Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Indoors or Outdoors

Update: Well, the question is moot at this point. Lee says no to another kitty.
Thanks for the input, though.

We have to the acceptance that our Lucky kitty is never coming home. He went out sometime during the night on February 20th, and we never saw him again.
He was an indoor/outdoor cat.

We were so lucky to have gotten such a great cat out of a kitty that was once a stray. He came during the framing stage of our house out of a culvert nearby. He never did anything but make it clear he would be a great addition to our family. Lee nor I had ever owned a cat, and didn't really consider ourselves 'cat people'. Just about every cat we'd ever met was a mental case.
Lucky behaved more like a dog, than a cat (in our opinion). He never scratched the furniture, he never had accidents inside, he came when he was called, he never met a stranger and he never got up on the counters.
He loved being indoors with us and he loved being outdoors---being a cat. Yes, he brought us 'presents' every now and then. Mostly rats and mice.
We never really feared for his life outdoors, because he was very, very aware of the presence of coyotes in our area. He had plenty of places to zoom to safety if he was being pursued. He could also climb a tree like a cheetah. He was up to date on all his vaccinations in case he encountered a stray cat with diseases. We live at the end of a cul' de sac on a road with 2 other houses. Getting hit by a car was nearly a non-existant possibility. Not even loose dogs to hassle him.
I just think he was more balanced and happy, because he could go outdoors.

That's where the problem lies. It is our assumption, after much searching and posting of signs, that it was probably a coyote that got him. He was 12. He could still run and still climb trees, but it could be that he just wasn't fast enough. The thought of Lucky being snatched up and carried off, makes me want to get out the 22 gauge and kill me some coyote.
I'm more realistic than that. I know that we moved out here--to the coyote's habitat. It's no different, no matter how unsettling, than Lucky catching a rat or a rabbit.

We are now at a place in our lives, where the kids are starting to want a new cat. A young cat, an orange cat, a cat that 'talks'.
But what to do? Should we risk having our hearts broken again, and have a coyote take another cat? On the other hand, we feel a cat should get to be outdoors for its own sanity. I go round and round in my head about the subject.
I'll think I really want another cat, and then I'll think about searching for Lucky at 5 am on a rainy, cold morning. Then I'll think about him rolling in the dirt and playing with long stems of grass. Then I'll think about going hoarse while calling for him for days. On and on.

My question to you----do you have an indoor only cat? How is their personality--honestly? Do you have problems with scratching the furniture? I worry that indoor only cats scoot out the door while you're unloading groceries and don't know that to do with themselves. I read plenty of "lost cat" stories on Craig's List about indoor cats that got out, freaked out and disappeared.

Pretty please, don't tell me you opinion about why cats should be indoors only or outdoors only. I just want to hear of your experience with indoor only cats. Thanks!


  1. Our cat was an indoor/outdoor cat. He slept inside but was outside during the day because he wanted out. He would get on the counters at first but soon learned to stay down. Now we don't have a cat and hubby doesn't want one. He wants a dog so that is what we will probably get.

  2. We have quite a few cats and they are all indoor only. When we lived in the UK they were indoor/outdoor but we feel the risks here are too great. They adjusted really well. Even when they were allowed out we always made sure they were in at night. They don't try and get out and all seem happy, affectionate, playful.

    We have an outdoor pen for them to get fresh air safely. We have scratching posts for them so they don't scratch the furniture. We grow catnip and cat grass for them in pots. They have plenty of toys and good sleeping spots.

    I hope that helps and is what you were looking for. I am more than happy to tell you more about our gang if you would like.

  3. I know you said it didn't matter anymore but I'll let you our story. We have 2 indoor only cats. They were indoor/outdoor cats at our old house, but when we moved here they decided it was too scary out there. There are both much happier now that they are indoor only! They are much more affectionate and calmer. They don't try to run out because they know what is out there and want no part of it. I scratches the couch and the other only uses the scratching pad. They don't go potty anywhere but the litter box. I'm much happier with them now than I was when they went outside.

  4. All my cats have been indoor only cats. I had one that was abandoned and left outdoors, but even he became an indoor only cat. They were all wonderful pets and very affectionate. Plus it helped to keep them pest and disease free. We only vaccinated for rabies and the initial kitten vaccines and not FIV or FeLv because they didn't run the risk of being infected by other cats, so it saved on vet bills too. I only had an indoor-outdoor cat once, and he disappeared one day. That's the day I said I'd never do it again.

  5. Piper is an indoor only cat. He hates being outside. He doesn't scratch on anything. He'd live in your lap if allowed. There are advantages and disadvantages to an indoor only cat. We have Piper's sister, Sidney. She's happiest outside. She never uses the litter box (a huge plus for me) but she does scratch once in a while.

    Could an adult cat that you know is strictly indoor be an option?

  6. Hi CeeCee, I know I'm a little late in reading your Lucky cat post, sorry!

    We found Jack, our orange boy, several years ago. He showed up at our house, starved, with broken ribs, terrified of the night noises. He was so scared, he was so sad. When we brought Jack in he had to get all sorts of medical assistance- he had fleas & ticks so bad, was malnourished, broken bones, for some reason he could meow, only squeak. Fast forward a few years... Jack is still terrified of living outside, although he loves to go out for monitored walks. He must have had a bad experience living outside. He is very vocal, squeaking long sentences all the time.

    Last we we brought in Shadow, a black cat, an outside stray female who was starving, freezing (we had a tough winter that year & she stayed outside all winter long), and very WILD. She has gotten very tame in the year she's lived inside, although she really doesn't like being picked up yet (we're still working on that). Shadow is a sweetie, she's a lover girl, I've never known such a loving cat. We have offered for her to go back outside, she refuses. She has no desire to go back out to that tough life when she has it made inside.

    Neither of our cats scratch anything other than their cat box (a wooden box covered in carpet with openings so they can go inside, it sits at the foot of our bed). Neither cat ever gets up on the counters or even the couch or chairs- they know better. they are provided window seats so they can look out in the dining room & office & kitchen. They know where they can go, and where they cannot. They both want to please us, neither of them wants to make us angry. They use their litter box very well, even though it's hidden way back in one corner of the house. And they are excellent mousers and buggers - we get LOTS of mice & bugs in this old house.

    I think cats are very smart, both mine shake hands on request, in the past I've had cats who fetched like dogs. Both my cats always greet us & our company at the door, are very vocal, sort of act like dogs. I think you can train a cat to act as you wish. It just takes work, you have to show it the boundaries right from the beginning. I was concerned about training adult cats (vice kittens), but had no issues.

    Maybe one day you will decide to get another kitty. Good luck!!


  7. A black and white moggie (Chester) 8 week old was the first to arrive, he loved to hang onto anything, bite and scratch until we got him a kitten girlfriend (Rat), then they ran the whole unit full playing. They got to go out on the balcony and hide in my pot plants and distroying a few for toilets. It was love stories, curled up together sleeping and grooming each other. He became a nice cat cause he had company. Last year he died age 13 and Rat is still doing well.We lived in a unit for 6 years, they were very secure and happy in their own world. Then we moved to a house with yard they thread grass for the first time He used to duck when birds where around always weary of them. Cats are happy if they secure, feed and loved no matter if they indoor or outdoor cats.

  8. One of ours is indoor/outdoor but doesn't like to stay outdoors long. From the way she looks at the sky I wonder whether a hawk or an owl didn't once just miss her. She's seventeen years old. The other cat is young--maybe three years. She's strictly an indoor cat but she's so, so, so curious about the outdoors. She stares longingly through the screens at The Other Side. Once in a while I bring green things in to her. She seems well-adjusted and happy from the way she plays and gets along with the dogs, though.