My brother, Eric, called the other day to relay the sad news that the family’s beloved cat, Nanners, hadn’t made it back home in several days, has not been found with an exhaustive search and posters, and so is presumed to have gone on to the next world.

Nanners, Nan, or Nano (her proper name given because she was so tiny) was a stray kitten the family found on the side of the road 4 years ago. She was matted, sickly, and on the verge of starvation. It took some prolongued TLC, but she recovered from her early rough start to become a healthy happy cat. She lived a great life with a great family who deeply loved her.

They knew the perils of letting Nanners be an outside cat and they made peace with the fact that outdoor cats typically have much shorter lifespans than indoor cats– on average less than 5 years vs upwards of 15+ years.

True cat fanatics insist that cats should only be kept as indoor pets and accomodated accordingly with cat jungle gyms, play time, etc. And they can make a case for their views.

I can make a decent argument for both sides of the aisle. But, truth be told, I land squarely in the middle.

As my regular readers know, I went to great efforts to build a fenced outdoor area so Finn could enjoy the great outdoors. (Those who argue that cats learn to be completely happy inside didn’t have Finn for a cat! He was NOT a happy indoor cat, though we made a great effort for a couple of years.) And Finn’s quality of life skyrocketed.

There is fencing specifically for cats that is very floppy at the top, so that it won’t hold their weight when they climb, and they’ll be unceremoniously gently dumped back down on the ground inside the fence.

Here’s a great solution that’s very inexpensive and works on pre-existing fencing.