One year ago, my husband, my cat and I made a cross-continental move from Canada to the UK. Two English-speaking countries not too different in terms of mindset, you might think – not much of a change? While that may be true to some extent, when it comes to the indoor versus outdoor cat debate – from what I’ve seen, these two countries couldn’t be more different.
To Canadians, indoor cats are common as muck. I have no idea how many indoor cats vs outdoor cats there are in Canada, maybe close to half-half or tipping into indoor cats being more popular territory, but certainly no Canadian would ever bat an eyelid if you mentioned your cat never steps a foot outside.
Here in the UK, things are quite different. Indoor cats are not unheard of, but it’s an understatement saying they’re uncommon. In fact, I’d venture to say that in this country – if you at all can let your cat out (i.e. aren’t on a very busy street or live on the tenth floor of an apartment building), most believe you absolutely should let your feline out.
Being in the UK, I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that my opinion on indoor cats is totally different from what most around me believe. Being here has made me reassess – to pinpoint exactly why I don’t and can never believe that indoor cats are essentially captives – a line I’ve heard numerous times before (even back in Canada) by people who I just don’t think understand.
Picture from post Cats Can Like Cages
Part I: My Belief That Cats Aren’t as Wild As We Think
As the headline of this section’s said, I don’t believe cats are as “wild” as we think or often suggest they are. Yes, cats can of course hunt for themselves, they are nowhere near as domesticated as dogs in terms of training and breeding – but I don’t know if that’s for any reason besides our obsession with their ever-so-independent personalities. We have cats around because we love the company of cats; we’ve never had them around because we depended on them to do things for us. Historically, we’ve had dogs help us hunt, pull sleds, protect our homes… Have never really had cats for anything besides their company, and a little rodent-control here and there of course.
If we wanted to train cats to hunt for us, I’m sure we could have. Cats really aren’t the most difficult animals in the world to train, though in my opinion people never bothered to try because:
- It was easier to train a dog than a cat &
- Like I said, I think we’ve always been a little obsessed with their independent personalities, so “training”/changing that wasn’t really an idea we really cared to pursue.
If cats aren’t really as wild as we often say, this whole argument about them needing to spend time outdoors because they’re wild animals after all disappears. Which is a silly argument to me anyway, but it has to be addressed nonetheless.
If cats are not particularly wild after all, and are actually pretty domesticated, the issue at hand changes. Instead of it being about the wild thing in your home needing desperately to be free, the issue becomes more a question of whether it’s okay for a domesticated creature to spend his or her life completely indoors, and potentially in the same “small” place (relative to the great outdoors) for all his/her life.
Is it okay for a human person to spend his/her whole life indoors? If there’s no harm in that than certainly there should be no harm to these domesticated felines spending their whole lives indoors either.
Part II: My Belief That There’s No Harm Spending All Your Time Indoors
Here we are at the second part of my equation – I’m the sort of person who absolutely adores being “cooped up indoors.” And no, I don’t see anything wrong with never going out.
Yes, I’m a philistine. Maybe. Who knows. There’s a possibility you agree with me, but it’s unlikely thus far, so I’ll make my case.
Hypothetically speaking – so long as you’ve got plenty of stimulating things to do, get plenty of exercise, and have all other health-related issues staying indoors could mean dealing with completely sorted out – well I don’t think there’s any actual harm in spending all your time indoors.
You may think, “Yes, but it’s not as good a life,” or “Certainly everyone would be better off if we all went outside more!” – but these are silly arguments to make when you take into account just how good we’ve made life indoors for ourselves. If you live in a big city like New York, chances are you get it completely – outdoors definitely isn’t necessary, it’s just an option. If you could imagine Earth’s environment took a turn for the worst and humanity had to build roads and everything else “outside” into sheltered domes so that we quite literally lived all our lives indoors; well this doesn’t sound much like a horror scene; more like a plausible sci fi premise. We’re at most a little deprived when we don’t experience much of the outside world. Like never having the resources or capability to travel or study abroad might make us. We most certainly are not harmed being indoors 24/7 if we have all of our needs and wants taken care of indoors.
This whole, “You haven’t gone out today? That’s crazy!” – in my opinion, has nothing to do with anything besides habit. You’re used to going out. I’m used to staying in. If you can’t imagine your life having stayed indoors for 30 consecutive days, it’s probably just because you’ve never done anything like it before. Or because there aren’t enough interesting things to do in your home. Or enough interesting people.
Imagine you could not leave your home for one full year, but the catch: you had unlimited money and could have over whomever you pleased, could bring into your house whatever you pleased, and could do indoors absolutely anything you wanted. I’d say your experience “trapped” in that house for 365 days would be one heck of a lot better than your experience has ever been going outdoors regularly all your life. At the end of the 365 days, you probably wouldn’t want to leave!
Okay, so we’re fine inside. It’s not a matter of harm or need when it comes to going outside; it’s a matter of the fact that indoors can be “boring” and that going out is stimulating and exciting, more exciting than being indoors usually is. Great, now we know. Are cats different? Seeing as how, as I just explained, I don’t think cats are as wild as we often think and repeat, I don’t think that on this matter things are any different for cats.
It’s a matter of stimulation, and if you can make indoors stimulating like outdoors is, I don’t at all see an issue with spending your entire life (cat or human) indoors.
Part III: My Bias Being Surrounded By Indoor Cats
I’m so incredibly biased about this indoor cat thing, I won’t even try to mask it. There’s no point, it’d be unfair to you and it’d be absurd for me to disguise a bias I so obviously have being completely surrounded by indoor cats.
I have an indoor cat, my mom has an indoor cat because of me, and my brother quite literally adopted his indoor cat “off of me” (i.e. I rescued his cat, introduced them, they fell in love and he took the gorgeous thing in). My friends who have cats are often the kinds of people who never let their cats outdoors, or do on leashes. I’ve been surrounded by indoor cats for a very long time, so my proximity to the issue is quite close.
I firmly believe that people who hate cats just haven’t met many cats at all. How could you hate them if you’ve spent enough time with them? How could you hold a kitten and not be smitten. Seriously, it’s just not possible in my opinion.
I feel like a similar thing happens when you’re presented with the idea of a house cat, but haven’t met many and spent time with them yourself. You think it’s mad. Cruel even. A cat that never leaves its keepers’ four walls? It sounds absurd, like restricting your human child to the walls of his/her own bedroom all his/her life.
It’s not like that.
In fact, if done properly, like any loving, caring pet owner will make sure to do – it’s more like that scenario of, “You have to stay indoors, but you get everything you could ever want constantly brought in.” It’s cushy. It’s entertaining. It’s healthy and it can actually (in my biased opinion) be way better than life outdoors.
At least that’s what I firmly believe.
My cat never has to deal with being dripping wet soaked from a sudden rain storm. He never has to worry about where his next meal comes from, he has little to no chance of getting lost, getting sick by biting into a poisoned rat, being attacked by a rabies infested raccoon, eaten by a large animal, hit by a car, or anything else dangerous that outdoor cats potentially have to deal with by virtue of being outdoor cats.
Inside – I bend over backward to make sure my Avery’s got food he likes, to diversify the food and toys he’s given, to bring some of the outdoors in with cat-friendly houseplants, to make sure he’s got fresh water (which he now demands refilled twice a day). I make sure his health issues are dealt with as soon as I spot them, that he drinks enough to keep from getting dehydrated or contracting a UTI, and if absolutely anything ever seems off about my pet, it’s terribly easy to spot since he’s always inside with me.
I can make sure his health concerns are dealt with to the point where I can take his lifespan from being a short 4-5 years or a really good run of about 10-15 years as an outdoor cat, to being something like a 25 year lifespan indoors with me. If he’s lucky of course, and if I’m attentive enough to changes in his behaviour, as well as blessed enough to have the funds to pay for anything we can do to help him with health issues that may crop up.
The idea that our snuggly little cat who sleeps with us every night, follows me around the house like a shadow, whose cries I know how to interpret and whose habits and preferences I know like the back of my hand is some sort of prisoner – heck no. He has a great life, and I know it. And I know he knows it, too.
So Is It Cruel To Keep House Cats?
Yes, it’s true that every single situation is different.
You might argue that some cats are indeed trapped and imprisoned in their home because you don’t like the way they’re being taken care of by lousy pet owners or because their people just don’t get the whole indoor-cats-need-stimulation thing.
But are indoor cats inherently harmed by being indoors all the time? Is it cruel to have cats who stay inside 24/7?
No. I really don’t think so.
Having an indoor cat does of course mean that you have to try harder to make sure your cat stays stimulated. You have to do much more to keep house cats happy than you would for an outdoor cat; and yes, it involves a lot more work to entertain an indoor kitty than just opening a door to let him/her out for the day.
And of course as a house cat servant, you have to look after your cat’s health and diet very well. You have to be very careful you get the cat food you’re feeding kitty right because he/she can’t supplement poor quality food with wild prey like field mice, birds, and squirrels. But in my opinion, you should be looking to make sure you do this regardless of whether your cat is an indoor or outdoor cat.
All in all, a good home means a house cat’s needs will be taken care of. Properly. We’re not talking about indoor cats who lack proper care because, well improper care is an issue no matter whether the cat is an indoor or outdoor one.
Is it cruel to have a house cat? Is your cat a prisoner because he/she never leaves the walls of your home – that’s what’s at question here. Again, I 100% believe the answer to this question is no.
Do You Think Indoor Cats Are Prisoners?
It’s time for you to tell me what you believe.
Where do you stand on the indoor versus outdoor cat debate? Do you believe indoor cats are essentially prisoners? Do you believe it’s better to let your cat out if you can?
Why do you believe that indoor cats are or are not prisoners?
Please leave your thoughts about this for me in the comments down below. Would love to see what you have to say!
Ella Patenall says
Also, about the life expectancy thing.
My mum always had outdoors cats. They lived to 20 and 18.
My two are currently outdoor cats and both 14 and in completely good health!
And this is in the suburbs of London!
You can’t wrap your children in cotton wool, keeping them confined to the indoors. Why do it to beautiful inquisitive animals like cats?
Tom Browne says
I couldn’t fathom not being able to get sunshine and fresh air. If I’m inside for more that a day I start going completely stir crazy. It’s just not natural to be cooped up all the time. We as mammals are adapted to the great outdoors. It’s rediculous and seriously unreasonable to believe that cats are fine being stuck inside all the time. No one likes being kept inside, especially animals.
As someone who has always had outdoor cats, I can’t even begin to fathom keeping them indoors (I’m from the UK) and have only recently found out that this seems to be commonplace in the US. My cats all love going outdoors in the warm weather, they are naturally curious and love to explore. There is always a risk of them getting run over, yes, but that’s a risk we humans take on a daily basis if we live in cities or towns. I’d rather my cat have a fulfilling and happy life being able to explore and enjoy the wonders of the outdoors. Keeping a cat inside feels like prison to me. That’s my personal opinion though!
We had two cats. Trouble and prissy. Born in the sun/laundry room of a house we used to own. Their little white feet never touched the ground. My daughter made them birth certificates!!!!trouble died the week before trump got elected… he was 22 according to my daughters birth certificate. Prissy died about a year later. Both had feline leukemia but I know they never wanted for anything and their lives were good!!!ironically. A cat that looks like he could be their twin!! Showed up about a month after troubles death. We took him to the vet and he has not been back outside. He seems happy to. Hope o can have him for 20 more years too!!!
As a long time owner and currently live with 2 male cats I definitely have felt the guilt of having a cat indoors. I have succumbed to my guilt and allowed them to go outside and each time at least one of the cats has ended up with an injury from a fight with another cat (costing me a fortune in vet bills as well as a very sick kitty), being scared and chased by neighboring dogs, ending up with flea infestations, to name just a few things. I can see they love going outside but I can see their complete sense calmness and security by being indoors. They are happy indoors too. I will let my cats out in my backyard only with my supervision now. I am lucky to have a sunroom attached to my back porch and this allows the cats to be surrounded by windows and see the action outdoors but from the safety of indoors.
Elise Xavier says
I think sunrooms are wonderful entertainment for indoor cats.
After having lived here in my new home in Portugal for roughly 6 months and watched two outdoor cats die to the street and injury or dogs (not sure how the second died, first absolutely died being hit by a car) – I can’t imagine having an outdoor cat at all now. Both of my cats were feral/street cats prior to being taken in by my husband and myself and both are very happy indoors now. I think my first is less bored now that he has the company of the second cat, and I absolutely do my best to keep them entertained and occupied.
I can’t feel guilt when I feel the alternative is worse, if that makes sense.
David Reynolds says
I keep my cats inside to keep them safe from stray dogs, coyotes, automobiles and cruel people.
Elise Xavier says
For me it’s not quite cruel people who scare me (as they seem to be rare), but dumb people – who are drive irresponsibly or while slightly under the influence. Humans can be horrifyingly dangerous even with the best intentions.
In what strange world does a “human person” spend their entire life indoors? And wh oin their right mind would say that’s a good idea?
Replying to Conservationist:
Your comment is very interesting, especially about how the prey drive is exaggerated in cats but you seem to only focus on the effect of cats in general and ignore their experiences as individuals. Every cat is an individual and the subject of its own life. Because of this prey drive indoor cats will be all the more frustrated, many of these social creatures will never meet another of its species for its entire life while kept in a human apartment, and therefore never interact with animals they can truly communicate with, or they just have one or two other cats to mingle with, picked by a human, they will never have sex, though they still have a sex drive after neutering, etc. I’m not arguing for letting them out – I think it’s an imperfect world, and it needs to be acknowledged. We have two indoor brothers who are best friends but I still feel guilty that they only get to socialize with each other. We keep them indoors and play with them a lot and have cat trees all over the place. One of them has supervised yard time. But I can tell they are still frustrated and it breaks my heart. I don’t think there is any solution really. I love domestic cats but this is not a world for them. I think neutering is a necessary evil. But I also think breeding should be outlawed – the idea of selling a mother’s babies for profit is an unnecessary evil and perpetuates the dilemma of either keeping these beautiful wild creatures indoors and frustrated for our own pleasure or letting them out and damaging the eco-system.
I’d really like to thank you, Elise, for putting this thoughtful and well reasoned article together. It’s not always easy to voice an opinion on something which you know will attract vigorous opposition, and it’s always heartwarming to see a responsible cat owner who’s willing to put in the extra effort to keep their cat safe, entertained and well cared for without engaging in the risks of outdoor roaming and sacrificing the lives of native animals.
My own disposition toward cats has changed a lot over the years since I became a wildlife rehabilitator. I fully understand that the cats themselves aren’t responsible and don’t go about the process of damaging native animal populations with malice – they are simply doing what their instinct tells them to do. This, however, is no reason to do nothing to limit the phenomenal damage they wreak on wildlife.
It’s important to understand that in the domestic cat, the prey drive has been selectively bred for and has become a vastly exaggerated trait. In the early days of domestication, the cats which killed rodents most efficiently and in the greatest numbers were of the most benefit in protecting grain stores and crops. This resulted in the selective breeding of cats with those traits, and the end product is an animal which is a compulsive killer, ie. continues killing well past biological necessity for survival. It is a trait rarely seen in other predators who have no urge to waste energy killing prey they have no intention of utilising, and who would only suffer the setback of destroying the sustainability of their own prey population, ensuring their own demise.
A cat which continued to kill mice back in the day, even when it wasn’t hungry and had no need, was a valuable cat indeed. Sadly, this trait has not coexisted well in the modern age with the domestic cat’s global distribution and its introduction into environments where its urge to kill no longer has a functional purpose.
The domestic cat has been directly implicated in the extinctions of multiple native species across multiple continents. It is considered by many ecologists, biologists and environmental scientists to be the second most destructive invasive species next to man. Its influence extends beyond the destruction of native wildlife populations and goes as far as affecting cetaceans (whales and dolphins) in the wild, where there have been confirmed deaths due to toxoplasma infection, a parasitic organism only able to reproduce in the intestinal tract of felines. The global population and reach of the domestic cat is so vast that it can reach even these animals.
The simple most bewildering aspect of all of this is that the problem could be vastly reduced or even eliminated by responsible cat ownership, ie. desexing, vaccinating and keeping your cat indoors. Yes, it may require more of your time and more effort and expense, but if you genuinely love and care for your animal this is an effort that shouldn’t be a deal breaker. There are ways to allow your cat to go outside without loss of life; leashes, catios etc.
This follows into the second big argument in favour of keeping your cats indoors: safety for your cat.
Toxoplasmosis is a common and harmful infection in cats caused by them consuming infected animals in the wild. Although many animals can be carriers of the parasite, the only way it can reproduce is inside the gastrointestinal tract of a feline. It has been linked to birth defects and schizophrenia in humans, death of native animals of multiple varieties and a host of health problems for the poor cat who is the reproductive host. Keeping your cat inside will entirely eliminate the risk of infection.
Lost animal pages on the internet are overflowing with lost cats. Many of them were missing for days before the owners recognised something was amiss. Cats left to roam outside are vulnerable to car strikes, predation by other animals (owls, hawks, coyotes, foxes, dogs, and others), injuries sustained in cat fights, malicious humans, poisoning from the consumption of baited mice, disease infection, exposure, accidents, traps and other hazards. Again, indoor cats are protected from these hazards.
If people allow their dogs to roam free in the streets, it is unacceptable and animal control is called. This is for the dog’s wellbeing as well as the general public issue. It is no more morally acceptable, in my opinion, to allow a cat to do the same and risk its safety as well as the safety of the local ecosystem.
In regards to pest control – Rats in urban areas are now uncommon targets of cats due to their increase in size and the risk posed to the cat by predating on it. Mice make up a good percentage of what cats kill, but an equal if not higher percentage is often birds and native species.
for rural areas, native barn owls are infinitely more effective at rodent control. A family of owls can kill over 1000 mice in a single breeding season. They prey almost exclusively on small rodents and do not spread the toxoplasma parasite, and are a (declining) native and natural part of the ecosystem which are beneficial not only to farmers but to the health of the environment as a whole, and being wild animals require no maintenance from the landowners aside from putting up a nesting box.
Cats are beautiful and loving companion animals who present absolutely no threat when responsibly owned. Responsible ownership is not only one of the single best things you can do as an individual to preserve native ecosystems, but your cat deserves all the care, protection and respect that a dog or any other beloved pet would receive. Go the extra mile and put in the extra effort to keep your cat happy and entertained indoors. It benefits everyone.
Elise Xavier says
This is such an interesting point to me: “This resulted in the selective breeding of cats with those traits, and the end product is an animal which is a compulsive killer, ie. continues killing well past biological necessity for survival. It is a trait rarely seen in other predators who have no urge to waste energy killing prey they have no intention of utilising, and who would only suffer the setback of destroying the sustainability of their own prey population, ensuring their own demise.” I really didn’t think about the fact that other predators would have no urge to waste energy or deplete resources killing prey when they’re not hungry. It makes so much sense when it’s pointed out, but I’ve never actually put two and two together on my own there.
Speaking of which, I read a scientific study once that found cats were more likely to stop eating to kill a prey than to continue eating the meal before them. They often went straight back to eating their food rather than eating the prey they just killed as well – so it wasn’t a matter of preferring the “fresh” meat to eat. So this crazy prey drive beyond the point of fulfilling a need to eat is absolutely proven through studies as well, it’s not just a theory.
Your comment is beautifully laid out and really thought provoking, especially the first big argument, which I feel is often under-stressed or overlooked completely. I really wish this narrative made headlines, and blew up enough to be at the forefront of our discussions on the topic. Here’s to hoping it will be as we all get more environmentally aware.
My two cents… And surely not a popular opinion.
Background: I’ve had cats my whole life, both indoor and outdoor. For the last two years, I have traveled the world as a cat-sitter, so I have seen and lived with many cats.
If there is one thing I see in all indoor cats around the world is that they are bored to death. They sit behind windows, chattering at birds they can never catch… Whoever suggested to intentionally place a birdhouse close to a window for an indoor cat to look at, doesn’t deserve to own a cat–you are causing it extreme frustration! To a cat, hunting is the most fun thing they can do, and to intentionally tease it by showing it birds but not letting it catch them is nothing short of cruel. Do cats kill birds? Yes they do, they are hard-wired to do so, a few decades of “indoor” domestication can not undo millions of years of evolution. A few decades only I say? Yes–Keeping cats purely indoors is a modern phenomenon. (https://www.alleycat.org/resources/the-natural-history-of-the-cat/)
So if you must keep your cat indoors, please don’t intentionally frustrate your cat by placing a birdhouse in front of a window! And get ready to play with your cat 4-5 times a day. Get catfish rods, laser pens, balls, whatever toy your cat prefers… If you can’t play with your cat that much you shouldn’t get a cat. A cat is a living, sentient being, not an accessory.
I have never met a happy young indoor cat. Bold statement, yes. Young cats (until the age of 5-6) have a ton of energy and need to run, stalk, jump and roam as much as they can. Older cats are happier to stay indoors. I can hear people think their young cat is perfectly happy… It isn’t. If given to the opportunity to go outside, (all indoor cats need to get used to going outside, if an indoor cat struggles to go outside for the first time that has nothing to do with it preferring the indoors, it needs time to adjust) you will notice a positive change in its character. I have seen this too many times for it to be anecdotal.
That brings me to the ridiculous argument to keep cats indoors is that they will live longer. The only person measuring how long the cat lives is YOU. The cat doesn’t know or understand if it is 7 or 18 years old. Sure, no-one wants their cat to get sick or get injured, but locking your “friend” up for 15 years isn’t much better. Prison is one of the most severe punishments for a reason. Freedom is important, especially to animals, as they do not understand they are being kept indoors “for their own safety.” Safety is a human concept. I would rather grieve the death of my cat because it got killed by a wolf and knowing it had a fun and exciting life, instead of seeing my friend waste his life away in a small apartment for decades because of my selfishness… Again, the argument to keep the cat safe from harm is to avoid your own potential grief. And let’s not forget indoor cats die of painful illnesses too.
If you worry about cats killing birds or other critters, you shouldn’t get a cat. That’s what cats do and depriving them of hunting will make your cat bored and depressed. If you want the companionship of a cat, adopt an older cat from a shelter. They will keep you company and be fine with playing for a few minutes a day. Adopting older cats from a shelter is also the most humane thing to do, if you really, selflessly love cats…
TLDR; yes, indoor cats are prisoners. Especially when they are young and energetic.
Elise Xavier says
Again, I don’t feel the lives of birds are really worth losing in masses (as has been proven by countless studies), or honestly even in small numbers, for the “fun” of cats who are already being well fed and cared for. I don’t see how curing a cat’s boredom is a strong enough argument for the loss of countless animal lives, let alone the enormous impact/damage this kind of hunting *for fun* does to ecosystems.
I can entertain my own cats. I’m sorry that the indoor cats you’ve seen have mostly all been bored to death, but not all indoor cats are under-stimulated like that. Yes, they laze about and lie in the sun for most of the hours in the day, but in case you haven’t noticed, so do outdoor cats.
And absolutely, my cats sit behind windows chattering at birds they can’t murder (again, sorry, not sorry about that), but frustration does not equal torture. I get frustrated when I see hamburgers on TV I can’t eat – even if I’m not hungry. Am I being tortured? No. And there is literally zero issue ethically with somebody showing me that slice of meat in an ad. Similarly, I can’t see how a cat seeing birds they can’t put in their mouths is cruel – not at all. Should I also not cook and eat around my cats in case they get hungry and want food from the smell and sound, too?
Finally, tell me safety is a “human concept” when you look at a cat desperately cornered and wanting to get away from a predator, desperately trying to find shelter in a rough storm. Just because we have the words to describe our concepts, doesn’t mean animals don’t understand the feeling of security and safety – I think it’s crazy to argue that.
No, a cat will not care once it’s dead that it’s dead. Neither will a human – doesn’t stop us from trying to lengthen our lives, and doesn’t stop cats from trying to stay alive, even in the wild. We all want to survive as long as we can, and keep those we love and care for alive for as long as we can. Call that selfish if you want, but I don’t think that’s to be criticized. I also think it’s incredibly silly to argue a cat “doesn’t know” if it’s lived 7 years or 18 years – obviously, it doesn’t have higher level thinking and is thus not capable of that. But at every moment of its existence – a cat knows it wants to stay alive. Again, that desire to prolong survival is hard wired into cats, just like it’s hardwired into everything living on this planet.
Basically, we have common ground in that we both think indoor cats should absolutely not be left to their own devices, bored and living a crappy existence because they’ve got nothing to stimulate themselves with. But if you entertain an indoor cat, and do so well and make sure all its other needs are really well met, well I don’t think you can call that imprisonment. Adult cats need work. Kittens need even more. But it’s doable. As long as absolutely everything they could ever want and need is being handled, I can’t see why they *need* to be outside.
An animal can’t “murder” another animal. It can only kill it. I inherited a cat when my mother passed away. It had been kept in the house for the first 9 years of its life and was always trying to escape out the door, and let her know he wanted out. Mom had asked me to take care of him, if the cat should outlive her. I told her I would, but I had a pet door (for the dog) leading to my fenced in back yard. 6.5 years later, the cat comes and goes as he pleases, spending most of the day inside. He goes outside in my yard to do his business, and if the weather is nice, he usually just sits on the porch or under a tree or bush. He was neutered young, and has all his shots, and gets regular vet visits. He doesn’t bring me a bunch of “presents”, nor do I find a bunch of dead prey in my yard. I play with him inside, as well, as does the dog; but, I honestly think the cat enjoys life more by having the option to be inside or outside. Just as you can’t paint all humans, or dogs, with a broad brush, you can’t either with cats. They are not all the same. At over 15 years old, my cat remains healthy, and apparently very happy.
Just weighing in on this debate…
I grew up on a farm with cats who lived where they chose – indoor and out, they were free to go where they liked. I now have two indoor cats who, like yours, have made international moves with me (Germany, UK, NZ). So I speak from both sides of the fence.
My most recent 2 vets (UK and NZ) are both of the opinion that life indoors is actually better for cats. Cat behaviour apparently has evolved over centuries of domestication so the arguments about them needing to be free to display ‘natural’ behaviour is rather spurious. If you provide food for your cat, there is no need for him to hunt his own. If you provide sleeping areas there is no need for him to seek out safe places for himself. Additionally, human domestication has led to over-population of cats, largely because so many owners are irresponsible in not neutering their pets – which leads to issues with feral and wild populations. Much as I love cats, there are far too many leading lives of misery across the world because they are born ‘on the street’ and end up riddled with parasites and contracting debilitating diseases.
This is what becomes a problem for all cats. When your pampered moggy goes out into the garden and roams the neighbourhood he can encounter wild/feral cats (fighting) or even just evidence where they have been (fur, droppings, urine spray, saliva droplets). This can lead to your cat contracting such horrors as feline leukaemia, feline immunodeficiency virus, feline infectious peritonitis, rabies, feline parvovirus and cancers (some of which are thought to be contracted through environmental toxins). And that’s before we consider what might be contracted by catching and eating prey (rats, rabbits, birds, mice etc), being attacked by foxes, dogs or humans, or hit by a vehicle.
Both my vets have said that an indoor life is far better for cats as it protects them from encountering a range of ‘nasties’ that threaten their health and ultimately shorten their lives. My current vet said on our recent visit that our two are among his healthiest feline patients and he puts it down to them living indoors. He mentioned that most free range cats he sees are overweight because they are fed by their owners but they eat prey as well – and many probably scavenge food from other homes too! Being overweight is a major health risk for cats, and we have now become used to seeing larger cats so we don’t realise that this is unhealthy. Indoor cats should not get overweight if they are fed correctly- many owners provide permanent access feeding stations and of course cats will just keep helping themselves. Our vet advises set feeding times and an adherence to measuring the food out so they get the right amount.
When I think back to the short lives of our cats in my childhood, a couple of whom had to be put to sleep due to illnesses that were not treatable I feel sad that it was their outdoor lifestyle that led to their early demise. One was a great hunter and ended up being poisoned by eating a rat that had eaten rat poison. We didn’t use rat poison; she’d been visiting a barn 4 km away where the farmer had put down poison. Another contracted feline parvovirus – we don’t know how but presumably from a carrier cat he’d come into contact with. Another disappeared and never came home. We suspected she’d been hit on the road somewhere, or poisoned.
So l make no apologies for keeping my two indoors. We are lucky to have a largish house where galloping up and downstairs provides daily exercise. We live on a hill surrounded by trees and overlooking the sea so we have a large enclosed balcony where they can sit outside in the sun, nibble on cat grass and watch the world go by – including ‘chatting’ to our neighbour as he works in his garden. They have toys and treats and multiple beds and climbing frames. They have regular vet checks, are up-to-date with vaccinations and are parasite free. They have humans who wait on them, cuddle them, play with them, talk to them and love them. They are healthy and happy.
And even if the front door is wide open they don’t even attempt to make a break for outdoors. They know where the good life is!
Elise Xavier says
I completely feel you on all of this, and couldn’t have said it better myself. Thank you so much for leaving your comment. Of course I agree with both of your vets, as well as you.
What’s sad is how many stories there are of outdoor cats becoming prematurely ill, getting injured by a wild animal, getting hit by a car and dying, etc. – there are *so many* of these, yet it’s like it doesn’t matter how likely these scenarios are to happen, people don’t want to factor in the high odds versus the risk. I find it sad that all risk is taken, no matter how high, as a necessity because a cat “is curious” and on his own might “feel like going outside.” I don’t agree with it, but as you can tell by the other comments, it’s likely I’m not in the majority.
I just can’t agree with a position so obviously contrary to nature. The arguments all seem to boil down to a general it’s for the cat’s own good sentiment. Some people think keeping their cat cooped up is so modern and that cats have evolved so much that what’s good for them is something other than their natural instincts to be a cat and do cat things. Comparing demeanor of indoor vs free roam cats I’ve always noticed indoor cats are more needy and depressed compared to cats that are allowed outside. The difference is very pronounced especially in older cats. Cats are predators. Yes cats should be allowed to kill birds and get in fights with other cats because that’s what cats do. If the cat gets roughed up by another cat or raccoon it’s not the end of the world. Rarely is it serious enough to need to go to a vet. Also it’s totally untrue that all outside cats are dirty and diseased as a whole. They are individuals just like people and some are meticulous cleaners. Declawing, forcing it to stay inside with you all day against it’s will, forcing it to eat the same thing everyday, training it to relieve itself in an unhygienic box.. to me this is torture no matter who or what we are talking about!
I’m sorry but I have to disagree with your article.
The real point here is: are you willing to give your animal free choice? Humans, who’d rather spend their time indoors, have that choice…indoor cats don’t. They are forced to live their lives inside or with supervision outside. Exploring is important for cats, always seeing the same things day in and day out is not ideal.
You said that because cats are domesticated that means that they can live inside, but it isn’t about that at all. Cats, as well as humans, need to go outside. To feel grass underneath their feet/paws, to feel the sunshine on their skin/fur ( 😉 ), to explore, to make new experiences, to meet others. Who are you to make that decision for your cat? Would you keep your children inside because life inside is also comfortable? To let them not socialise, never go outside, just because you’re afraid that something could happen to them? No parent would let their primary school child not go to school on their own because they’d be afraid that they might get kidnapped or cross the street at a red light. Could those things happen? Sure. But we take the risk for we know that our kids need freedom.
If the cat decides to stay inside- great. But you can’t know that beforehand (only exceptions might be cats from the shelter) and it would be wrong to trap them inside if they need alone time outside after all.
Cats are not here to make us happy or to cater to our needs. If you’re living in a place where you absolutely can’t let your cat outside, then don’t get one. If you’re not sure if cats like it indoors, then don’t get one. Easy as that.
A friend of mine has a cat that is barely home and even mostly stays outside (except for winter, where she sometimes comes home to eat.) They live in a small town (and in the woods), but her cat mostly eats mice and such. Imagine if she had owners that wanted to keep her as an indoor cat, it would be a disaster. Sadly, I have many friends that have indoor cats that absolutely belong outdoors. They develop ticks and have too much energy (you can’t be home 24/7 to always play with them), and whenever there is a window open, they want to escape to the outside. The reason they’re having cats is because they enjoy cuddling with them and to have something to care for…their own desire to own a cat is far more important to them than their cats’ happiness and well being, which is more than sad.
Even if your cat i supposedly happy inside, you might never know if it hadn’t been more happy staying outdoors. Sometimes you need to experience things to know that you want them in the first place. Some cats prefer staying indoors, and that’s fine, but please give them the right to chose!
Absolutely agree. I can’t help feeling that keeping animals indoors is as good as prison. It saddens me greatly!
I loved your article and I definitely agree with you about the indoor/outdoor cat debate.
My reasons for keeping my cats indoors is due to being traumatized from owning outdoor cats while growing up.
My mother hated cats and demanded that our pets weren’t allowed permanently indoors and that it was a waste of money to bring any animal to the veterinarian.
As a result of this, I had many many cats come and go as a child. Many were ran over by cars, some died from illnesses, some ran away and lived somewhere else where they had a better life, one was killed by an angry neighbor, and some just never came home.
I’ll never forget crying and begging my mother to bring my beloved cat to the veterinarian because he had been bitten through his skull by a dog. She refused and I had to try my best, as a young child, to patch my cat up myself with what we had at home. As you can imagine, this scarred me deeply.
Yes, a few of my cats lived to be over 10 years old. If I were to be honest though, I would say possibly 2-3 of my cats achieved that while 20-30 of them died from the ages of kittenhood to 5 years old. And I didn’t even live in a “dangerous” area.
Basically, in a nutshell, I owned 20-30 cats in my childhood due to the fact that they were outdoor cats and they never lasted long. I vowed to myself that when I was old enough, I would have my own cats that I would keep indoors and HEALTHY.
Now here I am almost middle aged and half a year ago I made the choice to euthanize my 18 year old indoor cat.
He was 18 years old! He lived a long healthy and happy life indoors. He was not depressed at all.
It’s not cruel to keep cats indoors. Not only is it safer, indoor cats are much cleaner and they are so sweet and loving!
I’ve seen a world of difference between outdoor and indoor cats. Outdoor cats are the miserable ones…they smell, they’re flea ridden, they have ticks and ear mites, they have worms, they spend their days and nights roaming the neighborhood and getting into fights, and they are constantly escaping from danger.
People who are pro-outdoor try to paint this image of a cat who is outside gleefully chasing butterflies through a field and it couldn’t be more wrong. Even in the country, it’s a world full of danger for a cat.
Indoor cats adapt to the indoors and they’re happy. They don’t need the outdoors to feel satisfied. Instead of hunting disease ridden rodents outdoors, mine are hunting fluffy socks and mittens, which I find as a gift in my bed!
In my opinion, the happiest cat is one who is warm and safe inside with their humans. Though I do think it’s wonderful if one could build a catio or a window sized version of a catio. The cats then would truly get the best of both worlds.
They would be safe with a little access to fresh air and sunshine. Seems like a great compromise! 👍
Elise Xavier says
I’m so sorry for your past experiences – I am sure your wonderful indoor cat who you made a choice to euthanize lived an amazing life; so glad you differed from your mother in terms of your willingness to seek out and pay for help for your cat. I totally agree with you in all of this – especially that indoor cats adapt and live very happy lives indoors. I haven’t met an indoor cat who’s well loved and taken care of who’s not also very obviously happy with his or her life.
I think the catio option is a wonderful one, and do hope to build something like that one day. That being said, even if I never do, and for those who can’t, I do strongly feel cats are very happy inside with good people who look after them and make sure their needs are met.
Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! xoxo
You can’t really compare your experiences with outdoor cats and how responsible outdoor cat owners treat theirs.
1) make sure it is okay for them to go outside (no busy roads near or coyotes, etc)
2) give them access to your house, be attentive in case they want to go in
3) let them decide when to go outside and for how long
4) vaccinate them, deworm them
Reading this, I fear that many indoor cat owners equal outdoor cats with “the cat is on its own!”, which is not the case.
Let your cat live a little. I mean, sure they lived longer (which is also to your benefit), and does bring fluffy mittens to your bed instead of real mice (again, to your benefit), but the compromise your talking about….your cat doesn’t know it’s compromising. It never made the decision to stay indoors. You made it for them because it is also more comfortable for you,
If your cat decides to stay indoors- great. But it should have the freedom to chose.
Thank you for sharing your experience. I strongly believe all cats (minus barn cats or outstanding situations) should be indoor cats! I’ve done lots of research and it is just so much safer and better for them. It’s very frustrating how outdoor cat owners argue its cruel to not let them out and that “[they] have never had any issues with [their] outdoor cat(s)!” Makes me so sad for those cats and it’s so refreshing to see comments like this and know I’m educated and made the right and better choice for my own kitty 🙂
As a supporter of outdoor cats, I can only say that you shouldn’t make that choice for your cat. It’s not about them being 100 % safe, but for them to have a fulfilling life. Do you keep your children inside, so that no harm will come to them? Wouldn’t you let your children walk to primary school by themselves or play outside without supervision?
Could something happen to your cat? Sure. Does it mean that it gives cat owners the right to restrict their cats’ freedom? I think not.
It’s very important to leave cats the choice of wanting to go outside or not. You wouldn’t force humans to live inside, would you? So please don’t do it to your cat. They might have a happier and more fulfilling life that way.
I’m glad your cat lived to 18. But, that doesn’t necessarily mean it was because it was kept indoors. I had an indoor/outdoor cat that lived to be 18.5, and another that lived to be 20! Both were healthy until they died of old age.
Sweden has a law that prohibits cats to be forced to stay indoors!?? Dang man, I’m going to have to pack my bags and move there! The west is not a country of freedom for our animals. Cats confined indoors, animals used for entertainment, sea world enslaves ocean animals…but heck what do us westerners care? Those whales will never have to worry about predators right? They’re “safe” by being caged up in a big bath tube.
Bull crap guys. We are a selfish species. If I were a cat, I’d rather die than be confined to an apartment or house for life! Tell me to my face that as a cat yourself you wouldn’t care to feel the grass on your paws!? My cats love the outdoors. If they leave this earth early, I have no doubt they will thank me in the next life for making sure their lives were full of joy in this one.
Jack Black says
I live in a quiet and safe neighborhood. So I let my cats decide whether they wanna go outside or not. Does anyone have the right to make that decision for an adult cat? I think so not! I think it’s animal abuse to lock an animal up in a cage or in a house for it’s entire life! Would you do the same to a human!? Isn’t that called imprisonment? Once I watched an ex indoor cat chase butterflies in my backyard for the first time in her life. It was one of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed. Having said that, anyone who robs a living creature of it’s freedom is a $#@! piece of $#@& person!
So I take it Jack that you are also opposed to keeping fish, birds, rodents, reptiles, and other critters inside cages and tanks? I take it you are opposed to zoos and never visit?
Shelly, there are actually millions of people who feel that way. I don’t visit zoos (or eat any animal products). Supporting the captive pet trade is terrible – but I’m not opposed to caring for animals that need adopting – but still respecting their needs.
Countless animals studies in the last few decades have shown animals are social, and much more emotionally intelligent than previously thought. Think of a snake – they travel miles in the wild, stretch out, hunt, etc. Why would a snake ever want to hang out in a tank in someone’s room over being free? And think how far fish travel in the wild. It’s actually now illegal in Switzerland to keep a single gold fish because studies showed they do have memories and are social.
I think keeping animals captive for your own amusement is wrong. The leading cause of bird species extinction in the Amazon is capture for the pet trade. But even birds born in captivity still have the urges of free-roaming birds which includes socializing and FLYING. I’ve actually seen pet store websites advise people to only get one bird because if you get a second they’ll bond to that bird more than to you – that is so sick – to deprive a bird of a companion of it’s own species just so it is more dependent on you. But that is kind of the normal thinking in a lot of places.
Thankfully more and more laws are keeping up with current science. In Switzerland it’s also illegal to keep a single cat indoors – you have to have more than one so they at least can communicate with someone of their own species, otherwise they have to be let out to socialize.
Considering most people visit zoos but only a few go on to actually become animal advocates,. shows that zoos don’t really create empathy – I mean- kids are super excited about dinosaurs and never see them in person. Zoos enforce the idea that animals are for our entertainment. There are many sanctuaries that cater more to the animals’ needs that don’t allow visitors or only occasional visitors from afar. But I actually think nature cams are the future – I once watched this bear cam for an hour. As a kid, I would think it way more exciting to watch a bear in the wild fishing for salmon, than a bear in an enclosure being hand fed.
I’m not sure that your cats will thank you in the next life if you have let them suffer through the agonies of dying from parvovirus or feline immunodeficiency virus. It is a ghastly, painful and horrible way for an animal to die. 1 in 10 outdoor cats are thought to be carriers – that’s 10% of the population.
And Sweden doesn’t have a law banning indoor cats that I am aware of. They have strict animal welfare regulations, one of which is that animals kept inside must have access to a sunny window where they can see out and lie in the sunshine.
I cohabitate with batdog, he’s a super star kitteh. His first 7 years were spent letting himself out whenever he saw fit. He got in fights, eventually got two enemies and the three would rotate being the alpha cat of the street. He regularly got injured or sick from his activities.
We then moved up a few flights and he was trapped! HE HATED IT and was quite depressed for about 3 months. It took a while but he got comfortable. We then moved to a place where he could get out if he wanted and would just have to wait to be let back in.
The funny part, after 4 times he stopped going. Today he has some downstairs freinds and they mingle in the stairwell now and then and we let them out as a group once a week or so. Batty very quickly is over being outside. Why would he want to? He has a balcony where he can watch the birds remembering his younger days when he would launch himself from lower levels.
He’s now 14 and has spent one half his life indoors. He’s healthier and has learned that a meow that’s more like ‘now!’ Means ‘dude I’m tired of you, can I go downstairs to see Sherlock and tinkerbell?’ After 20 minutes with them he’s ready to just hang with me while I write code.
Elise Xavier says
That is too cute, thank you for sharing his story! I love the idea of a group of them going out together to socialize. Wish I could see a picture of that, sounds like a hoot!
sam plover says
I recently adopted two cats. One is a year and is from the HS….came from a rural town, so suspect she might have been outdoors.
The second one was posted for adoption by his owner who had a tiny apt, and two small children. He is 6. He was very loved, but when we adopted him, I noticed very dry hair, greyish looking and a pointy bum and seemed to walk on his hind bottom legs partially. I thought he was just a bit deformed.
All of a sudden his hair became black and sleek, but what really amazed me is that at age six, after owning him for two months, he grew two inches, I stared and observed why such a crazy thing could happen, until I realized he was now walking on his hind feet. And everything became clear. In his captivity in the apartment, no stairs, no cat tree, no activity and having to sit on his bum to avoid his tail being pulled by the toddler, his hind muscles atrophied.
His back is straight now, his bum no longer pointy, no longer walks strangely, runs up and down stairs. And I wondered why at first he would not attempt even the first shelf on the tree.
He had no strength and he knew it.
I have many boxes, beds and a real tree turned into a nine foot entertainment with carpeted shelves. Got the idea from online.
Many homemade toys, leather mice, paper soaked in water, then rolled into balls and dried. loose paper rolled up as the young one loves paper. Homemade balls that are fluffy fabric wrapped so tight and stitched, that they bounce.
Three hammocks strung under dining chairs. 6 windows have large sills that I padded. Two long trays of cat grass that I replant alternately. Two water fountains, one on main and one on second floor. Scratching post up and scratch boards on main floor.
Boxes with holes, home made cat tubes, commercial cat tube.
I padded several dining chairs with real sheepskin. They have playtime, where they basically just sit and watch, then I say to heck with you, and that gets them playing alone or with each other.
Playing with cats, kids or dogs for any extended period bores me.
I open windows a crack to let them sniff the air. We are waiting for the snow to melt to build a cat condo/walk onto the basement window.
Deep in my heart, I believe any animal (call them domesticated, doesn’t matter) is prisoner.
If you took me, and put me in a house, I would be prisoner. So you see, the only reason something is prisoner, is because it did not voluntarily come to you, and if it was, it was for shelter and food, not to be in permanently. Animals have no hands to manipulate door knobs. For a human, the choice of indoors is voluntary if you are healthy and mobile.
You make the choice to either keep an animal or human you have control over, inside.
You decide if they are happy. There is a difference in putting up with the situation animal or human is in, and living according to what ‘nature’ intended.
We domesticate, but it really means we are in control. As long as that door is shut, the animal simply has no choice. Do they live long? Sure. Anything protected and well looked after tends to live longer, but a long life has absolutely no bearing on true fulfillment. There are urges denied when we keep animals in.
I keep my cats in purely because I don’t want the bad news, nor the animal never be seen again. In fact I would rather have bad news than none at all. That is true for me whether my loved humans or animals.
Is bad news or harm a bad thing? Eventually we all die. Does it matter if life was short or long?
The dead do not know life was short, nor do they know if it was a bad or good life.
Life in the here and now is what hurts or feels good.
Am I holding my cats prisoner? definitely. Would they be happier exposed to dangers? Yes, it is encoded in their genes. They have the ability to hide in the tiniest places. Ability to hunt.
A dog is much more vulnerable and is a scavenger and is why he became a servant or and company.
Cats are not natural in environments with extreme cold and so many parts of the world are enlightened enough to keep them inside, yet when spring comes, the cat knows.
My neighbors many of them let their cats roam. They are stronger than I am and do not mind if their cats never come home, they just get more.
I have owned many dogs in the past. They got free runs in the country, They got outside buddy playtime, much like humans.
Are my cats happy? I don’t think so. I believe people decide happiness based on a cat that purrs, eats, and puts up with it’s environment.
Many cats give up eyeing that door simply because of learning they are not allowed outside.
My six year old escaped and hung around the immediate neighborhood, avoiding capture.
We had to leave the back door open for eight hours, in freezing weather, until he snuck in, and I ran to the door and slammed it shut. Ten minutes later after pooping and eating he stood by that back door and this is a cat that lived in an apartment without even a window ledge for two years.
So since he enjoyed that freedom once again (I know at some point early in life he was an outdoor cat, many scars and tears in ears) he was busy avoiding capture by us, yet he had no choice but to come in for food. So in turn, he paid a price. Give up freedom or get warm and fed. He wants both.
And she was very envious that he went out. She is young and does not have his experience, but she is not dumb, but dumb enough and small enough not to be able to cope out there.
So as good as it’s going to get around here is an outdoor cat run that they can voluntarily access.
But, I believe they are still prisoner of my own doing and the fact that we imported them so many years ago for rodent control. They are lucky as we get mice in the house in the late fall, but it is still not roaming and seeing new cats to fight with, new areas to sniff.
They are simply here because I thought the house needed a pet. (because due to health I cannot walk dogs anymore)…….and cats are entertaining and a pleasure, but I simply wish they could have the best of both worlds. But then life is not like that. All animals, including humans, the best of both worlds is not a guarantee. The difference with humans is we have the mental processes to be in denial or constantly use some form of psychology on ourselves to make us feel or to pretend that we are not suffering…etc. We try and practice greatfulness, lest we go bonkers.
Cats are not like that. They do not know about self psychology. Or practicing greatfulness for that cat tree or food or warmth.
Elise Xavier says
Really beautiful words; I love how you laid out your argument.
Not sure how I feel about this. I 100% see your point, and the distinction you’ve drawn between freely being able to leave and not being able to (with not being imprisonment).
I suppose prison to me is something more than simply confinement without the ability to leave – as that would put humans in the position of being “prisoners” of the planet earth almost? I’m not sure, I have to think on this more, but I wanted to comment to let you know I really enjoyed your explanation of your perspective and it’s really made me think. Thank you so much for the well-put comment, Sam.
sam plover says
Thank you for the response Elise.
I understand too what you are saying and in fact we all are prisoner to a degree, some of us more so than another. We are even prisoners of our own minds, and prisoners of societal norms and powers that govern. In fact we have very limited autonomy. And yes, we are prisoner on this planet earth, yet so is the cat. If he were outside, he would also have limits, other powerful cats in the cat world would exert their dominance and limit his freedom.
Planet earth is a prison for every animal. But an animal knows not that it is a planet with possibility to rocket beyond. It does smell and see and hear that there is a world much more to his nature than the real tree (without birds) that I provided. And we know that there is a possibility of other worlds, yet we contain ourselves only due to lack of technology to venture into those unknowns. But we still have a much larger playground than simply our house.
We leave our houses even if just to get a slurppy. Our choice.
A cat is mostly the same. He leaves his warm abode to visit and snoop and fight, but returns home if not for being ran over, catnapped, flea trapping etc. And most are like us, they really do not wander far, unless they became transported, or are unfixed, or simply lost their way and became disoriented and scared.
I am a huge nature lover and feel in sync with much of it.
See, the fact is, I can’t stand the thought of them getting injured and dying under someone’s stairs. Yet nature is cruel, as all animals die a not so kind death.
When we have children or pets we do want control over their health and comfort and safety.
We don’t want the knowledge that our loved ones endured suffering, or the pain that it causes us.
So I’m completely with you on keeping my cats in, I just cannot do so without a pang of hurt inside that their life enjoyment is a bit compromised.
I will say though, a cat’s life being inside a stimulating house is a lot better than a bird inside a cage.
If I should end up in man made prison, it would be against my will, but I most likely did something that put me there.
I suppose that I am for freedom for every animal, for autonomy. But I do like my pets, so it is very difficult for me to marry my deepest feelings about ‘pets’ and freedom.
I have no issue with dogs who get to go to the beach, go for free romps and walk the neighborhood with their ‘owners’. They have the best of both worlds, the inside and out and actually have more freedom than most people.
And if I compare my cat’s environment to mine, as an animal of this planet, I might even say that I have less freedom, or at least equally imprisoned. I was only under the impression that as members of society we possessed freedom, but with age have realized this is not true, but not all will experience the limits, or not until something illuminates that fact. And some will not ever experience that limitation.
I think my cats are lucky as far as having a guardian, so I cannot feel too sorry for their boundaries. But I did create that boundary, but I did not cause their being born and in need of a home and the fact is, they multiply like rabbits, so within society we have options. Euthanize, or kennel until the pet people come.
So the summary of my responses is that I think cats are, and pets in general, a wonderful servant to humans. They provide someone lonely with company, they force people to come out of themselves and give of themselves. They are healers of people’s minds and bodies.
Do I think they are prisoners? Yes, but it is not all bad. Along with the bad, is a lot of good.
After all, why does a cat insist on his regular head and tummy rubs, it’s not as if the tom cat down the street will give him that same feel good attention.
Elise Xavier says
Indeed, I think you’re spot on. If you say they’re prisoners in the context of the theory that we’re all prisoners to different things and to different extents (including to governments and societies and even our own minds), it makes sense. But of course they have privileges and advantages, and protection over their well being and luxuries as a trade off to their freedom much the same as we would have in society versus being in a philosophical “state of nature” (to which, I have to agree with Hobbes, I think man’s life would be “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short” – I guess like many feral cats’; nature is indeed a cruel mistress). I suppose when we have outdoor cats they have the best of both worlds, but also the worst of both worlds as well.. since they’re protected from hunger but not from threats to their lives from the outside world. Interesting to think about!
I almost feel like if we could train cats to go on leashes and walk outdoors like dogs can, your reservations would nearly entirely disappear. If dogs have the ideal combination of protection and freedom, cats aren’t far off; if we could figure out how to give them the thrill and adventure they want without endangering them – wouldn’t that be something! Obviously, the ideal would likely be an enormous fully closed off garden they could roam around in freely, but that’s obviously not feasible for most of us to provide. But being able to train more cats to walk around on leashes so we could take them around with us outside would be wonderful, too. If only cats would follow us on walks and then follow us back home and be set until the next walk tomorrow.
sam plover says
The problem with Hobbes is that despite the sought after ideal of having powers to guide us and protect us, those same powers not only rob us of freedoms, but also create mass unsafety, it’s just organized. And many live nasty short and brutish lives within those organized plans.
I must say, in that comparison that cats might be better off than man, in homes or in feral colonies. Suffering and pleasure are just part of nature, eventually it comes to all in one form or another.
I honestly do not know if a cat suffers because it is not allowed freedom to experience all elements of nature, all I know is my cats want out.
I used to have come n’ go kitties years ago when it was the norm and I must say they seemed more well rounded. Not once did I have to engage them in play.
There was very little meowing, and they slept so well after their romps. They were in much better shape physically. There was a certain contentment about them.
They basically used the house as a safe place to eat and sleep.
There are plenty of dog owners who let their dogs outside by themselves. We once had a neighbour who would let his dog out alone on walks. The only reason why most dog owners go outside with their dog is because dog enjoy the work out and company (and also because some people might be afraid of dogs, and you don’t really want a lawsuit or trouble with your neighbours.) It’s not to keep the dog save, necessarily!
If I put my favourite neighbour’s cat (we’ve known each other for years, she comes through my window late at night and sleeps in my bed :)) on a leash, she would never ever look at me again. I don’t think we should think about: how can we change cats to accommodate to our needs, but how can we meet theirs? Cats don’t want supervision, they want to explore for themselves! Imagine going to the play ground with your child and always being right there next to them- that would suck for them, wouldn’t it? Well, I think most cats probably think the same.
As for the Hobbes argument….I don’t really think you can apply that here. Hobbes is about civilisation vs natural state (to be more precise, he is more concerned with civilisation bringing order, etc), letting your cat out is about giving them the same freedom that you yourself (as a human living in the “civilised” world enjoy. It’s not like your cat has to hunt for themselves, have to stay outside during winter or had any natural enemies. The only real dangers are cars, but if you live in the right area, cats will learn to avoid them.
Sorry for commenting so much! I just have strong opinions on this (especially because a friend of mine is currently thinking about getting an indoor cat…nooooo), and would love to hear your opinions.
Elise Xavier says
Absolutely do not apologize for commenting so much – feel free! 🙂 Always happy to see others’ perspectives.
I just genuinely don’t believe in this day and age it’s easy to dismiss car & other forms of human-created dangers for cats as a matter of something that can easily be avoided. So many cat lives are lost to the street, and it’s just not their fault or fair on them to have their lives cut ridiculously short due to reckless idiots who can’t check before they pull out of a driveway or drive just-a-little-bit drunk. If the number of casualties was minuscule, maybe? But these types of accidents happen a lot. They’re really not infrequent at all.
Also, of course, many people with cats live in cities and more to-be pet parents are in apartments than ever before. Do I think it’s selfish to have a cat in an apartment? Do I think you should absolutely not have a cat if you’re not able to allow them access to the outside world (either because you live on a busy street or because you live in an apartment/condo very high up)? Absolutely not. I also don’t think it’s wrong to keep your cat indoors even if the risk to them dying outdoors in your area is not extreme.
Why? Cats wreak a lot of havoc on the environment – on the wildlife in the area. They kill – *a lot* – for sport not for food. I think it’s quite cruel to all the animals cats kill to treat your cat’s desire for novelty and fun as the only important factor in deciding whether they should be allowed to go outside. Why should the lives of masses of birds be ignored for the sake of one slightly more entertained cat?
Finally, even if you don’t want to go there, based on my firsthand experience with my own indoor cats (both street/feral/stray cats who are indoor-only), I know they are happier inside with me than they ever were on the street; 100%. So I completely disagree with any argument that states you shouldn’t adopt if you can’t give a cat access to the outdoors. Maybe you could argue a cat would be happier having access to the outdoors, but under the care of a human, but even than I think you would be really surprised to see how ridiculously happy indoor cats can be, so long as you don’t treat them like they’re furniture and work hard to make sure all wants and needs are being met.
Rebecca S says
Sam, I completely agree with your interpretation of the situation. I feel guilty every day about my cats living indoors only, not to mention having neutered them, which is how I came to this blog post. I have two cats, and am thankful they are best friends and enjoy each other’s company. One of them really wants to go outside and every morning he has supervised time in the backyard eating grass for 5 minutes which he looks forward to but he wants more. The other cat is skittish and would never try to sneak out but on the occasions where a window has accidentally blown open, he’s gone missing for a day or two and we have to leave the back door open until he comes back. We live in Los Angeles where there are coyotes, cars, rat poison, as well as people who hate feral cats. We play string with the cats, have a floor to ceiling cat tower and many scratching posts, but I know they would be happier having the freedom to come and go as they please, and especially socialize with other cats and have sex.
I admire Sweden’s animal rights laws which actually make it illegal to keep a single cat indoors only. You can have two cats, but if it’s one, they need to be able to socialize with other cats by going outside. It’s also illegal to keep a single fish. (Now that’s a really cruel, horrible life, living alone in a bowl instead of the sea).
I said to my husband last night, if we could move to somewhere where it would be safe for our cats to go outside I would. But right now I love them so much I can’t imagine living with the uncertainty of whether they’ll come home every night. But if I love them so much I should probably do what’s best for them whether it give me anxiety or not. I feel very selfish. The social norm where I live is it’s right to keep cats inside, but it’s also a social norm to pay for meat from animals who spent short miserable lives in horrendous conditions on factory farms, so I don’t give much credence to the general consensus views of how animals should be treated. I was hoping to be convinced by this post that I could feel okay about keeping the cats inside, but I still don’t. The one thing that makes me think it might be a good thing to keep them inside is that cats are an invasive species, that humans created. They don’t belong in any ecosystem. They have a negative effect on bird populations. But to use that as an excuse to neuter and keep indoor cats doesn’t take into account the individual lives and experiences of those cats that have to suffer the consequences of humans’ actions.
I and my wife live in an upstairs condo with two bedrooms and a loft. Over time we have accumulated four lovable cats. We didn’t plan on this, it just happened. All are rescues. Two of them were near death from sickness or starvation when we found them. Now all are happy and healthy. It requires some discipline to feed and care for them and some rules that we and they have to follow to make things work. There are limitations in our free will and we have to plan ahead if we leave for extended periods. But they express devotion and love for us and the life we have provided for them that is unmistakable and makes up for that. We live next to an undeveloped hillside and a park and golf course which gives a small feel of wilderness even though we live in an urban area. On occasion one will sneak out and I have to shoo them back in. It really doesn’t take much to get them back in, especially when they hear a stranger walking by. Would I like to allow them some outdoor freedom? Sure. But the outside world is dangerous for cats. Lots of predators both animal and human. Fleas, Ticks, cars, coyotes, and nasty little brats who think it’s fun to throw rocks at a stray. Several years ago a new condo resident woke up to a loud screaming and opened her window to see her sweet indoor/outdoor kitty being hauled off by a coyote. Last year our female grey Freya got out for three days. We were distracted at the time and figured she was upstairs in the loft sleeping behind furniture. I heard some cats hissing and screaming near us at night but just assumed that since it was spring it was some strays catting around. When I realized she had sneaked out I found her hiding under the neighbors bush her front legs severely bitten and one of her fangs nearly pulled out. We saved the fang and treated the wounds but the vet bill was pretty bad. Plus the trauma she experienced. Indoor-outdoor cat? No thanks!
Elise Xavier says
When I got to this part of your comment – “Several years ago a new condo resident woke up to a loud screaming and opened her window to see her sweet indoor/outdoor kitty being hauled off by a coyote” – my heart broke :(. And then hearing about your cat bitten and with one of her fangs nearly pulled out 🙁 🙁
I know a lot of people who will say that keeping a cat safe is not a good enough reason to keep a cat indoors, but honestly, I sort of disagree. It’s not the only reason why I keep Avery inside, but even if it was, I think it is a sufficient enough reason, considering how serious the threat is. It’s not like these types of horror stories are unheard of or infrequent, and yes, your cat may be fine for years, but it only takes one very hungry coyote one day, or one rabies infested raccoon, or one terrible driver on a dark night and that’s it for a poor outdoor cat. 🙁
Angelina Naim says
I live in London and have an indoor cat pebbles who I love with all my heart. I feel very guilty as to not having a garden for her that I can cat proof or build a catio. I would never let a cat free roam as it’s dangerous and I would worry myself sick. I wish I could stop feeling guilty about not having a garden that I could make safe for her. I’ve tried walking her on a lead but she is a very nervous cat of people and noise so didn’t work out. I do always buy her new toys and play with her. I just hope she is happy 😣 I just want the best for my baby who I give a lot of love to as well.
Elise Xavier says
I can’t walk Avery on a lead/leash either. He just gets spooked too easily and will sprint away from us if ever he’s scared – almost lost him twice that way (once he even escaped his harness)!
Having been in Toronto and then having come here to the UK (in Bournemouth right now), I can attest to the fact that Brits find it much more of a “problem” not letting cats out. In Canada, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who thinks keeping a cat indoors is a real issue. There are many more indoor-only cats because it’s so easy for cars to be an issue for outdoor cats (we have terrible drivers, snow and ice, bigger cars, higher speeds, and much busier roads). Also, more and more people have made the move into condos, where it’s impossible to have an outdoor cat anyway. It’s harder to be judgmental about having an indoor cat when everyone and their mother has one. I’ve also noticed that many outdoor cats in Canada will refuse to go outside for around 6 months of the year because there is so much snow and it’s freezing cold – which they are ultimately not the biggest fans of spending time in. So it’s not like those with outdoor cats are really spared from making their home more stimulating to their cats in Canada. Ultimately, I think an issue only arises when your cat is too bored indoors, which is preventable.
I’ve got no garden to convert into a catio either (being on the 7th floor), so I do a lot of other things to make sure Avery stays entertained. Wrote up an article specifically for those who are in a small apartment like me: https://kittyclysm.com/cats-in-apartments/
I firmly believe if all their needs are met, and I do count stimulation as a need, there is nothing to feel guilty about in terms of keeping a cat inside.
I would really only be worried if my cat was consistently bored, but even then, I would only worry insofar as it made me get into action and fix potential issues with boredom. Here are a few things I’ve come up with: https://kittyclysm.com/bored-cat-entertainment/
Ultimately, I think you can take cats on face value with regards to whether or not they’re happy. If there is something wrong (again – including “they’re too bored” in this), they will find a way to tell you (by acting out, nagging for you to give them attention or play, etc.). If you continue to make an effort with her, with playtime, attention, and all the rest, I can’t see how she wouldn’t be content indoors. Though many do find it’s easier to keep indoor cats happy with a second cat so they can keep each other company. That’s the only thing I would suggest if you are truly concerned.
Your article was very informative, but when you think about it, what is better; living indoors all and only seeing your adopter and his/her family (if any) for your whole life and live a tad longer, or going outdoors, exploring, and living a shorter life? Imagine living indoors for your whole life. Imagine not meeting anyone new, what a waste! Okay, letting a cat go out can be dangerous but everything is dangerous! For example, we go out, whether it’s to go to work or to just take a walk, it’s normal to us but we are risking our lives! We could get run over by a car, anything really, so why are we “protecting” our pets by ruining their lives?…
We need to pause and stop being selfish, wanting our cats to live a few years more. We need to stop trying to keep them away from danger when all we are really doing is killing them! When we say “I got my cat a cat tree so he is fine”, a cat tree, a shelf or a window will NEVER equal the natural feeling of climbing a real, living tree, ever. Cats are animals, just like us; they need a life, they need change sometimes, and even if it is dangerous “Let the Cats Out!”
Elise Xavier says
This is not at all how I feel about things, but thank you for sharing your opinion.
Cat Person Convert says
Been having the same discussion with my wife and I couldn’t agree more with you. I’ve made the same comparisons that we wouldn’t consider being stuck inside all our lives any life at all. Same for our pets, which are animals. My wife aligns with Elise but sorry to say it’s just being selfish. A parent allows their child to go out into the world, knowing they could be harmed or killed, so that they might grow and enjoy life. Keeping them at home to keep them safe would in fact reduce them to being prisoners. Ask yourself would you rather live to be a hundred in a building you never left but all your “needs” were met? Or only 30 with the freedom to live a fulfilled life as you please knowing you yourself could be harmed or killed at any time? Like previously mentioned we do the latter every day.
We have 2 cats, an 11 year old boy and 6 year old girl. They’re both indoor cats only, however the boy spent his younger years getting out from time to time. He still sniffs the outdoor air and would go out if we let him but he’s not exactly trying to bust out. The girl however has never been outdoors other than the occasional visit to the vet. But she was just built to be outdoors and would love to if she got the chance. This is the debate I have with my wife. She would never let them out in fear of the coyote, the car, or other. But how do you convince someone who believes longer and safer lives indoors is best for them when it’s truly just selfish imprisonment?
Elise Xavier says
With absolutely no hesitation whatsoever, if you gave me the choice, I would whole heatedly choose to live in a single building I never left for 100 years where everything I ever wanted would be brought in for me VS going out whenever I wanted and living for 30 years only.
To me, there is not quality hit if you’re getting whatever you want and need coming in. If you don’t, that’s another story. But I get that not everyone will agree with me on that.
People go outside, and yes, there is a chance they could be killed. But in most cases there is nothing ACTIVELY trying to kill them. With cats there are coyotes, hawks, mean cats, and horrible people that are actively seeking to harm them. If I lived on the planet from the movie Aliens, there is NO WAY I would open the door and just let my kids wander out into the world. Sure they might have fun exploring, but there’s also a high probability they will die horribly.
At least, that’s how I justify keeping my cat indoors.
Elise Xavier says
Yes, and let’s be honest, there are no cars in the wild that could get cats killed, which I feel does way more killing of cats than predators do. Even if people don’t intend to run cats over with their cars, it still happens far too often to feel safe letting my cat out. Yes, yes, yes, on the Aliens comment. I feel like I can bring fun inside, as well as everything else a cat could want or need, it makes no sense they wouldn’t be just as happy, as well as ever so much more safe.
Completely feel you on your sentiments.
Shan Diggs says
I agree, as a person with Agoraphobia, I actually experience living indoors much of my life and not being able to go out when I would like, I think the author has a pretty flippant idea of how much fun it is to be trapped indoors in your home all year long. They say it would be great, but have they really tried such a thing, i doubt it! My kitty loves to outside and play in my quiet cul de sac, yes, there are dangers in the world, and yes, if you live in a busy city center or in wildlife refuge perhaps you should be cautious. Cats survived for millions of years without any human intervention at all, so I think they should be allowed to experience the earth. How ccan you know an animals mind so well as to deny it a birthright as an animal to expericnce the planet you are born onto? What would you think if your child were offered such an existence- to never feel grass or smell fresh air? Quality of life is a thing, not just length of life.
Elise Xavier says
Well no, I haven’t been indoors for a whole year, but I can definitely imagine doing so, as my husband and I live and work from home with our house cat, and I’ve probably gone out once, maybe twice a week for a few short hours at a time on average in the past 6 months to a year. Do I mind staying in so long? Only insofar as I live in a studio flat (not a big enough space for me), and I can’t have everything I wanted straight to my home. If I was in a house with adequate space, and anything I could possibly desire could be delivered straight to my door, I would be happy to live inside my home all year round.
Again, I really don’t think quality of life has anything to do with “going out.” It has to do with novelty, with mental and physical stimulation, with companionship, etc. All things you can bring into a home. And who says you can’t bring nature indoors? Quality of life is absolutely a thing, but I happen to disagree about your premise that not being able to go out is a hit to quality of life. I don’t necessarily think so.
“If I was in a house with adequate space, and anything I could possibly desire could be delivered straight to my door, I would be happy to live inside my home all year round.” I guess to each his/her own. But, I can’t imagine being indoors ‘all year round’, even under the circumstances you have cited.
Sheila Perry says
I think this depends very much on the individual cat as well as on how safe the surrounding area is. We’ve had cats in the past who would probably have been happy as indoor cats – they spent their ‘outdoor time’ in our back garden and were content to chase insects and spiders. At the moment I have two cats. One has been an outdoor cat for most of his life (my policy is to let cats out and in as they wish during the day and keep them in at night) but he’s now over 20 and doesn’t really want to go outside much, which is fine. The other one who is 10 is very territorial and likes to patrol around outside, chasing away intruders such as magpies, foxes, other cats… He gets very cross and frustrated if he can’t go out, and this has always been the case even when he was small and didn’t know what ‘out’ was!
I can see that the kind of wildlife you get in places like the USA and Canada has some bearing on people’s attitudes. The largest wild animal we have around here is the fox (although having said that we live half a mile from the Zoo so we might have to re-think if there was a mass escape!) and as yet the cats have had no trouble from them, touch wood, but I go out with the old one if he does venture into the garden. Our street has a speed limit as well as lots of twists and turns. There is a disused railway yard behind our garden, then more gardens and then a row of houses, so there is quite a lot of scope for cats to wander about without being near traffic.
Elise Xavier says
I think the issue with the wild animals is not really one of size in North America – it’s the fact that they potentially carry rabies as well. The UK is rabies free, which is a pretty incredible perk for pets that prefer to be outside.
I think if I first got pets here in the UK, living in a little town away from any busy cities (where I’d prefer to live if I’m honest), I may have had an outdoor cat. But definitely having Avery in Canada first changed my perspective. The fact that I’ve had to live in apartments for so long makes me glad we didn’t try to have him be an outdoor cat – I don’t think he would’ve been happy to be an indoor cat after having gotten used to outdoor cat life.
So many factors that go into this type of decision I guess!
I had a cat once, got her from my brother. She always had been an indoors cat and when I got her she was slightly overweight. So a diet it was.
Then, when she was precisely on point, I opened the door for her. She stood there for the longest time, not knowing what to do, then she stepped out.
From that moment on, she would be outside, coming inside for pettings and cuddles and sleep, but doing her business outside, eating outside, hunting outside.
She went from quiet, friendly indoor cat to quiet, friendly, highly efficient mouser almost overnight.
Of course, she had to learn not to eat doormice, as they are poisonous, so that was a puking experience, and she had to learn to actually dig a hole for her business or get in the shower to get cleaned up. But those were minor setbacks in her total character change.
I think she was happier. She wouldn’t come in the house all night, ate at least three mice (which sounded like she was eating chips), to be at the door in the morning to spend the day sleeping on the couch and being all cuddly.
Elise Xavier says
I’m really glad things worked out for you and for her – sounds like the perfect transition to me.
Out of curiosity – How’d she do about getting used to avoiding cars? Did that seem to come easily for her or are you not in an area where that’s too much of an issue? I think certainly living in busy-ish areas all my life, cars are my greatest fear about having an outdoor cat. I’ve seen cats with broken tails, heard horror stories about old pets being run over by terrible drivers, not fun at all.
I wasn’t in an area where cars should have been a problem. I lived in a zone where 10Mph was the limit. Of course: cats are very smart, and they learn to avoid them just by sound.
This was her (and my) misfortune: she wasn’t used to cars speeding so someone who couldn’t be bothered ran her over.
Yes, it wasn’t fun. It hurt like hell.
Elise Xavier says
🙁 🙁 What an a$$hole. I’m so sorry for both of you. Hope she recovered quickly and completely from the accident.
I have 2 indoor cats and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I always hear stories of cats going missing and being hurt etc. I feel like mine are being kept safe and selfishly wouldn’t be able to relax if they were out all the time xx
Elise Xavier says
Couldn’t agree more, Emma. I’d be devastated if I had an outdoor cat that went missing or been hurt by a car, raccoon, fox, or anything else for that matter. I’d feel like I was responsible. Also agree about not being able to relax if Avery was out all day. I think I’d constantly be worried that something bad might happen, as sometimes does.
I have had outdoor cats, daytime outdoor–inside night time cat, and indoor cats. Which type I had always depended on where I lived, and the dangers outside. Danger is in my opinion high where I live so I keep them inside. Sometimes we go out for a short period supervised. I did build a catio so they can get the fresh air and weather of their choice if they choose to go out there. The life of a feral cat does not compare to that of an indoor cat.
Elise Xavier says
Catios are an amazing idea that I really wish I had the chance to take advantage of. Unfortunately, no catio possible on the 7th floor of an apartment building, but I’m still holding out and hoping to make one once I move not a house! I like your method of choosing outdoor/indoor/mix depending on your location. And it’s true, I think, the life of an indoor cat is much better than the life of a feral cat by all measures. Thank you so much for the comment!
Geoffrey Gould says
I have two cats I raised from sickly kittens brought by to be helped by the wildlife rehabilitators with whom I live.
I generally am charged with raising and medicating baby animals (not just felines, but [until they’re old enough for release], raccoons, skunks, and the occasionally possum).
I’d been “between cats” for years, and this team of brother (Pooka) and sister (Sprite) bonded with me as do most animals. When they were old enough that they could have gone to be adopted, I said, “No, you know they’re staying with me…”
Now they are each and both Aware of Outside, but I believe in indoor cats, so they don’t go out. Deliberately, anywqy. They sometimes can ninja their way out, usually as one of my friends has certain “problems” with how to egress without leaving wide open the door too long.
A year or two later two more kittens were brought, both males and nearly identical gingers, who I named Oscar and Oliver. Until they were grown I was the only one who could tell them apart. Now it’s easy as Oliver grew to a third larger than Oscar, with a much fuller coat, among other distinctions (such as Oscar’s white “guy-liner” as it were).
Ironically, Pooka and Sprite get along with the dogs and the cats living here before them, but they do not like the ginges, and after a couple or three years, are now on sort of an armed truce. Oscar and Oliver seem perplexed by P&S’s attitude, and they’re General House cats, in that I don’t claim them as officially Mine, though they know I’m their “parent” who raised them.
The gingers are far more interested in Getting Out, to my annoyance. It’s not really dangerous, and they do stay in the mostly fenced yard (e.g., over which they could get if they wanted); I just want them Inside.
Other cats of the household, senior to Pooka and Sprite, are indoor/outdoor cats, which I suspect is why the four I’ve raised are just as Interested in What’s Out There.
[On my @realbadger Twitter page (which I thank you for recently Following), I occasionally post photos not only of Pooka and Sprite, but also of Oscar and Oliver, as well as various young wildlife charges I’ve raised.]
Elise Xavier says
This was a very interesting read, thank you for commenting and for the full breakdown. Very interesting to see how each of your cats relates to the outdoors.
It’s actually made me very curious, though, about your belief in indoor cats. Would you be willing to share why you feel this way about cats? I feel the same, but am always curious to see why other pet owners feel this way. Everyone usually has their own unique set of reasons for why they believe indoor life is better for cats.
Either way, thank you for this insightful comment!
Brian Frum says
We do understand both sides and I guess everyone is different. All of us kitties here prefer the safety of inside and we like it much better than getting run over or eaten by a fox.
Elise Xavier says
Agree with you of course! And yes, I have to say there’s huge comfort knowing your cat won’t be harmed by a car or fox.
Really great thought provoking article. I feel our little ones are appreciative of us taking them in. Beau’s personality has changed so much since he’s lived with us and now he hardly wants to spend time away from us.
Elise Xavier says
I think they appreciate us taking them in, too. 🙂
He’s such a snuggly little thing now! So cute.