This morning, a neighbor’s cat attacked and maimed a squirrel. All I have is circumstantial evidence, but I apparently interrupted the mayhem while walking my dog.
I heard the squirrel scream in agony and saw the cat dash to a safe post as I approached. Moments later I saw a squirrel scampering up a tree, dragging a bloody stump where his leg should have been.
This beautiful, but unpopular “indoor-outdoor cat” moved into the neighborhood last year and quickly turned a peaceful, tree-lined street that was full of happy birds into his hunting ground.
Well-fed, domesticated cats do not hunt for food. They hunt for sport. Enabled by irresponsible human accomplices, masquerading as guardians, outdoor cats kill millions of wildlife annually. Outdoor cats cause unnecessary suffering and push even the most ardent animal lovers to murderous limits.
Most jurisdictions are without laws to govern cats. Big mistake. Yet, efforts to impose licensing and control of cats ends up in a hissing match between opposing factions. Consequentially, neighbors are essentially helpless to keep roaming cats away from their birds and flowers.
This cat uses whatever yard he pleases as a litter box and has drastically reduced the bird population. Some were killed; more simply have moved on.
The lyrical backdrop of birdsongs has been muted. Wild baby bunnies have disappeared. My neighbors, especially those with allergies or aversions to cats, must run to close their garage doors before the curious hoodlum comes in uninvited.
Roaming cats plague many neighborhoods. The NY Times reported this week that some enlightened, resourceful New Yorkers are building “catios” where their cats can safely enjoy the great outdoors.
A free-roaming dog is a criminal. Why not a free-roaming cat? Only an irresponsible person would expose a creature they profess to love to the dangers of roaming free in the manner of an outdoor cat. According to The Humane Society of the United States, the average lifespan for an outdoor cat is 3 years. Many indoor cats live close to 20 years.
People project some primal need they have to be free onto their cats with tragic consequences. Outdoor cats get into fights; get killed by cars; get trapped and sent to shelters; are poisoned—accidentally by eating things like contaminated mice or antifreeze—or on purpose; or are killed by wildlife larger than they. You name it. It can happen to an outdoor cat.
We domesticated cats. We have an obligation to keep them safe. A cat can be properly entertained indoors. It is an easy, lazy, foolish thing to let a cat outside to entertain itself, causing, getting into, and becoming the victim of trouble.
In 1997, American Bird Conservancy (ABC) launched the Cats Indoors! Campaign for Safer Birds and Cat to educate cat owners and the public that cats and people benefit when cats remain indoors.
This is kitten season, another consequence of roaming cats. The shelters are filled to the brim with kittens. If you can make a lifetime commitment to keeping the kitten safe inside, please adopt. Don’t forget to spay and neuter.
More information: Learn here how to convince your community to keep cats indoors.
Learn how to make your outdoor cat happy inside.
Support cats indoors.
Read “How to Tap Your Cat’s Smarts” by veterinarian Nicholas H. Dodman. Scroll to page 124 of this article.