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If there is a topic among cat lovers that generates more controversy than the indoor vs. outdoor debate, I don’t know what it would be. It rivals political arguments in its ability to get people bent out of shape.

Here are the arguments I’ve heard for keeping cats indoors:

  • Cats are domesticated animals and shouldn’t be allowed to wander around outside on their own.
  • Cats kill song birds.
  • Cats are safer inside.
  • Cats like to use the neighbors’ gardens as litter boxes.

On the other side of the argument:

  • Why shouldn’t cats be able to get some fresh air like everyone else?
  • Cats kill mice, rats, and moles.
  • It’s in a cat’s nature for them to climb trees and chase bugs.
  • Letting them go outside decreases obesity.

Among the Beach Kitties, four of them — Alice, Bosley, Storm, and Fuzzy — go outside. Alice prefers to stay out most of the time. He has a little house on the deck and will stay out even in the coldest of weather. Bosley and Storm were not going to be confined to the house. We tried with both of them and they were having none of it. Fuzzy was outside on her own for a while — we’ll never know how long — and she insists on being let out during the night. Ignoring her is not an option.

Bosley
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Bosley

Our two other kitties, Shadow and George, have no particular interest in going outside. George once pushed the screen out of the window and spent a night outside, but he was anxious to get back in the house. Shadow, despite her crawl space adventures when she first came to live with us, has sneaked out a time or two, but she’s perfectly happy inside.

I frequently see postings on Facebook about lost cats. Often they are accompanied by a description that notes that Fluffy or Princess has never been outside but darted out the door for some reason and is lost. So, while it’s true that cats are safer inside, it’s also true that cats sometimes inadvertently end up outside anyway, and if it’s unfamiliar to them, they are even more at risk than a cat who spends a lot of time outside.

I’ve had cats my whole life. Growing up, our cats were always outside cats. My experience has been that cats will decide for themselves whether they want to be house cats or not.

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