I grew up with indoor/outdoor cats. They lived in our house and slept on our beds but were allowed free access to the outdoors. The cats were happy, but it wasn’t always easy for us. I was heartbroken when one kitten, Tigger, went out to play and never came back. The rest made it to adulthood, but not without injury. One particularly unlucky cat, Putters, eventually used up all nine of his lives (several in catfights, one on the engine block of my father’s truck). I even recall rescuing our ginger cat, Nevil, from roaming neighborhood dogs on more than one occasion.
Now that I have cats of my own, they live indoors only. Sure, the outdoors can be fun. I see the neighbors’ cats chasing birds, crunching bugs and rolling in the grass. However, in my mind at least, the dangers of outdoor access far outweigh the benefits. Cars, dogs, parasites and infectious diseases lurk on the other side of the windowpane while my girls observe all from the safety of their indoor perches. Whereas the estimated average life span of an outdoor cat is two years, my cats should easily live sixteen years or longer.
For those of you who have indoor kitties but wish to allow them outdoor access, I recently learned of an innovative product. More practical than trying to walk your cats on leashes, outdoor cat enclosure systems from CatsonDeck.com allow cats and kittens to get in touch with nature from the safety of your balcony, deck, porch or patio. Each system is constructed with square panels of wire mesh connected by clamps. The newest enclosure product, the Tower of Meows, features 25 feet of play area within only 7.5 feet of floor space. Tunnel attachments are available to connect the enclosure to a pet door, allowing your cats to enter and exit at will.
My girls will most likely not receive a Tower of Meows for Christmas because I cannot seem to keep the neighbors’ cats off my patio. However, if I lived in a single family home rather than a condominium, I’d be placing my order right now.
Are your cats indoor/outdoor cat or strictly indoor? Share with us in the comments!