By in Animals

Concerns About Letting Cats Outside

I own five cats and all go outside although my oldest cat is indoors most of the time unless the weather is nice. Other than my old cat the others were all born wild; ferals whom we have caught and tamed.

I live rurally, I have no neighbors, no rules requiring cats to be inside, and I do have other buildings and places they can go for shelter.

When I lived in the city I had my yard fenced so that the cats could go outside but could not leave the yard. When one cat did figure out how to get out of the yard I built a special cat enclosure next to the house.

Having said that, it is much safer for cats to be indoors only.

When cats are out they are at risk. In some areas there are laws that require cats to be indoors or on their owner's property (which is not easy). Even if legally allowed to roam cats face many dangers, cars, dogs, and people who hate cats and try to poison them or torture them. In some places cats are stolen and used as bait animals for fighting dogs. There are always risks of fights with other cats and concerns related to diseases (even if the cat is vaccinated).

As such, to answer the question of if it is safe to let cats outside, the answer is very simply "no". There are always risks.

If you are going to let your cat outside it should be spayed or neutered first, it should be vaccinated, and wear a collar with identification. It should be tattooed or microchipped in case the collar is lost. It should have food, water, and shelter, when outside, and should not be outside if you are not home. It should be inside in cold weather, and ideally kept in your yard when outside.

Image Credit » Photo by author's husband

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OldRoadsOnceTraveled wrote on February 13, 2015, 12:01 AM

This is Guiness the Cat. As much as I like to go outside, I certainly don't want to live there. Even in suburbia where I live, there are coyotes who eats cats. Not too mention way too many cars on the road. Especially on cold days like today, I like my nice warm house. I don't stray too far from the porch.

valmnz wrote on February 13, 2015, 12:06 AM

Here in New Zealand cats are probably quite naturally outdoors creatures. In all the years we've had cats, only once was one run over and he was quite a young cat. We live on an exceptionally busy road near a corner. I know Smooch goes wandering as I've met him returning down the driveway. But, for us, outdoors is the norm.

Hollyhocks100 wrote on February 13, 2015, 3:59 AM

The only time I restricted my cats in the house and yard was when we lived next door to a man who owned greyhounds, they killed one of my cats. Other than that I would never keep a cat restricted, and I wouldn´t own one if living near a busy road.

wolfgirl569 wrote on February 13, 2015, 9:53 AM

I have some out in the barn for mouse control. These I dont tame down as much so they are more careful and alert to things around them. I also do not like collars on cats as they can climb something and get hung up with it on. The ones that are tamer here are inside cats only

WordChazer wrote on February 13, 2015, 1:53 PM

That final paragraph is more or less what we did for our last family cat, Fudge. It is also what we would do if we ever managed to afford to have a cat or cats here too.

crowntower wrote on February 13, 2015, 6:16 PM

So true! But our cats is really are born outside and they just came home only for breakfast, lunch and dinner and for the afternoon nap, they always wants to go outside, and so I always pray for them.

GemOfAGirl wrote on February 14, 2015, 12:06 AM

All of my kitties have all been indoor cats. I've always lived in suburban or urban areas, and I've always had a fear of my furbabies getting run over by cars.

Ruby3881 wrote on February 16, 2015, 7:18 PM

Cats are indeed much safer when kept indoors. But even a spayed or neutered cat will naturally be drawn to the outdoors. It can be tough to catch them if they're really determined! I think the best advice in cases where cats won't take no for an answer, is to put them on a harness with a long lead, or to give them an enclosure as you did. The advice about cat care and prevention is excellent!

LindaCPearson wrote on March 1, 2015, 2:30 PM

Where I live, the vehicle traffic is very busy on my street. Like you said, there are also many other hazards out there that are very dangerous for cats and other pets. IMildred my cat is strictly an indoor cat and seems very happy about it!