08 May

100_1194Until a year ago, when some form of evil kitty cancer stole her, I had a lovely cat named Alina. She was strictly an indoor kitty, as her former owner had already had her front paws declawed when I adopted her from the SPCA. But even if she hadn’t been declawed, she still would have been an indoor kitty. I wanted a companion to sit on my feet while I worked in the office, a silent friend to listen without judgement when I talked to myself, a warm furry body to purr by my side on those nights when the hubby was away on business…and the cat would need to be inside to fulfill all those wishes. Tell me, what is the point of having a HOUSECAT if it is going to live outside?

Unless you have a farm and need a cat to hunt the mice that are stealing grain from your barn, I don’t understand the rationale for putting a cat outside. Why have a pet if you never see it? The Humane Society of America says that free-roaming cats live, on average, less than five years, compared to a life-span of around 17 years for indoor cats. Outdoor cats don’t die peacefully or painlessly; they are killed primarily by cars, but also by poisoning, animal attacks, traps, human abuse (you’ve heard that serial killers often start with animals, right?), exposure, and disease. With all those risks, it seems that only an irresponsible or uncaring owner would allow his/her cat(s) to wander around outside.

Plus, outdoor cats can really piss off the neighbors. Despite my general love of cats, I am quickly growing to despise the black and white feline that roams my neighborhood. First of all, it is a snob. It scorns all my gestures of friendship and trots off, snooty nose in the air, whenever I approach, which really hurts my cat-lover feelings. Secondly, it has crapped in every one of my flower beds–there’s nothing quite as revolting as the smell of cat feces emanating from my gardening gloves because I innocently scooped up a pile of dead leaves from under the rose bush. (Despite online reports, lavender is NOT a deterrent, as I have two thick rows of it on either side of the front walkway that are hiding plenty of evidence of its uselessness underneath.) Thirdly, the cat routinely sprays my car tires, marking its territory and making it impossible for me to roll down the windows on the back country roads without gagging. (If I didn’t live in a land of 240V mains electricity, I’d consider stealing a page from my grandfather’s book and hot-wiring the hubcaps as a deterrent.) Finally, and worst of all, the neighborhood cat kills the birds in my garden. Last year, I came back from a family-emergency trip to the States to find a decapitated pigeon on my patio. (I’m guessing the head was on a bedpost somewhere.) Ewww. This afternoon, I looked up from the kitchen sink to find it murdering a sparrow in the back yard. So now I’m officially a pissed-off neighbor.

If you are going to have a cat, keep it in the house–not only for the health and safety of the cat, but for peace and goodwill among the neighbors.


Blogs I commented on today:
Spirit Animals (Underachievers Anonymous)
There Is No Tragedy in Falling (…So Help Me Cats)
A La Ronde, Exmouth Devon (Anglers Rest)  new blog of the day


6 responses to “Housecats

  1. janet

    May 8, 2013 at 9:08 PM

    Alina was so sweet! I agree with you that pets belong inside with their human family!

    • dreaminofobx

      May 9, 2013 at 8:35 AM

      I’m already scanning the SPCA website, looking for a new kitty to adopt when we get back and settled. It’s making me crazy not having a furry face underfoot and in my lap.

  2. Bethie

    May 9, 2013 at 2:25 AM

    I like your post, but I have to take a different view, only because I look at the picture and your cat looks like he wants to be outside playing. We always had animals–dogs and cats–that could come and go out their pet door. They always stayed out. Only one died before he was 15 years. I guess it was because we loved being out so much that our pets did as well. I personally love my neighbors’ pets that come to visit as much as the neighbors themselves. I guess it depends on the person/pet.
    Anybody who wants to have a pet has to have the time to spend taking care of it, to be responsible. Right now I just don’t, so even though it would be nice to have a cat, I have a Beta fish instead.

    • dreaminofobx

      May 9, 2013 at 8:32 AM

      My cat was actually pretty oblivious to the outdoors…rarely would she sit in front of the window to look out, which was why I ran to grab the camera for that picture! Sounds like you’ve been very lucky with your outdoor animals, but I also get a sense that you’re a caring/responsible pet owner and that you’d done everything possible to make outside as safe as possible for your cats and dogs. I had a great Beta fish several years ago…he had tons more personality than the neighborhood cat I bad-mouthed in my post! 😀

  3. Josie Two Shoes

    May 11, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    I live in the country and my cats do get to spend a short time out each day because they love it so. Most often they are back at the door within 30 minutes, and are content to live a life of domestic ease. We don’t live on a busy road or have active neighbors or I wouldn’t take the risk. I also totally agree with you that people are responsible for what their animals do. If they can’t contain them to their own yard (mine stay very close to the house), then they need to be kept fenced or indoors. (There is no such thing as fencing in a cat.) Out here free-roaming dogs are often a problem, and it makes me so angry. If you want a dog… great! I like them too. But keep yours at YOUR house and not roaming in my yard, or on my deck, or trying to get into my car with me, or chasing my cats!! Pet owner responsibility rules! Maybe a nice visit to the neighbors to discuss your concerns would be worth the effort. Tell them you love cats, but… yes, those peed on tires stink to high heavens in the heat!

    • dreaminofobx

      May 15, 2013 at 7:41 PM

      If I only knew which neighbor owned the cat… And honestly, I wouldn’t mind the mess as much if the cat were sociable. I could see my way to scoop some poop in return for a rub against my leg and a happy purr. Friendly neighborhood animals bring some of the joys of having a pet without the day-to-day responsibilities, so I don’t normally mind or complain when one comes round for a visit. It’s just this one danged cat that ruffles my feathers!


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