Should Cats Be Allowed Outdoors?

I was reading an article in DVM Magazine (yes, I have a very exciting life) about cats with extreme behavioral issues and one of the suggested “remedies” was to let the cat be an outdoor cat.  Not an indoor-outdoor cat, but strictly an outdoor cat.  The argument was that being an outdoor cat was better than being a euthanized cat.  While I think the jump from a behavioral problem to banning a cat from the house is a big leap (though one I would consider for our kids), I was surprised by the wide range of responses to the article by veterinarians.

There were some veterinarians who thought that a cat should never be allowed outside — that the risks of the outdoors were simply too great to the cat and that once outdoors cats were too detrimental to the environment and too disturbing to neighbors.  At the other end of the spectrum were veterinarians who claim that indoor/outdoor cats are healthier and less likely to engage in the bad behavior that started this discussion.

What do you think?  Should we keep our house cats in the house or let them out and about?  When considering your cat’s health and safety, how do you balance the risks and rewards to you and to your cat?

Thanks for reading!