Newsday Tuesday – Inside Versus Outside Cats



Where do your cats live? I’d always had inside/outside cats until the year I bought Crystal—a Persian. Of course, she would be a totally inside cat. She was too pretty, expensive, and she lacked street smarts.

After losing Crystal to leukemia (before the vaccine was available), I rescued a variety of cats who became inside/outside cats and I lost them to maladies probably only occurring for cats who are allowed to go outside. So years later, when I brought home another purebred cat, I deemed her a total inside kitty and held to that rule for all of the rescues that followed. Let me tell you, I’ve learned that cats do live longer when they don’t have the option of running free in the neighborhood—at least mine do. Before my decision to keep cats inside, my kitties lived to be anywhere from five years to eight at the most. In recent years, I’ve had two cats live to be 18. One huge benefit here in California is that you have 0 or far fewer fleas to deal with when you keep your cats inside.gorgebirdbath

FYI, an outdoor cat’s life expectancy is 4 to 5 years. Inside kitties live an average of 12 to 14 years, statistically.

I’ve never had my inside cats complain or try to dash through an open door—except for one.

Like most of our cats, Dinah came to us from a shelter. She was eight months and accustomed to being outside. In fact, she refused to use a litter box at all. She’d wait until someone let her out, even if it was during a torrential rain storm.

photogeorgeA part of me appreciates the concept of free-range cats. I enjoy seeing a cat in the yard—dancing after a butterfly, curled up on our deck furniture, poking around a flower bed. And I miss having cats with me when I garden. But there are way too many dangers for free-roaming cats. I’m just one of thousands who have lost cats to traffic, owls, coyotes, and various poisons used by neighbors to control gophers. When I see “missing cat” fliers posted throughout the neighborhood, my blood boils. I want to scream, “Keep your cat inside where she’s safe.”

But then that opens another can of worms. What about household dangers? I’ve written articles and posted blogs warning people about some of the dangers inside, as well. Use the search feature at the top of this post to locate pertinent posts. Use keyword “danger.” The most recent, as you may recall, is the May 17, 2016 post. But you’ll also find posts on preparing your home for a kitten, plants and flower danger for cats and kittens, and hazards for cats in your holiday packaging and more. If you’re new to cats or plan to adopt a kitten soon, do yourself a favor and review these posts.

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