Someone recently asked an online cat community for opinions regarding whether or not indoor cats prefer the outdoors. More people are suggesting it’s inhumane to keep cats indoors. Despite the reality that the lifespan of an outdoor cat is 2-5 years versus 10-15 for an indoor.
One day the poster’s partner left a window open, and before she knew it, they saw the cat standing outside the door to their smoke room.
In response to their obvious discomfort, he—their partner—suggested the cat is “miserable” from living indoors and what’s the point of the cat living longer if they hate their life? So they want to know if there is truth in their partner’s words.
She wonders if keeping their cat inside and safe harms them, despite the care and toys they provide their furry friend. Others weighed in, sharing their experiences about indoors versus outdoors for their feline companions.
A Potential Cat-Astrophy
Quite a few people agree that indoors is best for various reasons. One is safety. Depending on location, outdoors can present dangers like hawks, coyotes, bears, snakes, raccoons, etc. Many emphasize the guilt and regret they’ll feel if their feline friend’s life is cut tragically short by a feral animal harming them. Or by being hit by a car.
This also includes people for me. One of the cats my mom took in belonged to a neighbor, and the kids were kicking the cat in the head. My mom snatched the cat and told the kids threatening to bring their parents because she’d love to talk with them. The parent never came, and we got a new cat. Imagine how hurt your injured cat would feel.
Unsafe Meals Outdoors
Cats can and do eat things that make them sick with possibly fatal results. A few talked about losing a cat young because they ate something toxic. Again imagine the guilt that you let a cat out to “live its best life” only to speed up its demise. In this case, remember, cats are not people. They will not research whether the food they’re about to digest is harmful.
It’s About Stimulation
Another recurring comment has to do with the quality of life. As one person states, cats do not think in terms of “imprisonment” or “freedom.” As their owner, you are responsible for ensuring they have proper stimulation and physical exertion indoors.
There are toys, those multi-tiered scratching posts/homes. They expand that if a cat is upset being indoors, you haven’t done your part to make it fun. As someone else answered, if they have indoor stimulation, “they are good.” Although some use humans as a comparison with a “how would you feel” regarding being indoors, cats are not people. They are amazing. . .but not people.
The Best of Both Worlds
One cat owner has two cats living two different lives. One is “perfectly content,” being an indoor cat. The other cat likes to explore, so they take it outside with a leash. That way, it ensures they get some outdoor fun while you get to keep an eye on them.
But, as someone else warns, cats on leashes are not the same as dogs on leashes. Let the cat explore, and do not lead them anywhere. Many other cat owners agreed that this option is a fairly good compromise. If the cat enjoys the outdoors and indoors, in this scenario, they have both, and you, the owner, have peace of mind.
No One Size Fits All
The main consensus is that each cat is unique. Some will like the outdoors in small doses; others may loathe it and prefer the home’s safety. Claiming cats must be outdoors is the same as saying they must be indoors. As a cat owner, you know your cat better than anyone else.
Use your judgment and weigh any risks depending on where you live. So, ensure they have all the entertainment they need at home and perhaps some leash training because there is no right or wrong here.
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Hi, I’m Jenny Dean, creator of Floppycats! Ever since my Aunt got the first Ragdoll cat in our family, I have loved the breed. Inspired by my childhood Ragdoll cat, Rags, I created Floppycats to connect, share and inspire other Ragdoll cat lovers around the world,