Keeping Cats In or Letting Them Out

Neighborhood Garden Cat

Neighborhood Garden Cat

I sometimes miss having outside cats. Actually, I’ve never had total outside cats, but I used to have cats that could go in and out as they pleased. In fact, there were periods when I left a sliding glass door open enough for the cats to come and go even when we weren’t home.

Most cat professionals and experts now agree that cats are safer and live longer when kept inside. I’m pretty sure that most of them experienced the learning curve on this and many other cat issues rather than being born knowing this. Sure, a few professionals may have been taught from childhood the dangers outside for cats. But I suspect that most of them learned this and other important lessons over time, just as I did.

Crystal was my first totally indoor cat. I bought this gorgeous silver-shaded Persian in 1972 from a breeder for a whopping (at the time) $125. I was not going to chance having her stolen or run down on the street. She didn’t mind wearing a harness, however, and enjoyed lolling on the patio with me occasionally.

Now that’s another lesson I had to learn along the way–not to encourage breeders when there are so many cats that need rescuing.

After Crystal died of leukemia (which she evidently contracted at the cattery), I rescued a few cats who were allowed the freedom of the out-of-doors. When we lost one of them to (probably) a coyote, I finally decided to change my ways.

Of course, as caretakers of cats, we must take many precautions inside as well. There are scads of dangers inside for cats and especially kittens—the toilet, blind cords, pin cushions, string/thread, certain plants, doilies and table runners with heavy vases that can be pulled off, sharp can lids found in the kitchen trash, unsupervised toddlers and even some toys and climbing apparatus designed specifically for cats. You may have read my blog post (or the full story in my book, Catscapades, True Cat Tales) about that awful day in June of 2009 when a carpeted cat tree fell over on our 12-week-old kitten, Lily and almost killed her.

Our three cats, Max, Sophie and Lily, all stay inside full-time. But I still miss having cats in the yard when I’m puttering in the garden. And, lately, I am taking photos of cats enjoying the out of doors every chance I get. I’ll share some of them in this blog in coming months. There are definite challenges when it comes to photographing cats indoors.

In the meantime, if you haven’t done so already, be sure to order your copy of Catscapades, True Cat Tales. Read the first published review of this book:

What’s in the book? You’ll read about Dinah, the cat who refused to be an inside cat. There’s the story of my daughter’s cat who was catnapped. The circumstances of his return are quite surprising and amusing. There’s Sammy, the cat who changed a heart—great story! And I think most who appreciate all cats, but especially the Maine coon cat, will appreciate the “Tale of Smoky’s Tail.” Have you ever seen a small mother cat fiercely defend her kittens? This amazing story has a couple of unusual twists. I love the story of Gomer and how he chose his person—who was only a toddler at the time. Gomer so wanted to be with Maria, that the owner finally agreed to let the family keep their beloved kitten. Gomer and Maria (now 13) are still best pals

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