I was raised with the typical alley cat. Outside at night when everyone went to bed. They had to use the great outdoors for their litter box. I am sure it wasn’t very easy for them when the ground was frozen or with a foot or so of snow. But that was the way it was. They were also not allowed on the furniture, unless they were on someone’s lap.
The only exception in this way of thinking was when you actually paid money for a cat. My sister in-law had a Siamese, that cat was not allowed outside. It had a litter box and was allowed on the furniture. In fact the cat pretty much went wherever it felt like, when no one was home. Evidence was left at the crime scene. A roast thawing on the counter was fair game and the attack was evident with the lacerated wrappings.
When we were finally able to acquire our first cat as a family, our daughter was three years old. Got a free white kitten. We did get a litter box for it. But the cat was free. Something about that word free, destines the fate to eventually mean, free to roam. As a kitten, he was just too little to be allowed to be on his own, but he was introduced to outside. We would tether him outside, so he could run and play.
At last he was considered old enough to be “free”. Even with a big move to the city, when he was 2, somehow he managed to survive for 13 years. Looking back I regret having ever let him have that freedom. If he was never given it, he would never have missed it and probably would have lived a lot longer.
The problems I encountered over the years with him are as follows. He disappeared for days at a time, his third time out was his last, as a whole male. After that he stuck close to home and other than a couple of times, he was locked in the garage at night. There were cat fights, which required visits to the vet, not to mention bouts with fleas. He used to raid garbage cans, NO, he was not hungry! I am sure that it was that alley cat blood in him. Things like that contributed to his ill health around the age of 13. He was a mess, even though on medicine, he was deteriorating and he was miserable. So, in his best interest, so as not for him to suffer any longer, we had him put down.
With his hardy stock, if he had been an indoor only cat, I am sure he would have been with us a lot longer.
All the other cats we have shared our walls with have been indoor only cats. When I was a stay at home mom, I had the time to pamper the pets. One of those things was to introduce them to the outdoors by being tethered outside. About the first ten minutes they always seemed to enjoy. I soon quit doing that for them. I had put a cardboard box on the grass sideways so they could go in it, if they wanted to. Well they pretty much stayed in it. It was a nice day on one particular occasion, there was a little breeze and Rascal was standing out there meowing. The wind was blowing in her ears and she was not at all happy about the situation. So back in the house they all went. On another outing, Rascal again meowing. As soon as I let her in she made a mad dash to the litter box. Soon it was apparent they were not at all happy with the ground and all its smells.
There was that unauthorized escape one night. We had come home really late and went straight to bed. About six hours later I had got up and not even discovered I had one less cat in the house. I was sitting in the living room and I heard a cat meowing and frantically banging on the front door. I looked out and there was Rascal (notice how that name keeps popping up)! I opened the door and she came flying past me, again headed to the litter box. At least it was nice to know those indoor cats need to come home to use the facilities. I think her night time experience was not what she had anticipated, as she never tried that again.
There was a time we had our house broke into. Gate and back door were wide open. My first thought was my cats. Rascal and Andy were freaked out inside the house. We were missing Freckles, but she didn’t go far. She was all crunched down in the backyard. I am sure she left the first chance she could when they entered the house.
At the time I had my outdoor cat we also had acquired three indoor cats, over his last three years with us. With him bringing home fleas, they also ended up getting fleas. It was a never ending battle. Once I had all indoor cats, I have had a few bouts with fleas. I think it is pretty hard to prevent it, when neighbor cats hang around your house or if someone visits you that has a pet with fleas. But it is usually short lived and soon thinks are back to normal. No worries about any of them in fights or being hit by a car. It is nice to always go home and they are safe in the house.