Indoor/Outdoor Cats

If you do a web search on the topic of letting a cat outside vs. keeping him inside all of the time, you’ll find that this is an extremely controversial topic.  Most “authorities” recommend that you keep your cat inside both for his safety and that of the resident wildlife.  In these times, it’s more common that a cat is kept inside 24/7 rather than having access to the outdoors.  There are even special formula cat foods for indoor only cats.  These special formulas are of course rubbish and no more than clever marketing schemes on the part of pet food manufacturers.

Since moving to North Carolina, I’ve allowed my cats access to the outdoors.  Early on, when I had almost all purebred cats, I had a screened in run for them, but eventually they all made their way outside.  The first year I was here, four of my cats were killed by neighbor’s dogs.  When my original landlord died, all of the property around me went up for sale and people with more money than they should have bought it up and moved here with their packs of dogs and just let them run free.  At the time my cats were killed, they were in their screened in run, the dogs broke in and killed them.  That was an extremely tragic loss.  I raised hell with the neighbors and they have since fenced in their property and their dogs are contained, as they should be.

Even though I live a quarter of a mile from the road, I have lost two of my purebred cats to the road.  One, the first year I was here and the second a week after Fern was born.  I have also lost four cats to kidney failure (interestingly, all but one was vaccinated), one to a reaction to yellow jacket stings and one to liver failure after her spay.

On Wednesday, I thought I lost another of my purebred cats, Simon, to the road.  On my way to work I saw a dead cat on the road.  It was a large cat and had a classic tabby pattern.  I stopped and examined him and found it was a neutered male.  Even though it was a classic tabby and had the head structure of an American Shorthair, the pattern was more blotched and longer than Simon’s and it appeared very fat.  This could have been due to bloating, but it had not been dead too long.  I put the body off the road near the fence and called Wally and asked if he’d pick him up on his way home.  I was on my way to work at the time.  Calling out at WalMart because my cat had been hit by a car would not have been an acceptable excuse.  Let’s just say the day was miserable.

Every day I do a head count and mentally tally which cat I’ve seen and which I have not.  I did not see Simon that morning so I assumed that was him on the road.  If it was, it would have been a long way for him to have wandered, but his brother, Chester, was the one who was killed a week after Fern was born and he was a long way from home when he was hit.  When I found Chester, again, I was on my way to work, and it was sure it was him when I found him.  My neighbor was kind enough to go and pick up his body and bury him for me.

I asked Wally to pick up the body and take him into the woods.  I would have preferred that he be buried, but the ground is way too hard to dig a grave.  This morning I asked Wally where he took him and he said that he had stopped after work and there wasn’t a body there.  Where the cat was hit was very close to where my landlord lives so on my way to work I had called and asked if they were missing any of their cats (thinking that they may have had a tabby marked like mine), but all of their cats were accounted for.  Being a cat lover, I thought maybe landlady had gone out and retrieved the body.

This afternoon, however, Simon showed up, a bit thin, but none the worst for wear.  All of my cats are now accounted for which is a huge relief.

You may recall that Ted came home a month or so ago with a wound, obviously made by a canine, to his back.  He’s now fine.  A few years ago, Matrix, another purebred came home with a chunk of his foot missing.  He may have tangled with a snapping turtle.  He’s fine now too.

There are dangers for outdoor cats, but I still believe, at least where I live, the benefits of outside access outweigh the risks.  They are all neutered and spayed so for the most part, they stick pretty close to the house.  Unless I’m out in the front field working dogs, I’ve never seen them out in front of the house.  At this point in time, I couldn’t keep them in if I tried.

A quick update on Moon, the baby goat with the bent front legs.  She continues to improve.  I switched her remedy to Pulsatilla, a remedy that her mother has done well on and is one of the remedies indicated for contracted tendons.  It didn’t do much, if anything.  This morning I gave her Ruta, but after I gave the remedy, I looked at the remedy picture for Causticum and realized I that was what I should have given her as not only is it strongly indicated for contracted tendons but also for paralysis of the vocal organs, something I had forgotten about until I talked to Wally about the dehorning process which he did yesterday.  I asked how it went and he told me that Sunny (her sister) screamed and carried on (which they usually do), but he said that Moon couldn’t scream.  He’s right, she cannot vocalize much.  She’s been that way since she was born.  So, tomorrow I’ll go ahead and give her Causticum.  I could do it now, but I’ll leave her on Ruta for a day and see if anything changes.

Wally’s daughter and friends came out to see the sheep and other animals this afternoon.  I took Gel down to bring them up, but when we got up here, I took Fern out to help her keep the sheep close to us.  Oh my was Fern every keen.  I eventually asked Gel to lie down and let Fern do the work.  She was in her glory.  After we put the sheep up, I brought both dogs down to the agility field.  Interesting, Mr. Gel was popping out at the tenth weave pole.  Beast!  I showed them Fern’s lightening fast dog walk.  It was way too hot to be running around an agility field.

It looks like I won’t be going to the contact seminar on Saturday.  There is a holistic goat rearing seminar being held out Asheville way Saturday AM.  I had forgotten about this seminar and I would really like to go.  I’d like to get away from chemically worming my goats.  When we wormed the sheep this spring, we only wormed those who appeared anemic.  Many of them were perfectly fine so we didn’t worm them.  So far, we’ve had no problems with Barber Pole Worms.  Last year we had a lot of trouble with Barber Pole Worms.  I think all the pasture rotation that we do with the sheep has made a huge difference.  They get moved every few days and there is enough acreage out there so that we don’t have to reuse an area for at least a month.

Until later …

One Reply to “Indoor/Outdoor Cats”

  1. My cats are so, so, so much happier now that they are allowed outside. I really struggled with the decision to let my purebred out as he has shown himself to not be very good at taking care of himself in the past (he’s gone missing 4 times for nearly a week each time, been in fights with local dogs, stuck up trees, hit by a car etc.) but he seems to have figured things out and is now even a good hunter! I’d be heart broken if I lost him, but I know he’s happier going out than living inside, so it’s a risk I take knowing it’s best for him.

    So glad that Simon came back! What a relief.

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