Do cats need to go outdoors?
As a cat behavior consultant, I will argue, unequivocally, no. Owned, socialized cats can lead very happy lives indoors. Cat owners often think that cats need to go outdoors to be happy, or they let their cats go outdoors in response to "bad behaviors." Kitty ennui and behavior problems can be prevented and eradicated if owners work to make the indoors an enriched, stimulating environment for cats. This means providing interactive playtime, food puzzles, scratching posts and cat condos, solo play toys and of course, human attention. Cats can also be given safe and controlled access to the outdoors via enclosures, cat strollers, or even through leash and harness training.
What kind of trouble are your cats getting up to?
In addition to killing songbirds, pet cats who go outdoors can cause problems for neighbors. Indoor-outdoor cats get in fights with neighbor's cats, enter other people's homes, defecate in gardens, and sometimes bite or scratch strangers. I've had clients whose indoor-only cats had started spraying or getting in fights with cats they lived with, due to outdoor cats tormenting them through windows! So while the problems your cat is causing may not be apparent to you, they may be very obvious to your neighbors.