I recently stumbled across a Facebook post by an acquaintance of mine who wrote about his cat catching a baby bunny. He went into some detail about the bunny’s injuries, and implied that the cat was, in the end, giving the bunny a few moments to, I don’t know, collect itself or some crap like that before the cat killed and began to eat the bunny.
Beyond the baloney of anthropomorphising the cat — like most pet owners do — there’s a bigger issue here: people who insist that their cats need to go outside, to roam free and off a leash.
Now I know I’m going to get into hot water with a lot of people over this. It’s a tradition to put the cat out, allowing it to roam free or some justifying bullshit like that. Truth is, cats are predators. They kill. Sometimes, they kill because they can, and because they’re excited, not because they’re hungry. A study published in USA Today outlines just how many birds and rodents are killed each year by cats.
Songbird numbers are declining at an alarming rate. That cats kill so many may not be the MAJOR factor in their decline, it’s still a factor, and it’s one we can do something about by not letting our cats roam around outside.
Another issue for cats: what they eat contains parasites.
While it’s true that not every little thing they eat will contain a parasite of some kind, parasites are very common in mice and birds, not to mention insects. Tapeworm, Toxplasmosis, Hookworms, Roundworms — all of whom can be contracted by consuming an infected animal — are common ailments for cats allowed to wander and hunt outside. Parasites can live in a cat’s system for years — some live as long as the cat itself — and some of them can cause long-term damage to the cat. Not only that but outdoor cats can easily bring fleas and ticks into the home, and a great many people already know what a hassle that can be.
Other animals pose a major threat to cats, too. Coyotes are fond of eating cats, and with the former’s move into urban environments over the last several decades, coyotes are a common and very lethal threat, especially at night. Raccoon and Opossum are issues in the United States, not to mention other cats, some of whom are highly territorial. But perhaps the biggest animal threat to cats is human beings. Cars are deadly, and cats are known for suddenly rushing out into traffic, a flight behavior born of panic. Most municipalities have leash laws, so allowing your cat outside to roam off-leash may be illegal to boot.
A cat that remains in the home will have a longer life. THIS article from Web MD talks about the difference in life spans — up to 17 years for an indoor cats, and typically TWO to FIVE YEARS for a cat allowed to roam freely outside. If that isn’t proof enough all by itself, I don’t know what else would convince you.
While we’re at it, please spay or neuter your pet. There are too many dogs and cats out there now without homes; we don’t need more. This may help your dog or cat avoid a need to wander, and prevent a surprise litter of little animals that you suddenly are responsible for. It’s just good sense.
Cats and dogs are predators: they hunt, they kill, and they eat. The things they kill may not be safe for them to consume, plus things may hunt them as well. Pets can live perfectly happy, fulfilled lives while being indoors animals, and i urge you to consider the possibilities very carefully before letting you animals out without a leash.