When the very first stray cat I encountered showed up on my patio, he had long fluffy golden fur. I began feeding him and eventually earned his trust. But unfortunately as the weeks wore on, he got bit by dogs and also some other cats. Over time, he got these huge abscesses because healing was slow and his beautiful fur began to grow dull.
Eventually I was able to gain his trust enough to get him inside a kitty carrier using some food really liked. When this happened, I quickly hauled him off to the vet’s office. We worked on his infections, and with the help of a few antibiotics, we were able to get him healthy again. We also got his vaccinations up to date – since we had other cats too – he needed to be safe for them.
Fortunately, we have a very kitty friendly screened in back porch with a cat door flap that leads into our house. We put “Rusty” on that porch to let him gradually acclimate to life with our family. Our existing two girl felines had to suck it up for a few weeks by not being able to go outside.
Gradually Our New Outdoor Kitty Adjusted to Indoor Life
Rusty quickly began to feel at home – we let him come inside for a few minutes a day for the first few days. And then we gradually extended his exposure time while inside our house. We gradually let him interact with our girl kitties – one of which was crazy about him from the start.
Within a few months, Rusty fit right into our feline family – and he became a very good pet. Sadly, because of a bout with cancer, he is no longer with us, but he lived a good life in our home.
His story was a happy one – for a kitty who had been homeless and lived outdoors. But unfortunately, not all of these stories are happy ones.
The Not-So-Great Outdoors
One of the great dangers for outdoor cats is feline AIDS, Feline AIDS is an extremely contagious disease that is incurable and there is no current vaccine for it either. It is only prevented by keeping kitties indoors. It is just one of many terrible diseases that outdoor cats could catch. In addition, those unattended cats that live outdoors also have to face dangers such as attacks from dogs or wildlife, and probably the worst predators of all of them – human beings .
There are also slimeballs who are referred to as “bunchers” that cruise through neighborhoods searching for friendly cats and dogs who are easily picked up and then sold to other slimeballs that will sell them to laboratories. And then there are juveniles or mean neighbors who are unbelievably cruel to cats and do hideous things to them. And then there are the common dangers such as getting hit by a car, getting accidentally poisoned or even maimed when they crawl into warm engine on cold days.
“But he wants to go outside.” “We live on a very quiet street.” “It’s cruel to keep her in.” These are common quotes and the words said by those who try to justify keeping their cats outside. These are the very same people who’d never ever consider letting their toddlers wander outside on a cold night. So why let your kitty do it?
The fact is that the concrete jungles of today are just way too dangerous for our trusting little animals. If we humans took the responsibility of domesticating animals then we should take the responsibility of caring for them too.