A gray cat looking out a window. Photography by Shutterstock.
A gray cat looking out a window. Photography by Shutterstock.

Should I Let My Cat Outside — Ever?

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Quitting smoking is, without a doubt, the most straightforward thing a person can do to increase his or her life expectancy (although not always the easiest). Smoking causes, contributes to, or exacerbates all manner of health problems in people including cancer, heart disease, and asthma.

But is smoking always bad? Might there be some rare cases where the benefits of smoking outweigh the risks? Most people know that smoking is generally a poor health decision, but some centenarian smokers are out there living happy lives. And some 20-something nonsmokers die of lung cancer. Smoking is bad for health on average, but some individuals are far from the average.

The benefits of regular heavy smoking never outweigh the risks, I could imagine rare individuals for whom the pleasure of an occasional cigarette outweighs the health risk. The stress reduction enjoyed by that individual may cause more benefit than the harm caused by the cigarette’s tar. Maybe. In theory.

What does this have to do with cats? If you’re thinking – “Should I let my cat outside?” — letting your cat go outside is the veterinary equivalent of smoking. It significantly reduces feline life expectancy. Yes, some outdoor cats live into their 20s— just like some smokers live to 100. But it puts cats at increased risk of all manner of problems including infection, predation, trauma, hypothermia and myiasis (that’s a fancy word for getting infested with maggots).

For my entire career I have urged (online and in person) cat owners to keep their cats indoors. (So don’t call me greedy— outdoor cats get into much more trouble than their indoor counterparts, so they’re far more lucrative for vets.)

My editors at Catster recently asked me to address this in depth. One of them wrote: “Is *any* outdoor exposure too fraught with bad consequences to even consider? I know that lots of evil lurks out there … but is there any level of exposure you’d consider acceptable?”

My knee-jerk reaction was a simple no. But I thought about it, and about life in general, and I realized that there are two things in this world that really make me cringe. The first is outdoor cats. The second is absolutist people who see the world in black and white and refuse to acknowledge that arguments have two sides.

I have discussed the cons of allowing cats outdoors multiple times on Catster. For another dissertation on the matter, click here.

Today I’ll cover the pros of letting your cat outdoors. Here are some of the arguments that might be put forth for allowing cats to go outside.

Cats who go outside are less prone to obesity. Free-roaming cats naturally burn more calories than those that sit on the sofa all day. They therefore are less prone to diseases associated with obesity such as diabetes and chronic kidney disease. Of course, part of the reason why outdoor cats are less susceptible to these diseases might also be because they die of trauma, disease, fights, and other horrors before they are old enough for these diseases to become a problem.

Outdoor time might be good for a cat’s mental health. The cat may enjoy being outdoors. True. Many cats really seem to enjoy being outside, just like many sailors enjoy getting drunk and then brawling and visiting brothels. It might seem like fun at the time, but it’s not healthy behavior, and those who live through it often regret it later.

Outside time allows cats to express natural behaviors that might be suppressed indoors. In other words, they get to hunt. This might be good for the cat’s mental health, but it decimates (or is perceived by many to decimate) local wildlife populations. Nobody really misses rats, mice, or gophers. But some people get very upset about the salamanders, lizards and snakes that fall prey to cats. Legions of people are up in arms about feline-related songbird death. Don’t forget that hunting comes with risk. While your cat is hunting mice, a coyote or hawk may be hunting your cat.

And how about those wildlife fans who are angry about cat predation? Do you think that there might be any of them in your community who have decided to take Dexter-style action against the local cats? Or any people who are simply serial killers in training currently practicing on cats? Over the years I have read or heard of many stories of serial cat killers, including the bow-and-arrow killer who stalked cats in my native Boise, Idaho, when I was a child as well as someone who might currently be using rat poison in the Bay Area to kill cats. Also, don’t forget that many parasites — including Toxoplasma, lungworm and some tapeworms — are spread through feline predation.

An orange tabby cat with his ears flattened, stalking a bird.

Cats who go outside often urinate and defecate outdoors so there is no stinky litter box in the house. Although it’s great to have a nice smelling house, that goal is also achievable by keeping the litter box clean. I should also point out that your neighbors probably don’t appreciate finding cat poop in their gardens. Feces can spread diseases including Toxoplasmosis, which in turn could cause your neighbor to get sick or have a miscarriage. Also, if your male cat urinates outside, you might not notice and be able to intervene if he develops a urinary obstruction.

Cats need to go outside to produce vitamin D. This “pro” is a false argument. Sunlight is not involved in vitamin D synthesis in cats. It does, however, contribute to sunburn and skin cancer.

Outdoor cats can consume grass, through which they obtain valuable micronutrients. I’ve seen no evidence that grass contains vital nutrients for cats. I know with certainty, however, that grass can lodge in the nose and throat, leading to an expensive veterinary procedure. And I also know that some grass is sprayed with potentially toxic pesticides.

If I don’t let my cat outside, he urinates all over my house. I have tried behavioral modification, medications and collaboration with professional behaviorists but nothing works. It’s either let him outside or put him to sleep. OK, you got me with this particular Hobson’s Choice. Rehousing such cats is virtually impossible (unless you can find someone who does not object to cat urine in the house), and I am sorry to say that such cats are actually not uncommon. This is one of the rare instances in which I reluctantly sign off on letting a cat outside.

Cats who go outside under supervision and are kept on leash or in a fenced patio can enjoy the outdoors while suffering minimal risk. True. Sort of. However, don’t forget that cats can slip harnesses and then get creamed by cars. They can climb (and fall from) trees and fences in a heartbeat. And even leashed cats are at risk of exposure to feline leukemia virus.

There you have it. I have tried to set up solid arguments for allowing cats outside, and for the most part I have come up short. Here’s my take: Enjoy a rare cigarette if you want one (although never in the presence of your cat). But keep your cat indoors.

Got a question for Dr. Barchas? Ask our vet in the comments below and your topic might be featured in an upcoming column. (Note that if you have an emergency situation, please see your own vet immediately!)

108 thoughts on “Should I Let My Cat Outside — Ever?”

  1. What rubbish. Cats are not meant to be indoor cats and, unless they have health issues proventing it, they should be allowed outside. My oldest cat died a month ago, aged 21, and no she was not “creamed by a car.” She died of old age, having always been allowed out. I adopted 2 cats from a friend recently and they escaped within 24 hours of arrival from a town 200 miles away. I panicked, walked the neighourhood until 1 am looking for them, but 8 hours later they both came home. Happy and in one piece.

    1. Couldn’t agree more- no animal’s natural habitat is in your living room all the time even if it’s a domesticated animal

    2. Just because it didn’t happen to you doesn’t mean it won’t happen to anyone else who owns a cat. The world doesn’t orbit around you. :)

  2. Honestly I love my cat but she doesnt seem to have the “street smarts” necessary to thrive as an outdoor cat. Also my neighborhood has hawks and coyotes that roam and I would worry to much for her safety. So she will probably stay an indoor cat for now.

    1. I agree, I have a cat like that. There’s no way my Yetti boy could hold his own out there…. he’s too afraid of everything. He’s much happier spending his time indoors, in eye sight of me 24/7. (He’s considered obese). He goes out on the patio every other day for minutes at a time and he’s completely happy with that, although I’m here because I have another cat that is still under a year old and he keeps running out the front door. He can’t wait to go out and I’m torn between letting him and protecting him… ???? at least for now he can’t go unsupervised because he’s not been fixed.

    2. People also get in car accidents every single day … should that stop us from leaving our houses and using cars? Forcing cats to stay indoors against their wishes is akin to imprisonment. It would be the same as me telling you as a human that there are many dangers and diseases out there, and you would be much safer staying in your house for your ENTIRE LIFE. Might be true … but what a terrible way to live.

  3. My 19 year old cat who is in perfect health has never gone outside in his life. There are too many hazards to cats to let them out and they can live a happy and safe life indoors.

  4. I have to say, I enjoyed the author being used as a litter box by the comment section. I hate when someone attempts to say they’re giving facts to two sides of an argument, then continues, as the author said, in black and white. It’s up to the owner to say if it’s a good idea where they live for how long their cats stay outside. Mine quite literally circumnavigate the house and garden. They’re 14 and 12, and there were 8 indoor/outdoor cats who came before them who did the same. All lived into their late teens/early 20s. Some people prefer their cats inside. As long as they’re stimulated and fit, good for them. I’m not deciding for them.

    1. Agree – when he compares letting a cat outside to being a drunken sailor on shore leave … that’s when he lost any credibility he might have had IMO

  5. If the person that wrote this article was my vet, I’d be looking for another vet for my pet. So poorly written and constructed. I’d feel crazy taking any advice from this person.

  6. Erika Stasiulewicz

    Interesting replies. As a non-cat owner, I own a cat poop shovel. Why? Because I have to pick up after your cats and their feces that stinks up my yard and bushes. My dog cant even go into her yard before I check because I’m pregnant and don’t want to have to toxoplasmosis in my home. I still have to wash her paws all the same when I miss a turf. It’s a fun activity for me to be sure, with this big belly and all. Going on a walk can be a pain because I’ve got to look out for all your cats running past my dog while I hold onto a stroller: she is generally pretty good, but I’ve never been able to persuade her to ignore a cat running a mere few feet away from her. You say cats are wild, and I’m in agreement. Move to the country then. Stop inflicting your urban and suburban neighbors with your domesticated nuisances. Any one of you would say the same about my dog if she got out on accident!

  7. Which side of the argument do you think the author takes…? “Looking at the “Pros” of having an outdoor cat” turned into an article about why people who think they should let their cats outside are wrong. Enjoying the outdoors (which is very healthy and natural) is not the same thing as “getting drunk” or “visiting brothels”. Absolutely ridiculous! It’s making me cringe that the author actually thought they took the time to understand the other side! “There are two things in this world that really make me cringe… outdoor cats [and] absolutist people who see the world in black and white and refuse to acknowledge that arguments have two sides.” I don’t understand why there has to be so much CONTROL in the pet community. Just acknowledge the risks and benefits of outdoor and indoor cats together and leave it at that. There are drawbacks to both. I’ve chosen to let my cat outside while one of my best friends has decided to keep her’s indoors. We both love our animals very much and ultimately I think both cats have adjusted to the way they live and are happy. Though I disagree with her cat philosophy, I don’t scrutinize over her decision to keep them indoors. If I was as biased as this author I would compare having indoor cats to chaining your child to a wall. The author’s comparison is way too extreme and grossly inaccurate. An outdoor cat won’t decline slowly like a smoker’s lungs will. There’s the risk of getting hit by a car or hurt by a wild animal and that’s about it. Both indoor and outdoor cats are prone to disease. It is not inherently unhealthy to let your cat get some fresh air. This really makes me question the validity of this cat blog. Rediculous.

    1. Thank goodness this was the first comment I read. I was having the exact same thoughts as I was reading this pile of garbage. It has it all, grossly uneven comparisons, self-righteousness facts written in the style of a freshman year essay…

      It makes it seem unnatural why a cat is…….A CAT. Thousands of years of cats living outside, and suddenly comes along to tell us it’s a bad thing for cats to be living naturally. Gimme a break

      Careful everyone! Don’t go outside anymore! There’s Dexter style murderers that will sneeze on you and infect you with sicknesses causing you to get into brawls with drunken sailors! Best stay indoors!

      1. Have you heard of the Croydon cat killer? It was an individual who murdered, dismembered, decapitated and otherwise mutilated hundreds of outdoor cats, just in the past few years.

        Except they didn’t exist. There was no Croydon cat killer. The killings and mutilations are just what happen to cats let outside. Cars crush their skeletons, foxes scavenge their meat… and this is in England, where we don’t even have threats like coyotes. There is so much evidence, so much insurmountable evidence, and it does not help to ignore it.

        Please, I know it’s hard to admit you are wrong. I’m not above that same problem. We all have biases. But if you own a cat that you let outside, you are abusing it. You are neglecting it. A cat will not understand why its pelvis was crushed into powder by an automobile, and they will not understand the owner’s horrible choice between inflicting a life of intense pain or quiet (and more affordable) euthanasia.

        Nature is not kind, it is a beautiful and horrible place. And cats are not wild, they are domesticated. They are an invasive species that do not belong in nature- they belong somewhere they can have long and happy lives. There is no inherent drawback to keeping a cat indoors. All you have to do is give it space and behaviour enrichment. If you think it is cruel or bad for their mental health, that is another bias. I know, we all have them. I have so many. But it is untrue. There is so much research- I have plenty of resources on how to bring a cat indoors and help it be happy. But if you cannot own a cat without putting it in danger of a horrific and painful death, or even a horrific and painful life, you should not own that cat.

        Please, re-evaluate. I’m not here to fight you, I just want to protect the animals involved. And no, not at the expense of cats, because I am trying to save cats as well.

        Please be on the side of “saving cats”. It’s lovely over here. We have cookies, and a lot fewer mutilations.

        1. What about letting your cat out only while you are supervising it on a leash? Do you think that is acceptable?

  8. Having a cat indoors, to me, is cruel. Sure, it can be dangerous but us people, get to go outside with the same risks. I don’t think anyone likes to be indoor the rest of their lives, just like cats.
    My cat has a door where he can come and go as he pleases.
    Sure, he’s been hurt before, a little scratch here and there but he’s never been sick like my friend’s indoor cat, who has problems with diabetes and obesity, putting out that hers is 3 years younger than mine.
    Mine is nine years old, has no obesity problems and is very active.
    For indoor pets 24/7, a dog is better.
    Cats are independent and curious creatures who love their freedom

    1. I totally agree! I love seeing my cat roam the outdoors! We’ve never had a problem with him getting hurt because he learned to be street smart. He enjoys cuddling with us in bed and the nice breeze and sunshine of the outdoors.

  9. It would of been easier if we did not have dogs but with our kitty(actually I kept inside until about a year) he would be depressed knowing he was missing out. I started slowly staying outside with him then leaving him very briefly training him to come to me with a reward. Now he stays out about an hr or 2 always coming back of i call him. Of course I would be sick be is by my side right now sleeping behind my legs on the couch and know the risks. We have 2 acres fenced with a little woods behind us as well as 2 sides so feel the risks are minimized with the benefits of having a happy,healthy very attached cat.

  10. I have to agree that my initial reaction to having an outdoor cat is that it isn’t safe for the cat, however, I liked that you concluded that there are times when it might be good to let a cat outdoors. I especially liked the point you made that outdoor cats get more physical activity than indoor cats and that they seem to enjoy being outside. I think there are times when cats might be okay to go outside, but that you should take precautions for your pet.

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  12. I would much rather die young, living my life the way I wanted, than I would dieing in my old age regretting not living my life the way I wanted. I afford my cats the same choice. I have 3, one lives outside and only comes in to sleep and eat, one spends his time equally, the other chooses to enjoy the outside from the window. They are living beings that should be allowed freedom if they choose.

    1. I really like your outlook of giving the cats a choice. Some definitely enjoy the indoors better, but for others, keeping them inside robs them of their greatest joys. I think a better comparison to indoor and outdoor cats than smoking is mountain climbing or skydiving. There are definitely some risks, but for the most part, it’s fine. Let the cats decide where they’re more comfortable. If they don’t have the aptitude to go outside, they won’t want to.

    2. I really like your outlook of giving the cats a choice. Some definitely enjoy the indoors better, but for others, keeping them inside robs them of their greatest joys. I think a better comparison to indoor and outdoor cats than smoking is mountain climbing or skydiving. There are definitely some risks, but for the most part, it’s fine. Let the cats decide where they’re more comfortable. If they don’t have the aptitude to go outside, they won’t want to.

  13. Cats are a domesticated animal. Humans domesticated them for pest control and in some cases, companionship. This is the purpose we gave them.

    If a cat is being kept on a farm or at a warehouse as a working animal, then yes, it should be allowed outside if is required for it to do its job. If a cat is being kept in a city or suburb primarily for companionship, then it should be kept inside, so it can give companionship to its owner and not be a nuisance animal to everyone else.

    Unfortunately, most (not all) of the owners I’ve met who let their cats out don’t do so because their cats are working animals, or even because they’re using the anthropomorphizing “but they’re wild and they enjoy it” excuse. They do it because they don’t want to change the litter box. Dog owners get shamed when their animals crap everywhere. Cat owners should be too.

  14. My cat was an outside cat to begin with…he loves being outside. I keep him in the house during the day but let him out for a few hours after the sun goes down. He loves It! I feel like it would shorten his life if I didn’t give him that time

  15. I am the exact cat owner you describe. (Also an RN so I do have an appreciation for illness prevention.)
    We rescued her from a farm w her sister where they were going to be put down. Sister died within 6 months – probably eaten by somthing and other was injured. We started letting her inside but she constantly wants out. So we are three years now w our indoor / outdoor cat. We try to keep her in at night. But occasionally she will sneak out and in the am she rushes in and sleeps the day away.
    She is a grown cat not a child.
    And she wants to be outside so as long as she is able I will let her.
    I also was an oncologist nurse and think smokers should be able to smoke. It is not my place to rule the world.

  16. Wow I have never read something this stupid. Cats are meant to be outside. Living only inside is not appropriate for cats at all. Going outside is healthy for cats. And if you inoculate them against possible diseases they won’t get them. My cat is 15 years old and can go outside whenever she wants. She is absolutelty healthy and has never had bad injuries. Your arguments are absolutely nonsense, sorry. And I say this as a sister of a vet, who lets their cats outside too.

  17. For reference, I am 56 years old. When I was growing up, we and our neighbors had dogs and cats. Inside and out. People loved their pets, and treated their animals well, but did not elevate them to human status. Even the crazy old lady who treated her poodle like a kid, because she never had a kid, knew her kid was a pet. Some of these animals lived long lives, and some of them got cut short. Cats who lived outside lived the lives cats were meant to live, with excitement and with danger. No one expected their pet to live forever, and none of the pets had any expectations about how long they would live. They just lived until they didn’t. By instilling a human quality to these pets, as people do today, people now try to extend an animal’s life for their own needs, while taking away what is the essence of being that animal. Stable humans who love their pets know that they are a temporary part of their lives, and when that animals dies for whatever reason, while they grieve, do not treat the loss as that of a child or other relative. As for the smoking analogy, it falls short. Smoking has zero benefits for humans, while a cat being outside has at least several. A human not dying from smoking is not a benefit of smoking…

  18. Congratulations to all of the outdoor cat keepers in the comment section for helping to create a new generation of cat haters by failing to take responsibility for your pets. I’m sure your neighbors love cleaning up your cat’s feces, smelling where your cat sprayed in their yard, dealing with damage your cat did to their property, taking their own pets to the vet when your cat wanders into their yard and gets into a fight, and so on. Would you tolerate it if somebody’s un-leashed dog did this nonsense in your yard? Did you know OB/GYNs tell routinely pregnant women not to garden at all due to toxoplasmosis in garden soil from cat feces and the subsequent risk of serious developmental defects or miscarriage? Your selfishness and irresponsibility creates a backlash that the rest of us have to deal with. Thanks a lot.

    1. Erika STASIULEWICZ

      Thank you. Im currently pregnant, and our bushes stink of cat feces. I constantly have to wash my dog’s paws if she steps in there for fear of bringing the toxin into my home. I’m appalled at the lack of consideration these people seem to have.

  19. We live in Nevada in the desert. There’s many coyotes around, so we can never ever let our cat outside. Our cat is a 1 year old blue Russian. She wants to go outside so badly! She sits at the window watching the birds, bugs etc all day. She has also tried to run out the door when someone is coming or going. My question is do you think it’s a good or bad idea to take her outside if we do so safely. Like in a carrier or enclosed space. Do you think this will sort of quench her curiosity or just make it worse and make her want to go out even more?

    1. I had my car in Mas Vegas for 15 years. Smarted car I ever owned. She loved being outside. Every morning I let her out, every night like clockwork at 11pm she would be meowing at the front door. One night last year she never came home. After 3 days I started searching the desert around the house and found her half eaten body… coyotes.

  20. My cat Alley, lived to be 18 years old. She died of natural causes. We let her outside almost every single day and she came in every night. We weren’t lucky that nothing happened to her, she was just smart and acted like a cat. I also had a cat that was killed by dogs. It was devestating. She had signs of being a little ditsy and not alert. In hindsight, I would have kept her indoors.

    But Alley loved being outside and baking in the sun. When we moved to Colorado, We stopped letting her outside because of coyotes. Probably about a year into being in Colorado she got very ill She threw up a lot. When we moved to Utah her illness continued. She was still kept inside. Nothing we did or could do helped her. It seemed to be a “ghost” illness. She was miserable and started begging to go outside. After 2 years of being kept inside, 1 of which she was ill, We let her out. Almost instantly she regained her life. She stopped throwing up. She was happy. We figured out that her illness was stress and anxiety of being cooped up. The cruelest thing we have ever done to her was deprive her of the outdoors. A miserable sick life isn’t even an option compared to a fear of the unknown. People die in car crashes every day, cats are killed every day. But even more are still driving, still living. I would have been horrified and devastated if anything ever happened to alley and I might even blame myself. But she was a smart cat and lived a long and happy life.

    My Kitten Millie, 6 months old, has gotten more lethargic and always tries to get outside. Every indoor cat I’ve ever had has wanted to go outdoors. And she deserves to.

    I do think some cats are better kept inside but from my experience that shouldn’t mean the majority should be kept inside. Most cats are smart and know how-to navigate the outdoors. Just know your cat and let them be happy.

    1. Survivor fallacy. If we only talk to the ones who survived it, car crashes, cancer, and war aren’t that deadly, either.

  21. To the writer of this tripe! You’re a complete idiot!

    Stop wasting peoples time. Came to this website looking for sensible info, then stumble upon this. WHAT?

    Laughable!

  22. Hmm you aren’t really talking about the pros of letting cats outside. Really what you are doing is reinforcing your own ideals by mentioning common objections to why cats should be let outside and then crushing them.

  23. I have to agree with the article. As a child we had outdoor cats and I got to witness them get hit by cars, ripped apart by dogs, hunted by coyotes and come home after being gone for months starved and full of worms. And those are the ones that somehow made it home before they died. I still see this happen with my neighbors’ cats. They disappear. They re-appear seriously injured. They put it to sleep and get another. It’s insane. We domesticated the cat. We moved it from one area of the world to another and stuck it in a foreign environment expecting it to somehow know how to navigate it without any foreknowledge of the danger it faces.

    In the wild, most animals don’t live into adulthood. This includes humans. Clearly we humans do NOT prefer that lifestyle. We want our freedom but without the risks. We go out informed. We make sure we have our keys and our cellphones. We stay out of dangerous areas. We don’t nap on seeming roadways. And we forget that the environment that we created outdoors is not the natural environment where cats evolved. We can’t tell them about poisons, vindictive humans, dogs and other predators, busy roads, disease and so on. They learn by either surviving it or suffering a painful, lonely and slow death. Most sane humans wouldn’t prefer having their intestines ripped out and watching another animal eat them alive to being at safe at home. But somehow it’s ok for their pets? That isn’t natural selection. The cat was never meant to be in that environment in the first place. Humans brought cats here. That’s our doing. The cat’s suffering and death is squarely the owner’s fault and they should feel guilty. Their cats blood is on their hands. I’m glad the area I live in removes cats from such irresponsible owners and gives them a hefty fine to boot. I know it sounds harsh, but even though this is the “country”, it’s not safe for cats.

    There is no evidence that an outdoor cat is happier than an indoor cat with plenty of stimulus. Even an owner saying that their cat tries to go outside isn’t proof. My cat wants to hang out in the dryer. I’m not about to let him. All that means is that you need to offer your cat an exciting alternative. Spend money, build a cat tree, build an outdoor play pen, put beds near windows, get a bird feeder, a squirrel feeder, grow grass indoors and play with your cat every day. Cats are not shy when it comes to telling you they’re bored once they know that you will do something about it.

  24. Cats aren’t like dogs, they haven’t been bred to psychologically hinge on human whim. This is most of the reason I love the critters. They’re intelligent and independent enough by nature to decide what’s best for themselves. Like someone else said, they still have the slightest hint of wild about them. My mother and I have always let our cats outside. Between us we’ve had 10 or so throughout our lives. They always lived to the senior years. The oldest now is 14. It’s been my experience that if you allow a cat to decide what to do for themselves they thrive well. If you want a pet that enjoys doing what you command of it and has no problem being imprisoned then you need a dog. I wouldn’t dream of keeping my cat in the house against its will unless it was special needs. You have to love your animal companions according to what they need, not what you need.

  25. I feed a cat who was either a stray or feral. He showed up in my back yard but would not come near me. He would watch from a distance. Over a long time he warmed up to me and even entered my home for short times. After 2 years he still wants to be outdoors except for the very coldest days but he will nap indoors. I feed him and give him water. I neutered him and he had his shots. I have an allergy to him but it is pretty mild. He sheds less than any pet I ever had. My son however has a bigger reaction. I intended to give him up for adoption but turns out he has FIV (kitty AIDS) and so is not adoptable. I believe he wandered over to my house from up the street where a lady feeds feral cats but she does not neuter/spay them. I live in SC where winters are mild. I see kittens hit by cars, hear them mewing in the woods and one time heard a tiny one in a culvert. I could see him but could not get to him. Our shelters are overly full of cats here. Yesterday when I came home from work I noticed a very pregnant orange cat near this home. To this lady it is kind to feed them but when I go for walks what I see is merciless. It seems the money spent on feeding so many cats would go a long way to spay and neuter esp. when so many vets offer discounts or clinics for this purpose. I cannot find a good home for my little stray but I will feed and provide outdoor shelter. Please neuter/spay. Sometimes I hear him meow outside my door and I open it to let him in. He will look up at me and rub against the door jam but won’t come in no matter how much I coax. I realized he was coaxing me to come out! If I oblige him he will purr while I pet him or he may sit on my lap for a while before running up a tree or chasing absolutely nothing in the yard! Too many cats and not enough homes for them is a huge issue in my state. I have lived in many other parts of the country and never seen anything like it. Again pls spay and neuter and yes release them again if it is the only option.

  26. My indoor cats has never stepped outside the house. One of them whom I rescued is sooo afraid of stepping out. I feel like she was traumatized with whatever happened to her back when she was still in the streets. She would scratch me and really fight back to get inside whenever I try to take her outside. It’s just sad :(

    Shelter Cats Need Your Help

  27. I’ve had eleven or twelve cats, including several afultbstrays and one two year old aduktvferal cat that I accidentally trapped as well as several tame and feral kittens. They’ve all been perfectly happy indoor cats who’ve never even tried to go outside. The adult strays and stray kittens who’d had to survive starving and cold winters outside in particular adjusted quickly to a warm house with good canned food and always available dry food as well as cold cuts and bites of my own steaks or grilled meat dinners and treats to whoever was friendly and brave enough to come over.
    They had each other to play with and cuddle with and bonded and my large dog (past or current) to torture or bond with depending on their mood. Lots of windows for them to look out, occasionally a bug or fly gets in thru the window to quickly be hunted and eaten. None of them ever peed everywhere or tried to escape. One did once but he had terminal cancer and I think was hiding because he was sick.
    Even the feral cats became loving happy affectionate cats who played with me and the other cats and came when called and loved being warm in the winter and cool in the summer and having company, catnip, toys, a devoted owner and constant good food and comfortable places to sleep.
    I live in a city on a busy road. Was on the third floor for many years, traffic flies fast and don’t trust everyone in the neighborhood. Better neighborhood now but other stray cats around, cars are fast still and dogs everywhere. My current two cats are still very active and play and tear around all the time and torture the dog and are thin to good weight at ages 7 and 13. Both follow me everywhere and sleep with me and are very clingy. The younger one I literally picked up off the street next to a busy road as a starving three month old kitten and he hasn’t left my side ever since. He’s very bonded to me only and hides from all other people but loves the other cat and dog. The older cat I got from a shelter as a five month old kitten so has never been outside.
    Indoor cats can be very happy. All my outdoor cats never wanted to go out again after I took them in and spoiled them.
    My coworker let her cats out and found one dead in the woods half eaten by another animal.
    My friend had two cats that she let out and one went missing months ago. The other doesn’t care if she goes out or not but she still let’s it out because she thinks it’s natural.
    Once you take in and domesticate an animal you have a responsibility to protect it. I’m sure they’re not so happy with their freedom when they’re being tortured and killed by predatirs it sick murdering people or suffering from cars hitting them or other cats fighting when they haven’t learned to fight properly.
    You don’t just open the door and let your dog run off without a fence or leash, not in the city anyway. You hopefully don’t let your small child either. You train your dog recall and monitor its freedom and interactions. You spend years raising kids and teaching them judgment. But you dump cats to deal with human predators and cats and poisons, things it can’t possibly have evolved to understand to accommodate for? If there’s truly no roads or any chance of other people around and you don’t care if it suffers from predators, your choice.
    I’ll keep my cats happy and safe. But I’ve had okenty who gave up the outdoors and were very happy and affectionate so it definitely can be done and wasn’t just a rare fluke.

  28. Stephanie Redden

    Question: I let my 6th months old kitten go outside almost everyday. Today I was sitting outside when I heard cat songs as if they were fighting. I ran to break it up. Now my baby cat want let me pick her up and she acting as if it hurts to touch her. And she very paranoid. What should I do? Can adults cats rape baby kitten? I’m asking because that’s how my kitten is acting now

    1. A 6-month kitten is not exactly a baby kitten.Cats usually become capable of reproduction around this age and therefore it is very likely that other tom cats will mate with her.Please get your kitten spayed asap.

  29. “I have tried to set up solid arguments for allowing cats outside, and for the most part I have come up short.”

    Sorry, but you really, really did not try. And I do understand why. I understand that terrible things can happen to a cat outside. As a vet you get to see the worst of what can happen, but it’s like working in the hospital and saying that you would never drive a car because of the terrible ways accidents can kill someone. Yes, that happens. But you drive. You have to get shit done.

    If you put a little baby in a flat and never let the kid go outside you could argue, that it would be safe and not miss what it does not know. The story’s called Rapunzel. It’s true but that life outside is risky does not mean you should lock up your kids.
    There are things one has to consider. I did not let my cat out when I lived near a busy road and she did not want to go out. Or at least she did not try to bust. When I moved, she DID. I finally let her out because she clearly wanted to go out. I do not want her to get driven over or poisoned or whatever but I do not want her depressed either.
    Some cats are happy inside. Great. A lot of cats aren’t and SOME of them start pissing around your house till you do what they want. You should not just listen to the guys who make their opinion clear by screaming and shooting bullets in your walls, don’t you think? A lot of cats do NOT make it your problem when they have a problem with being kept inside. It does not mean that there isn’t a problem.

    You know why the sailors in your metaphor like drinking when they get to shore? Because they were on a ship for a long time, lived in a space MUCH too small for them and were deprived of the possibillities so they go crazy when they are back on solid ground. Do you want to keep the sailors on the ship for all eternity with no shore leave? Because that is where this metaphor is heading. Keep them on the ship till they die of old age
    Someone argued that you would not let your dogs outside alone, so why a cat?
    You also wouldn’t keep your dog in your flat/house. Forever. Not even letting it go into the garden, but teach it to use a litter box. You wouldn’t. The thought is absurd.

    Like I said: There are good reasons to keep your cat inside. You live close to a busy street or you know for a fact that poison or killers are in the neighbourhood. Some cats do seem content with living inside and if they have never known the difference, that might be ok. Blind or death cats shouldn’t take the risks outside. Certain illnesses. You have coyotes around or whatever.

    You are entitled to your opinion and to telling people that horrid things happen to cats who go outside. But to mock people who have outdoor cats and to ridicule (more or less valid) reasons they have for that in this manner and then to say you do it because you do not want to be an absolutist is bad style. You did not try to represent this side in any fair manner, which is your right. Just don’t sell it as something that it isn’t.

    1. Thank goodness the voice of reason! Cats are animals and wild at heart.
      Keeping a cat inside and not allowing it to explore its territory seems so unnatural and more like a prison sentence.

  30. I live out in the country. I have a pride of kitties….13…. All are registered with the county. All have their rabies shots. And they are all working animals. The oldest is a 6 year old Maine Coone…. He weighs 25+ and rules the neighborhood…. The coyotes keep a good stand off…

    1. Cats are Outdoor creatures. Like people. Imagine keeping your child locked up all its life by fear of whatever in the big bad world.
      It’s quality of life, that counts. Not quantity. If you can’t let your cat outdoors, then, by all means don’t take a cat.

      from a true cat lover

  31. I worked as a receptionist at a veterinary clinic for four years. I had always been a dog person but loved cats also. After working at a clinic I knew when I did eventually get a cat it would be an indoor cat. There was no indicision. It was a no brainer. It becomes crystal clear that the harm outweighs the benefits when you have held a cat wrapped in a blood soaked towel , with one eyeball hanging on by a thread of tendon, and internal injuries so severe that the most humane thing we could do was take it to the back and euthanise it as quickly as possible. I really don’t think that particular grieving owner will be letting future cats outdoors to be hit by cars. That is just one of many incidents I saw first hand.
    It makes me furious the owners who claim they are “letting their cats roam free because they love them”. I guess they and I have a different definition of what loves is.
    Just for the record , a number of years after working at the clinic I did adopt a kitten and he spent the next 23 yrs indoors and was perfectly happy. He never even showed any interest in going outdoors because he was house raised and that is what he knew . He never was unhappy or showed signs of missing anything. My point is that he never missed what he didn’t know . So I question this arguement that keeping them indoors is “depriving” them. DOMESTIC cats are NOT tigers people.. and they can exercise their “hunting instincts” with indoor games.
    I hear arguements like “I have let fluffy out for 6 yrs and he never got hurt”…. I would say.. yet, there’s always tomorrow if you are fine playing Russian roulette with his life.
    The other thing that has been said is ” I would rather Fluffy have a shorter but happier life”. Yes, and are you okay with him dying an excruciatingly painful death alone outside after he has dragged himself somewhere to hide as animals do when they are injured ?
    Imagine him all alone and in pain and terrified and tell yourself again how “loving” and responsible you are being.
    Alot of you will say this is an exaggeration…. I assure you as someone who worked in a clinic and saw hbc’s (hit by cars), seizures and bleeding from nose and mouth from rat poisonings, maggoty festering infected wounds from animal attacks, cat’s on deaths doorstep from toxicity due to urinary blockages, a cat torched by (presumably) teenagers…. I can assure you that the dangers are very real.
    People say it’s cruelty to keep cats indoors… I say it is cruel and irresponsible to let them out . They do not have the mental capacity to navigate all the dangers. Would you let your 4 yr old go out and play alone all day/night ? You are the parent , you are responsible for their safety … give your head a shake before you are rushing “fluffy” off the the emergency room possible to never come home again. Lose the delusion that it will never happen to you…. I saw people like “you” every day at the clinic. It’s tragic and absolutely preventable.

  32. A walk on the wild side

    Ah, Hubie 1002, you put a cat’s happiness view delightfully. It is a revelation to meet ‘your’ cat unexpectedly outside. There is a wild side being released – and that doesn’t mean killing, fighting etc. It’s a little bit of ‘doing mah own thing’ and having an adventure. Reminds me I can’t ‘own’ another creature, animal or human, but share time and space, and take care of them, in the best way I can, for mutual enrichment. My new neutered (yes, I do impose that) rescue kittens are clearly longing for the great outdoors where they have never been, coming from a previous indoors only life. We are counting the days down till the middle of next month, when they too will get a chance to feel and smell the earth under their feet, the rain on their fur, and follow the elderly girl cat outside as she scents the news on the breeze.

  33. I love reading all of the comments on letting your cats go outdoors or not! I have 4 indoor cats but my husband and I built a catio for them to go outdoors. it runs out the office window (through a doggy door) up the side of our house and into two trees. They love it! gives them a chance to get outdoors and be tormented by squirrels and birds and getgos because I know that the cats cant get a hold of these critters! the only time they come in is when it is time to eat. we eventually will extend the catio to on top of the shed which is 10×20 ft. so they will have a nice run up there and be able to see over top of the fence. anybody please if your cat goes outside please have a screened in area for them to be safe. if you send me your email I will send yo pics of the catio

    1. Ashley O’Brien

      good on you for taking your cats mental health so seriously ! I live in New Zealand, and have a Cornish Rex called Tommy, he has free access to the outdoors, but spends most of his time inside, venturing outside when warm and sunny. There are no dogs where I live or other predators here, NZ is quite weird in that respect ! just hop across the Tasman sea to Australia and just about EVERYTHING there wants to kill you ! snakes,spiders, etc etc So I don’t have any worries about anything happening to him, I suppose we are lucky in that respect. I’d love to see what you have built for yours !

    2. YOLANDA M GONZALEZ

      Hi, my name is Yolanda and I am a proud mother of two beautiful cats! My first cat is Princess Muffin and my second is Princess China! They both are indoor cats who hate to be outside during the day but at night they enjoy a two hour run outside and then go by window meowing for me to let them back in. However, I am interested in the cat patio and would love to see what it looks like… Im interested in making one for my cats to go and come as they please to add more adventure to their lives, thanks for sharing ur article!???? Yolanda

    3. please send me a picture of your “catio”, i live in a deed restricted neighborhood, i attached an 8 ft critter fence to my chain link fence but my HOA says remove it, we are only allowed 5′ fences max, my next door neighbor shot my cat with a pellet gun, that’s why i added the critter fence. and yes i already sent the assoc. pics of the surgery and the vet bill, so…i am looking for another solution, and i have a cat door so he can get to the back yard, i believe cats need to be outdoors somewhat in a protected area of course. so please send me a picture of your solution. thank you, judy thomas, spring hill, fl

  34. I’m sure Mother Nature never intended for humans to live in insulated houses, eat clean and safe food/water, and get medical care. But we do all that, and the life expectancy of humans has increased greatly in the past few decades. We can do the same for cats. There is hard evidence that cats who roam “the great outdoors” have a greater chance of dying young, while the argument of “Oh but it’s inhumane to have the cat cooped up indoors all day!” is just the owner projecting on their cat.

    1. Actually, human life expectancy in the beginning when we roamed and lived outdoors was almost as long as it is now. With the invention of agriculture and subsequently housing, it dropped dramatically and stayed that way for thousands of years until recently when medicine artificially brought it back up. The worst thing humans ever did was develop a sedentary existence.

      1. This the second time you’ve made that comment and I’ve yet to find any evidence. In fact, my research indicates life expectancy of prehistoric man was 25-30 years. Would appreciate a link to support your perspective.

  35. I think it all depends on how you see the world. For myself, I see and accept how Mother Nature intended it to be. Prey, predator, life and death.
    What are cats? Really, what are they? They are members of the family Felidae. Look it up and see what it says about this family and what their behaviors are.
    Too many of us cat owners fall into the trap that our cats “belong” to us and we should treat them like children…no horsing around, no rough play, no gender playing (whatever the hell that means), etc.
    As I see it, they don’t “belong” to me…they are simply sharing my space and I have been blessed that they have come to me. Of course I treat mine like the queens they are :) and take care of them to the best of my ability. However, not letting them do and be what is in their DNA I find cruel.
    If my parents had treated me the way some cat owners treat their cats I would have been one miserable, angry SOB. Imagine if you are social and some authority figure said to you, “no, it’s dangerous to go out…you might get killed” or if you are a home body and they said, “no, the house is dangerous…the roof might cave in….you need to go out all day to be safe from that”. I could go on and on…

    Let Felidae be Felidae…no amount of ideology or coddling is going to change that.

    1. Good luck with your cat, being a cat against the cars, my dogs in my backyard and rat poison on the edges of my roof. If you think cats are truly outdoor creatures, go to Ozarks & let your cat free. Don’t be selfish.

  36. I had a cat that I got from Facebook she was sweet when we first got her but as she got older she would sit at the window or stay in a box all the time. She never wanted to be around us or our dogs anymore. Eventually she started urinating anywhere she wanted. I thought maybe our dogs stressed her out so I found her a new home in our subdivision with no dogs. She acted the same way including clawing her face raw. They got tired of it and let her out. I saw her today and she is gorgeous but still want of humans. I think being outside might be what she needs.

  37. I think letting cats outdoors by either supervising them, leash training or building a catio is ideal. It’s a tough argument because it’s important for the cat to be a cat, but we should also be concerned about their safety. There are ways to do, it just requires for us cat parents to be creative, patient and put in some time and resources into the process.

  38. Betsy W. Hatford

    This is almost like the cat equivalent of a helicopter parent. Cats eat grass, you can argue what you like but it doesn’t change the facts. I eat grass all the time and I’ve yet to get FLV or….wait did you just say people spray grass with pesticides are you crazy. Do you not let your cat outta the house because you aren’t allowed out of the house? Hurr I hate grass lemme just kill this grass.

  39. One of my cats runs outside sometimes when I open the door to leave or as I am coming home. I always grab him before he gets far, but I am concerned that his running out could have exposed him to Feline Leukemia (I have two other indoor cats as well). I am also worried that one day, he may slip past me and get hurt. Do you have advice on how to stop this behavior? I absolutely do not allow my cats to go outside, but sometimes he tries to take off.

    1. Betsy W. Hatford

      Ok…..where do cats come from? Did they evolve inside the house..? All those years in the wild to be babied by people who think a whiff of outside air is going to expose a cat to FLV. Cats are designed to eat animals, yes including the large intestine which contains FECES.

    2. minnie my cat adopted me in florida and nows lives in apt in ny she does the same thing i have a small back yard and and going to let her out with a leash and see how it goes. she is a very lovable cat and use to walk with me in florida no leash. i am going thru cancer treatments here and doing fine . minnie will not let me out of my site. she sleeps at my side every night! DAN

  40. You guys that want your cats outside not on a leash or a catio should consider this. I agree with the whole cats love outdoors but domestics are too friendly to get tricked with food etc and have some nut case hurt or kill the ANIMAL. I like the fences or catios like on Jackson Galaxy has and he’s the cat Daddy and says no good to idea of cats being outdoors. I’m a dog person but I love cats too and all animals I really do but I know how cats are a pain in the butt and sometimes you guys need a break and want em to get out also. I work in a shelter so I know. There very teratorial , needy and get very stimulated quickly. But then you can have a kitty that acts like a dog lol. Anyways thats my thoughts on it. If I had a cat I would keep em in just for the nutcases out there.

  41. I appreciate your article. I’ve always been torn between the two options, because I love my pets and I want them to be happy, but also healthy. I know the risks but sometimes I wonder if the happiness outweighs the risk. But, You’ve given me a lot to think about. I have always let my cats go in and out, through a doggie door as they please. Whenever I have seen indoor only house cats, it seems like they’re always in the window looking depressed, if they can’t go out, & it breaks my heart. I’ve had a hard time deciding. But I so appreciated your article, showing both sides of the issue so that you can really reason on it. Since most people are very definite, even sometimes extreme in thier view, one way or another . And they leave no opportunity to reason on it one way or another withoout Considering the other side at all. I thought you had some great responses too many of the questions that I have had over the years. I can’t say I’m 100% decided, but after reading your article I’m definitely leaning toward changing the way I’ve been doing things. I love them very much and Will give this much thought. Thank you for showing both sides. I agreed with several of the reasons why I choose to let them out but your come backs definitely made me think. I actually do worry about serial killers practicing on cats.
    And it’s very important to me the fact that my cat is happy – But I like your answer, that like partying, just cause you’re happy doesn’t mean you should do it. I figure that since they are not going to live a real long time, maybe they should be happy. But it would make me sick to even imagine, that any of my animals could have a terrible death. I feel cats are pretty smart and seem to do very well outside instinctually & ours actually stay very close to the property, but I love birds too, and so you made some very good points. thank you, for being kind and fair yet showing the specific risks in your replies.

  42. I completely agree with this article! People don’t allow their domesticated dogs to run free so why do they think it’s appropriate to do the same with domesticated cats? My cats will never be killed by a car, a wild animal or a human.

  43. My cat is eleven years old and has never had any of the negatives in this article. He is healthy, happy and intelligent. He loves outside. When he goes outside he quivers with excitement – when he comes inside he’s very loving and relaxed.

  44. My cat is eleven years old and has never had any of the negatives in this article. He is healthy, happy and intelligent. He loves outside. When he goes outside he quivers with excitement – when he comes inside he’s very loving and relaxed.

  45. I totally agree with all the above comments. I have owned several cats and they have all enjoyed going outside, even if its just to sit in the sun.
    Indoor cats are bored and frustrated.

    1. I’m sorry you speak in generalities, Ms Kate. To say indoor cats are bored and frustrated is not always true. Our cat was found abandoned in a rest area on the interstate, north of Cincinnati, in a rain storm, on a cold, miserable, windy early morning, almost dead from starvation, pneumonia, parvo, worms, asthma, and numerous other physical maladies, and the vet said had she not been rescued, she would’ve been dead in 2-5 days. She was nursed back to health, and now lived with me, as I am an asthmatic, also, so know how to keep my home such that her asthma is minimized. She also has no interest in going outside, as U have left my door opened on numerous occasions, and while she’ll go and look out the door because I may be out talking to someone, she has no interest in going outside herself. She loves looking out all of the windows, as I have set up “perches” at each one so she can watch outside. In addition, she gets plenty of toys to play with throughout the house, and her and I play quite a lot, and I make her “hunt” for her treats. So to make a generalized statement like yours, that may be true for all of your past and present kitties, do not make the mistake of thinking that is the same for all house cats. Oh, and by the way, all of the different vets I’ve taken her to have said she is one of the happiest cats they’ve ever seen, so she’s far from bored and/or frustrated, even though she doesn’t go outside, except for to and from the car, in her carrier.

      1. Sorry, that should read “lives” not “lived”, “our home” not “my home”, and “I” not “U”, my mistakes (bowing humbly).

      2. this is a beautiful reply…. I am heartwarmed by the fact that you’ve put perches at each window and that your cats are happy going only that far. you’re sharing of rescuing your cat is heartwarming as well. I have a balcony on my 1,200 square foot condo, and somehow my 7 year old rescued cat female, phoebe, became aware of it. she loves going onto the balcony ( on sunny, 65 degree days or more) and never refused an open balcony door. Bars are ABSOLUTELY too narrow for her to fit through. ( 4th floor) is a deterrant as well. I have NEVER left her there. unsupervised and will open my mail, read a book, something relaxing to me as well I doworry about a possible mosquito or bee bite but the balcony area seems pretty free of those. This summer I started burninga safe citronella candle there, while were out. (insect repellant?)I w0rry about negativeresult, but we’ve been lucky so far. She loves to stick her head through the bars and peer out, she watches for insects flying by, and tries to snatch one ( ALWAYS CICADAS) and brings it in the house and toys with it. She ultimately “beheads” the cicada, if lucky enough to capture one. (Two this summer) so I’ve takento just taking back the Cicada after a few minutes and throwing it back over the bars into nature. So she’ll readily spend two hours out here. I’ll work it in surrounding my shifts at work. Good or bad? Don’t know. Will I regret it? Perhaps. But she readily takes to the activity, like a dog running after a tossed stick, and I go with it.

  46. The author of this article will probably argue that it is better to keep dolphins in tanks and pump them full of antidepressants to suppress their instinctive calling because it is “safer than their natural habitat” and fits his selfish reasons.

    ” The cat may enjoy being outdoors. True. Many cats really seem to enjoy being outside, just like many sailors enjoy getting drunk and then brawling and visiting brothels” the worst analogy possible. How about, “like sailors enjoy going to sea”? Because sea is what actually makes them a sailor. Just like being a predator with lightning reflexes, instincts and perfect adaptation for stoking, climbing, jumping, falling, exploring, makes a cat a cat, not your couch decorative accessory.

    1. Correction: the worst analogy possible is comparing keeping a DOMESTICATED animal inside your home to confining a WILD animal in a tank.

      1. Cats are not as domesticated as dogs, for example. They didn’t have to be to fulfill their purpose of hunting critters.

  47. I totally agree with the two comments above. Keeping cats indoors is in my opinion as cruel as caging birds. You are keeping your cats in for selfish reasons. I’d rather be a feral cat with a short life span than a prisoner belonging to you. Get a stuffed toy cat.

  48. Did you ever consider the quality of life is more enjoyable for an outdoor kitty? Did you consider the desire of the animal? Not every cat desires the outdoors, but many do (interesging, considering they’re animals…). Humans demosticsted felines and we think this gives us a right to control whether an ANIMAL can or cannot go outside in its natural habitat. Even training your cat to walk on a leash, or letting your kitty out in a screened gazebo, is a reasonable, safer option than caging the cat. I would choose to live an adventurous, short-lived life rather than a dull life that allows me to live 10 yrs longer. But hey, that’s just me. Quality (excitement, new experiences, Mother-nature interaction) of a cat’s life isn’t important at all anyway…
    This article is biased. The author claims he/she will state the pros also, but does so in a condescending manner. To compare an intentionally harmful habit of a human smoking, to an act of nature, a kitty wanting to be outside, makes me question if the author understands “quality of life.”

    1. Absolutely well said. My cats have wonderful lives and a large part of that wonderful life for them is being outdoors and experiencing all that nature has to offer, including new experiences every day. There are no new experiences every day for indoor cats. Life is mundane, dull and not dynamic at all. My cats would be miserable if they were forced to stay indoors all day every day. It would be like being incarcerated to a human. Never getting to see the sunshine. Never getting to feel the grass under their feet. Never going to feel the sun on their face. Never getting to hear birds sing, feel the breeze on their fur or see / hear the rain pinging on the roof as they sit under a cover. Never having any hope of going outside or breathing fresh air again. When I see my cats romping in the summer grass chasing a butterfly or I see an upright tail with a hook at the end moving slowly through some tall cattiails or Reed’s, I know that is pure happiness for them and I am being a good mom
      Life is filled with risks. I would rather live my life taking risks and living a full life and experiencing all that life has to offer rather than sitting inside all day doing nothing. Cats feel the same way. As you so onderfully put, quality of life is more important then anything. I will continue to allow my cat to go outside and enjoy their lives, short or long. At least I know they had a happy one.
      And yes, the article is very, very condescending. I give it no value.

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