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#181 of 313 Old 04-17-2008, 11:35 PM
 
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For those of you that believe cats should be given their freedom outside, do you feel the same about dogs?
No, they're different animals. My dog gets outside, she bolts. I have to run down the street after her. My cats get outside, they stay in the yard. Cats are much more likely to stay in their own area, their "home" than dogs.

If I lived on a ranch with many acres, I might let a dog roam free if I knew it would stay close by.


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I'm sorry, but don't you breed dogs? What about the environmental impact of animal breeding? Even if you're a responsible breeder, breeding still leads to perfectly good, healthy animals being euthanized, and then generally dumped in landfills. It's just really hard to sit back and repeatedly hear you lecture on how everyone else is contributing to environmental problems, when you yourself do things that contribute as well. It's the pot calling the kettle black here.


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Our cat does his best not to impact the environment. He always places his half-caf latte cups in the proper trash receptacles.

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#182 of 313 Old 04-17-2008, 11:48 PM
 
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nevermind. Meant to do a new thread. Sorry.

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#183 of 313 Old 04-17-2008, 11:54 PM
 
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You would be fined. It would go up incrementally everytime it happened, until you reached the point where you would be forced to pay a permanent fine in the form of a more expensive license tag for your pet that has been deemed a "nuisance animal". Instead of 30 dollars annually, I think it's $150.
Zeus goes out for a few hours a day, he never stays out at night. There is NO LAW into our city that says my cat isn't allowed to be outside unsupervised. He was first tattooed, then chipped because the technology became available.

If I was fined because he was out for a couple hours, I would fight it.

I have to say, if you trapped my cat because he was on your property and didn't first talk to me about it being an issue, we would have a problem.

And FYI, I have several gardens, I find cat poop in there that doesn't belong to Zeus (he has an outdoor litterbox) and I just throw it out. I certainly don't throw a big temper tantrum about finding it there. Its DIRT, they're CATS. Its no big shock that they'd use it if they needed to.

I think its really sad that this forum is such an unfriendly place. I participate in most of the other forums and this is the only one with headhunters.

As a pet owner I DECIDE what is best for my animal. I care for him and ensure he is healthy and happy. If you don't like that I don't care. But you have NO RIGHT to call me an irresponsible pet owner because you disagree.

If you can show me what damage he is doing, I'll fix it. But until then, since you don't know my cat, don't tell me that he is destructive and annoying.
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#184 of 313 Old 04-17-2008, 11:54 PM
 
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I hate free roaming cats. They like to come in my yard and poop on my grass. I don't even have that big of a yard. It's highly annoying, we planted a small patch of grass just for the girls to play ball on and every day a cat poops on it.
Either that or they walk through my garden and squash everything in sight.

All of that said, we have a cat, we let her outdoors sometimes.... but its on a leash and a run similar to a dog run.
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#185 of 313 Old 04-17-2008, 11:56 PM
 
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If you want to discuss how breeding dogs may or may not affect the environment, please start another thread so I can adequately respond to it there--I don't want to keep hijacking this one. Anyway, it's an ad hominem argument (attacking the person instead of addressing the issue)--the question is do outdoor (indoor/outdoor) cats affect the environment.
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#186 of 313 Old 04-18-2008, 12:02 AM
 
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Zeus goes out for a few hours a day, he never stays out at night. There is NO LAW into our city that says my cat isn't allowed to be outside unsupervised.
I have no desire to participate in the topic of this thread anymore, but I wanted to address this because I was born and raised in British Columbia, was an SPCA volunteer, and a shelter volunteer and feral colony volunteer through out BC for various organizations. If you tell me where you are, I will be happy to point you in the direction of the leash laws. If you are in the lower mainland, I can almost guarantee there is a leash by law in effect.

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#187 of 313 Old 04-18-2008, 12:08 AM
 
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As long as he doesn't shit in other people's yards, you should be good


I have 4 indoor cats. Wouldn't have it any other way. I have thought about putting up a cat fence if we buy a house but not really for them. More b/c I get lonely without them.

I have had more cats hit by cars than I would be willing to count up. My cats are never allowed out. I love them to much to pick their corpses up off the road.

They are also clean, well groomed, overly loved, fun as hell, a little insane, and cause no allergies here.

Honestly, I find it irresponsible to have cats outdoors without proper fencing. At least in many areas. I can see the use of a barn cat. However, the destruction of native songbirds and pooing on other peoples' properties is not cool. What is especially not cool is having to swerve to not kill a cat in the road or the poor souls who can't break in time and have to go find the owner and tell them. That happened on my birthday to my cat when my sdad let him out.

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#188 of 313 Old 04-18-2008, 12:56 AM
 
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I said a while back that I thought outdoor cats could figure out how to survive common dangers in their environment like cars, etc. and some people think I meant "ALL outdoor cats figure out how to survive." I have in fact "scraped a dead cat off the road". Obviously, not every cat survives its outdoor environment. People get hit by cars, too. Maybe we should all stay inside or outlaw cars.

I think a certain amount of danger is inherent in living a satisfying life. As they said in Finding Nemo, "If nothing ever happened to him, then nothing would ever happen. Not much fun for little Harpo."

Also, frog mentioned the fact that if her child had claws and killed small mammals and pooped in the neighbors sand box, she'd keep her inside too. Ha ha, funny yes - but obviously humans have a huge impact on the environment, dare I say even worse than cats. So obviously the cat/human comparison is not a good one, I admit it. However, the point I was trying to make is concerned with the "for the cat's own good" perspective, which I strongly disagree with.

However, I must say I have never really given the environmental aspect much thought. My personal experience doesn't bear out the "dangerous, non-native predator" description. I can see how it would, though, in certain ecosystems and with certain cats. I'm not sure what the solution would be.
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#189 of 313 Old 04-18-2008, 07:49 AM
 
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My cats were indoor cats at our previous house, it was on a busy street with lots of cars.

This house is in the middle of nowhere, one neighbor with two barns a quarter mile down the road, and lots of mice and moles and shrews and marders and things that destroy our house.

So yes, we let our cats out here. They keep the critter population down, we keep them fixed and vaccinated and healthy. They are good cats and, since we live in the middle of the woods, I can assure you they are by no means the only predators out there. We have a boatload of fox and raccoons, as well as hawks. We also have a ton of deer, which are far more effective at destroying plants then my cats could ever be.

I think it depends on the situation, personally. Most suburban environments, the cats stay indoors. This house is just unique for us, and my cats love being outside, rolling in the grass in the sun.
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#190 of 313 Old 04-18-2008, 09:22 AM
 
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I'm not sure what the solution would be.
The solution's actually pretty easy and straightforward: keep cats indoors (or take them out on a leash or one of the other excellent suggestions in this thread) so they don't roam and hunt.

(And I'm glad you liked my razor-clawed child comment. I slay myself.)
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#191 of 313 Old 04-18-2008, 09:25 AM
 
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The 'keep cats indoors' is just not practical for everyone though. And I think cats on leashes is cruel.
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#192 of 313 Old 04-18-2008, 09:39 AM
 
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my cat wears a collar...he has to, or he doesn't go out. when he was a kitten I would walk with him on a leash with a harness. I don't think he thought it was cruel. I think he was just happy to get out. Once he got bigger though he learned to just walk next to me, so I forewent the leash. I thought it was cruel, knowing that he wouldn't run away, to keep him on a leash.

It was because I became completely confident in his ability to take care of himself that I started letting him go outside. That and as I got further and further into college I had less time to spend outside frolicking with the kitty. So he had to learn to entertain himself.

He still meows for me to come outside with him. We go for a walk almost every morning. He even comes with me to do the laundry (although I don't let him in the laundry room just in case someone in the complex has allergies.) He meows outside of the door and walks with me back to the house.

G's cat on the other hand is spoiled and older. If you try to put a collar on her she just lays down right at that spot and doesn't move. We haven't tried it, but I suspect she would lay there for hours if need be. So we are happy she just sits on the front stoop. Otherwise, if she tried to roam without a collar, she probably wouldn't be allowed out.

Our biggest fear on letting them out is that someone will steal them and sell them to a lab. We've actually thought about getting a micro-chip put in for that. It's only 30 bucks at the local SPCA.

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#193 of 313 Old 04-18-2008, 09:46 AM
 
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Maybe it depends on the cat. I've seen several on leashes like dogs, terrified. I find cats don't like to be restrained, especially when they are uncertain or fearful.

Mine wear collars too.
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#194 of 313 Old 04-18-2008, 10:03 AM
 
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I don't have cats right now, but I vote for indoor. Ideally, I'd build one of those screened in cat yards so they could go "outside" but would be safe.

That being said- my neighbors cats are always in our yard chasing mice and I love seeing them. I do worry about their safety though. Maybe that's why I have an indoor bunny and not a cat!
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#195 of 313 Old 04-18-2008, 10:15 AM
 
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The 'keep cats indoors' is just not practical for everyone though. And I think cats on leashes is cruel.
How is keeping them on leashes more cruel than letting them roam and fend for themselves? I don't understand that.

And, to be clear, when I say "keep them indoors," I mean that if you're not with them or they're not securely in your own yard/driveway, they should be inside. I have NO PROBLEM with people who spend time in their yards with their cats. No problem.

My issue is with the roaming and the lack of responsibility for cats' waste and activities demonstrated by their owners.
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#196 of 313 Old 04-18-2008, 10:29 AM
 
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How is keeping them on leashes more cruel than letting them roam and fend for themselves? I don't understand that.
Keeping them on leashes is crueler than letting them be free because of cats' nature... it is the same reason why when introducing a dog and cat you hold the dog and not the cat (well minus the fact the dog is a predator). Cats do not like to be restrained when frightened or unsure, which they are outside, they know there are more things to be cautious of outside than in and their instinct is to be free, not held by someone or something.

Not sure what you mean by 'roaming and fending for themselves' but i don't think anyone here is advocating letting cats fend for themselves. We are talking about housecats who we let outside for adventures. They come home for their food and other needs.

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And, to be clear, when I say "keep them indoors," I mean that if you're not with them or they're not securely in your own yard/driveway, they should be inside. I have NO PROBLEM with people who spend time in their yards with their cats. No problem.
This assumes that everyone has a nice big yard with a huge ole kitty-escape-proof fence. That is not reality. Or a big house that will provide adventure for energetic cats. Also not reality for everyone.
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#197 of 313 Old 04-18-2008, 10:32 AM
 
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The 'keep cats indoors' is just not practical for everyone though.
That seems like a double standard though, because if a dog owner said it wasn't practical to keep it indoors, we would say "you got the dog, it's up to you to make this work', kwim? That has been said here in this forum many times to dog owners, when people have said the dog is too destructive/dirty/rough to keep in the house. Sometimes we are talking about major dog behavior problems--pooping, chewing up the bed, eating toys, knocking over the baby...definitely comparable to anything a cat could do inside, but still it's not seen as okay to just give up and keep the dog outside. I'm not being sarcastic, I just don't understand what you mean there about it not being practical to keep the cat inside.

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#198 of 313 Old 04-18-2008, 10:34 AM
 
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Nobody is keeping the cat outside on this thread. Everyone has said they let their cats come in and go out... the whole indoor/outdoor thing. So the analogy is nonsensical. With an outdoor dog you are depriving it of companionship. Completely separate issue.
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#199 of 313 Old 04-18-2008, 10:46 AM
 
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This assumes that everyone has a nice big yard with a huge ole kitty-escape-proof fence. That is not reality. Or a big house that will provide adventure for energetic cats. Also not reality for everyone.
I'm not assuming anything. Look, when toad (my ex) and I lived in teeny apartments, our cat was strictly indoors with us. When turtle and I had six cats in 1000 square feet, they were indoors with us. Now that we have about 1800 square feet and seven cats, they're indoors with us.

There are ways to have happy cats that DON'T INCLUDE LETTING THEM ROAM AROUND, CRAPPING IN OTHER PEOPLE'S YARDS AND HUNTING. That's my issue with "outdoor" cats. Whether they're outside on their own half the time or 10% of the time or whatever, my problem is that they're ROAMING.

Solve that problem and you have my blessing (which I know you want ) to have "indoor/outdoor" cats.

But if you let your cats out to do whatever they want wherever they want, I will make this face at you about it: :
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#200 of 313 Old 04-18-2008, 10:56 AM
 
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There are ways to have happy cats that DON'T INCLUDE LETTING THEM ROAM AROUND, CRAPPING IN OTHER PEOPLE'S YARDS AND HUNTING. That's my issue with "outdoor" cats. Whether they're outside on their own half the time or 10% of the time or whatever, my problem is that they're ROAMING.
I am sure there are ways to have happy(ish) cats without letting them outdoors, with the caveat that it depends on the cat. I know for a fact some cats are better suited to indoor life, and others need to go outside. My best friend's cat was indoors only and he was nuts... attacked her, clawed at everything around, was impossible to live with. She started letting him out and he chilled right down. So what works for your cats won't work for all.

I am not willing to put tons and tons of work into attempting to keep my cats happy inside, and attempting to keep clean a small indoor space from cat dander etc., when I can just open my door and let the cats out. I also don't really care what my neighbours think about my cats going outside, unless there is a problem that directly affects them, and I am not willing to change my habits to suit other people's generalized judgment or self righteousness on this issue.

My cat who hunts wears a bell to warn birds, and he is really fat so combined with the bell his hunting prowess is negligible at best. He has not caught a bird since we got him the bell. I don't let the cats out early morning and I don't keep them out late at night to protect birds and avoid catfights with the homeless cats. They are neutered so not contributing to overpopulation. There are lots more secluded places around here for him to shit than in my neighbours' yards, and if it were an issue I would expect someone to talk to me about it. Yes I do my thing and expect feedback if it is warranted rather than assuming every possible negative consequence that anyone could possibly experience, as do my neighbours when they run their lives, have their fires, smoke their ganja, etc etc. That is life.

So barring any true and serious issue with my cats, I expect people to just stfu and deal. As I deal with the minor intrusions their presence brings to my life.
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#201 of 313 Old 04-18-2008, 10:57 AM
 
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I hear all that, thismama. Still :

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#202 of 313 Old 04-18-2008, 10:58 AM
 
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I think people have way overblown this issue and it's getting on my nerves in a big way.
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#203 of 313 Old 04-18-2008, 11:05 AM
 
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I think people have way overblown this issue and it's getting on my nerves in a big way.
I'm not sure what to say to you about that. It's a big deal to me.
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#204 of 313 Old 04-18-2008, 11:10 AM
 
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I would just like to say that our cat is 99% indoor (he comes outside with us when we barbeque in the back but I don't let him leave the patio. Mostly he prowls around. He prefers to sit on my lap when we're outside!)

When he's indoors, he rules the roost. He is slowly taking over the entire couch, relocating our entire family to the loveseat. He has a scratching post right next to his food and water and his litter box (which I clean once or twice a week) is located in the nice warm fresh smelling laundry room.

I stay at home during the day and he gets all the love he asks for. When DH comes home from work, he gives him "play" time when they chase each other up and down the stairs.

He went from being a greasy underweight shelter cat to being a 13 pound long-haired sphinx.

He lets the baby pull his tails, grab his ears, and tug on his fur. He doesn't say a word or make a move.

He is the happiest cat I have ever met. We spoil the bejeebus out of him, love him, and let him do as he pleases. He is clean and tidy (except when he mistakes my laundry basket for his litter box if I leave them side by side) and a wonderful member of the family.

Some cats are happier outside, some are happier inside. Just like humans. I don't believe there is a right or wrong way to do things, but I definitely feel there is a safe way.

I'd like to see the day where the only cats who are making babies are the ones who are suppose to, rather than feral cats taking advantage of virgin house cats out past curfew
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#205 of 313 Old 04-18-2008, 11:12 AM
 
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I'm not sure what to say to you about that. It's a big deal to me.
Why though? It makes no sense to me. Minor irritations possibly for neighbours - neighbours minorly irritate each other in lots of ways. Bird chasing - can be curtailed and prevented. Overpopulation - not an issue if cats are neutered. Risks to the cats - well yes it is riskier to let cats outside but the choice is risk vs. a less adventurous life, and I think it's okay to say owners get to make that decision and either one should be respected.

Pet cats who spend some time outside are a whole different thing from abandoned, feral, suffering cats who do not have their basic needs met and are left to breed and produce more cats who will live lives of misery. I am right there with anyone who objects to that, and my neighbour and housemate are very proactive about helping with that issue in our neighbourhood. But it seems the two issues are getting conflated here. And there is this *thing* about self righteousness in the Pets forum that I find... interesting? And predictable. And that I see played out yet again in this thread.
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#206 of 313 Old 04-18-2008, 11:20 AM
 
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Why though?
Because I'm an avid birdwatcher and I've seen what outdoor cats have done to the bird population in my area. Because I love to garden and cat crap is a big problem in my garden and yard. Because I hope that my kids (dear God LET THERE BE KIDS SOMEDAY) will be able to play in the sandbox without sieving out the cat bombs, like I had to do when I was a little girl. Because I should be able to live trap a skunk out from under my deck without having to worry about trapping someone's cat. Because I should be able to have a nice home without someone else's cats marking the doors and deck because they see our cats inside. Because my cats should be able to hang out in our sunporch without the neighbor's cat hissing at them through the window. Because roaming cats are bad for the environment--they're not native, they're skilled predators and they're not prey for much in city or suburban neighborhoods. Because roaming cats spread disease to other animals as well as to people.

And that's just off the top of my head.

You see this as self-righteous, but I have a lot of trouble with pet owners who are unwilling to take responsibility for their animals' waste and unnecessary hunting (I understand that your cat doesn't appear to hunt--I'm fielding the question in general).
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#207 of 313 Old 04-18-2008, 11:23 AM
 
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Nobody is keeping the cat outside on this thread. Everyone has said they let their cats come in and go out... the whole indoor/outdoor thing. So the analogy is nonsensical. With an outdoor dog you are depriving it of companionship. Completely separate issue.
I was pointing out that you said it was impractical for some cat owners to keep their cat inside. That was what I was trying to understand. I will give a better example: There are certainly dogs that would like to come and go as they pleased. I have a co-worker who firmly believes a dog should be free to roam, that dogs would be miserable otherwise etc. But most people here would say "Not okay, the dog should be kept in a secure area at all times".

With cats, you said it was sometimes impractical to keep it inside. Do you mean that it's impractical to keep cats *in the house* or that it would be impractical to prevent the cat from roaming out of unsecured area's period?

I don't have a problem with cats spending time in a yard from which they cannot escape (Ie. cat proof fencing). Lots of dogs enjoy an hour or two each day sunning themselves on the grass and snuffing around in bushes. Why not cats? I have no problem with that. I'm trying to understand what you mean about this being impractical with cats.

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#208 of 313 Old 04-18-2008, 11:29 AM
 
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I'm praying for kids for you too froggie.

My one cat DID hunt, which I didn't anticipate - I'm really not a cat person. So it came as a surprise, but he is foiled now. Bwahaha.

My kid has a sandbox with a lid... I don't feel resentment over that, I think of it like I think 'oh I need a lid on the garbage or the raccoons will get it.'

Marking the doors and deck - yeah, here the abandoned cats do that because the neighbour feeds them. It sucks, although I'm glad she feeds them and to me that is worth the PITA of dealing with marking. Hissing thru the window - I would water squirt them a few times. Would that dissuade them? I would find cats hissing thru my window extremely annoying but I would also be willing to put out effort temporarily to fix the problem, if that would work.

Apart from the bird hunting thing, the 'bad for the environment' thing to me is nebulous and vague and has been used as a red herring in this conversation IMO. I just drove my kid to preschool - talk about bad for the environment!

I can get down with neutering, having parametres that prevent a lot of the issues people are talking about here. But 'oh noes all cats must be indoors at all times or you are bad bad kitty owners and neighbours' is where it becomes self righteous IMO.
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#209 of 313 Old 04-18-2008, 11:35 AM
 
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Originally Posted by heartmama View Post
I was pointing out that you said it was impractical for some cat owners to keep their cat inside. That was what I was trying to understand. I will give a better example: There are certainly dogs that would like to come and go as they pleased. I have a co-worker who firmly believes a dog should be free to roam, that dogs would be miserable otherwise etc. But most people here would say "Not okay, the dog should be kept in a secure area at all times".
Dogs and cats are different creatures. My dog has a hell of a lot less chance of making it across the street alive than do my cats. And dogs are pack animals, understand territorial boundaries of a yard, etc., are more trainable and more containable. Dogs should not be kept inside all the time, but you can't walk kitty to the park on a leash. Or you shouldn't, IMO, it's cruel.

Quote:
With cats, you said it was sometimes impractical to keep it inside. Do you mean that it's impractical to keep cats *in the house* or that it would be impractical to prevent the cat from roaming out of unsecured area's period?

I don't have a problem with cats spending time in a yard from which they cannot escape (Ie. cat proof fencing). Lots of dogs enjoy an hour or two each day sunning themselves on the grass and snuffing around in bushes. Why not cats? I have no problem with that. I'm trying to understand what you mean about this being impractical with cats.
I have no secured outdoor areas. I have a small place. For me it is impractical to keep the cats in the house. What you are suggesting may well be practical for you, I'm not saying it's impractical for everyone. But likewise, it is not doable for everyone.

And the whole line about well if it's not practical you shouldn't own the animal reeks of elitism to me. It's easy to say when you have a big ole sprawling house and a self contained yard. Talk about environmental impact! I'd bet a lot of money that someone in a small place whose cats go outside are making a LOT less negative environmental impact than those who live in the large amount of space that some people seem to be assuming everyone does on this thread. VERY ironic for those people to be harping to others about the environment.

The other issue is that with so many cats, if we institute some rule that nobody can own them unless they are La Owner Suprema, we will have a lot more cats in shelters than we already do. Mine would be dead for sure, and they are pretty nice cats who deserve to have a good life. If you want to legislate mandatory spay and neuter, I am right there with you. But this hysteria over responsibly owned pet cats going outside is too much for me.
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#210 of 313 Old 04-18-2008, 11:37 AM
 
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I'm not much of a fan of the word "hysteria" to describe this, thanks.
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