Thursday, March 8, 2012

Is it cruel to keep cats indoors?

Do you have an indoor or outdoor cat?  I've been getting some sense lately that people think me cruel because I don't let Buttercup outside.  Oh, she gets outside, all right, as she did when my husband opened the back door last night and she scooted past him.  So there I am at midnight in my robe and slippers, chasing her around the neighborhood (it took me half an hour to nab her -- she's wise to the ribbon-dangled-in-front-of-her trick, but she finally succumbed to treats).  The temperature was supposed to be in the 30's last night, so I couldn't leave her outside.  But I don't let her out in the morning to run around all day. 

Soooo innocent
(Linkup to This and That ThursdayCamera Critters,  and Happiness Is . . . )

So here are the reasons I keep Buttercup indoors:

 1.  Outdoor cats get more diseases, such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, and I just read a very disturbing article somewhere (can't find it now) on toxoplasmosis and how it may be the culprit in many human health conditions.

2.  Things happen to outdoor cats -- fights, hit by cars, lost, etc. etc.  I don't want to take that risk.  Indoor cats as a group live much longer than outdoor cats (though I'm sure some of you all have outdoor cats that are 20 years old).  They also bring in fleas and stuff like that.

3.  We have an issue in our neighborhood with people complaining about cats running around and pooping in their yards and such.  I know this can't be our older outdoor cat because the first thing he does when we let him in is use the litter box -- with all that great outdoors out there, he chooses to poop at home.

4.  They can get into various kinds of trouble.  Our neighbor came over the other day to ask if October (the older outdoor cat) was okay, and when we asked why he shouldn't be, neighbor said that October came in through his cat door in the middle of the night and he and his wife awoke to the sounds of a cat fight going on in their bedroom!  Yikes!  Also, when Buttercup streaked out of the house another time and was gone for five hours, I finally found her on the other side of an 8' fence between us and a small housing development on the other side.  She can climb up on various things to get over there, but it's basically a blank wall on the other side, and she can't get back.

5.  All signs point to her being a mighty hunter.  She stalks anything she can stalk inside the house -- moths, toy mice, sponges, anything really, that she can flip into the air and chase.   I really, really don't want her out there killing birds, because I love them.

6.  She's white.  This is not so much an issue of her coming in dirty (though she hates to be bathed), but the vet warned us that white cats are very vulnerable to skin cancer, and where she was injured on the nose when she was very tiny (before we got her), there's very little fur, which makes her even more vulnerable.

So, unless it's a working cat who has a job keeping rodents down in the barn, I feel okay about keeping a cat indoors.  What do you think?  Am I Cruella de Ville?  :)


Daogreer Earth Works said...

Not cruel at all. Keep her inside for her health and safety and for the health and safety of birds and other wildlife.

It sounds like she gets out enough on her own, but if you feel like it's not enough, you could arrange for some supervised time outside.

Anonymous said...

my dear Kitty Boy is long passed and now i have a dog...but i adored that cat...he was a randy young kitty from down the street at a feed store. he was smart, when the door to the store went up, he scooted out..but not smart enough to get back in when the store closed. i made the mistake of feeding him once, twice, and he was on my porch all night. i watched him run across the road in front of cars and then i went to the feed store owner and said: can i have this cat??? or would you please take him out to your farm so i won't watch him get hit by a car? he said: he's yours! and Kitty Boy lived a healthy, happy long 13 years after that INSIDE and never went out unless he went to the vet in a cat carrier :D

Susan said...

Beautiful cat. Mine goes in and out.

VBR said...

Lovely little cat! And, I do not think it is cruel to have an indoor cat. We had several growing up, and they seemed to be Purrfectly Pleased about being inside!

TexWisGirl said...

i used to have an indoor cat. we had her front paws declawed to stop her from destroying the carpeted stairs. i never let her outside.

now i have a barn cat. he lives outdoors but is kept up on his shots and gets fed everyday. he hunts, too.

i think one or the other is okay. i think mixing the two can get dangerous - especially if you live in a populated area where house cats can get hit by a car, etc.

Nadege, said...

I have two cats and they are both kept inside. I always worry that if I let them out they would get run over and I would never know.
With an inside cat, you get to know their personality better...and they are perfectly happy lounging about.
Lovely image.

Elise Ann Wormuth said...

Thanks so much, everyone! I appreciate your comments. Nadege, I agree with you -- the thought of anything happening to her because I let her out would be more than I could bear.

Jo said...

well i live in a neighbourhood where many healthy coyotes roam the streets, even in the daylight ... i am always saddened by the number of "missing" signs that go up for cats ... sadly, i'm pretty sure they are all inside of a well fed coyotes tummy. I say, please keep your cat inside where it is safe.

Elise Ann Wormuth said...

Yikes! That's very scary. Thanks for the comment.

Nancy Claeys said...

Elise -- I have both indoor and outdoor cats.

My indoor cats are 15 and 11. The 15 year-old goes out sporadically, but she stays near the door and whines to come in after about a minute! The other indoor cat is a whoos and wants to be indoors 24/7.

I'd keep Buttercup in if she is wont to run or stray -- too many dangers out there. It's just not worth it.

Cathy Kennedy said...

I wouldn't worry with what other people think about you keeping your kitty indoors. If this is what makes you the happiest then so be it. Personally, it would be nice to have an indoor kitty, but I'm allergic to them and I don't want to get an outdoor kitty because at the moment we don't have a good shelter for them when it gets cold. So, perhaps when we move one day in the hopefully not-so-distant future we can have a place for outdoor kittys to stay to keep warm in the winter. Visiting from Alphabe-Thursday line up!

Tatjana Parkacheva said...

Beautiful portrait of your cute cat.
I think it would be good to let her out, perhaps not often, but once a day would be good for her.

Regards and best wishes

lisa said...

She is beautiful Elise!
I have a stray cat that I began caring for about a year ago. Miss Kitty does not come in the house, as I have birds, but she has a heated "house" on one of our patios.

Sending you wishes for a wonderful weekend!

Ida said...

As the proud owner (or is that servant) to 6 Indoor cats I can say with utmost certainty that you are in no way "cruel" at all. We have several neighborhood cats that our left outdoors and a few ferals that we feed and believe me I worry about them all the time. Being hit by cars, chased by dogs, attacked by raccons, that any kind of a life for them. NO! Ours are pampered and well loved as I'm sure your sweet Buttercup is.

Judie said...

My cats were always free to come and go, until one put a dead rat under my son's bed. I didn't find it until it started to smell.

Elise Ann Wormuth said...

Eeeeew. Our outdoor cat dragged a half-dead bird in the front door once; the poor thing was still trying to get away. That kind of thing I don't like at all.

Betty (picture circa 1951) said...

I think they're much better off inside. I have indoor cats and two outdoor cats. I can't bring them inside, but I lock them in the garage at night and feel they're a little safer that way. (They were a feral and a stray that showed up one day and stayed.) I just wish people would get their cats fixed so there would be no more ferals and strays.

NatureFootstep said...

I guess it depends on the cat. They are all individuals.

anitamombanita said...

cute kitty. not being a cat person, I don't have any experience to say what's best.

deb duty said...

She's such a beautiful cat! I would be careful too. I'm sure she's happy inside.

Splendid Little Stars said...

not cruel, kind. My 2 current 10 1/2 year old cats are indoor. My last cat (16 yrs) was indoor. All the cats I had before them died or disappeared usually before age 3.
Life is good inside--safe and warm, where the food is, where the toys and people are.
My daughter had a cat she wanted to be an indoor cat, but this cat insisted on going outside. Once she disappeared for 10 days and came back a bit scrawny. Later she disappeared for good.

Jenny said...

She is beautiful.

I don't know why people are so opionated about things like this.

There is sure nothing wrong with having an indoor cat and keeping her safe and close.

I think where it becomes cruel is if all the sudden you put her out. She seems to be pampered and loved, though, and I suspect you would never consider that!

Thanks for a thoughtful and thought provoking link to Alphabe-Thursday's letter "P".

That is a beautiful picture you shared.