On the nature of house cats

As anyone who knows me, or who reads this blog regularly, already knows, animal welfare is a big concern of mine. I saw a post on one of the LJ communities that I’m a member of that made me both angry and sad. A person posted pictures of their kitten, deceased now, which is sad in and of itself. But then I read how the kitten died. It had been hit by a car. And this person then said that this was the second kitten in a short time period they’d lost, again to being hit by a car. And the comments were littered with sympathetic people who had also had a cat killed by cars.

I just don’t understand people. The idea of letting an animal you love outside–one you play with and cuddle, who counts on you for protection and comfort–to fend for itself against predators, cars, and nutty humans, is totally unfathomable to me. I can understand a little better the idea of free roaming farm cats. They’re marginally safer, being away from both major roads and densely human-populated areas. Although they still seem to have alarmingly high accident, disease, and casualty rates. But the idea of a kitten in a city or subdivision regularly roaming outside, unsupervised and loose, I can’t understand that at all. If you take an animal into your home, it’s your responsibility, obligation, and duty to protect it. Especially as a baby. How can a baby animal know about cars? Many adult animals never grasp the concept. Hell, many adult humans still have trouble comprehending that cars are dangerous. It’s irresponsible. Irresponsible and needlessly tragic. The thought of Hobkin getting outside terrifies me, and these people are letting their cats out on purpose?

I see cats in our subdivision who are obviously someone’s pets, wandering around freely. And sometimes I see cats dead by the side of the road, and I wonder how many of the living cats I see will be another feline statistic tomorrow.

Writing Stuff

AGH! I NEED A SALE!! *pant pant pant* This has been a looong dry spell. *tears at hair*

Apologies for the outburst. *twitch* I’m jonesing bad.

Did several editing passes on the short story and uploaded it to the Critters.org queue. fosteronfilm‘s comment, “You should write a series of stories in this world.” That hadn’t occurred to me until he mentioned it. But now that he has, I find myself contemplating just that, and coming up with ideas.

Club 100 For Writers

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19 Responses to On the nature of house cats

  1. nmsunbear says:

    The thought of Hobkin getting outside terrifies me, and these people are letting their cats out on purpose?

    I couldn’t agree with you more. For a long time I had terrifying anxiety dreams about my boys getting out several times a week. (Those dreams have slowed to a trickle and I have no idea why.) If you love your pet, how can you possibly let her out among all those dangers? I know people who think cats can’t have a fulfilling life indoors, but they’re simply wrong. My boys are happy, happy cats.

  2. britzkrieg says:

    I think the incidence of cats being hit by cars really depends on the neighborhood. Ours has plenty of cats who roam freely, including one who was a kitten not too long ago. I have never, however, seen a dead cat on any of the streets — only squirrels.

    Recently “Kerry Kitty” (he who was a kitten not too long ago) dashed out in front of an SUV while chasing a squirrel. The SUV stopped, and the driver waited patiently while the two ran in circles in front of the vehicle for several seconds. Finally the cat chased the squirrel up a nearby tree. Nobody got hurt.

    Nevertheless, I keep all my babies inside.

    • That does seem highly dependent on the neighborhood, and how far the cat is prone to wandering. I wouldn’t dream of letting a cat out in my area because I’m too close to a busy street. In my old neighborhood, it was possible, because it was a quiet subdivision with speed bumps, so people drive slow.

      I have two ferrets (had three, one died back in October-ish) that I love to death, and always wonder what other type owners have ferrets. When I got my first one, I had no idea how high maintenance they could be, and that they weren’t cage animals, like the pet store associate told me. I keep thinking of the hundreds of ferrets that are locked up in cages currently whose owners didn’t bother to research what they need and took the store associate’s advice on what to do. Sad and depressing to me.

  3. jackzodiac says:

    I want to beat these people with a baseball bat and than let them play with a moving car… what can I say I am cat lover… I sort of have a few… but I do want skunk…do you think I could meet him next time I am in your neck of the woods?


    • Eugie Foster says:

      do you think I could meet him next time I am in your neck of the woods?

      But of course! He’s being a little brat right now, and he looks all patchwork-furred since he’s blowing his coat, but you’re welcome to come meet him anytime!

  4. remipunx says:

    I never understood indoor/outdoor cats. Or letting your dog out to walk itself. I live in a city, and there are two dogs who walk themselves by a major road. It scares the crap out of me.

    I will say, growing up, I lived on a farm. And we always had at least two barn cats, all of who always died of old age. We kept them vacinated, and got them fixed so as to not have a barn full of cats, and put out food for them in an empty stall. They never came inside the house. We did not snuggle them, or let them get to used to people. If people other than my mom went in the barn they would usually hide. They were barn cats, to scare off snakes and birds. They hunted, and had a warm place to sleep at night. If they ever got hurt(one did pick a fight with a snake, but he won) we would take them to the vet, get them patched up, and then they were happy to escape back to there barn. We did have indoor cats, that never went outside. I am not sure where I was going with all this, but I will stop rambling. I guess just that letting your house cat out near roads has to be the most stupid thing that I have ever seen people do. It is because they are lazy, and do not really care about their animals.

  5. People who allow their cats, small dogs, other animals to roam free are a horror to me. Always have been.

    Two of my cats are outdoor rescues.

    I saw one hit by a car. Scooped him up off the street and carried him to the vet. He lost a leg. That was four years ago. I wanted to scream at the people that allowed him out and to get hurt. He’s a lovely, friendly boy.

    I have one that I brought in when he was about 8 weeks old, give or take. Sweet little guy. He’s a moose now. But, he was part of a half feral litter of kittens that someone had dumped. Don’t think he was born outside cause he allowed me to bring him in without too much angst.

    Why are people evil? Why do they do this to animals? Especially the people who profess to LOVE their pets.

    I guess the question is…why don’t people think?

  6. whitecrow0 says:

    I’m with you. I totally don’t understand and it makes me sad. I used to let my cat out into our backyard – she never attempted to climb the fence – but eventually stopped because other neighborhood pets would jump into the yard and mess with her. I think some people think that cats have a need or are “supposed” to roam. But my Grimmy is pretty happy as an all-indoor cat now, and I feel much better knowing she’s completely safe.

  7. pyanfar says:

    i had that argument fairly recently, actually. with someone who was offering me a place to live. i was very adamant that my girls would be inside-only cats. he felt that it was cruel to keep them “caged” indoors and said that the apartment complex had several outdoor cats. that alone would be reason enough – i don’t want them to have to fight for territory with the established kitties, specially since they’ve really never had to. even more so because 7-pound Emmie thinks she’s the shit and would try to be the agressor. and then when i see other kitties dead on the side of the road… yeah, don’t think i’ll ever change my mind about that one.

  8. raecarson says:

    Amen, sistah.

    Butler is an indoor/outdoor cat, but I live on a farm a long ways from the nearest road. He comes in every night. I don’t go to sleep until I’ve found him. (We’ve worked out a system by which I say the t-r-e-a-t word and he comes running.) He’s fixed, vaccinated, and regularly de-flead.

    A few years ago, we lived in an apartment in a very busy complex. I never let him outside then.

    Oh, and all my animals are death row discoveries.

    I’m glad Hobkin has such a devoted mommy. Give him a snuggle for me, k?

  9. amberdine says:

    Complete agreement. All my kitties stay indoors.

    Once I adopted a former barn-cat. When she really, really wanted to go outside, I put a harness on her and we went out and walked. When I had a fenced back yard, I’d put the cats in harnesses and tie them to a tree — then stay there to watch. Happy cats.

    I don’t do that now, though, because my current yard has no fence, and there are roaming dogs around.

    Everyone around here lets their cat out. All of them eventually “go missing”. 🙁

  10. I lost a lot of cats to cars when I was little. When I grew up and had my own cats, I kept them inside. They are healthier and have, surprisingly, never been hit by a car. I don’t understand it, either. Some older cats do fine playing near the road — I had one cat who looked both ways before crossing. But kittens? No!

    Even my dog, who is a big dog, only goes outside to go to the bathroom or to have a walk on the leash. And my backyard is fenced.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I’m always flabbergasted by people who insist that their “supposed” babies must be allowed to roam the neighborhood. Besides the obvious danger to the animal, there is the untold impact on native songbird species and frankly, irritation to your neighbors.

    No, I don’t appreciate having flower beds filled with cat poop and the stench of un-neutered cat spray. I don’t let my dogs crap on the neighbor’s lawn; why is it acceptable for Kitty to use my yard as a toilet?

    Out where I live, semi-rural, the biggest danger is coyotes. So, naturally, Jo Blow cat owner calls the authorities, decrying the evil coyotes and insisting that they be slaughtered to save cats. The fact that he moved into the coyotes’ neighborhood, not the other way around, is irrelevant to this turkey.


    Oh, and grazi for your comments at my blog. Much helpful and all that.

    Pat Kirby

  12. lanyn says:

    So frustrating, hearing about irresponsible pet owners. Argh!! My cats are indoor only, and all are rescues from idiots who dumped them. One of the rescues is a Bengal purebred cat, very expensive. Her idiot owner let her outside as a kitten, she got hit by a car, and so he dumped her off at the pound (when they were closed!!) in a box without ever taking her to a vet or anything. There’s no words strong enough to condemn people like that. Fortunately, she got her leg and injuries fixed, and she’s the sweetest most lovable kitty ever.

    It is so nice to read about all the responsible pet owners who are commenting here! Kudos to you all and may your pets have wonderful safe and long lives!

  13. keesa_renee says:

    Our darling Sarah-cat always lived inside when we were in the city. Then we moved out to the middle of nowhere, and she became an indoor/outdoor cat, although we did encourage her to spend the night inside. She was thrown out of a car window when she was a tiny baby, not even weaned yet; a friend of ours saw it happen and brought her to us. Maybe for that reason, she always had a healthy respect for cars; she would hear a car coming before we did, and be up a tree or in a ditch. But there never were that many cars out where we are, or we probably wouldn’t have let her out.

    She died a year ago this spring, peacefully in her sleep, with Mamma there with her. She was seventeen years old.

  14. horrordiva says:

    I agree with you completely…all my cats are indoor cats and I wouldn’t have it any other way. When I see a cat outside it breaks my heart because most of the time I don’t see them again. It’s just sad.

    Here’s hoping you hear more good news with sales…course it’s that June/July/August time and for me it’s always slow with editors away on vacation and stuff…but it’s no picnic waiting either 😉

  15. aimeempayne says:

    I’m always terrified that one of neighborhood’s “free-range” cats (who appear to be pets) will find their way into my fenced back yard. If they aren’t really close to the fence line, they won’t make it if I don’t see them before letting the dogs out. Greyhounds can outrun cats, and their lust for chomping small, fuzzy creatures is insane.

  16. dean13 says:

    We keep our cats indoors. They don’t know how dangerous the outside world can be. But I know how lucky I am to have them in my life.

    Our neighbor doesn’t believe in keeping her cats indoors. I’ve seen many, many “Free Range” cats come and go. In the past three years I’ve seen 5 out of 7 male cats disappear or die. The female cats don’t seem to wander as far as the male cats and do seem to live longer. I do miss a the friendly ones who I used to find waiting at my front door, looking for me bring out the cat toys or to scratch them behind the ears.

    I am astounded at the number of cats that seemed to have been abandoned. Worse yet they started breeding. I learned that my neighbor believed in feeding these abandoned cats but didn’t think it was “fair” to fix them.

    So many people don’t consider the full consequences of their actions.

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