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#1 Old 05-26-2007, 09:50 PM
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Hmmm, gonna try and sum this up:

So I have a cat that I rescued 7 years ago (Shanghai-she's 9 now) and she was an in/outdoor cat when I rescued her. I have another (Pangaea) that I rescued that has no problem with staying inside all day (the rustle of a napkin scares the Meow Mix out of her, so needless to say she wouldn't last long in the wild).

I had always lived in the city and always felt horrible for Shanghai who I knew was bored, so I would take her out on a leash sometimes (much to the detriment of my reputation as a sane person). If you have cats, you know they find the leash degrading, though still better than sitting looking out the window.



I moved back home for a year in the 'burbs and let Shang out and needless to say she NEVER came in again and blissfully laid on the porch or hung out in the backyard. She (after a few vet visits and subsequent feline steroid pills) developed an allergy to the CA flora and chewed all of her hair off but I had never seen her happier, and I was happy to see her free to play outside.



I'm back to the city in MA now and in an apartment and Shang is bored out of her mind (my good bf is now out in the hallway letting Shang pretend she is lioness of Archstone Apartments). Soon at the beginning of June I am moving to a house YAY, but I am worried that I may be doing a disservice to Shang by letting her outside. It is a quiet street, but still....Just earlier today I had to slam on my brakes because a cat ran across the road in front of me.



I've read animal rights' groups that say that it is wrong to let your cats out because of things that can happen or things that bad people do....but I would feel terrible holing her up inside the house when there is so much for her to explore!



I don't want this to sound awful because I absolutely love my cats, and respect them, but I'm telling myself that I would let her out because I would rather her live a short and happy life (if it ever came down to that, and I pray it doesn't), than have her kept in the house like a prisoner and live longer. So I'm asking if that is the right decision?



the (sad?) thing is when we were looking for houses I definitely kept her in mind and part of me can't wait for her to be able to go outside again.
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#2 Old 05-26-2007, 09:59 PM
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You could compromise and have as big an enclosure that you can afford in the yard and accessible from the house so she could come and go.

I certainly don't think that cats should be out at night, especially since rearing a joey possum that the vet thinks was mauled by a cat.

http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y20...o/MARTIN_1.jpg
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#3 Old 05-26-2007, 10:03 PM
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I don't like letting cats outdoors either. Mine are all indoor only, but they are happy to look out the window and pretend that they are intimidating the wild birds.



Check into a kitty proof fence to keep her in the yard. Or, if you can afford it, you can get a pretty elaborate system called Kittywalk. You can buy the pieces separately or in kits and expand it gradually if you want. I'm sure you can find it in a million places online. And congrats on getting the house.
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#4 Old 05-26-2007, 10:05 PM
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Personally, I think it is way too dangerous to let cats outside. If she is bored, you could make her indoor environment more interesting by playing with her more, getting her different toys, catnip, cat trees, etc. If a child was bored playing in the fenced in backyard, I would hope you would make the yard more interesting, rather than open the gate and let him/her roam the neighborhood. I don't mean to be accusatory, but you seem to really care about your cat's saftey, and I applaud you for asking for suggestions rather than just opening the door because thats the easiest thing to do.



If you really want your cat to be outdoors, you could look into cat fencing that would keep her in the back yard, or walk her on a leash like you have done. If other people think that is strange, so what. You are being a responsible pet owner, and that is way more important.
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#5 Old 05-26-2007, 10:16 PM
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Get a privacy fence in yard, with cat fencing installed. ...oh everyone already said that. /hmm.
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#6 Old 05-26-2007, 10:32 PM
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Originally Posted by kpickell View Post

Get a privacy fence in yard, with cat fencing installed. ...oh everyone already said that. /hmm.



Yeah, but, I said it first!
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#7 Old 05-26-2007, 10:39 PM
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Bof I'm sorry about you lil possum! Cats can be "cruel" in the way they toy with prey instead of just killing it for food, especially when they're not honestly hungry. I hope your joey is okay.

I googled the cat fencing, something I had never heard of until the advice here, thank you. Crap! it seems expensive! Which would be ok except there is some expensive work to be done on the house. I think I will keep her inside until we can afford the fencing. While googling I read that indoor cats live about 5 times longer than outdoor cats, so it would only be a matter of time if I let her outside.

Yes Pang likes to imagine she is "intimidating" the pigeons out on the window ledges here. I really don't think Pang realizes anything exists outside of wherever she is. Shang on the other hand is always itching to get out "that door."



So I think the doubts I was having meant something, and I appreciate the advice. Looks like Shang and I will have to suffer the leash for a while longer.



Thanks...
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#8 Old 05-26-2007, 10:48 PM
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You can make your own cat fencing without buying the expensive stuff online. But you need a privacy fenced yard first.
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#9 Old 05-26-2007, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by wheesaidshe View Post

Bof I'm sorry about you lil possum! Cats can be "cruel" in the way they toy with prey instead of just killing it for food, especially when they're not honestly hungry. I hope your joey is okay.



This was him just before I released him:

http://i6.photobucket.com/albums/y20...o/140606_4.jpg



I haven't seen him since, but my next door neighbour said that she'd seen a possum eating her grapes and she thought it only had one eye, so it may well have been him. Fingers crossed that he's OK.
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#10 Old 05-27-2007, 05:33 AM
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Bof, you're awesome (and lucky!) for being able to help the little guy!
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#11 Old 05-29-2007, 08:05 PM
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Is a privacy fenced yard something other than obvious? Even if it's obvious, I'm not sure what it means...sorry for being dense! Please clarify!
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#12 Old 05-29-2007, 09:25 PM
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If you see that big of a difference between when shes indoors and outdoors, i would let her outside. There are some cats that will just never be happy indoors - let her enjoy her time. I recommend a break away collar just in case she snags it on a branch/fence.
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#13 Old 05-29-2007, 10:06 PM
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ohhh great, you're throwing a wrench in the works here, Yumy! Yes I play with her all of the time and try to make it interesting for her at home. If there were any more balls and feathers in my apt someone might mistake me for a "Miss!"



There is a huge difference in her personality....phooey I don't know what to think. If there is a way to build a fence where she can still enjoy outside, I would like to do that. It would save me a lot of worry
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#14 Old 05-29-2007, 10:59 PM
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I hate to add to your confusion, but I fully support your letting her outdoors. Before I was interested in animal rights, I was a vet tech, and I was indoctrinated in the "responsible cat owners keep their cats indoors" camp. And yes in the emergency clinic we did see many "HBC's" (hit by cars) and the stats show that outdoor cats die sooner. But my cat would be bored to tears inside, so I've vaccinated her against feline leukemia and decided that we're going to risk a traumatic death, in the name of more freedom for her.



I already have more control over her life than I think is fair. In her position, I would make the same choice, to live w/more risks but more freedom and more engagement with nature. She always has the choice to stay in, of course. And during the times when I do keep her in for awhile, I actually enjoy the fact that she pays more attention to me. But I respect her autonomy as much as possible. That's actually the animal rights stance, by the way. Animal welfare says to keep cats indoors, not animal rights.



I sympathize with your concerns over her safety, and I really applaud the way you are really seeking what is best for her. I guess I see it as the way to practice parenting -- protect your child while you prepare her for the world, but ultimately let her make her own decisions.
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#15 Old 05-30-2007, 12:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wheesaidshe View Post

Is a privacy fenced yard something other than obvious? Even if it's obvious, I'm not sure what it means...sorry for being dense! Please clarify!

Well what I was imagining was a 6 foot wooden/plastic fencing ("privacy fence") with the inclined cat fencing added to the top. Similar to www.catfencein.com which is the standard cat fencing. It just basically inclines inward so that if the cat tries to climb out it runs into a ceiling and can't find a way out.



However when I was googling [google]cat fencing[/google] I see that there are several different types and styles of cat fencing now. Some such as purrfectfence.com don't necessitate having any currently installed fencing.
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#16 Old 05-30-2007, 01:06 AM
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Originally Posted by panthera View Post

But I respect her autonomy as much as possible. That's actually the animal rights stance, by the way. Animal welfare says to keep cats indoors, not animal rights.



Letting her out is not necessarily the "animal rights stance." AR also considers the birds that she might kill, as well as the responsibility to keep domestic animals safe from harm - which pragmatically but not always ideally may mean keeping them indoors.

"If you want to know where you would have stood on slavery before the civil war, don't look at where you stand on slavery today, look at where you stand on animal rights." - Paul Watson.

 

Every animal you eat
was running for her life

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#17 Old 06-11-2007, 10:51 PM
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Just as an update- I bought collars for the cats as well as tags, and after some info here also bought bells that I put on my cats' collars (so they cannot successfully stalk or kill anything).

I don't have the cat fence up, but have let them out a few times a day. Pang doesn't go beyond the deck as she is too scared, but Shang is soooo happy. I stay outside with them and let her roam and play then bring them back inside. Funny, first thing they both did was chew on some grass (I think that is good for their teeth and maybe digestion?)

I thought Shang might have to get used to this house after being in such a small apartment, but she couldn't WAIT to get outside, so I felt I had to let her out. I wouldn't feel right with letting her go without me, as I would worry too much. But I wanted to say that I think we've reached a compromise for now.

thanks for all the advice and info...



PS I'm not sure Shang could kill anything since there are so many birds here that every time she is skulking about in the yard, there is a bird that flits from tree to tree to fence to garage etc, following her and squawking at her-alerting the whole neighborhood of birds that she is out.
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#18 Old 06-12-2007, 05:10 AM
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Just to add: I don't think properly vaccinated outdoor cats necessarily have much shorter lives than indoor pets, particularly if they are neutered and therefore less prone to straying or fighting. Most cats have a distinct "territory area" beyond which they wont stray (for some the back garden, for others a couple of streets). If your cats territory doesnt cover any main roads, the chances of a trafic accident are greatly reduced, and for me that would be a factor as to whether or not I had an outdoor cat. Obviously living in an area without predators helps too.
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#19 Old 06-12-2007, 09:25 AM
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Glad to hear you've reached some compromise :-)



I let my cat out during the day and he comes and goes as he pleases after breakfast, but only when I'm at home. If I go out, I call him in (otherwise I'd never be relaxed when I'm away from the house!). In the wintertime when it gets dark earlier, he's not allowed out after 3pm (after he's had his dinner) as I think cats are more likely to get up to mischief when it's dark! In the summertime he's not allowed out after supper (around 8.30pm). I never leave food around (if he leaves any, it's taken away), so I've trained him to come home if I call him 'cos he's a greedy guts :-) I think cats are more 'trainable' than people often think they are!



You obviously love your cats and want the best for them. Being a Mummy is such a responsibility, isn't it?!
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#20 Old 06-12-2007, 12:34 PM
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that's a great idea regarding the food scheduling to keep him coming back reliably. My cat used to come hurtling back whenever I opened the door & called her (I say hurtling b/c she looked like a rabbit or greyhound, bounding over obstacles and kicking her hind legs up). I loved opening the door and hearing her harness & tags jingling as she spotted me. Now she's used to it and doesn't do that anymore. I miss it.



Re: the vaccinated outdoor cat. There are a lot of issues w/exposure to other cats. Territories are forever being jostled as newcomers try to find their own space. Some cats just don't respect boundaries anyway. And even if they don't fight, there's always FIV and even FeLV which doesn't always respect the vaccine for it. Not to mention FIP.



I heard about someone in the UK restricting outdoor hours to two hours, and never in the dawn/dusk hours, to protect birds/bunnies as much as possible. And yes some cats are trainable. My cat sits & "shakes" hands for her food.
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#21 Old 06-12-2007, 08:48 PM
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Yes, the feeding schedule is something I have really been lax about. Shang and Pang are both overweight. When I first let Shang out I prepared myself for a tricky chase, if it came down to it I might have to grab her and bring her in. But for now, and maybe this will fade, I believe she thanks me by coming back every once in a while, to wherever I am standing or sitting and rolls around at my feet or threads herself through my legs, purring.

You're welcome Kitty!



I have to retrain them with the food. They both mentally abused me early this morning because I didn't have their food bowl filled. I am sure you know of this meow. The "I'm-just-gonna-starve-to-death-if-you-don't-feed-me-NOW meow, which is lunacy since they both could probably survive 3 extra days off of their pudge.

I guess the three of us need to work on that.
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#22 Old 06-13-2007, 04:46 AM
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Originally Posted by wheesaidshe View Post


I have to retrain them with the food. They both mentally abused me early this morning because I didn't have their food bowl filled. I am sure you know of this meow. The "I'm-just-gonna-starve-to-death-if-you-don't-feed-me-NOW meow, which is lunacy since they both could probably survive 3 extra days off of their pudge.

I guess the three of us need to work on that.





Lol! Yeh, they all try that one! :-) If I feed George in the morning, then my b/f goes into the kitchen, George will meow to try to say that he hasn't been fed!!

I think that when kitties aren't over-fed, then they're a bit more responsive to training as regards coming in when called.



Good luck with your kitties!
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#23 Old 06-13-2007, 01:49 PM
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When I first let Shang out I prepared myself for a tricky chase, if it came down to it I might have to grab her and bring her in. But for now, and maybe this will fade, I believe she thanks me by coming back every once in a while, to wherever I am standing or sitting and rolls around at my feet or threads herself through my legs, purring.

You're welcome Kitty!

Isn't that the best?? You might be interested to know that in the second place we lived (Karma-cat & I), there was a problem w/having any cat pet dander or fur in the stairwell. My landlady was extremely allergic, and we shared the stairs. I had always been careful not to associate the cat-carrier w/visits to the vet, so I simply trained her to go inside her carrier everytime she wanted to go in or out. W/a little patience, it got to where even my roommate could "operate" the "elevator."

Quote:
The I'm-just-gonna-starve-to-death-if-you-don't-feed-me-NOW meow, which is lunacy since they both could probably survive 3 extra days off of their pudge. I guess the three of us need to work on that.

I used to think people were so lame when they couldn't control their pets diets. Then Karma came along, and I found that whenever I fixed a snack for myself, I couldn't rightly deny her one, too. Since I snack to excess, we both got kinda pudgy.
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#24 Old 06-15-2007, 06:11 PM
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Yeah exactly, it's that guilt. I thought that since I get to scarf whenever I want to, why can't they? But I also have a hard time imagining eating the same thing every day, and they definitely need that so....it makes me think that I would have a very hard time denying my kids things if I were to ever have any. Gotta think about the long run.....
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