Originally Posted by chirp
i feel like the cat is not necessarily my pet as he is my companion. non-human companion. we treat our cats like we treat children. only at 7 and 14 they are older children and if they want to go outside then they can.
Yeah, I guess I could look at my dogs and cats as companions, but they are DEPENDENT companions. They depend on me for safety, health and well being, security, and stimulation (that little thing us indoor cat owners do with our poor neglected and abused kitties).
I would never, ever get a pet with the idea that they will be a "companion" that could come and go at will. I think that ideal is woefully irresponsible.
And yes, I treat my cats like my child. My child is 2. So far they are pretty much equal in their ability to asses risks. My cat has about as much impulse control, due to that little thing called prey drive (again, you think she's going to stop at the road and look both ways if she's got her sights set on a bird? nope), as my 2 year old. And that's pretty typical for just about every cat I've met.
I wouldn't let my daughter roam the neighborhood because it's dangerous, even though she'd LIKE to, and I wouldn't let my dogs roam the neighborhood even though they'd LIKE to as well, and I'm not going to do it with my cat. either. It's irresponsible. We make compromises, and amendments, and get creative about their care and happiness, and are fully prepared to invest money to keep our cats mentally healthy, as well as physically healthy (like purchasing a cat enclosure if needed), but opening the door and letting them roam the great blue yonder is not an option.
If I had a cat that strongly objected to being a strictly indoor cat (and I have), I'd explore the idea of other alternatives - leash training, cat enclosures, cat proofing an existing fence, screened porch, etc. That would be my duty as a responsible pet owner - to keep my pet safe AND happy and well adjusted. I just can't get on board with compromising safety in the name of my young dead cat having had a wonderful life outside. That's absurd. It really makes my brain hurt to hear an animal lover be Ok with the idea of their cat being ripped to shreds by a coyote or left to bleed to death on the side of the road, because their cat "lived a good life and got to go outside and live autonomously".
You all think cats being outside is so natural, yet you're failing to acknowledge that 98% of the dangers present to outdoor cats are NOT natural. It's not natural life selection to get hit by a 2000 pound hunk of steel, or to die of a (relatively) new disease. Unless you live out in the boon docks, the environment your cat is outside being so "natural" in (since we're throwing that word around) is anything BUT natural. Concrete buildings, paved roads, pollution, the chemicals your neighbor uses on his grass, and other introduced predatory species (coyotes!), are not natural! Ever watch a cat convulse and choke on its own vomit and saliva as it dies of chemical poisoning due to being outside in the "natural" world where it was so darn happy? It's disgusting and heartbreaking. Yep, that's the natural good life.