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 Post subject: I need advice Please
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 1:51 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2007 10:59 pm
Posts: 123
Location: Nashville, TN
I'm sure U know, Zigmund is strictly indoors unless on harness.
We are moving to nine acres 1/2 mile from the not even busy road, Trees everywhere. He would love it. Should I let him out with the other cats when we get settled in there???


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 2:08 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2007 2:54 pm
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Location: Cumbria, UK
I'll be interested to hear what the views of folks on here in response to your question. I live in a rural part of the UK with woods and fields surrounding the house and a quiet road in front. I have three 18 week old kittens and I plan to let them out once they've been spayed. I don't like the idea of keeping them confined when the location is so perfect for them and probably as safe as it can be. Obviously I won't just open the door one day and let them out, I'll introduce them to the big wide world in a controlled way, but I do want them to enjoy their surroundings.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 2:10 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2007 4:15 am
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Location: USA
If I was in that situation, I would probably let him have the same freedom as the other cats have. But then, I grew up in Germany where some people consider it cruelty to keep a cat from roaming free. (My parents keep asking me: "When are you going to let your cats outside? Haven't they had enough time now to settle in?") Having said that, I keep my two cats strictly indoors, but that's because there is a busy road in front of the house and I've seen too much roadkill (including some in my own front yard just two weeks ago) and heard too many stories from neighbors who lost their beloved pets to traffic (although I can never understand why they let their dogs run loose in the first place). The other reason I keep them inside is that my yard borders an undeveloped lot on two sides which has been taken over by poison ivy. It's toxic to cats and I'm hypersensitive to it (as in getting a systemic reaction and having to get a steroid shot if I get in contact with it), so I'm paranoid they might get into it and contaminate the house.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 2:45 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2007 3:43 pm
Posts: 2445
Location: France (Dijon)
I've seen too much cats having accidents (yes I'm always seeing the bad side, but...) to let my cats roam around even when I'll have a house (right now I live in a flat on the 6th floor so it's kind of obvious :lol: ).

I guess that I'll try to make a kind of aviary/enclosure when I'll have a house so that they can run around in the garden without any risks ;).

Something like that :

Image

Image

This one was done by somebody who breeds Egyptian Mau in Switzerland... the cats can go outside anytime they want by the little "bridge".

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 5:05 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2007 2:47 pm
Posts: 3809
Location: UK
Hi

They will go to the road, no matter how far away it is, and how many great safe places there are all around, I would tend to agree with AnnC and tameeria, don't let them out unless in a safe controlled space, eg an enclosure or on a harness, especially when they are young. Older cats tend to be more sensible and home loving.

Young cats are not very traffic friendly, better safe than sorry as many posters on this forum have found out to their cost.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 5:12 pm 
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Senior Bengal

Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2007 12:10 pm
Posts: 70
Location: Warsaw, Poland
Unless you're willing to invest in cat-specific fencing, I wouldn't let them out without a harness either. There are a lot of options for it and it should be pretty easy to do it yourself, especially if you already have a good fence around your property (although 9 acres might be a lot to fence, you could fence just your curtilage).

While he's probably pretty safe from cars and accidents related to more 'urban' areas, the poor guy is still vulnerable to bad people. One of my friend's dogs was literally shot in the mouth with a shotgun (some redneck put a gun in the dog's mouth a blew out the right side of the dog's teeth, the dog is ok, but still). There's also the possibility that Zigmund (btw, nice name! - in Poland, he'd be a king or prince...) would be in contact with FeLV infected cats, so if you're planning on letting him outside; I'd get him vaccinated. Then, there are all the predators like foxes, dogs, etc., although, I've heard of Bengals intimidating German Shepherds (not something I'd want to risk).

Growing up, my family let our unneutered male German Shepherd run free (my dad, being either too masculine or too insecure in his own masculinity, refused to let the puppy get neutered and also wouldn't let him stay in the house). Rex, the Shepherd, did eventually get hit by a car - on our driveway, 5 meters from our front door. There's always a risk to our loved pets, no matter what we do to reduce it.

I'm really familiar with the whole old fashioned attitudes towards indoor pets and neutering, and the reality is that the people that espouse those ideas are usually just uninformed about the dangers of letting a pet go outside. Outdoor cats live about half as long as indoor ones, they are more prone to disease and other dangers. There certainly are workable solutions to letting a cat or dog go outside relatively unsupervised, but an indoor cat or dog can theoretically live just as happily in a house if exercise and entertainment are provided.

I personally wouldn't let my cat go free (because I'm a worry-wart and I'd be really stressed about where he is) but if I were moving to a rural area, I would look into setting up some sort of cat run or cat fence for your kitty to play in, since it is probably something he'd really enjoy.

I did a quick google of 'cat fencing' and there are a lot of options that look like they could be really easily copied with some chicken wire or a durable nylon mesh for a lot cheaper than the companies are charging. I've never seen it done, but it looks to be pretty intuitive.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 6:57 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2007 2:54 pm
Posts: 10875
Location: Cumbria, UK
ManofLetters wrote:
Outdoor cats live about half as long as indoor ones, they are more prone to disease and other dangers.


I'm interested in this assertion as I've seen this quoted somewhere else and wonder what the evidence is to support it. I'm sure it's skewed by including stats for cats kept in urban areas where the risk of road accidents is quite high. Admittedly I haven't got a huge number of cats to base things on, but I've had 4 in my lifetime and all lived to 17 or over and all were allowed free access to the outdoors. Maybe I've just been incredibly lucky but the fact that I live in a rural setting has probably got a lot to do with it. At the moment, I still plan to allow my 3 outside once they've been spayed.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 9:01 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Sun Jul 01, 2007 4:15 am
Posts: 1290
Location: USA
The two cats we had in Germany were both outdoors cats and lived 15+ years. One died of cancer, the other got an infection he never quite recovered from. That second cat would beat up German Shepards in the blink of an eye. I've seen dogs give the hedge at the back of the yard a wide berth. ;) They were both very street-smart, but we did have the occasional visit to the vet because of wounds inflicted through fighting with other cats.

As for the life expectancy of indoors versus outdoors cats, that question has also been asked at Snopes. I've found one paper through Google Scholar that looked at causes of death and life expectancies. Here's the summary from that article:
Quote:
The authors studied causes of death for 1,044 dogs and cats. The main causes of mortality are natural death (17.90 %, N = 187), poisoning (3.80 %, N = 40), road accidents (5.20 %, N = 54), euthanasia (7.60 %, N = 79), infectious diseases (8.10 %, N = 84), cancer (24.70 %, N = 258) and chronic organ diseases (28.60 %, N = 299). Animals dying a natural death had 15 years’ life expectancy. Poisoning, road accidents and infectious diseases (17 %, N = 178) are associated with a mean life expectancy of 5 years. Euthanasia by cessation of therapy, cancer and chronic organ diseases now constitute most of the mortality causes (57.20 %, N = 597) and are associated with a mean life expectancy of 12 years. Likewise, the survival rates are respectively, 83 % up to 5 years, 75 % up to 8 years, 50 % up to 11 years and 20 % up to 15 years. Thus, campaigns against straying of carnivorous pets and early vaccination programs have contributed to an extensive reduction in early mortality. Concurrently, and as with human beings, geriatric medicine, late-life support and euthanasia constitute new concerns for ethics and preventive medicine.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 9:36 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2007 2:47 pm
Posts: 3809
Location: UK
Hi ManofLetters,

I quite agree with all of your points except however:-

Quote:
While he's probably pretty safe from cars and accidents related to more 'urban' areas


I don't think from my experience that is correct. Maybe we were very unlucky, but when growing up I lived in a rural area with a quiet road at one side of our house. We had free ranging cats, and I can't think of many of them that didn't actually get killed or injured on the road at some point in their lives. Even the ones I thought had "disappeared" as a child, my parents later informed me that they too had been killed on the road, they thought it was kinder to tell me they had gone to live elsewhere.

Even where I live now, another quiet rural location, one of our neighbours cats got killed last week on an exceptionally quiet road.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 10:09 pm 
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Senior Bengal

Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2007 12:10 pm
Posts: 70
Location: Warsaw, Poland
junglerose wrote:
Hi ManofLetters,

I quite agree with all of your points except however:-

Quote:
While he's probably pretty safe from cars and accidents related to more 'urban' areas


I don't think from my experience that is correct. Maybe we were very unlucky, but when growing up I lived in a rural area with a quiet road at one side of our house. We had free ranging cats, and I can't think of many of them that didn't actually get killed or injured on the road at some point in their lives. Even the ones I thought had "disappeared" as a child, my parents later informed me that they too had been killed on the road, they thought it was kinder to tell me they had gone to live elsewhere.

Even where I live now, another quiet rural location, one of our neighbours cats got killed last week on an exceptionally quiet road.


You're probably right in a lot of respects about that. I figured that fewer cars = fewer accidents, but urban cats might be more car smart than rural ones. Either way - outdoor cats have significantly more dangerous life than indoor ones.

As for the life expectancy stastic, I just read it too. I've read it multiple places and heard it from lots of people, so I imagine it's probably somewhat true.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 10:12 pm 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2007 2:54 pm
Posts: 10875
Location: Cumbria, UK
tameeria wrote:
The two cats we had in Germany were both outdoors cats and lived 15+ years. One died of cancer, the other got an infection he never quite recovered from. That second cat would beat up German Shepards in the blink of an eye. I've seen dogs give the hedge at the back of the yard a wide berth. ;) They were both very street-smart, but we did have the occasional visit to the vet because of wounds inflicted through fighting with other cats.

As for the life expectancy of indoors versus outdoors cats, that question has also been asked at Snopes.


Thanks for the link to snopes.com. To be honest, it's only recently that I first came across someone who didn't let their cat out but they're very much the exception around here (and in their case it's done to protect the garden birds!). Where I live, it's just assumed that cats will be allowed some outdoor time. There do seem to be different traditions and attitudes in different countries and obviously there are different risks according to where you live. I also think you have to take into account the personality of the individual cat. It's an interesting debate and I don't think there's a right or wrong answer - whatever choices we make, I'm sure we've all got the welfare of our cats at heart.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 30, 2007 10:21 pm 
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Senior Bengal

Joined: Mon Aug 13, 2007 12:10 pm
Posts: 70
Location: Warsaw, Poland
Kind of unrelated, but browsing the Snopes forum I found this website which is really informative:

http://vet.osu.edu/indoorcat.htm

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 8:20 am 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2007 3:43 pm
Posts: 2445
Location: France (Dijon)
Just adding some experience : my in law family lives in a rural area, next to a road where the cars are certainly few - but certainly go very fast too (it wasn't a village so no speed limit, and even though there now is a limit, it isn't respected...).

My boyfriend has had something like 13 cats when he was small (the cats weren't allowed inside a lot, they were for catching mice and so on), and they almost all got run over by a car. Now there's still 2 cats but those were allowed inside when they were younger (they're at least 6 and 7 years old now as I knew them from the start, mother and son ;)) and have grown car wise I guess - but I'd also say that the son must have FIV and/or FeLV as he's not neutered and always fighting (even foxes we guess :lol: ).

And also, some of the old fashioned neighbours (that's to say, about all of them) seems (seemed ?) to think it fun to try to kill the cats by running over them with farm machines (while harvesting etc).

So yes, of course some cats may live to a long age - but how many will die young of a car accident or from FIV (no vaccine !) or FeLV ?
YES there are studies that have been made to assert that the life expectency of an outdoor cat (especially not neutered as he will put up some fights and may be infected by FIV) will be divided by 2...

Now this is your choice, but I know that 5 years ago I would't have dreamed of NOT letting my cats free (I never had any then and I wasn't a vet) - now I'm just thinking the contrary (which my mother doesn't understand but she'll have to live with it :lol: ).

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 10:56 am 
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Asian Leopard Cat

Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2007 2:47 pm
Posts: 3809
Location: UK
Hi

Quote:
And also, some of the old fashioned neighbours (that's to say, about all of them) seems (seemed ?) to think it fun to try to kill the cats by running over them with farm machines (while harvesting etc).


and they are car drivers too. Some of the country community and no doubt the town as well will actually swerve on to a grass verge/pavement to intentionally kill a rabbit/pheasant/cat.
It's fun, I am told. :roll: :(

I also know of some of the community who will shoot "stray" cats on sight if found near their property. That is also "fun". Bengals look like "wild" cats, they are not black and white and fluffy and obviously pet cats, so that may also be an issue. "Fair game", as one might say.

(I must emphasise some, as most of the folk who actually live round my neighbourhood seem very cat/animal friendly)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Aug 31, 2007 2:57 pm 
Sorry - I'm pretty much going to repeat what most others have said and that is not to let your Bengal outdoors. For all the reasons mentioned above AND I've also heard that Bengals have been killed for their skins as well. :(


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