Ozzie (In memory of)

Is it cruel to keep an outside cat inside?

I feed a stray male cat outside only. Since I had food on my deck, it attracted a beautiful kitten who looks like a tortieshell cat. She would eat and leave but more and more she was staying around the deck. It took me about a week to let her pet me but she is still skittish. She had mats all over her neck (she is long haired), which she finally let me cut off. This is the third week she's been sleeping on my deck. All of a sudden, my male stray started acting aggressive towards her. I wasn't sure if he thought she was in heat or if he felt threatened. Anyway, I've been keeping her in my basement and let her in the kitchen blocking it off from my other two inside cats for a few hours a night. She does not like to be inside. I have an appointment to take her to the vet to get her checked out and spayed because I would like to keep her. I think she is about one year, maybe less. However, is it cruel to keep her locked up in my basement since she has been an outside cat?

Asked by Ozzie (In memory of) on Mar 5th 2011 in Other Adoption & Rescue
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What you are doing is not cruel, but keeping this kitten in the basement for extended periods of time by herself is not good. She needs to be kept in a small room (bathroom, laundry room) to get used to her new surroundings. It is good that you are taking her to the vet to have her checked out and spayed. I hope your male cats are fixed. Don't delay getting her spayed. She very well may be in heat. You are a good person and are doing what you can for her. Hopefully, she will adjust to being inside and she will become more sociable. She needs to be around people in order for this to be done. Best of luck to you and your new kitty!

Member 185886 answered on 3/5/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


It also depends on the kind of basement you have. If it's dark, cold, and unfinished, it's better than being outside in terms of protection from the elements, but obviously not as comfortable as a heated basement that's been turned into a playroom or such. Try to provide toys and interaction. Outdoor cats usually get used to living indoors, but sometimes do escape, so be careful with doors and windows and such, even when she's gotten used to living indoors.

Spike answered on 3/5/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

gracie tatanka

if shes already let you cut the mats off her shes already made her decision shes your cat whether in doors or out. she doesnt like the inside bit cos shes not used to it but as she starts to integrate more with the rest of your house hold she should become more comfortable. however sometimes you will find a cat who as much as theyre yours does not want to be inside get her to the vets have her done let her recuparate and by then she will be quite happy to stay around but it may be on her own terms good luck and best wishes

gracie tatanka answered on 3/6/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I'm a feral cat who hates being inside so much that the few times I've been brought in to be treated for illness or for terrible weather I stopped eating as soon as I was healthy or the blizzard stopped! A lot of adult cats who are born outside just aren't capable of adapting to the indoor life even if they get friendly enough to be petted by their caretakers. Fortunately your tortie girl is young and obviously not on hunger strike, so get her fixed and do your best to adapt her to indoor life. You'll know after a few months if she's fit for life indoors or if she needs to be an indoor/outdoor or outdoor-only cat like millions of other semi-ferals out there. Whether it's your living room or a nicely insulated cat shelter the important thing is you're providing her a warm place to sleep and looking out for her well being! Even if all you can do for her is get her spayed that alone will improve her quality of life tenfold!

Hannah answered on 3/7/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Izadore (Izzie)

I agree with Hannah. We adopted Lily Rose who was an outside cat. She was so desperate to get out that she ruined our screens (costing us $400 to replace). We also had Ernie who would bolt out any door that was opened for a half-second. This is prime mating time and chances are the male stray sensed she was in or about to come into heat. When you bring the baby to the vet, ask for their advice on keeping her indoors. You'll have to give her lots of distractions to make inside more interesting than out. Having an outdoor cat isn't abusive. It's not really good for the cat, but sometimes it can't be helped. Ernie and Lily both bummed all day but came back (when called) at night--until they were both killed outside.That was rough but unfortunately, it happens.Be prepared that she just might be an outside cat. Good luck with your efforts and thanks for caring about the homeless little ones!

Izadore (Izzie) answered on 3/8/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Sweet Cee Cee

Nothing made me happier than to be reskewed and taken to live with a kind purrson. Did I miss my babies? Yes -- but some of THEM got adopted too-- the others were too wild and were placed back where we had all lived before -- but THIS time they wer spayed, Neutered, Vaccinated and someone was looking after them and feeding them and they had shelters and feeding stations. As for MOI-- I no longer had to root in the garbage to eat, or sleep in the rain and snow, or pump out any more kittens -- nor dd I have any more fleas or wormies. SURE it took me about a year to get adjusted -- but from day ONE, I LOOVED being brushed -- I just got scared of alot of things and it took me a while to understand that someone loved me, fed me and cared for me. Do I want to go back outside? NOooooo! Not when there are crazies and poison and bad weather and other scary things out there. Purrrrrrr. Sweet Cee Cee

Sweet Cee Cee answered on 3/8/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


It certainly isn't cruel; granted, if she's going to stay with you indefinitely, it would be best if she was gradually allowed out with the other cats, but even if that doesn't work out, the basement beats the heck out of the outdoors. Unfortunately, she may not see it that way, but I wouldn't assume that she won't. We took in a slightly-less-than-a-year old cat about a year and a half ago, who'd been an outdoor stray, and although he has disrupted the equilibrium between our other two cats and is sometimes something of a ____ disturber, he really is a sweet cat and is as perfectly domesticated as if he'd lived all of his life indoors, instead of being a stray for the first few months of his life. He doesn't try to get out nearly as hard as one of our other cats; he knows what it's like out there and has no real ambition to return to it.
An indoor cat might live for 15 years or more, an outdoor cat is lucky to live five. Keeping a cat indoors is not cruel.

Oliver answered on 3/8/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I applaud your kindness - the world needs more people like yourself. I had a tortie for almost 20 years and she hated to be inside! I named her Sybil because she had many purrsonalities. She is missed by everyone but Emma - lol. I had to confine her to a heated and carpeted basement during the cold weather, and sometimes at night, because she would howl and scratch the thresholds of all the outside doors. I let her have her way when the weather was mild and made her a comfortable shelter in the garage, leaving the door open just enough for her to squeeze in and out. It's tough to have a stubborn "let me outta here!" cat but as long as you keep them as safe and comfortable as possible it can be done. Good luck! Torties are really sweeties.

Emma answered on 3/8/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


I am a former feral outside cat. My son and I were trapped and kept in the basement until we were vetted and fixed, then I moved upstairs
My son Rocky, was younger and it didn't take long for him to get used to being petted and loved on. He loves being brushed and is a total lovebug and lap cat.
I, other hand, will not let myself be petted or touched, although I do let The Lady get close, just no touching! I am older and I won't tell how long I was living outdoors. It is nice to have a home where I am loved and taken care of, and where I have all of the food I could ever want!
Good for you for rescuing the kitty. Give her lots of love and patience and she will do the same for you :)

Minnow answered on 3/9/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer

Gavroche RIP 7/28/2009

I personally have brought in many outside cats over th years. I can't even count the number. Most adjusted quite well to being inside, even a couple I suspect were true ferals. In the beginning they may beg to go out, but after a hort time, they discover the joys of being inside. I agree with the person who said try keeping her in a small room. Let all cats get used to the smells of each other. I have often used our large dog crate to keep anew cat in until they get used to each other.

Gavroche RIP 7/28/2009 answered on 3/9/11. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer