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  1. #1
    bisous is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Default Your Thoughts on an Outdoor Cat?

    Our beautiful, wonderful 10yo cat Rascal passed away from a heart attack in February (he had some heart issues we've known about for some time!) He was honestly the best cat I've ever known. He loved everyone, was so sweet to the kids, the neighbors, even the MAILMAN loved him. He was the best. We "inherited" him from my brother who has two young kids and lives in an apartment. Rascal had always lived outside which was a change for me. I had cats as a kid growing up but they were mainly inside cats. DH is allergic to cats so we offered to take Rascal, knowing we needed to keep him outside both for DHs sake and also to make Rascal happy. Our kids adored him but also he kept our area free from rats. And now the rats have come back.

    DH wants another cat. Another OUTDOOR cat. He said he basically wants an "employee". We have LOTS of wild animals around us. Everything from large mammals to birds to lizards and snakes. We love it. We DON'T want to use bait boxes. Rodents have proliferated in this area. Even our neighbors are asking us if we'll get another cat. Rascal didn't kill too many rats but he must have worked as a deterrent as everyone around us is seeing the rats emboldened.

    I am very conflicted about this. I consented to Rascal living outside because that was all he had ever known. I hated that he wasn't allowed in the house. Although I completely understand why DH doesn't want to have terrible allergies, I also wanted him to have all that love and coziness inside!

    What do you guys think about an "outside" cat? Our friend actually owns a farm and the farm cat (Maine Coon) had kittens. DH wants to raise the kitten here in our yard! Our yard is wild. The rats are huge so there is THAT already. But we also have had bobcats and coyotes spotted in our backyard, not to mention red tailed hawks and large owls that prowl the ravine behind our place. I also don't want to have to not allow the cat into the house.

    DH will not budge on having the cat in the house. It may not come in the house! I thought maybe we could retrofit our dusty, stuffed garage to be my office? Then I can work in the garage and "be" with the cat for several hours a day. But my garage is not insulated and it is very dusty and uncomfortable. Our climate is super mild though. Maybe I could make it work?

    What would you think of an outdoor cat that has a cozy "office" type of dwelling but mostly lives outside in such a "rough" neighborhood? Is this inhumane? (I mean, I'm asking this while acknowledging that the cat's main job will be to rid of us other animals--there's no small irony in this!)

    I think a rescue cat would be better suited than a kitten. But even then I'm not sure I feel ok about it. And even if I do on a cognitive level I'm not sure my heart can take it? Every day I feel like I should have spent more time with my amazing cat Rascal and I still miss him every day.

    Would love all your thoughts.

  2. #2
    MSWR0319 is offline Diamond level (5000+ posts)
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    I think outdoor cats are fine. People use them all the time around here to take care of rodents in their barns or on their property.

    My grandma was a cat lover, and I never saw her cats being "lovey" unless they wanted to so I don't really feel like they'd be missing out on "love" if they were outside. They could come rub on you or get petted when you were outside and they wanted attention. But then again, I don't like cats because they never seem lovey to me like dogs do. And they just seem more temperamental than dogs, so my perspective may not be useful. You are clearly a cat lover, so if it's hard for you to see them outside, you may not want to get one. DS has a really bad cat allergy so even the cat being in the garage would mean that DS would never be able to go in the garage. I'm not sure how severe your DH's allergies are or if he would ever need to go in the garage.

    Where would you put the stuff that's in the garage? Can you just play with the cat outside and snuggle with it on a chair in the back yard? I wouldn't go out of my way to redo a garage just so I could have a pet in there because I don't want him outside when his job is to be outside. But I also wouldn't judge you if that's what you wanted to do. I think it's fine, and I also think it's fine for the cat to be just an outdoor cat as long as he has food, water, and shelter which I know you would give him. Could the kitten stay at the farm a little longer until he's bigger than the rodents?

  3. #3
    SnuggleBuggles is offline Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    No. I get the appeal of a barn cat but they just aren't good for the ecosystem nor the health of the kitty. Your description of larger predators to the cat definitely would want me to keep my cat safe inside too.
    https://blogs.umass.edu/natsci397a-e...cats-outdoors/

    We have no cat at the moment but I would like another one eventually. Dh does not. I figured maybe we'd go in life phases. No cat for 13 years, cat for the next 10-20 years (depending on lifespan), then no cat again...each of us gets what we want.

  4. #4
    niccig is offline Clean Sweep forum moderator
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    Default Your Thoughts on an Outdoor Cat?

    Most recuses won’t agree to a cat being an outdoor car due to damage the cat can cause to wildlife or the cat being eaten by a coyote. We keep our cat inside as would hate to lose her to a coyote. We often hear coyotes howling and know they’ve gotten someone’s cat.


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    Last edited by niccig; 05-04-2021 at 10:24 PM.

  5. #5
    Kestrel is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    Kittens as outdoor cats are generally a bad idea. Many, many die before they learn enough to avoid predators and cars.

    However, shelters often have "barn cat" programs where they capture and fix feral cats and then adopt them out. Keep in mind that these are not pet cats and have very little human contact. They may in time become more friendly, but no promises; and if your neighbors are close they may simply decide to live at another house.

    I'm a firm believer in barn cats being fixed - there's no need for barn cats to have litters while there are so many cats that need homes.

  6. #6
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    AnnieW625 is offline Black Diamond level (25,000+ posts)
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    My parents had an outside Maine Coon cat for many years but they lived in the suburbs with no wild animals other than a regular squirrel, small yard snakes, and maybe a few turkeys that roam the area. The cat usually went out in the morning and came in as needed through out the day and then sometimes would stay out at night as well. They now have a kitten and I don’t know if it has ever been outdoors, but they will probably introduce her to outside soon but she is about 6 months.

    My sister’s cat is outdoors as well but he has a small yard and comes in and out through out the day.

    We do not have a cat here because we could only have an outside cat due to severe cat allergies (I have to take a Benedryl prior to visiting someone with a cat, and the fact that litter boxes gross me out....I know....sorry) and there are coyotes and skunks here so there is no way I would want an outdoor only cat.

    I wouldn’t get a cat in your situation. An outdoor cat with a fenced yard that can occasionally fend for itself outside the yard is different than what you describe.

    Our small terrier mix dog likes to terrorize the gophers and rats in our backyard. He would have a field day in the front but he isn’t allowed out front by himself.


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    WOHM to two wonderful little girls born in April
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  7. #7
    Tenasparkl is offline Sapphire level (2000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by niccig View Post
    Most recuses won’t agree to a cat being an outdoor car due to damage the cat can cause to wildlife or the cat being eaten by a coyote. We keep our cat inside as would hate to lose her to a coyote. We often hear coyotes howling and know they’ve gotten someone’s cat.
    This. There are way too many coyotes in our area to consider an outdoor cat. In my old neighborhood (in West Hollywood - not even that close to the hills) I saw a cat that had been attacked overnight by a coyote on someone's front lawn. I've never seen anything like it - so awful.

  8. #8
    bisous is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    I know you guys. Sigh. With Rascal, the only reason I felt ok about him being outside is that he'd ALWAYS lived out there and he was really tough and street smart. I don't know how you would be able to tell that from visiting with a cat at the shelter. We have a no kill shelter here that is very good. I think they would allow us to have an outdoor cat but I'm still not sure if that would be the right thing for the cat even if they allowed it!

    The other issue is wildlife. Rascal took a few rats, some bunnies and SO many lizards. And unfortunately, some birds. We love our birds. But we've lost birds with our rat traps too. And if we get a bait box, I fear that might be worse than a cat! So hard to know the right thing to do.

  9. #9
    Aishe is offline Platinum level (1000+ posts)
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    I'd get one of the feral "barn cats." I'm pretty sure the Pasadena Humane Society has them. It's never going to be suited for a life indoors so I don't think you have to feel guilty about keeping it outside. We did lose a cat to a coyote (the first and last time she got out of the house), so it's definitely a possibility. Our other cat had some kind of arrangement with the coyotes because he would just casually lie around the yard with coyotes right there in front of him!

  10. #10
    bisous is offline Red Diamond level (10,000+ posts)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aishe View Post
    I'd get one of the feral "barn cats." I'm pretty sure the Pasadena Humane Society has them. It's never going to be suited for a life indoors so I don't think you have to feel guilty about keeping it outside. We did lose a cat to a coyote (the first and last time she got out of the house), so it's definitely a possibility. Our other cat had some kind of arrangement with the coyotes because he would just casually lie around the yard with coyotes right there in front of him!
    Wow. I haven't heard of this. It would probably work for DH so I'll definitely pass on the tip. In some ways, planning never to have a relationship with the cat might be better for my heart.

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