Thinking about getting a cat, need advice!

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Thinking about getting a cat, need advice!

Post by georgeous » Fri May 30, 2014 10:46 pm


Me and my partner are thinking about getting a cat, but we were looking for some advice. Basically we're struggling to decide on getting a house cat or an outdoors cat.

We live in a housing estate, but the road isn't too busy. A few of our neighbours have cats as well which roam around the street. We have a fairly small back garden with a tree, surrounded by a 6 foot fence - a couple of the neighbours' cats come into the garden semi-regularly.

When thinking about an outdoor cat, we're concerned about the cat's safety. A few of my friends' cats have been run over or disappeared and never been found, and to me it seems a horrible thought to love your pet and know that every time it goes outside it might not come back.

On the other hand, it seems cruel to keep a cat indoors, even with toys I can imagine it would get bored in the house (we'd both be at work all day)

Help! Anyone have any advice for us?

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Re: Thinking about getting a cat, need advice!

Post by hgale » Sat May 31, 2014 6:31 am

Hi, welcome to CC and thank you for deciding to adopt the most loyal companion you will ever have!

As for the question - thats a tricky one. I have had 2 indoor cats (due to age, both now at Rainbow Bridge) for the last few years, although they used to be outdoor cats when younger. There are pros and cons to both arguments, but personally as our road has now got slightly busier (and my garden is now more a yard, so not really "cat friendly"), I would certainly be leaning towards an indoor cat if I were lucky enough to get another one.

I know some people on here have compromised by "cat proofing" their garden, not sure if your garden could be done like that, that way, your cat can go out and enjoy the great outdoors without getting onto the road or running away - maybe consider that?

Please keep us updated - we'd all love to hear how you get on!

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Re: Thinking about getting a cat, need advice!

Post by Walesgang » Sat May 31, 2014 7:15 am

Hello and welcome to CC

I have four cats. We have cat proofed our garden to give them safe outdoor space. It is fairly easy to do by putting angled brackets on top. Two of our cats are ex farm cats and are happy enough with this.

Are you planning on getting an older cat or kitten? You could start with your local rescue :D

Keep us posted. Look forward to hear what you decide to do

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Re: Thinking about getting a cat, need advice!

Post by Hazel » Sat May 31, 2014 8:16 am

If you can't cat proof your garden and are still worried, you could always look for an older cat who is less likely to go far (our Misty was 10 when we got her and she very rarely left the garden) or I think people keep deaf cats indoors.

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Re: Thinking about getting a cat, need advice!

Post by Lyn from Australia » Sat May 31, 2014 11:40 am

Lots of good ideas here. While in an ideal world we'd all be able to have our cats as indoor/outdoor pets, and I really do believe that having access to the outdoors is the best thing for them, sometimes circumstances dictate that they need to be indoors only, or restricted to your property by some means. That you are already concerned about the possibility of RTA before you even have a cat tells me that you are not confident about the area in which you live - even light traffic areas can pose a danger to your cat - it only takes one car and a distracted cat for injury or worse to be done. Also, you don't want to be continuously worried every time your cat leaves the yard. So, cat-proofing your yard, if possible, would be ideal for any cat, particularly a young energetic one. If you decided to adopt a cat with a disability such as blindness or deafness, then being restricted, even completely to inside the house, is really the only way to go.

Please keep in touch and let us know what you decide to do, and introduce us to your new cat or cats when the time comes.

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Re: Thinking about getting a cat, need advice!

Post by Hunnybunny » Sat May 31, 2014 2:35 pm

There is no issue with cats being indoor cats if that is the life they choose. Some cats are happy indoors but you can't guarantee that and as somebody who runs a rescue I will NEVER home a cat as indoor only. Even the deaf and blind cats we get are homed to homes with enclosed cat proofed gardens. Cats are animals that need a massive level of stimulation far surpassed by anything that a human can offer. Its cruel in my opinion to enforce any animal to live in such a restricted space and the people that choose that lifestyle for their cats are being selfish and simply don't understand what the outdoors brings to the quality of a cats life.

We are all terrified about letting our cats out but the long and short of it is that if you want a cat then you have to accept them for the creatures that they are and not enforce our own insecurities and human emotions on them. Cat proofing CAN be a good compromise but the garden has to be full of plants, shrubs and platforms that give as much stimulation and entertainment as possible and not just be a bare yard.

There are plenty of people on here with indoor cats that will say their cats are happy and fully stimulated but they are wrong. As somebody that sees 100's of cats a year I can tell you that there is nothing better than liberating a cat after years of imprisonment and the number of cats that have social, behavioural and general stress related issues is huge in indoor only cats. I hate the argument that indoor cats live longer as personally I'd prefer my cats reach 12-15 years and have a full life than hit their 20's bored and frustrated.

If you truly want an indoor puss go for a cat that has no choice due to some medical condition or handicap as there are plenty of them and they are desperate for loving homes.

I think if you are not swayed either way at the moment would be to get a cat with the attitude that it will make its own decision and hope upon hope that it really isn't bothered about going out but please don't take on a young healthy cat with the plan to keep it inside for the rest of its life.

Indoor cats are the equivalent of zoo animals in large cages so it really depends on your attitude to animal rights over owner rights. Us humans are our cats guardians not keepers, cats are free spirits not pets.

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Re: Thinking about getting a cat, need advice!

Post by Jacks » Sat May 31, 2014 4:18 pm

I agree that cats are free spirits and I think you need to be aware that when you get any cat, being sensitive to their needs is really important.

I have 4 who are 'free to leave' when one of us is at home, but not overnight. I don't leave them outside when I'm out at work as there would be no-one here to help if they got into trouble. They come in at dusk having enjoyed the fresh air as much as they like. They also have a cat flap which I 'block' when there's no-one at home and at night, but only 1 or 2 use it. The rest like the door left open and refuse to use the 'trademan's entrance'. :-D

They are all different - my baby (who gave me near heart failure a few times in the early days of outside access) likes to explore, hunt and roam and I've had to rescue her from up trees a few times when she was young. She will come and sit on the front window ledge when she's had enough and wants to go to 'bed' before the next exploration. The ex-feral kitten (2 now) spends all day in and out chasing insects in ours and 1 garden all round but never goes any further or anywhere near the road. She is self-limiting by choice, having been born at the bottom of the garden. The older female (only about 5) spends most of the time sleeping indoors but loves sitting on the lawn or the patio table, and occasionally perambulates the immediate neighbourhood to intimidate unwanted cats. She prefers to be inside with me or my husband and will never be out of the garden for more than 20 minutes. She was found as an emaciated stray, and I think she's never forgotten that.

The ex-feral Tom we have tamed spends 90% of his day INSIDE, sleeping on my husband's chair, the rug, the cat tree, sitting on the window ledge or playing with his toys. He even uses the litter tray; all four do by choice! For the other 10% he will be in the garden, helping Jessie chase insects, chasing off other males and at dusk on the neighbours garage roof, dreaming of being a lion. We thought he'd want to be out at night but he doesn't. After years of living rough as an un-neutered Tom, his snip and taming has changed him immeasurably. He wants to be with mum, and at night he wants fishy supper and then to snuggle up for the night in his dog basket. If I put him out he paws desperately at the patio doors to get back in. For him warmth and security is obviously the no 1 thing in his life. I've been sitting here marking and he's come out in the garden when I've hung out washing, then come back in to sit in Dad's chair. He's a home boy, by choice.

What I'm trying to say is that even in my limited experience all cats are different, and have different needs - and the most important thing is to find a way of providing the environment they will most enjoy, whilst bearing in mind their safety and wellbeing. If there are cars rat-running round our quiet little neighbourhood early evening I keep my baby in when she comes for her afternoon snack, until it's cleared. For me that's exercising my parental judgement, as I know she crosses the road to go into the school grounds opposite.

You will find many on this forum who live in busy areas who have successfully created an outside space for their cats, with plenty of stimulation and levels, so that they can enjoy the great outdoors. No all of them actually WANT to roam, however, but if you get one that does, keeping him or her contained all the time is, I would agree, intensely frustrating and at a certain level could be seen as cruel. IF they want to roam, that is. My baby does, and every day she comes home safe I welcome her with gratitude and rejoice that I will have another day with my free spirit. I couldn't have it any other way.

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Re: Thinking about getting a cat, need advice!

Post by mr_frisky » Sun Jun 01, 2014 6:31 pm

I have a cat-proofed garden (allegedly!), where they can safely play and wander, and also let them out beyond when it's light (if dark I have to go out with them and monitor them). They seem to accept the times they can go out beyond the garden, and seem happy with that.

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