Re: Cats - indoor outdoor or both in cohousing
From: John Beutler (
Date: Tue, 28 Apr 2020 12:21:30 -0700 (PDT)
Catios are reasonable solutions, all the others have significant problems, even 
trap neuter release. 

JAB (no longer living in a coho community partly due to free ranging cats)

Sent from my tricorder

> On Apr 28, 2020, at 2:52 PM, Susan Coberly <susandgeorge [at]> 
> wrote:
> Hi, Susan from LaQuerencia aka Fresno Cohousing (Fresno CA, USA), with a
> question and asking for comments / ideas about outdoor or indoor / outdoor
> cats in cohousing community.
> Background:
> About a year prior to move-in (move-in commenced Sept 2008) the
> then-members of the forming body adopted a Pet Policy.  The policy says
> owners are, among other things, responsible for cleaning up after their
> pets. We skated on the idea of indoor-only cats because though some of us
> had existing cats which were indoor-only, others had existing indoor /
> outdoor cats. There has been some turnover in our community since, and new
> cats have joined us, periodically, some of which cats are indoor / outdoor,
> and some of which are indoor-only.
> Physical space: 28 units on 2.8 net acres (on a somewhat busy street)
> somewhat densely built in multiplex and duplex buildings, but with a lot of
> green / common space. We have a range of unit sizes. We have 6 upstairs 2
> bd units with exclusive use common area balconies.  All of the rest of the
> 22 units are comprised of 16 townhouses ranging from 3 - 5 bd units, and 6
> downstairs 2 bd units. Each of these 22 units have an exclusive use common
> area back yard. Many of those back yards are fenced; some are not. But cats
> are not fazed by fences.  We have extensive common area buildings, and
> driveways, sidewalks, paths, landscaping, etc. including a community
> garden, pool / spa area, children's sandbox, etc.
> We bought a custom cover for the large children's sandbox soon after
> move-in for obvious reasons.
> Issue:
> There are concerns about outdoor / indoor-outdoor cats using the common
> areas, including common area landscaping and the garden, and including
> someone *else's* exclusive use common area back yards.  Specific voiced
> concerns are (1) Cat feces. The handling of cat feces is not safe for
> pregnant women; we don't want the children playing in cat deposits; we
> don't want cat deposits in the potato bed and other garden beds. Moreover,
> some [unidentifiable] cats seem to have targeted certain landscaped areas,
> e.g., a specific back or side yard area, to the chagrin of those tending
> those areas.  (2) Fighting. The cats occasionally fight, sometimes with
> outside cats as well as each other, sometimes necessitating vet expenses.
> (3) Hunting. Cats hunt, and while we like them hunting mice we dislike them
> hunting birds, and lizards. Some have suggested belling the cats as a way
> to discourage bird loss. We already have a provision in the Pet Policy
> banning feeding and watering feral animals.
> (Full disclosure: when I moved here in 2008 I had 2 indoor-only cats and
> then took in my mom's indoor-only cat.  I was adopted by and am now staff
> to an abandoned "feral" cat here in 2014, several years after the last of
> my indoor-only cats had died.  Once I could get him into a cage, I promptly
> had him neutered, and named him Tommy.  I make sure he is routinely
> vaccinated and taken care of by the vet [including injuries incurred in
> fights], I preventively treat for possible fleas & ticks monthly, and I
> feed him well [inside!] but so far he hasn't agreed to being indoor-only. I
> have tried. He likes being in when he likes being in...)
> Discussion has ensued about changing (or not) the Pet Policy following the
> raising of concerns about cat issues.  Some suggestions are (1)
> grandfathering in any existing cats which are indoor/outdoor and / or
> outdoor cats, but making all future cats indoor only, (2) suggesting that
> indoor/outdoor cats' staff place & maintain an additional, outside litter
> box in their exclusive use common area backyard (as well as the one in the
> house!), (3) suggesting a cat person might consider a "catio" in their
> exclusive use common area back yard (complete with a litter box and
> climbing apparatus, etc).
> There has been some concern expressed that "banning" future indoor/outdoor
> cats will discourage future residents from joining our community and / or
> that that rule would not be enforceable. Unenforceable rules are vexing and
> lead to irritation amongst the community members...
> Q1:  Does your community allow / ban outdoor or indoor / outdoor cats?
> Q2: Whether you do or do not, do you have any words of wisdom about any of
> these issues?
> Thanks in advance,
> Susan Coberly
> you may email me off list if you wish. Many folks may not be interested in
> this issue presently.
> I would be glad to make available a summary of the results.
> susandgeorge [at]
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