My husband is an early riser, and part of his morning routine, at least in the summer, is to check our swimming pool. Now that we have "new dog" Ziva, he takes her along out. She loves to race back and forth in the fenced in pool area.
This morning, just before he went out, our one cat Allie jumped up on the window ledge looking out into the pool area, and "asked" if she could go out. So, he let her out. She found her way to a great hiding place, under some myrtle growing along the pool edge. Then he went out the side door, taking Ziva along into the pool area.
Ziva was checking things out, unaware that one of the cats was out there. Then, suddenly she spied (or more likely sniffed) Allie. And Ziva offered to play. Honest. That's all she wanted to do. Allie, however, took it as a threat, and that deep seated fight or flight choice kicked in. Allie chose flight. She bounded out of the myrtle, Ziva in the chase, and jumped onto a picnic table, and then over the fence which is surrounded with arbor vitae into the great unknown.
I awakened to hearing the excited barking of Ziva. Soon, my husband appeared in the bedroom, and I said--is everything OK? No, he said, Allie ran away.
I quickly got dressed and spent the next two hours walking all over our neighborhood. looking in nooks and crannies, under bushes and plaintively calling ALLIE, ALLIE. Or rather Allie, Allie. Trying to be quiet so as not to awaken neighbors. And also trying not to make anyone think I was trying to break in to their house.
When we couldn't find her, we decided she would have to find her own way home. She is NOT an outside cat; she does not roam around the neighborhood. So we really weren't sure where she might go, or if she would find her way home. I tried to think like a cat, and figure out where she might go. No success.
We left the gate to the pool slightly ajar (something we NEVER do for obvious reasons). After three hours, my husband looked out the window overlooking the pool, and there was Allie "asking" to be let back in.
So, the in or out question? We know people whose cats are roamers. And, yes, the cats do kill birds--that bothers me.
When we first got a cat, many years ago (and were ignorant of the issue of in vs. out), we started out leaving her roam outside. That is, until one escapade. She did not come back. I went out, looking, shaking her cat food box and calling her name. After a bit, I heard the faintest "meow". And there she was--our first cat, Missy--WAY UP in the neighbor's tree. Unable to come down. So my husband dutifully climb the tree, and coaxed her to jump on to him.
That was the end of any of our cats ever going outside. The exception are these brief outings in the fenced in yard, while we are outside. Our cats have NEVER caught a bird. The most any of our cats ever did was capture a chipmunk, that the one cat then BROUGHT in the house. The poor chipmunk was scared almost to death, running around squeaking while three cats watched, puzzled.
So, on the IN OR OUT debate, we are decidedly IN people. And that is even more reinforced after today's little episode. I suspect it will be awhile before Allie "asks" to go out again.