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Old 06-20-2011, 07:50 PM
 
Location: Still on the southern high plains
14,918 posts, read 19,305,649 times
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Sorry. Yes, I meant "generalizations."

I actually brought three kittens out to the farm right after I bought it. At that time I had not lost any pets and did not have my three adult cats. One kitten disappeared the very first night. And the other two disappeared after one week. I'm fairly sure my adult cats know to sleep "up" in the barn where the coyotes can't get to them.

I suppose one could argue which is preferable for pets or humans, a life with a lot of quantity or a shorter life with a lot of quality. This old farm has just about killed me several times already but having lived "inside" for many years during a career where I had to work in large cities and in office cubicles, I chose quality for the remainder of my life. Ah, but this is a subject is for another forum thread.

My cats have heat and dry cover in the winter and plenty of cool water in the summer. They have 20 acres upon which to romp, a smorgasbord of rodents and birds and daily portions of dry cat food. Several times a week they get a fresh bowl of milk and, more times than most here on C-D probably think, a good amount of affection from me. I like cats but, like humans, I expect that they work for their pay.
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Old 06-20-2011, 07:58 PM
 
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
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OP if you are looking for validation for outside cats, you have come to the wrong place.
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Old 06-20-2011, 08:12 PM
 
Location: Still on the southern high plains
14,918 posts, read 19,305,649 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by no kudzu View Post
OP if you are looking for validation for outside cats, you have come to the wrong place.
And if you think I seek your validation for anything I say or do, you've got the wrong person.
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Old 06-20-2011, 10:24 PM
 
Location: El Paso, TX
2,806 posts, read 7,125,822 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chiroptera View Post
I'll preface this by saying....I do agree that overall, an indoor cat has a longer lifespan, and I think indoor cats do great as long as thay are well-cared for. I also think that the OP's premise - that cats allowed free access outside are necessarily healthier and more athletic is flawed and noty backed up by any data. (I have read the OP's posts on another forum and s/he does seem to delight in stirring it up....)

However and yes I realise this sounds hypocritical, I have owned many indoor-outdoor cats over the last 40+ years (as in, they have access to the outdoors whenever they choose, in suburban, urban and rural areas) and have had several live to 15-20 years and beyond. My current four cats are all reformed strays...the oldest is (best guess) somewhere between 12-14 years old and I have had him now about seven years. He and the other three (ranging from a little under a year, 3 years, and at least 7 years old) are healthy and fit. My family (in a rural area) had a cat that lived to be very well into his 20s without ever a vet visit,and he chose not to come inside ever; he lived mostly in the barn and while we put food out for him he mostly ate what he hunted. When he was found dead, nobody could agree on whether he was 25, 26, 27....he was very old, though. Intact and never vaccinated, never once went to the vet. That cat had good genes.

On the other hand...Over the last seven years I have also had three "reformed strays" (cats I neutered, vaccinated, and that came in the house to eat or get warm or whatever) disappear without a trace.

I'm not really even a cat person I am a dog person, but have speutered and cared for many strays and some ferals over the years in places I've lived; sometimes the cats get along with the dogs and move in. So I am sort of casual about cat ownership I guess but I think I do more than a lot of people as far as caring for un-owned cats. Even the strays I feed get canned and grain-free kibble; the cats I consider "mine" get mostly commercial raw, some grain free kibble and canned, and are given whatever veterinary care/grooming/dental/parasite control/whatever I think necessary for their well-being.

However, I will say that based on my experience, generally speaking a well-cared for indoor cat is much more likely to outlive a cat with free roam of the outdoors, and all things being equal will be healthier. As long as they are fed good food (not Science Diet pellets and crap like that) and are provided with outlets for physical and mental stimulation and proper vet care when needed.
Excellent post! And thank you for caring for cats who aren't technically "yours" and giving them the good stuff to eat, too ! This is a testament to a warm and loving heart, there should be more like you in this world!

I, too, have cared for feral cats who have NO desire to go indoors...they're born wild, and I consider it an honor if they allow me to get close enough to make eye contact (without hissing, LOL!) and even had one who would come around the same time every day looking for his canned food "treat" . He wouldn't let me get close, but we did manage to get to a point where he stopped hissing when I put his food down and would actually "show himself" to let me know he wanted some grub . They have an amazing ability to become invisible when they want to be, but I was grateful he trusted me enough to hang around at all. When he disappeared, I was very sad...in my heart I just knew he wasn't alive anymore, and this suspicion was pretty much confirmed when I found his severed tail in the alley behind my house .

There are risks, but I definitely think a rural setting is much safer than an urban one when it comes to outdoor cats...yes, there are hawks and coyotes and mountain lions that can get them, but when they're born wild their instincts are so finely-tuned they usually manage to survive much longer than people would think. And nature is nature...sometimes cruel, but I feel like if a cat is born wild it's kind of unfair to force an indoor life on them when they're used to climbing trees, hunting, running, and lounging in the sunshine. Most shelters don't have wild cats, though...they're not used to it out there, they haven't been taught how to survive in the wild, and are actually very happy living alongside their human companions in a home where they rule everything, LOL !

What bothers me about the OP's position on this matter are 2 things, mainly...first, a city environment is NOT a natural outdoor environment for a cat...yes, they are amazingly adaptable, but the dangers they're exposed to are not "natural"...cars, human intervention, poisonous and toxic substances all around...I lived in Brooklyn for about a decade, and the strays in my neighborhood were a far cry from "healthy". The second aspect is that the OP would actually adopt a cat who may or may not understand the streets and just stick him out there to fend for himself, when there might be someone else out there who would care for the cat properly and keep it safe, well-fed, and loved.
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Old 06-21-2011, 01:11 PM
 
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I have tamed ferals, and most of them have no desire to be back outside again. They have been there, done that, never want to be out there again.
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Old 06-21-2011, 03:06 PM
 
2,888 posts, read 6,080,453 times
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Our cats seem to get a great work-out at the indoor gym. They certainly seem to get their money's worth. Wait . . . I pay for their gym membership, maid service, private chef, etc.

Dang, I just realized I'm their SugarMama. Spoiled little $h!t$!
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Old 06-21-2011, 04:08 PM
 
Location: Orange County, CA
3,726 posts, read 5,779,258 times
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Mr answer to the OP is a qualified yes, definitely. Excluded are the starving, sickly, disease ridden strays that we pity so much and that have short life spans. Farm cats or those in rural or semi rural settings that have homes and are well cared for by humans, but spend most of their time outdoors are surely fitter than indoor only cats. They tend to sleep less and spend more time on the move. They develop anti-predator behavior as kittens and are much more formidable in a brawl. For an analogy, take a look at dogs. A working, trailing, or hunting dog must be exercised vigorously outdoors in order to get in shape, as well as to toughen feet. The pooch that never goes farther than the backyard is woefully out of shape and is totally unqualified for strenuous outdoor work. Why should cats be any different, or for that matter, humans?
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Old 06-21-2011, 04:18 PM
 
Location: Near Nashville TN
7,201 posts, read 13,602,349 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasper12 View Post
Jasper and I vote to be indoor couch potatoes! Although he did do some cat yoga with me the other day. (Cayoga). Or Catoga...he wants to live a long, happy indoor life. It is cheaper for me, no costly vet bills on a cat that may have drunk bad water, my Mother's cat did that...she stated that it was okay to just let them out in the yard...cost her about $600 for his meds and care.
All too many people who let their cats outside wouldn't spend that kind of money when something happens to the cat. They have it euthanized. They wont pay to have infected fight injuries treated or broken legs set......
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Old 06-21-2011, 05:41 PM
 
Location: SE Michigan
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I knind of agree with you, especially about backyard (aka coffee table LOL; although the average owner doesn't want a high-drive, highly-conditioned dog because they're too much work) dogs, but I don't think comparing dogs to cats quite works here. Dogs are, as you say, working/pack animals whose wild cousins (wolves and other canids) travel/live in packs, spend a lot of time socializing, and tend to cover a wide geographical territory. Not to mention, again, the working aspect - most dogs were originally kept and bred for a purpose and usually never get the chance to work and do what they were bred to do - running and working miles per day herding, droving, tracking, guarding livestock or property, etc.

Cats have such a different history and as someone who has been on-the-margins involved in cat rescue (though primarily dog rescue) for many years, what people look for in a cat is typically cute looks, attractiveness, unusual or exotic appearance, etc. Most people don't want independent cats, they want the friendly, affectionate and cute ones and that's all they expect from a cat. They don't want a cat for any specific purpose except to be cute and affectionate; cats have no value beyond that...except maybe vermin control but that's questionable.

I DO think that well-cared for, rural/barn outdoor cats surely have a much richer life than indoor-only cats. Then again, an indoor-only cat, all esle being equal, is more likely to live longer, be at less risk of predation and injury, and most importantly: be what people tend to want from a cat.

That's the bigger picture....few people want wild, independent, free-roaming cats, they are detrimental to human society generally, serve no purpose in the modern world, are a nuisance and have a very high mortality rate. So there is no value, really, to society, in outdoor free-roaming cats.

I'm aware I sound hypocritical because I do have cats who are allowed free access to the outdoors (although they're all neutered etc) but in general I agree completely with those who advocate that cats should, ideally, be indoor-only pets.

PS to the previous poster whose name I can't figure out how to write - I absolutely will and have paid for veterinary attention due to those things, including for cats (and dogs) that I do not own but have found or picked up or whatever.



Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackShoe View Post
Mr answer to the OP is a qualified yes, definitely. Excluded are the starving, sickly, disease ridden strays that we pity so much and that have short life spans. Farm cats or those in rural or semi rural settings that have homes and are well cared for by humans, but spend most of their time outdoors are surely fitter than indoor only cats. They tend to sleep less and spend more time on the move. They develop anti-predator behavior as kittens and are much more formidable in a brawl. For an analogy, take a look at dogs. A working, trailing, or hunting dog must be exercised vigorously outdoors in order to get in shape, as well as to toughen feet. The pooch that never goes farther than the backyard is woefully out of shape and is totally unqualified for strenuous outdoor work. Why should cats be any different, or for that matter, humans?
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Old 06-26-2011, 05:00 PM
 
8,231 posts, read 13,140,572 times
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I would say its common sense that an outdoor cat is in better physical shape, more athletic and has heightened senses. Ferals who don't have a caretaker have issues. But they can still outrun out stamina an indoor only cat. Any person who, say works on a cattle ranch is going to be more in shape than any city gym rat no matter what. You take some gym rat who looks great and see how he does chasing cattle, throwing hay bales and putting up fences. Maybe thats too extreme a comparison...a office work gym rate vs. a bike messenger? Whatever, I think its pretty clear.

I had 2 ferrets that were free roam. 1200 sq ft house plus the basement. Always climbing up on to and in to dresser drawers to sleep, pulling themselves into the bathtub to get a drink, running up and down stairs, going outside on the screened in porch. I took them out and let them run around dragging their harnesses and leashes, the would dig in the garden. They fix them young so its not like they get real muscley but I was always surprised when I picked up a ferret that was caged a lot. They just felt so....slack and insubstantial.
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