Sunday, June 17, 2007

Cat-tastrophe, or what did they think was going to happen?

It's overcast this morning and maybe it will rain. I hope so, the garden could use it. My rose bushes and lilac trees are doing well and leafing and branching out. Radishes and beans have come up in the garden and one of the tomato plants (a transplant) actually has little green tomatoes on it! Growing a garden is exciting because it's always changing. The iris are all blooming and the front flower/herb garden is beautiful with them and the annuals I had planted in there.

But looking out the window just now, I saw the neighbor's cat. Several times a day that cat will come into my garden and use it as a giant catbox! I suppose the neighbors think it's no big deal but the cat has dug up and ruined my watermelon planting and that area smells like a catbox. I have some strong opinions on cats being let outside, and I hope I won't alienate any of you, but here they are:

I have a friend who used to constantly let her cats outside. When I asked her why, she replied, "Because they meow and want to go out!" Now if many pet owners and parents, for that matter, let their children or pets do something just because they wanted to do it---well, that wouldn't work out so well! Who's smarter, an adult or a child? A pet or its owner?

This same friend, and other people I know, then lament because their female cat is pregnant--again! Well, duh, I say. If you let a female cat out that hasn't been neutered, what do you think is going to happen?

I have a co-worker who is very sad because she lost her male cat. She would just let him out every night and one morning he wasn't there to come back in and she hasn't seen him since. I'm sympathetic over the loss of a beloved pet--but what did she think was going to happen when she lives in town on a busy street?

Another person said she liked to let her cats outside because their catboxes stay so much cleaner. But then, those loose cats turn the neighbor's gardens into catboxes! And little kids' sandboxes, too. Yuck, that's very gross and irresponsible of the cat owner. Would you like to kneel in a catbox to weed your garden? Would you like your little kids playing in a catbox?

But of all the reasons to keep your cat inside one of the most important is because cats are predators to song birds. I have read many articles that say the decline of songbirds is directly caused by domestic cats being let out to roam loose. I think one article said 80% of songbird deaths are caused by domestic cats. Most cities have ordinances against loose pets but it's rarely enforced against cat owners unless their cat bites or scratches somebody.

Oh, and I almost forgot another reason not to let your cat loose outside: there are cruel people who like to torment and torture cats. The very thought makes me ill and if I had a cat, I would not let the poor thing outside to possibly run into one of those sickos.

So, this has turned into a plea, please DON'T let your cats roam loose outside! The little songbirds will thank you and your neighbors will too! And your cat will be safer and more healthy too.


Blogger BikerCandy said...

I'm not a fan of cats at all but I totally agree with you on this post. Please keep cats indoors. Please don't let them use my gardens as their litter box!

9:27 AM  
Blogger Anvilcloud said...

This catman agrees.

11:59 AM  
Blogger Maria said...

I totally agree. Liv has a sandbox in our back yard and two of our neighbors have cats who love to use it as a litter box. I have spoken to the neighbors. One offered to buy me more sand and followed through and also kept her cat inside. The other laughed in my face.

We also have a neighbor who has a cat but her husband built a small little enclosure (looks kind of like a bird enclosure at a zoo) and they sometimes take their cat outside to play in it.

3:19 PM  
Blogger magicfingers said...

People never really have cats. The cat is allowing the people to take care of them. The cats actually come and go as they please.
But you are right, the only way to protect the cat is to not let it outside.

4:43 PM  
Blogger Lisa said...

My cat USED to be an outdoor cat, but she barely puts foot outside the door these days.

I agree with you about the garden thing. Everytime I might get even a little enthused about ripping out the weeds and replanting, I think about what the local cat brigade are going to do with all that newly turned I basically give up before I start lol Little mynxes!

Your mate's right about the litter box being cleaner if they go outside more often, but that can also mean you may have to clean up after them. Like mine for instance...if she's left outside for too long, she craps on the balcony *sigh* Just another cat showing humans who's boss I guess lol

11:39 PM  
Blogger Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

Excellent post! Not only do outside cats crap up gardens but, if they get into the wrong yard...say, one with big dogs in it, and then can't get out fast enough...well, that could be VERY bad. That happened with one of my neighbors roosters. My neighbor had a whole bunch of chickens and roosters and he let them roam all over the neighborhood. One of the roosters got into our back yard and my two dogs thought they'd "play" with it. Needless to say, the rooster never made it out of the back yard alive. I felt bad about it.

Besides, if I have to keep my dogs under control at all times, shouldn't the same be said for cats?

8:31 AM  
Blogger Lorna said...

Your wish is my command, and has been, on this issue, for the last 15 years.

11:15 AM  
Blogger Walker said...

I keep my cats inside to avoid the Vet bills.
Some people put bells on their cats thinking that they will scare the birds away if the cats makes a run at them but what they don't realise is that cats squeeze in some tight spots and could get hung up and strangles because of the collars.

There is something you can put in the garden to discourage cats from digging in it like mothballs or something, you could look into that.

My rose bushes are in full bloom and the white rose bush I planted this spring has bright yellow roses on it. Go figure, I buy a white one and end up wioth a yellow rose.

Have a nice day

12:32 PM  
Blogger sumo said...

I ran electric around my patio so they couldn't get out. One jump up to the fence was all it took. I have to admit there were a few birds that fried on the fence though...made me feel really bad. But it kept my cats in and out of the street, which was my greatest fear.

3:29 AM  
Blogger ordinarygirl said...

Since I haven't lived in the city I haven't let my cats out. My cat now is going on 12 and he's never really been outside, so I'd never let him outside now.

I do let him go out on the balcony of our apartment, but I keep an eye on him. I hope some day we'll have a back porch that's screened in and I can let him out there as much as he wants.

If I lived out in the country again I'd consider having outdoor cats, but only if they could take care of themselves outside. And only if they're spayed or neutered. I've never understood why people don't spay their kittens and then complain about all the unwanted kittens when they get pregnant. Ridiculous!

2:52 PM  

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