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Old 08-15-2016, 08:55 PM   #21
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Given that you "...live in a university town with lots of wild life (coyotes and raccoons) as well as a transient (every year new students in area) neighbor cat population with pretty severe weather.", the responsible thing to do is to not let your cat outdoors at all. I work with a cat shelter and we see every day the risks run by outdoor cats, especially from wildlife, cars and cruel humans. The average lifespan of an indoor-outdoor cat is on the order of three years, whereas for indoor-only cats it's in excess of eleven years. Our shelter requires adopters to sign a contract promising they will not let the cat outside.

Most cats can adapt readily to an indoor life. Please consider this as an alternative to a cat door.
We have had 3 indoor/outdoor cats and we have had them all more than 10 years and our current cat is over 10 years old and still going strong. I would not accept a cat through your shelter as I would never agree to not let our cat outside. Cats are hunters and need to get exercise. IMO to keep them cooped up inside is extremely cruel.

We get mouse, mole and occasional bird "presents" and occasionally a small headless rabbit. Darwin prevails.
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Old 08-15-2016, 09:03 PM   #22
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I agree. I don't think a cat gets it's "catness" until it's tasted blood.

Not to mention they keep your yard vermin free.
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Old 08-15-2016, 09:32 PM   #23
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For those interested in more on the subject:

The American Veterinary Medical Association is considering revising their policy here:
https://www.avma.org/News/JAVMANews/Pages/160715e.aspx

And the Humane Society of the United States policy is here:
The HSUS's Position on Cats : The Humane Society of the United States

Spoiler alert: They recommend all cats be kept indoors for their own safety as well as that of the local wildlife. The Sierra Club says there is disagreement among the various animal protection and wildlife groups on how best to manage feral cats, but all agree on keeping nonferal pet cats inside.
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Old 08-15-2016, 10:05 PM   #24
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My cats had collars with ID, were spayed and had regular vet visits to get their checkups and shots. They didn't go far from home to hunt. Why bother, plenty of mice and gophers in the yard to satisfy their blood lust.

And blood lust they had, much more than the dogs. Me thinks the dogs would just like to lick the gophers and make new friends.
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Old 08-16-2016, 12:06 AM   #25
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My cats had collars with ID, were spayed and had regular vet visits to get their checkups and shots. They didn't go far from home to hunt. Why bother, plenty of mice and gophers in the yard to satisfy their blood lust.

And blood lust they had, much more than the dogs. Me thinks the dogs would just like to lick the gophers and make new friends.
Yep, I have found my cats to be murderous sadistic creatures, toying with their prey before killing it, and then like a serial killer, bringing home souvenirs or presents of the special kills.
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Old 08-16-2016, 05:59 AM   #26
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For one thing, birds can fly, and cats can't. There's a reason why we can hear the many birds on our heavily-treed property, but seldom see them except when they zip from tree to tree.

I love birds, but have never understood why some people get all riled up specifically about cats killing birds - considering the dangerous life that all wild birds lead, constantly in peril from other (predatory) birds, foxes and other predators, including even some humans.

The indoor/outdoor cats I have known, brought their catches home to display: field mice, moles, the occasional baby rabbit, only the very occasional bird. And I watched said cats gobble up all sorts of insects like they were candy.

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The number of birds killed by cats is likely much lower than the Audubon folks would like you to believe. The quoted number is based on extrapolation not on scientific observation.
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Old 08-16-2016, 07:59 AM   #27
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We have had 3 indoor/outdoor cats and we have had them all more than 10 years and our current cat is over 10 years old and still going strong. I would not accept a cat through your shelter as I would never agree to not let our cat outside. Cats are hunters and need to get exercise. IMO to keep them cooped up inside is extremely cruel.
Well, that's your opinion, and one not widely shared by experts. My cats stay inside where they won't pick up diseases, run over by cars (they aren't nearly as good as dogs about getting out of the way), get preyed upon by larger animals, get in fights with other cats or animals, and so on. Might help my health too as they aren't bringing in fleas and ticks. I try to give them activities and room for exercise. I'm sure they'd get more on their own outside but mine are at a really good weight. "Extremely cruel"? Hardly.
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Old 08-16-2016, 09:31 AM   #28
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I do believe keeping them indoors keeps them safer, and if we were deciding on lack of cruelty and freedom as more important than healthy longevity, then we'd not be spaying and neutering either and that would be bad for everyone.

Of course, I think that some areas for outdoor freedom are worse than others. If you live on a farm, great. In dense suburbs or city, not so much.

"My" cats are all ferals that I take care of - Mama showed up in my back yard a few years ago with a couple of kittens. I've had them all fixed, vaccinated, etc., but there's zero chance I can convert them to full time indoor cats. The youngest does like to sleep on my couch in the daytime, but that's all, the other two I can't even touch. They are all older than statistics say to expect for feral cats, but I dread the day they don't show up for breakfast...

They do kill birds on occasion. I hate that, but birds are victims far less than rats, moles, lizards.
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Old 08-16-2016, 09:34 AM   #29
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I'm in the middle on the very important topic of where to keep the cat. If the cat is willing to stay indoors, I say keep it indoors; it is safer for the animal. Still, a grown indoor cat tends (in my experience) to be more passive and boring than one that runs around a bit outside.

Now, if you have an aggressive, I-want-OUT hunter like the cat I used to have, he will find ways to get out, including hiding under the sofa and bursting out to dash between your legs the instant you open the door. So in that case, may as well get putty his shots, let putty take his chances and be happy.

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Well, that's your opinion, and one not widely shared by experts. My cats stay inside where they won't pick up diseases, run over by cars (they aren't nearly as good as dogs about getting out of the way), get preyed upon by larger animals, get in fights with other cats or animals, and so on. Might help my health too as they aren't bringing in fleas and ticks. I try to give them activities and room for exercise. I'm sure they'd get more on their own outside but mine are at a really good weight. "Extremely cruel"? Hardly.
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Old 08-16-2016, 09:52 AM   #30
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I'm not far from the middle either, though I've chosen to keep mine indoors. I do let mine on the upper deck (no ground access) when I grill, and even on the front porch with close supervision. If someone wants to let their's roam, that's fine with me as long as it's been fixed and doesn't add to the feral cat population. The "extremely cruel" comment was what set me off.
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Old 08-16-2016, 09:58 AM   #31
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Where we lived in Great Britain, people do consider it cruel to keep cats indoors. Cruel is the actual word they use. I even got scolded for letting a cat back into the flat tower where we lived (the cat had clearly, if non-verbally, requested to be let in), after the owners had put it out. Unfortunately, many people in that town let their cats run free in the street, where they are routinely squashed by cars.

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I'm not far from the middle either, though I've chosen to keep mine indoors. I do let mine on the upper deck (no ground access) when I grill, and even on the front porch with close supervision. If someone wants to let their's roam, that's fine with me as long as it's been fixed and doesn't add to the feral cat population. The "extremely cruel" comment was what set me off.
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Old 08-16-2016, 12:24 PM   #32
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Since most of my eight cats over the years were abandoned strays or a friend's cat who had been allowed to go outside, I raised them as indoor/outdoor cats. Two of the eight disappeared at a few years of age - one probably due to a predator as the drought was bad at the time and other pets in the neighborhood were also reported missing. My other cats lived until their teens and died of the usual old cat stuff. A few have been aggressive hunters including my current cat who is thirteen and eats most of her prey. I put a bell on her collar, don't feed the birds, etc. She is slowing down on the hunting but not as much as I would like.
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Old 08-16-2016, 02:51 PM   #33
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I think the recent reports about cats being very ferocious wildlife killers is what is setting people off to keep em indoors in the US?
New Research Suggests Outdoor Cats Kill More Wildlife Than Previously Thought

In most European countries I've been or lived you would a get very concerned look at a minimum for not letting your cat out if its want to. Except for the first few days in a new home ...

And I agree with them too. Just like a dog (or human) shouldn't be alone all the time, a cat should have the option to roam free. You're just making it unhappy and stressed out if you block that behavior.
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Old 08-16-2016, 02:58 PM   #34
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I think the recent reports about cats being very ferocious wildlife killers is what is setting people off to keep em indoors in the US?
Go back and re-read my post #27. Those are my reasons. Or why I've been "set off" since you seem to prefer to frame it in a bad light.
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Old 08-16-2016, 03:09 PM   #35
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We have lived for decades on the outer edge of an urban area. Our cats have always been indoor/outdoor cats, and have happily survived until their late teens with very few issues beyond the occasional catfight (easily treated at home) or skunk encounter (ditto, but not much fun for anyone).

We had one cat who would march right up to a deer, get nose to nose, and stare it down until the deer moved off. Another cat loved to play with young foxes.

They have thoroughly enjoyed their freedom to get outdoors, and we have been happy to allow it. They get their shots, of course, and vet visits as needed, but I tend to agree with pb4uski that indoor/outdoor can be a very good option if you're in the right kind of neighborhood.

I do understand and appreciate the reasoning put forward by those who advocate keeping them always indoors, but our experience shows that (surprise!) YMMV.
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Old 08-16-2016, 03:41 PM   #36
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With the increasing area where coyotes and coydogs (coyote dog hybrids) and coywolves live, cats face a more dangerous outside. Many reports say that a cat makes a nice lunch for a coyote or relative. For example my sister had an elderly poodle killed by a coyote a couple of years ago. If a coyote can kill a poodle a cat would be a breeze to kill. Since coyotes have figured out how to live with humans, they spread, every so often you see reports of coyotes in Manhattan for example.
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Old 08-16-2016, 04:04 PM   #37
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For one thing, birds can fly, and cats can't. There's a reason why we can hear the many birds on our heavily-treed property, but seldom see them except when they zip from tree to tree.

I love birds, but have never understood why some people get all riled up specifically about cats killing birds - considering the dangerous life that all wild birds lead, constantly in peril from other (predatory) birds, foxes and other predators, including even some humans.

The indoor/outdoor cats I have known, brought their catches home to display: field mice, moles, the occasional baby rabbit, only the very occasional bird. And I watched said cats gobble up all sorts of insects like they were candy.
+1
All of our indoor/outdoor cats we have had have lived past 15 years old and have hunted rodents and insects much, much more than birds.
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Old 08-16-2016, 04:06 PM   #38
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With the increasing area where coyotes and coydogs (coyote dog hybrids) and coywolves live, cats face a more dangerous outside. Many reports say that a cat makes a nice lunch for a coyote or relative. For example my sister had an elderly poodle killed by a coyote a couple of years ago. If a coyote can kill a poodle a cat would be a breeze to kill. Since coyotes have figured out how to live with humans, they spread, every so often you see reports of coyotes in Manhattan for example.
I bet the average poodle is way easier to catch for a coyote than the average cat. Once caught, I agree, it's probably even
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Old 08-16-2016, 06:30 PM   #39
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With the increasing area where coyotes and coydogs (coyote dog hybrids) and coywolves live, cats face a more dangerous outside. Many reports say that a cat makes a nice lunch for a coyote or relative. For example my sister had an elderly poodle killed by a coyote a couple of years ago. If a coyote can kill a poodle a cat would be a breeze to kill. Since coyotes have figured out how to live with humans, they spread, every so often you see reports of coyotes in Manhattan for example.
We had coyote pups under our backyard deck, very cute just like playful kittens. Naturally I looked all around before going on the back deck as I didn't want to walk into the parent coyotes.

Our neighbor reported seeing a coyote holding her tiny dog in it's mouth one morning before dropping it as the neighbor screamed.

We put out a radio to make the coyote's move away so the neighborhood could be peaceful.

We don't live in the country.
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Old 08-16-2016, 06:47 PM   #40
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I'm on the edge of suburbia with cattle a couple of blocks up the hill. Last week I cleaned the cat boxes and dumped the contents into the garbage can on the driveway in front of the house. Next morning there was a pile of coyote scat next to the garbage can. Guess the coyote was annoyed he followed the scent and there was no meal when he got to the source.

A couple of years ago, a resident on the last street at the top of the hill went out in her robe with her two small dogs to get the paper around six AM. A mountain lion strolled up the side street, crossed her street, and jumped over the fence into her neighbor's back yard.

I have lost a few cats over the almost 30 years I have lived here. Mostly outdoor semi-ferals that were born in the neighborhood and I fed and fixed. Two of mine lived outside before I got them. They would destroy the house if they could not get outside. The compromise is they go out when it is fully light and people are about and they come in before dark.
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