Cats: Indoor or Outdoor? (PETA Article) - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 02-08-2011, 11:54 PM
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http://prime.peta.org/2011/02/outdoor-cats

This is a subject I'm pretty on the fence about myself.

My cat is currently indoor and we take him out with a harness sometimes so he can get some sun because we live in a dangerous area with lots of cars and coyotes. However, I feel bad about not letting him come and go as he pleases because I know he wants to and he tries to sneak past us out of our apartment into the hallway sometimes. If I were living somewhere further from traffic with a fenced in yard I'd probably have a cat door. When I was living at my boyfriend's parents place they had a nice set up like that, they have 2 cats and a cat door and a fenced in garden, both cats come and go as they please and are old and happy. Its hard to say if they'd be as happy if they didn't have that access to sun and plants and grass to lie on.

The thing I really don't agree with is the comparison of cats to 2 year old children. I think a 1 year old cat is a lot more capable of taking care of itself than a 2 year old human is. And if we're comparing them to children don't you eventually have to trust your kids to go off on their own too? At some point the kid is going to start walking to school by themself and staying over at friends places, and sure there's a risk they could get kidnapped or hit by a car but isn't that just life? Heck, I'm in danger of being hit by cars or killed by a crazy person too but I don't choose to stay indoors my whole life just in case.

It's complicated, whether you choose to keep your cats indoor or outdoor there's going to be someone who thinks you're a cruel monster because of it. Either you're holding them prisoner or putting them in danger, isn't there some sort of sane middleground?

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#2 Old 02-09-2011, 12:55 AM
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i have a story
some of my cats used to go outside thought this wasn't really my choice. last year in january, one of my cats didn't come home. we searched and searched, distributed fliers, and went to all the shelters. about a week later i heard a little meow by the window early in the morning. it was my poor little kitty. he looked miserable, his back was bent all weird, his fur was greasy, and he smelled. i got him to the vet and it turned out he had a dislocated hip. his front claws were pretty much gone, he had a huge cut on his side, there was road rash on his face and head, and he had lost the tip of one tooth. he was cleaned and stitched up and 2 weeks later he had a femoral head ostectomy. that's when they cut off the head of the femur because it's difficult to fix a dislocated hip in a cat. a year later he's finally healed but he will always have a limp.
there's hardly any traffic around here. i live in a no outlet area. there's only 15 or so houses past ours and it's over half a mile and past a canal to a busy street. nobody really speeds on this street and i've never seen any dead animals in the area.
he still wants to go outside. sometimes i feel bad but i remember how miserable we all were when he was gone and when he was injured. by we i mean the injured cat, the humans, and the other cats, especially his little buddy.
this is him right after surgery
Attachment 14483
LL
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#3 Old 02-09-2011, 01:22 AM
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aaaw, poor thing! good that it survived

I feel a bit guilty about it too, but I cam't let my cats out. All the missing cat posters around the neighborhood are just too upsetting. hope to get a backyard one day for kitties
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#4 Old 02-09-2011, 01:42 AM
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My old cats always were outdoors but I was young and it wasn't my decision. After my cat and my sisters cats were poisoned (to death) by neighbors, I will never ever let any of my cats out freely again. It was a heartbreaking thing to go through and I won't make that mistake again. With so many dangers like cars, dogs, wild animals, and evil humans I think it is much less cruel to keep them inside and safe.
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#5 Old 02-09-2011, 01:58 AM
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Apparently you can cat proof fences, I'm thinking that might be my reasonable middle ground one day when I have a yard. I really want Moe to be able to go outside in the sun... I know I get depressed if I'm all cooped up for too long and cats are territorial wanderers. That way he'd be able to go out only in a restricted area but he could still feel grass under his paws and chase bugs around and do cat things, it would keep predators like coyotes out too.

Right now I feel like I'm damned if I do damned if I don't. I feel guilty he's locked up inside and can only go out on a leash, but if I let him outside alone I'd be guilty and worried about that. Aargh, I need more money so I can buy a house already. Also, the amount of fussing I'm doing over Moe is a pretty good indication of what I'd be like as a parent, oh boy! If I have kids I'm clearly going to be one of those naggy moms who pins mittens to her kids coats

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#6 Old 02-09-2011, 02:12 AM
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I disagree with this article. I think cats enjoy the outside, the freedom of going where they please, and the fresh air and natural stimulation. The associated dangers depend on where you live, but personally I wouldn't own a cat unless I lived somewhere suitale where it could go outside in some shape or form regularlly. If you live in the countryside, or somewhere with quiet traffic and a lot of gardens, or with a large garden yourself you can catproof, etc, there's little danger to your cat.

Every cat and every situation is different, and some cats just don't like or aren't able to go outside, but I think generally cats should be able to roam if the area is suitable. However, I think if a cat lives indoors only, if the house is large and they're well kept, it isn't cruel or wrong, it's just not what I would think to be ideal - but what in life is? From the way the writer is writing though it sounds like they live somewhere particularly dangerous (for cats), but it's silly to extrapolate that situation to all situations!

Oh and werewolf girl, I think you're worrying too much all this fussing just shows how much you love your cat! If it's dangerous for them to go outside now, just continue what you're doing
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#7 Old 02-09-2011, 02:40 AM
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I've had my 3 cats since they were 4 weeks old (fostered then adopted). There are too many risks outside for them so they are completely indoor cats. Risks not only from cars but from poisioning. There was a report in the news a few months ago that someone had poisioned 30+ cats with antifreeze. It is a horrible way for them to die, but cats love antifreeze.

Other risks include FIV, infected cat bites, dogs.

Then theres the dangers to the local bird life. Tibbles the cat apparently caused the extinction of an entire population of birds on Stephen Island.

To me its not worth the risk.
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#8 Old 02-09-2011, 03:18 AM
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I don't understand why it's so evil to let your cat outside. Here it's the norm for cats to be let outside. I don't understand that article's attitude that the vast majority of Britain's cat owners are evil and cruel to their cats because they let them outside.
In my mind it's cruel to keep them locked up inside and never let them out. But we're probably looking at cultural differences here....
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#9 Old 02-09-2011, 03:46 AM
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I've had several outside cats. One would stay in the backyard. One run away. The other got a virus that killed him. I'll never let my cats outside. I love them too much to see them never come home or get sick and die when all I had to do was keep them safe in the house. If there weren't so many risks then I would definitely let them play outside.
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#10 Old 02-09-2011, 05:41 AM
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I don't understand why it's so evil to let your cat outside. Here it's the norm for cats to be let outside. I don't understand that article's attitude that the vast majority of Britain's cat owners are evil and cruel to their cats because they let them outside.
In my mind it's cruel to keep them locked up inside and never let them out. But we're probably looking at cultural differences here....

Yes I found it really supprising too! I don't know anyone who doesn't let their cat outside.
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#11 Old 02-09-2011, 05:57 AM
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Yes I found it really supprising too! I don't know anyone who doesn't let their cat outside.

We got a cat from the RSPCA centre but after having her for a month (and many visits to the vets) we worked out that she had brain damage and was partly blind. Vets told us that she could still go outside but she would need to go out on a harness and lead (she loved the garden). Problem was, with our home situation and our dogs, keeping her locked indoors wasn't practical (as in the summer we have to have all the doors open otherwise it gets too hot and also so the dogs can go in and out of the garden as they please) so we took her back to the RSPCA. TBF, they shouldn't have rehomed her to us but then again it might have been that her problems weren't an issue when she was in the cattery and it was only when she moved into a home that they started becoming an issue. She has since gone to a home where they have no other pets and she can be kept indoors for most of the time but her new owners did get a harness for her and also a pen (which she couldn't climb out of ) so she could spend time in the garden.
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#12 Old 02-09-2011, 06:22 AM
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^ Aww poor thing It's good she has a suitable home, and a strange that the RSPCA didn't pick up on it, but I guess they're very overrun (my boyfriend works for the rspca taking emergency calls, and people think they're like government funded and go to them before they'd go to the police or local authority... I think it's such a big organisation people go to them before anyone else, so they're very busy). I know some cats need to be kept indoors for medical reasons, such as having FIV. I meant, I don't know anyone who keeps their cat indoors for non medical reasons I guess. My friend lived by a main road, and her family loved cats and used to own two, but now they just don't have any because the roads too busy and a cat might get hurt, they didn't consider keeping them indoors only. Like you said, must be a cultural thing.
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#13 Old 02-09-2011, 08:18 AM
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^ Aww poor thing It's good she has a suitable home, and a strange that the RSPCA didn't pick up on it, but I guess they're very overrun (my boyfriend works for the rspca taking emergency calls, and people think they're like government funded and go to them before they'd go to the police or local authority... I think it's such a big organisation people go to them before anyone else, so they're very busy). I know some cats need to be kept indoors for medical reasons, such as having FIV. I meant, I don't know anyone who keeps their cat indoors for non medical reasons I guess. My friend lived by a main road, and her family loved cats and used to own two, but now they just don't have any because the roads too busy and a cat might get hurt, they didn't consider keeping them indoors only. Like you said, must be a cultural thing.

Yeah, I mean one of the cats we had when I was young was hilarious. At the top of our street there were retirement houses so full of elderly people. One day we sat on deckchairs in our front garden and watched our cat (I'm going to call him L here.) He would go to the first house, meow at the door, the owners would come out give him some treats and sit and pet him for a while. Then he would leave their front garden and they go would back indoors. He would wait until they'd gone back in and then he would go to the next house, meow at the door, they would come out give him treats and pet him. And so it continued. He would do this every day starting about 2pm and would go to all 9 houses in the row. They knew he was our cat and whenever they saw us they would come talk to us about him and because of him some of those people became very good friends of ours. Obviously my mother adjusted his food to take into account the treats he got and most of them asked us if we minded them feeding him and what treats would we would like them to give to him so he didn't get very overweight from it. What he actually got overweight was from when he would disappear for 6 or 7 weeks at a time, come back rather fatter and with a brand new collar and name tag as he'd learnt how to remove his collar so when he got bored of us he would go find a new family to live with until he decided to come back to us. (Yes my mother would ring up the number on the new tag and say that he was our cat. Generally the people were pretty accepting of the fact.)

Just done a quick google. Apparently, outdoor cats only live to 4 or 5 years of age. Indoor cats live to around 15, even into their early twenties. L was an outdoor cat, heck most of the time he didn't bother coming indoors unless it was raining. He died 1 week before his 22nd birthday.
Our other cats.. Well two died when they were kittens (one had half a brain and I can't remember the name of what the other one died from but it was genetic), one we had to rehome because he was a big semi-feral farm cat that hated me (I had scars running down the right side of my torso from my armpit to my hip, they finally disappeared when I was 16. He caused them when I was 4. I think he sensed that I was scared of him so lashed out...) And our other cat had to be rehomed (along with our dogs, rabbits, birds and guinea pigs) when we had to move into a rented house. He was epic.. He used to walk me to school every morning come rain or shine. (He was 12 when he got rehomed..)
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#14 Old 02-09-2011, 08:38 AM
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^ Aww! I heard somewhen there are statistically like twice as many "cat owners" as cats because they whore out to several owners! There used to be a kitten that hung around our garden and I played with him/her all summer one year! Fond memories!

All the people with outdoors cats I know they've lived between 15 and 20 with one exception, my boyfriends cat died at 19 I think and she was lovley, but very sick in the end I am wondering whether there is a difference to the risks of outdoor cats in the USA and outdoor cats in the UK? The 5 vs 15 years age seems startling, and either I've known exceptionally lucky cat owners or the risk is different here? Interesting...

ETA: I've tried googling and I don't think anyone else has ever wanted to know if there's a difference in the lifespan of indoor v outdoor cats in different countries... haha. I also wondered whether my experience was tainted by the fact I grew up in a rural-ish area, maybe there's lots of people in inner cities with either indoor cats, or having outdoor cats who die early? Hmm I should stop hogging this thread!
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#15 Old 02-09-2011, 08:47 AM
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^ Aww! I heard somewhen there are statistically like twice as many "cat owners" as cats because they whore out to several owners! There used to be a kitten that hung around our garden and I played with him/her all summer one year! Fond memories!

All the people with outdoors cats I know they've lived between 15 and 20 with one exception, my boyfriends cat died at 19 I think and she was lovley, but very sick in the end I am wondering whether there is a difference to the risks of outdoor cats in the USA and outdoor cats in the UK? The 5 vs 15 years age seems startling, and either I've known exceptionally lucky cat owners or the risk is different here? Interesting...

Yeah I don't know. OK, when we had our cats (with the exception of the one we had from the RSPCA because we had her in 2007) we were living in a town with a population of about 5,000 and yes it was a fairly sizeable town but it was surrounded by countryside. But that makes me think that all this stuff people go on about cats being poisoned by fertiliser, pesticides etc would have been an issue, but it never was. Although there wasn't much arable farming there, it was mainly sheep farming. But even where we live now, we are surrounded by farmers' fields, and we know he uses fertilisers/pesticides etc because they run off the fields behind our garden into our pond yet none of the local cats appear to have any issues. I've lived there for 10 years now and there are 6 cats still around that were here when we moved in... It's strange.. I don't understand the big deal.. Although probably over in North America they've got different problems than us..
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#16 Old 02-09-2011, 08:51 AM
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I've seen this debate on other sites with people from the US and UK as well as other countries and it always goes the same. USians think it's cruel to let cats outside, UKians think it's cruel to not let them outside. Like identity thief and Annia I have never known somebody with an indoor-only cat, and I have also never known of a cat dying from something caused by him or her being let outside. For one thing there are far fewer wild animals here capable of killing a cat, and I've never heard of a cat being poisoned.

And an FYI, but most cat charities here won't rehome a cat with you unless you will give them outdoor access. The exception is cats with FIV or similar conditions.
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#17 Old 02-09-2011, 08:54 AM
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I'm curious if PETA has a position on feral cats.

I have (spayed) feral cats who obviously live outdoors 24/7. They would be stressed beyond belief if forced to live indoors. My 2 pet cats are indoors ONLY. In the Summer, one sneaks out and I chase him back in!

I know the outdoors is not a preferred environment for pet-cats (house cats!), but it certainly is for feral cats.

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#18 Old 02-09-2011, 09:15 AM
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I'm curious if PETA has a position on feral cats.

I have (spayed) feral cats who obviously live outdoors 24/7. They would be stressed beyond belief if forced to live indoors. My 2 pet cats are indoors ONLY. In the Summer, one sneaks out and I chase him back in!

I know the outdoors is not a preferred environment for pet-cats (house cats!), but it certainly is for feral cats.

Unfortunately they do, and that's to kill feral cats so they won't die.
http://www.peta.org/about/why-peta/feral-cats.aspx
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#19 Old 02-09-2011, 09:22 AM
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I've just looked at all the cats that are on the website of my local RSPCA centre.

Out of 27 cats only two do not explicitly state in the information "will require outside access once settled" (that's a copy/paste job right there) but those two do say that they will and can use a cat flap which is used for a cat to go outside so I'm guessing the RSPCA do want them to have outdoor access. There are two other cats that need to be rehomed together and they are very timid cats but the RSPCA still says they can go outside. " Due to their timid nature it would be best for Donna and Maelle to have gradual introduction into different parts of the house so not to overwhelm them with a large space, and only to be let outdoors after a prolonged period of being settled in the house."

Yeah, I think there's a massive cultural difference between how cats are viewed in the UK and in the USA....
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#20 Old 02-09-2011, 09:23 AM
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sadly cats do get poisoned in the uk as well
http://menmedia.co.uk/rochdaleobserv...od_is_poisoned
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#21 Old 02-09-2011, 09:32 AM
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Unfortunately they do, and that's to kill feral cats so they won't die.
http://www.peta.org/about/why-peta/feral-cats.aspx

How effective.

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#22 Old 02-09-2011, 09:35 AM
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sadly cats do get poisoned in the uk as well
http://menmedia.co.uk/rochdaleobserv...od_is_poisoned

None of us in this thread have ever said that poisoning is not a possibility, just that in our experience we have never heard of it where we each live... There are always going to be evil people who are cruel to animals. No matter how hard the RSPCA and other animal charities etc try there are always going to be people who do it. It's never going to be completely eradicated.
Are you suggesting that because of something which is not very common in the UK, all UK cat owners should lock their cats up indoors? (Which, BTW, most cat owners here and the general public believe is cruel to do to cats (of course with exception to medical issues like FIV))

How I view it... A child could be possibly killed crossing a road or get abducted or something else whilst walking to school. Do we expect all parents to accompany their children everywhere until they're 18 years old just because something *might* happen? Heck, I started walking to school by myself when I was 8 or 9 years old. Kinda a similar thing with cats. Yes something *might* happen, and I'm not denying that it does happen but in my eyes (and in most UK cat owners' eyes) the cruelty of forcing a cat to stay indoors and be cooped up is far worse than the risks they might face outdoors. But like I said, it's cultural differences.
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#23 Old 02-09-2011, 09:38 AM
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My compromise is a large chain link dog enclosure, which is *roofed* over with more fencing. They have access to it via a cat door in one of the windows of the bedroom which is exclusively their room.

I live in the country, on a farm with lots of trees, shrubbery, and out buildings where cats can take shelter. To my knowledge, the coyotes have never ventured close because of the dogs, yet none of the cats who have wandered/been dumped here and which I have not taken indoors have survived for more than nine months, despite being fed and getting medical treatment as needed. They are being killed by predators of some sort. I find lots of dead cats along the road (people intentionally hit cats - it's a sport) and bury them, but none of them, so far, have been ones who lived here.

A note about feral cats - I disagree with the claim that they can never be happy indoors. My first experience with bringing in a true feral was Kate. It took a year to trap her, and by then she had a litter of kittens. When she finally went in the trap (this was on this farm), I took her down to St. Louis with me. It was my intention to get her healthy enough to be spayed (she was terribly run down from nursing), let her recuperate, and bring her back to the farm. By the time she was recovered enough to be spayed, she was following me around the house. Needless to say, she stayed. She was my best friend for eighteen years, and I will never again have that close of a relationship with anyone.

Of my current clowder, Y.A.C. is by far the most clingy, constantly underfoot, and fierce in his affection toward me. He too had never been touched by human hand until I trapped him to be neutered. Doc was aggressively feral - I almost lost use of my left hand from the bites I got from him while transferring him from a large trap my sister had to a carrier to take him to the vet, and he is now one of my most affectionate cats, even though it took well over o year before he let me touch him. Ayla, OTOH, may never allow me to touch her, although she is quite content to be in the same room with me. All my other former ferals are *normally* affectionate, and all are quite content indoors. About half of my sister's crew had never felt a human touch until she trapped them to spay/neuter. With the exception of one of hers, none of either her or my *wild* caught cats have the least interest in sneaking out. The only ones in my household that even think about getting through a door are Sebastian and Serenity, who were pets who were dumped.
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#24 Old 02-09-2011, 09:40 AM
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For those in the U.K. - how long do your cats normally live?
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#25 Old 02-09-2011, 09:48 AM
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For those in the U.K. - how long do your cats normally live?

When my mother got L, the average life expectancy of a cat (as told to her by the vets) was about 15 years (yes that was for outdoor cats seeing as back then the majority of cats were outdoors. It's only in the past decade or so that I think indoor cats for non-medical reasons have started to become more common because of people living in flats etc wanting cats. Well more people living in flats wanting cats). She got L as a kitten in the early 70s I think. (He died when I was 4 or 5 (I can't remember exactly) but I do know that it was 1 week before his 22nd birthday..)
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#26 Old 02-09-2011, 09:52 AM
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I understand both points but I do not let my cats outdoors unless they are on a harness. I've heard too many horrible stories. And at least once a month I see a dead cat laying in the road. And I live in a rural area. A couple months ago it was on my local news that a couples indoor/outdoor cat was found cut in half. It's just too scary out there!!!

Sarah
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#27 Old 02-09-2011, 09:52 AM
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None of us in this thread have ever said that poisoning is not a possibility, just that in our experience we have never heard of it where we each live... There are always going to be evil people who are cruel to animals. No matter how hard the RSPCA and other animal charities etc try there are always going to be people who do it. It's never going to be completely eradicated.
Are you suggesting that because of something which is not very common in the UK, all UK cat owners should lock their cats up indoors? (Which, BTW, most cat owners here and the general public believe is cruel to do to cats (of course with exception to medical issues like FIV))

i'm not suggesting anything. i posted a link of a story i know because those responding from the uk have never heard of cats being poisoned in their country. i haven't said anything about cruelty either way but it sounds like you think people who keep cats indoors are treating them cruel.
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#28 Old 02-09-2011, 10:02 AM
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It seems to me that there is a big difference in the extent of the dangers to cats outdoors, in the U.S. vs. the U.K. As someone already mentioned, we have many more predators. Coyotes are around in the suburbs, sometimes well into urban areas, poor things, and always on the brink of starvation. Cars travel faster here, on the average, I would suspect, simply because the roads and streets are straighter and wider. And diseases, feline and general, are rampant. For example, rabies goes through this area in waves, and distemper, feline aids, feline leukemia, and FIP decimate entire cat populations.
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#29 Old 02-09-2011, 10:03 AM
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I haven't owned cats myself, but friends and close familys cats have lived till late teens with one exception.

I'm looking this up, and the RSPCA say "Currently there is no definitive knowledge regarding whether being an indoor-only cat is any better or worse than being one who has access to the outdoors. "

Also, most UK based sites say a cats average age is in its teens (they're all slightly different, one says seven which was in 2005, the rest quote ranges between 11 and 20, none look especially reliable to me, ie: none are from organisations I've ever heard of!), and the vast majority of the UKs cats go outdoors. Hmm.

MLP I think what you are saying makes sense, I think if the impression I get from the US people is accurate along with the 4 vs 15 year statistics, I understand the difference in attitudes much more.
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#30 Old 02-09-2011, 10:07 AM
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I think the bigger issue may be: is it ethical to let your cat out in light of all the rodents, birds, and other creatures it may kill?

"It is far better to be happy than to have your bodies act as graveyards for animals. Accordingly, the apostle Matthew partook of seeds, nuts and vegetables, without flesh"- Clement of Alexandria
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