Monday, December 10, 2012

Indoor/Outdoor Cats

This is something that I battle with - should my cats be allowed outdoors?  My husband has always had cats.  His cats have always been allowed to come and go through a dog door.  I was late to Team Cat, getting my first one quite by mistake in my mid-20s.  None of my cats (we're talking a total of four over the last decade) have ever been allowed outside until we moved to Burbank.

Before we moved into our house here, it was never an issue.  We lived in an apartment on a very busy street and I had a feral colony that I took care of in the parking lot.  This meant it wasn’t safe for the girls because of the cars and the other cats.  But when we moved into the house, my husband wanted to give the girls some outdoor time.  I caved on one condition – the outdoor time had to be supervised.  I didn’t want them wandering out of the yard. 
We have coyotes that come down into the neighborhoods.  There are always one or two different MISSING CAT posters up in the area.  We’ve had coyotes in our yard as late as 10am and we see them as early as dusk when we walk Lily.  We also have a lot of “resident” dogs – dogs that people believe are guarding their house from their backyard even though they’re not allowed inside the actual house.  Most of them are extremely people friendly, but not fond of cats (or squirrels or anything that is entertaining to chase).  I didn’t want the cats to end up walking into the wrong yard. 

Pip has one eye, but that doesn’t mean that she won’t get into mischief.  When we’re out in the yards with the cats, we have to keep a close eye on her.  Most days she likes to eat grass and then find a nice spot to take a nap.  But there are days when she’ll decide it would be nice to climb a tree or sneak under the fence when we’re not looking.  We keep a close eye on all of them, but especially Pip.  Lily seems to enjoy the company and she rarely uses the yard anymore without them out there with her.  She’s also been known to open the screen door and let Pip into the yard with her. 
They enjoy their yard time and I believe their lives are richer because of it.  When we had the apartment, we spent more time actively playing with them to keep them enriched.  This house has large, deep set windows that they love to lay in to watch the birds and squirrels.  But they do enjoy a half hour in the yard every a few times a week.  I don’t know that I’ll ever be an owner who can let the cats out in the morning and not know where they are all day.  I think I’m too paranoid for that.  Our neighbor lets her cats come and go during the day and it works for them.  They’re teenage cats and they stay close.  I’m not that brave.

What about you – are your cats indoors, outdoors, or both? 

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