Callie is an indoor only cat. This means that she lives indoors all of the time. The only time she goes outside is with my supervision for short amounts of time and we do not wander more than 10-20 feet from the house, usually. Of course, there have been a small number of exceptions when she escaped and spent a few hours outside.
Callie is my first indoor only cat, and I couldn't be more happy and relieved about this. When I was a child and teenager, our cats were allowed to go outside as they pleased. I cannot remember having a cat that lived for more than three years back then. Sadly, we had a lot of cats probably because they did not have long life spans.
As a young adult, a cat showed up at my doorstep one day. I took her inside and she was sweet and friendly. I told her she could live with me if she wanted, and so she did. We named her Kitty Kitty Meow Meow. This cat had wandered to us from an unknown past, and so she was not easily kept indoors. This was also before I was well-versed in animal care. She came and went as she pleased, and the time she spent indoors versus the time she spent outdoors seemed to have a seasonal pattern.
|Kitty Kitty Meow Meow|
Kitty Kitty Meow Meow lived a happy life being allowed to explore the outdoors and passed away at the age of approximately 10 years old from breast cancer. I can't be sure exactly how old she was, but this was the only indoor/outdoor cat I have ever had that lived a somewhat decent lifespan.
I want to clarify that I do not think poorly of responsible cat owners who allow their cats to go outside sometimes. Everyone's situation is different and I am in no position to judge anyone's decision on whether or not their cat is allowed to go outdoors. I've been there, I get it.
However, I do want to share my experience in transitioning from a lifetime of indoor/outdoor cats to one who is an exclusively indoor only cat, which has been a sort of "dream" of mine for a very long time.
- I'm not worried. Some of my past cats I can remember would sometimes stay gone for a day, a few days, or even a week at a time. This caused me extreme worry and I hated it. What's worse is that some of them would come back with injuries or not at all. Because I now have an indoor only cat, I don't worry about her or wonder when she's coming back.
- Less risk of injury. No one wants their pet to get hurt or sick. As a vet tech, we used to see many cats with cat bite abscesses. They were indoor/outdoor cats who had been fighting with other cats in the neighborhood. Less injuries also means less vet bills. Outdoor cats are also at risk to a number of other injuries and illnesses such as FIV, Feline Leukemia, attacks from wild animals, being hit by a car, and just more prone to accidents in general.
- Longer life. Cats who live indoors can live out a full lifespan of 17+ years. According to this, outdoor cats typically have a lifespan of only 2 to 5 years. I am glad that I'll be able to enjoy more time with my indoor cat.
Many might argue that cats do not get to enjoy the wonderful world around them when they are kept indoors all the time. This may be true, but there are ways to get around this without putting your cat in harm's way.
I like to go outside with Callie for a few minutes every day. She rolls around in the dirt for five minutes and then runs back up to the house to go inside. I also have a harness for her in case I feel like going a little further from the house, because we have a big yard. Some cats love to travel and will wear harnesses. They go everywhere with their humans.
There are also amazing outdoor "catios" now being built for cats like the one in the video below. These fancy catios allow indoor cats the chance to go outside, but in a safe way. I'm not sure building a catio is something that I'm personally able to do, but I would like to at least try an outdoor tent like this one with Callie one day.
I love having this peace of mind with Callie. It's like a giant sigh of relief, and I couldn't be more happy about it.
Do you have an indoor only cat? Does your cat go outside? Share your thoughts with us in the comments!
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