfectly” happy. There are great alternatives to letting them run free outside. Check out my cat run that provides them with access to the outside where they can lay in the sun, catch bugs (and even birds sometimes to my dismay !) but they are safe !
 
Inside Cats:

  • have a life span of 12 – 20 years
  • are not exposed to disease
  • will not get abscesses from fighting neighborhood strays
  • will not be threatened by dogs or wildlife
  • will not suffer injury or amputation from leg hold traps
  • will not suffer from frost bite
  • will not be hit by cars
  • will not get lost
  • will never go hungry
  • cannot be abused by strangers
  • are safe from chemicals and fertilizers
  • cannot be stolen
  • are happy living indoors

 
Outside Cats:

  • have a life span of only 1 – 5 years
  • will be exposed to leukemia, kitty AIDS, parasites, etc.]
  • will fight – causing expensive vet bills
  • are maimed or killed by dogs and predators can get caught in leg hold traps
  • do suffer from frost bite
  • are hit by cars and injured or killed
  • do stray from home and get lost
  • can die from starvation
  • are abused by strangers
  • are exposed to toxic lawn antifreeze
  • are stolen
  • breed, if not neutered or spayed, and add to pet overpopulation

 
The Choice Is Obvious  For some reason people think it is “cruel” to not let their cat out doors to run free.    Yes, it is true that it would be more “fun” for your cat to be able to run free in the streets, but just because it would be more fun for them does that mean you should let them do that ?Would you let your dog or child run free in the streets and hope they don’t get hit by a car or get attacked by a predator, or get into something that could hurt them, and pray that they come home each night ?  No of course not !  So why do people think that it is necessary to let their cat take risks when it is proven that they will be much healthier and safer inside.  It’s a common belief that cats should be outdoors. Nothing could be further from the truth. Outdoor cats are exposed to threats of all types, including being hit by cars, attacked by other animals, ingesting poison such as antifreeze, and even attacks by people. They are also exposed to diseases and parasites. Outdoor cats live only a few years, compared to indoor cats which can easily live a contented, full life into their teens. Many indoor cats even live into their twenties!There are few things more distressing than listening to a well-meaning cat owner who have just lost their beloved pet (run over by a car, killed by another animal or person). They let their cat outside because the cat “really wanted to go” and they “didn’t have the heart to keep them inside”. … But you’re not doing your cat a favor by letting him or her outside. They will be much safer and happier indoors.  Help Your Cat Adjust to Being Indoors By …

Purchasing toys and catnip. This will help to distract your feline from the lure of the outdoors. Play with your cat and make indoors seem like a happy place. He may cry to go out, but do not give in.

Get a litter box, if you don’t already have one. Outdoor cats may be used to digging in the dirt to do their business. Help your cat by gathering some dirt or sand from your yard and putting a few inches in the litter box. Place the litter box in an easily accessible spot. Gradually mix the dirt with kitty litter. You eventually want to be using kitty litter only.Note: Be sure to clean the litter box daily. Cats are naturally clean creatures, and you want to encourage them to use the litter box. If it’s too dirty, your cat may decide to go elsewhere in the house (uh oh!).

Think about introducing a harness or outdoor enclosure. Cats can be quite content outside on a harness and a leash, basking in the sun. Do not use a collar; cats are clever little escape artists and may slip free. Outdoor enclosures that are closed on all sides as well as on top are another alternative. If you live in a remote area, you should keep an eye out for your cat as wild animals may attempt to break in.

Be alert! Your crafty cat may try to sneak by you whenever someone opens the door. Keep an eye out.

Make sure your cat has permanent identification. Hopefully you’ll never have to use their ID, but just in case, be sure your cat is wearing an ID tag (with the most up-to-date information on file), a tattoo, and/or a microchip.

Be patient! It can take a while for both you and your cat to adjust to his new indoor life. He may yowl at the door to go outside, but be firm.
It’s well worth the effort to reform an outdoor cat to the indoors. Your cat will lead a much safer, longer, and happier life with you.Following are some of the reasons people have provided for allowing their cat to be outdoors without their supervision, along with our comments and suggestions.   ”I have a six-foot fence.”Unless you have special fencing that’s designed to prevent a cat from climbing out, your cat will be able to scale your fence and escape the confines of your yard. Even if you do have special fencing, you need to make sure that it can keep other cats or animals from getting into your yard to get to your cat.“My last cat went outdoors and he loved it.”Your cat may enjoy being outdoors, but by allowing him to go outside, unsupervised, you’re putting him at risk and shortening his life span. Most cats that are allowed to roam outdoors usually don’t live for more than a few years. Cats who live strictly indoors can live up to 18 – 20 years of age.“My cat’s litter box smells.”Scoop your cat’s litter box on a daily basis. How often you change the litter depends on the number of cats in your home, the number of litter boxes, and the type of litter you use. Twice a week is a general guideline for clay litter.  Wash the litter box with soap and water every time you change the litter. Don’t use strong smelling chemicals or cleaning products when washing the litter box, as it may cause your cat to avoid it.   ”My cat likes to sun herself.”Your cat can sun herself by any window indoors. If you’re really set on letting your cat sun herself outdoors, put her on a harness and leash and stay with her while she’s taking in the rays.“I can’t keep him in.” Keep your windows closed or put in screens. Remember to always keep your doors closed and teach your children the importance of keeping the doors closed, too. It may take a few days or a few weeks, but if there are enough interesting things for your cat to play with indoors, he’ll come to enjoy being indoors. Be sure to provide him with a scratching post and safe toys to bat or carry around.“We’ve always let her out.”You can change your cat’s behavior. It will take time and patience, but it might save her life. When you implement your “closed door” policy, give her a lot of extra attention and entertainment. At first she may cry, but don’t give in. Soon she’ll be happy to stay indoors with you.“My cat knows to avoid cars.”Even if this were true, all it would take is another car, a dog or a shiny object to lure your cat into the street and into the path of traffic. Also keep in mind that some people may not swerve to miss a cat in the road.  “My cat needs exercise and likes to play with other cats.”Stray cats are likely to spread viruses like feline leukemia and other fatal diseases. If your cat needs a friend, adopt another cat that’s healthy and disease-free.“My cat yowls and acts likes he really needs to go outside.”Your cat may be feeling the physiological need to mate. If this is the case, make sure your cat is neutered (males) or spayed (females). Sterilized cats don’t have the natural need to breed, and therefore, won’t be anxious to go out to find a mate.