We have two cats. They are as cats should be, independent. They were both "indoor" cats. Until we moved to South Africa. They became indoor/outdoor cats sorta by default.
Let me explain. We have no screens on our windows and the house here opens up to two courtyards. South Africa is the ultimate in indoor/outdoor living almost all year round. I don't think we've had a day where most or all of the windows weren't open.
Now, to you mid-westerners I can imagine and understand the confused, nay shocked looks on your faces as I type this. This is unheard of at home. Due to the flies and mosquitoes and other flying nasties, you would never be without screens on your windows. That is, if you dare to open them in lieu of the AC at all. The open window season is incredibly short in KC, I know. We usually jump right from popsicle to fried egg in a matter of days come June. So you can imagine my doubt when I was told it was pretty much standard procedure to leave the house open all the time to catch the breeze, since they don't have central air here. This posed a problem, as you can imagine, with two house cats who have no front claws, nor street smarts.
After trying unsuccessfully to limit their outside exposure we just let it go. We decided to let them come and go as they pleased, with the hope they wouldn't get lost or attacked by something larger. (Like I said they had no skillz, except for what little instinct they carried) The garden has a wall all the way around it and plenty of cover for their stalking. And lo and behold, they love it. They roam and rest, hide and hunt to their hearts content. With plenty of naps in between. Who knew our pampered cats had that need in them?
I also didn't know that they still have a pretty good prey drive. It was funny to see Stella, who came to us from a vet as a stray try to pounce on a hadeda.
These birds are bigger than most house cats and certainly bigger than Stella who is very slight. She failed and had to rethink her tactics.
Lola has proved to be the better hunter. She is always catching moths and bugs, and the little lizards we have everywhere around here. They visit us in the house occasionally and Lola is quick to spot and dispose of them.
When my parents were visiting Lola even caught and presented a couple of lizards as gifts to my mom. On their bed. They were still mostly alive and after thanking Lola profusely for her bravery and cunning we took them outside, where they hopefully survived. Lola looked a little disappointed that her hard earned prize was being released, but she was clearly satisfied with herself.
She has caught lizards before (which I think is pretty amazing since, as I mentioned before, she doesn't have any front claws (probably why they were still alive)), and I've released them back outside, but this presentation was different in that she meowed and fussed like I've never heard before. She is a pretty vocal cat in general. She'll talk to you about food, and while you are in the bathroom she'll have a conversation, but she doesn't usually meow for much else. So the first time she came in with the prize I didn't know why she was carrying on so loudly, come to find out she was telling us about her "kill". The second time I heard her meowing loudly about something, I looked at Chris and said she must have caught another one, and sure enough, she had. She hasn't done it since my parents left for home. I think that they could count themselves special that she wanted to give them something.
I think they actually even spend more time in our company now in the evenings. And they are far less restless in the house now that they can burn that energy outside.