Monday, June 17, 2013

Indoor Cats in an Outdoor World

I have had cats my whole life. When I was a child, my heart was frequently broken when they were run over or simply disappeared. When I moved to New York as a young woman I immediately got two cats and kept them indoors for their entire lives, which in the case of one cat was 20 years. Here in Tucson, I likewise keep our four eight-year-old cats inside. Anyone living in the foothills or elsewhere out in the desert risks losing their outdoor pets not only to cars and disease, but to coyotes or bobcats.

                                                             In order, Gwinny, Sammy, Google, and Tasha

For those of us who love all of nature, there is an even better reason to keep your cats inside. Domestic cats, both those with homes and feral, are literally death on wildlife. Smithsonian scientists estimate that they “kill a median of 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion mammals a year, most of them native mammals like shrews, chipmunks and voles rather than introduced pests like the Norway rat.”

It is not that difficult to keep cats indoors. If you start when they are kittens, life inside will be natural to them. We provide two litter boxes, numerous scratching posts, and two cat trees for our “children.” The cats also have plenty of toys, which they play with every day, and we brush them often.

All four cats love to look outside through the glass doors and windows. They often sit with me in my office when I gaze out at my bird garden, enjoying the sights at least as much as I do. They can often be found stalking lizards and birds that are safely outside the house.

Are we too solicitous of our cats? Perhaps. But just as we are devoted to the safety of the beautiful wild creatures that surround us, nothing is too good for Tasha, Sammy, Gwinny and Google. Proof:  When we converted a sliding glass door to a wall with a window, we also installed a small “cat window” at the bottom of the wall. The cats love it.

The cat window and what's on the other side

Finally, Day 17 of the Blogathon is supposed to include a video. Below is a performance by our youngest indoor cat, Google, rolling over on command.


  1. I like the floor-level window! Our chihuahua could use one of those. She's too short to jump on the couch and look outside.

    1. It was apparently easy to put it in, but we were building the wall from scratch. The interior of it has since been decoratively tiled.

  2. Anonymous9:41 AM

    Keep working ,splendid job!