Outdoor cats

lily316September 25, 2011

People who let their cats outside are idiots in my book. My friend's Whippet is in serious condition after he jumped the high fence in his yard to go after a neighbors outdoor cat. The cat got away in a tree and the whippet crashed into a fence at 40 mph and is not doing well. All sorts of head trauma but he will recover. If he would have gotten the cat, the cat would be dead. The cat's owner witnessed the event and still won't put her three cats inside where they will be safe. My friend keeps her dogs in her yard but this was temptation which cost the dog dearly. Next time the cat may not be so lucky..or he'll get hit by a car, poisoned, shot at, caught in a trap or stolen. Cat owners..this is not 1940 where it once was fairly safe for cats out side. Cats also are responsible for killing millions of birds and their babies every year plus other wildlife which deserve to live. My four cats have never seen the outside. Maybe they're deprived but they are very healthy and happy and safe.

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I have to agree that cats are safer indoors-mainly because of cars and unrestrained dogs, cruel people and poisons. We've seen terrible things happen to cats around here.

But the nonsense of cats single-handedly wiping out native songbird and other wildlife? Sorry. They DO kill wildlife, but far greater numbers of the wildlife populations are destroyed by human use of pesticides and fertilisers. The throwing unsupported number about (killing millions of birds and their babies every year) without reporting that there are huge numbers of cats, both feral and domestic, out on the loose, is irresponsible. It probably boils down to one or two birds per cat per year-I honestly cannot see that as a problem. No one knows the exact number of wild birds and babies that exist in any given year, nor are the numbers of feral cats and cats let outdoors known. This is the sort of propaganda that leads to outright cruelty.

The greatest threat to my own wildlife habitat? The chemical farmers on either side of the habitat. Even the feral cats rarely venture down there for fear of the neighbourhood dogs who are let loose upon them (and who kill the wildlife in my habitat). The ferals aren't interested in coming face to face with the pit bulls in daytime, or the possibility of meeting coyotes and fox at night.

The worst threat from cats outdoors is to your garden. They do love to use nice loose soil for their toilets, which isn't very nice to the neighbours who own those gardens. Kitty poo may carry toxoplasmosis, which is in soil anyway, but something about a cat's gut makes for a superb place to incubate the parasite. Gross and unsafe.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2011 at 4:00PM
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What a tragic accident. I hope the dog recovers. Just so sad. It seems to me though that the dog should not be in the yard unsupervised with a fence which is too low to contain him.

If the neighbor's cats are in their yard, and the dog is not on leash or safely contained in his own yard, the neighbor is not to blame. This is squarely on the dog's owner. My dogs are never outdoors without me, and my fence is 5 feet. Though honestly with enough motivation the 6 year old could clear it. That's just one of the reason's why I am always with them outdoors. If my neighbors want to have their cat in their yard, I need to bring my dogs inside. The six year old catches rabbits regularly if I don't sho them out of the yard first and did kill a feral cat last year :-(

    Bookmark   September 25, 2011 at 5:28PM
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I agree the neighbor's cat was in it's yard but freely goes in other yards. The whippet mom is a greyhound rescue person where I got my greyhound years ago. She has had a gazillions greys but this is the first whippet. He's smart, and well trained. Wins all sorts of events and is in constant classes with his owner. With all the greys she's had, this 38 pounder was so motivated he somehow cleared this high fence. Friend was outside working in her yard when she turned around it was too late. Dog will recover, may lose vision in one eye, looks like hell and barely eats but getting better every day. With my scrappy little Dachshund, cats don't venture in my yard any more. I love cats and probably am a cat person above all, but cats need to be inside for their own safety . I am a bird lover too with national backyard wildlife certification. I also have a pet squirrel I raised and released who is tame. BTW..this whippet has cats in his house living with him. My own dogs live with four cats but on walks bark and pull after loose cats they see.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2011 at 12:34PM
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I have to agree with harebell, a local university here did a study on the main influences on declining numbers of bird life. The number one reason was destruction of habitat from clearing for house construction, and the second top impact was the distance that birds had to travel to breeding grounds and feeding areas due to land clearing and development. Cats have become an easy scapegoat for declining numbers of wildlife but we humans do so much more damage than they could ever do.

I've always had cats coming into my yard, and I have a backyard that birds adore (there are so many birds here everyday) but I've always managed to allow for both. I have lots of perching spots, trees and shrubs for food sources, an organic garden with bugs that the birds like to eat, birdbaths etc, but in my garden the birds have an unobstructed view from the birdbaths and can see a cat coming, they don't have to come down to ground level at all to eat or bath because they can perch in so many places and the birdbaths are out in the open and off the ground. I've always made sure that anything I do to attract the birds is done with their safety in mind so they aren't vulnerable.

It's sad about your neighbours dog, but if he managed to clear the fence it's not the cat's fault, the cat was being a cat and the whippet was being a whippet.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 5:20AM
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I have a lurcher........and can understand the mode sighthounds go into when they see a 'prey' object and the speed at which they respond. It's instantaneous. I feel very sorry for the dog. What a freaky accident.

Not condoning cats 'at large' but this was just a freaky accident. It could have just as easily been a rabbit or chipmunk the whippet injured itself chasing. The cat had as much right to be in its owners yard as the dog. It was the dog who broached the boundry and had the cat been injured instead, it would have been the dog's fault.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 6:18AM
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Well, I guess I'm an idiot in your book then. We have an outdoor cat, she is feral & we can't even touch her, but she is fed & housed very well, IMHO.
I wonder what your friend would do over in Great Britain where I understand the vast majority of housecats go outdoors daily....her dog may spend all it's time jumping fences!

As far as wildlife, I agree with harebell & trancegemini...there's a lot more loss due to us humans, but we get to go outside at large and destroy habitat at will.
Too bad about the dog tho, hope it recovers. I have 2 dogs and would hate to see them injured like that.

Speaking of idiots, I have a nutty neighbor who thinks it's funny to let his dog try to chase Baby around, but she's too fast, even in her old age now. (He's nutty for a ton of reasons beyond his silliness with Baby, believe me).

And despite your somewhat threatening warnings, our outdoor cat has yet to be shot, poisoned, trapped (except for by me to get her TNR'd), hit by a car, or stolen, but I'll tell her to watch out for you in the future:)

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 12:48PM
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I could site statistics about how the average outdoor cat lives usually less than five years, while a well tended indoor cat lives two or three times that. I realize feral cats can't be house cats. I'm not speaking about them, although years ago I rescued two really feral sisters and brought them in where they lived good lives till they died. One would never let me pick her up but would sit on my lap every night.

No need to get snarky with me because I am a cat rescuer and have saved countless cat lives by fostering or adopting them. My present four are all rescues as are my two dogs and before that there were about 13 in my lifetime. Only my first cat a Siamese was purchased. So I'm guessing I've done a lot more for cat welfare than you.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 4:46PM
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Let the first one to start a post by calling people IDIOTS cast the first stone.....

One shouldn't expect a warm reception in a general topic site by calling strangers idiots. Fell free to sound off but don't be surprised if someone responds in kind.

And please do not presume to say you've done more for cat welfare than I, unless we are acquainted and you have some facts to back your (groundless) claims. I am not personally insulting you, although I am feeling it from you in your OP and this exchange.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 6:11PM
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This is more of a debate post especially if you're calling us idiots. That's not very nice. The whippet should have been confined better if it's going to such extremes to try to kill a cat.

No one included me in the stats of outdoor cat life expectancy. My indoor/outdoor cats have all died of natural causes and have lived almost into their 20's. There must be a dozen outdoor kitties in my neighborhood alone and they are there year after year. Never dead in the road; never abused. There are a lot of factors that determine life expectancy and it's wrong to apply some kind of blanket stats to all cats in all areas of the US. How many indoor-only cats escape the house they are confined to and are lost/killed because they have no idea how to get home? I think to be fair the hazards for indoor-only cats should also be given(of the ones not lying around bored). I read a story from a woman that dried her kitten in the dryer. They hang themselves on the blind cords, jumping on hot burners, tumble down stairs. I have a laundry list of mischief my active cats have gotten into being stuck in the house.

My outdoor cats rarely caught birds. There diet mainly consisted of field mice. And, I don't see any difference between one eating a bird and me having a piece of chicken. I have an 11 1/2 year old indoor/outdoor kitty and she's home every night. I also have 2 indoor cats. I installed an outdoor kennel for them to have access to the outside. They are WAY more happy being allowed to go outside. Personally, as long as I have an option available, I'd never confine cats to a window sill because on the happy-meter mine soured when allowed outside. They've also been around the yard enough to know they're way home should they get outside by themselves (happened twice now).

It's too bad the whippet suffered such extensive injuries but I'd bet we'd be reading a different posting had the whippet successfully killed the cat.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 9:34PM
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My little lurcher would be about the same size, perhaps a bit smaller than a whippet. He is never allowed outside off his leash and harness because he can run as fast as any other greyhound breed, he is so fast there is no way a human could ever catch up to him, his prey instinct will overcome his ears and if he had a target in mind he would not even hear us commanding him to come back, and he can easily jump four feet into the air without having to even crouch to spring up. He is a naughty boy and countersurfs when we aren't home. I haven't met a sighthound yet I'd trust behind a fence, so he is attached to our bodies when he is outside. I don't think I'd trust him to a fence, even a tall one. That means we spend a lot of time outside with him so he can get his exercise. It's just part of owning a breed like that. Many greyhounds and similar breeds suffer injuries, especially to legs, when young because of their speed and quick response. I had mine out once by the pond, and he spied a rabbit on the other side of it and he was airborne instantly not even realising he was over a four foot drop into cold water. Does the same thing with rabbits, and birds. I really feel sorry for the dog who was injured, but she may have to rethink the 'fence'.

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 10:05PM
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My friend is installing a higher fence. The dog is now eating some and getting up on his own but may lose the vision in one eye. I had a greyhound for nine years, and she could have easily jumped my fence and never once did. Now I have a short stubby Dachshund who has escaped numerous times from my yard so is usually tethered. He really has a prey drive, and when we walk, he is out front thinking he'll kill every squirrel and rabbit he sees. Both my dogs co exist well with the cats as did the greyhound. But when they see other cats, they bark and pull on their leashes.

Not in a million years would I ever let my cats outside though. Every night there are ads in our paper about missing cats. On my way to the store yesterday, I saw a dead cat hit by a car, I guess, by the side of the road. There are mean people in the world and many hate cats. There are poisons, antifreeze, dogs off leash(like the whippet),and cat fights. My first and only cat who ever went outside was my Siamese, and we lived on a cul de sac then in the 70's. This was before I knew any better. When he was 13 he almost died. He had been in a cat fight and we didn't know he had this deep small cut which abscessed. Only a quick trip to the vet saved him, and he stayed inside till he died at 21.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 3:13AM
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I totally forgot to mention that one of the feral sisters I rescued many years ago WAS hit by a car. My friend was driving by my house, and she saw the car in front of her hit this black and white half grown cat and it was thrown up in the air. There was a lot of traffic and my friend called and left me a message. I was gone for the day. I had already rescued her tabby sister and had her in the house. We searched for days for this little cat and it was getting very cold at night. She was feral and scared but in the end relented, and we picked her up from under our grill and brought her in the house. She was hurt but recovered from her injuries and lived the rest of her life inside.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 3:50AM
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With regard to the impact outdoor AND feral cats have on the native population - statistics on how many wild birds and small mammals that are killed are astronomical. If only one feral or outood cat killed only one bird each day, that is 375 birds per cat per year. It is estimated that outdoor cats - feral or not kill up to 1000 birds per cat annually. It is a huge number and a huge problem. Feral cats release in Golden Gate park in San Francisco wiped out the native ground dwelling birds like the California Quail within a couple of years, they have drmatically reduced the number of native and migratory songbirds in the park as well. This is not a new story and it is only part of the story. Outdoors cats can pose huge problems with transmitting diseases (there are documented reports of rabies, hanta virus and other potentially fatal diseases being transmitted by outdoor and feral cats.
Lets keep the name calling and threats in line and take the heated debating to the debate forum.
I have to say based on the OPs story, if the story happened as told and an outdoor cat was in my yard, it would be trapped and sent to the humane society. I would love to say my dog would have taken care of it, but since my 98 pound Bull mastiff husky mix was super chicken in a dog suit and cats were pretty high on the list of "you handle it, get that thing away from me" I cant speak to that at all. But if my pet was injured after I asked you to place your cat indoors, my attorney would be giving you a phone call.
Cats do not belong outside. They are a non native species and have a huge impact on native species - often hunting to hunt and kill not as sustinance - feral dogs are just as bad.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 7:21PM
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"feral or not kill up to 1000 birds per cat annually"

I don't know where these statistics came from but I don't believe it for a second. If that were true there would be constant carnage wherever there are cats, literally dead bird carcases littering the ground through every suburb, and the birdlife in my garden would have been wiped out in less that a year but I don't ever see dead birds and the bird numbers have dramatically increased in my garden since I've lived here even with cats wandering through.

If cats were wiped out completely wildlife numbers would still be declining because we keep destroying their habitat for our own purposes.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 8:56PM
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The outdoor cat was not in my friend's yard. He was in his own yard ,and the whippet jumped the fence and crashed into the neighbor's in his effort to get the cat who ran up a tree. The neighbor witnessed this, and my friend who also has a greyhound was in her yard with her back turned and heard the yelp. I forgot the rest of the story. The whippet ran as whippets can and was missing 24 hours. Many people were searching all night for him. He was spotted on a deck bleeding profusely but the teenager who saw him was afraid to go out and called the police. But the dog left and spent a cool rainy night out. My friend was out at dawn and called him softly, and he came dragging down the street. So the neighbor who has two more indoor/ outdoor cats knows a whippet and a greyhound live next door but chooses the risk. But I don't think my friend has a case since this was the neighbor's yard. In my town there is an ordinance against stray cats as well as stray dogs as it should be, punishable by a fine.

It's a cats nature to kill. My dear Siamese, the only cat ever outside, killed my favorite mocking bird..Ironic sentence. And my sweetest cat Phoebe, who is the number one favorite animal in my house, was playing with her little velvet mouse the other night. I asked her if she was having fun with her little mouse until I realized it was not a toy. Never been outside since she was rescued as a kitten yet is a little killer. A sweeter cat does not exist. It's just the way they're wired and the poor songbirds take the hit.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 12:55AM
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We don't have any ordinances for cats here, they are regarded as squirrels with benefits. How do your laws define "stray"? Are they allowed outside if they stay on the owners property? How is it fair to put the responsibility on the cat owner if the dog owner has an unruly pet? I'm just not seeing it here. Seems to me she should be educated enough about a breed she adopts to safeguard it (and other people's pets). What if it was a pitbull (not trying to single that breed out, I like them) and it went after a child in its own yard? The parents fault?

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 1:31PM
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The ordinance is simple. No cats will be allowed to roam. I'm sure most municipalities have that rule for dogs. Many do for cats. How are you going to keep a cat in their backyard? If you have a secret let me know. Cats leave their property. They just do. On my three miles walks sometimes I see a woman sitting in her yard with her cat on a long lead beside her. Other than that, we do this walk every single day, and only one time in recent memory have a I seen a cat which my dogs barked and pulled after. . My dogs and I were attacked by a not friendly Golden a few weeks ago.

My friend needs no education. She has been in adoption rescue for at least 25 years and has placed thousands of greyhounds( I saved one of her group's dogs from a track in Conn.) All her dogs are sighthounds and since I've known her, the year I adopted 1990, she has had at least 9 or 10 greys as as pets. This is her first whippet, and he has undergone many training sessions plus is therapy dog. Friend has also written books on greys.

I keep returning to my first cat, the Siamese who I said was indoor/outdoor, mostly in. He opened the sliding door himself and even learned to ring the doorbell. I related how after he was almost fatally injured in a cat fight, killed my favorite mockingbird, I forgot the other incident. He went missing in our very quiet former suburban neighborhood. He usually was in the yards on our street. We all went looking night and day..kids, adults. Three days later he trotted home. We surmise he was locked in someone's garage. He got so many hugs and kisses from all the kids and us. Sleepless nights for me. THAT'S why none ever leave the house again.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 2:02PM
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You can look up the statistics on line or through local Audubon Society web pages - the numbers are staggering.
The reason you dont see dead bodies is because after the cats kill the birds, local wildlife like rats, raccoons and foxes will often come in and eat the carrion.
I agree if cats were gone wildlife would still be endangered due to our greedy habits Windmills, airplane and vehicle strikes are also startling as far as kill numbers go - that does not negate the impact cats have on the population tho.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 4:17PM
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"The reason you dont see dead bodies is because after the cats kill the birds, local wildlife like rats, raccoons and foxes will often come in and eat the carrion. "

But that does make sense either, the highest populations of domestic cats are going to be in cities and suburbs, e.g. I don't get wildlife like raccoons and foxes, rats yes, but even a rat is only going to eat the flesh and leave the bones and feathers behind, so the evidence of 1000s of birds being killed around my house every year would be so obvious I'd be blind not to see it if it was happening in those rediculous numbers.

I've also come across rats nests around here and there are no bird remains in them ever, what I usually find is a big collection of snail shells (presumably the rats ate the snails inside them).

I suspect those stats may be for feral cats out in the wild, but even for a feral cat who has to kill to eat and survive (as opposed to a well fed domestic cat), those numbers seem a little unrealistic.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 4:54PM
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They do make an invisible fence system for cats. Any time I'm outdoors gardening, my kitty is with me in her own yard helping. I'm sure a lot of indoor/outdoor cat owners will tell you the same thing. We don't have any restrictions here so she's allowed to wander but only goes next door and in our back woods. So, there are ways to keep them in their own yard if supervised so I was wondering what the law was on it in your area.

Would it still be the cat owners fault if the cat was contained with an invisible fence? I think the neighbor would have seen her cat die on her own property. Your friend sounds like a wonderful woman and I'm sorry to read her dog was so badly injured. I know a couple of people that have rescued the greyhounds too; their nice dogs. But it sounds to me like the greyhound containment just wasn't suitable enough to contain a whippet. A very unfortunate incident but not the neighbors fault.

    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 11:28PM
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I'm sitting here crying right now over a cat that wasn't even mine. I'm going to have to side with the person who started with the idiot remark here.
My next door neighbors cat drowned in my pool 4 hours ago, I can't sleep now I'm so upset. My neighbor let him out every night before he went to bed. And the cat would make his rounds to all the houses. He was chasing a frog in the dark in my yard and went into the pool. I saw through my sliding glass door but by the time I got the wood out of the way, ran outside and scooped him out of the pool it was too late. I live in Florida and we actually DO have laws about letting your cat just roam here in Tampa Bay. The neighborhood I am in is full of cat owners who let them out and in the fifteen years I've lived here I've seen HUNDREDS of them lying in the road hit by cars.
How can someone who loves an animal just let them out to face the dangers out there like that? I have 2 dogs and on the rare occasion they got out of the house everyone in my house is out the door after him until he is back inside and safe. They are allowed to run around in my fenced yard, but they are protected by the fence. The cats aren't restricted by tall fences and my neighbor's response to this whole incident which broke MY heart was "That idiot, guess I gotta go get the kids a new cat tomorrow. Sorry you got so upset there."
If you have them, love them enough to keep them safe inside your home!!!!

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 2:35AM
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The cat was in her own yard.

The dog, outdoors & unattended, injured itself.

so how is it that the cat's owner is "an idiot" & the dog's owner...isn't?

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 12:41PM
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Jhendiah..Thanks for siding with me about people who leave their cats roam. I had a similar incident years ago. We have two koi ponds, and I had a few tame frogs in them. One day I went to feed the fish, and there was a tabby cat in the water. I clapped my hands and said 'shoo' only to realize the cat was dead.. drowned probably going after my frogs. I had the police come and remove the body. I told the cop I was upset someone lost their cat and will never know what happened to it. He said if they were "idiots" enough to let it roam, they won't even care. And the response your neighbor made makes his point . To some who let their cast roam, it's a disposable animal to them.

Yesterday when I was walking my leashed dogs in my daughter's town which doesn't have a cat ordinance, a cat was startled by the jingling of my dogs collars and ran directly into a path of an incoming car which screeched it's brakes to avoid hitting it. Funny because my dogs didn't even see the cat.

Sylvia, Although the cat WAS in it's own yard it travels in my neighbors and other yards as do the other two from that house knowing there is a greyhound and a whippet next door. My friend who has greyhounds at least for the past 25 or more years and over a dozen as pets since I've know her, has a tall fence everywhere and never did any of her dogs jump the fence. And they were not unattended. Friend was in the yard with them but the lure of the prey was too strong.

Even though our town has the ordinance, and I never see cats loose on our walk, I'm guessing some let their cats out at night. There was a horrendous cat screaming fight out side my house the other night which made all my animals go nuts. If I was a mean person I would have opened my door and let my two dogs out to take care of business.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2011 at 1:44PM
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Cats can roam in our city but recently they passed a law saying the owner has to pay for any damage the roaming cat does.

The invisible fence does work or I hope it does. I ordered one today and hopefully will get my standard poodle by Christmas. The lady said she has cats and dogs and they all stay in her yard. I like the little portable units that comes with the fence. She said she uses one to keep the dog away from the litter box.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2011 at 7:30PM
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Lily, I couldn't agree with you more. It's not just neglectful to let your cat roam around outside where it can get killed or injured or sick, and cruel to allow it to kill wildlife (like wildlife needs yet more obstacles to their survival) but it's also completely inconsiderate and rude.

Cats go up to people's windows and drive people's dogs crazy. Cats dig in people's gardens and urinate on plants and the plants die. Cats kill birds that people took the time to build or buy bird houses and feeders and baths for. Cats also defecate on people's walk ways. I see them doing it and I have to clean it up.

I don't let my dog defecate in other people's yards, drive their pets crazy and trespass on other people's property. Why should it be okay for people to allow their cats to do that to other people?

    Bookmark   October 5, 2011 at 2:27AM
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HUGS To Lily & Mazer!!!
I am a total Believer that Cats - should be Kept INDOORS at ALL times!!! There is no reason to let your cats roam...like someone said its not 1940 or earlier--
The dangers to cats outdoors are way TOOO many to even begin to list!!!! Besides the obvious- hit by car, stolen, etc..
HOW about POISONED??? Stop and think about all the chemicals we use on our lawns- like weed killers, pesticides, insecticides, fertilizers, etc...
THEN cars that leak-oils, anti-freeze-
I mean the list is endless...
THEN seriously take a look at the way society has become - people are ruder then ever- meaner then ever-and only care about themselves attitudes seem to be the rule- So if they did hit your cat --how many people would stop and help the pet??? HONESTLY??
Then I have seen it with my own eyes- people who on purpose poison cats- to keep them out of their yards for the reasons and then some that Ms-minnimouse mentioned.

I would be in fear for my pets life if one of my 4 babies ever got out I would not stop looking until they were back in the house.

I had a Vet-Tech License and certifications in 4 states--
worked for many vets for about 20 years of my life. I also studied and worked as a bather groomer for a number of years. I even worked at a pet crematorium for a year. And when I began my degree in pre-med (human) was forced to work in a lab- which Ripped my heart out of my chest-- needless to say I changed majors-after my Asssociates in Med... So I won't say I have seen it all- but I venture to say pretty close-
I cannot even tell you the number of cats brought in due to so - called accidents - that were OUTDOOR cats..yes of course cats can get hurt in the house... BUT people who have cats - CAT PROOF the house!!! I DO NOT- have cords hanging anywhere- I invested in the stronger Pet screens- I do not keep knick Knacks anywhere- cause they could fall and break and well..hurt my babies...
I am extra careful coming in and out of my house so that they do not get out..when I let my dog out again watch for my cats...
BUT----------- I have had cats ALL my life and I am in my 40's -- all were 1000% indoors and I have never had one "bored and sleep all the time" ALL my cats are highly social - anyone comes to my house I have to warn them that 4 over friendly cats will inspect them and beg for attention...

Cats that are properly loved, treated and cared for- have no reason to be bored and depressed...Buy various cat toys and switch them out weekly - buy cat grass- they can eat safely,
so and by the way I would rather have a bored cat that is safe and alive....then outside and....:(

I have also been involved in Animal Rescues still am.
I volunteer with Purrfect Pals here in Tukwila, WA..which is strictly a cat rescue/ adoption agency.
So anyway those are my credentials, to be able to say with AUTHORITY--
Indoor cats outlive outdoor cats at least by 10 years!!!

If you do not believe the 3 -4 of us that are telling you and begging you to keep your cats in-
Do some research- talk to a few vets, call a few animal shelters- HERES one that I promise will open your eyes to how many cats are picked up dead on the roads, streets, etc..CONTACT your local city hall and find out who picks up the road kill in your area...and call...but make sure you are sitting down in a comfortable chair. I promise if that does not scare you into keeping your cats in NOTHING will--and well--- Don't like to call people idiots....but just maybe you should think twice about having cats...Cause sorry no honest to themselves person would put a cat in all that danger if they really loved them...
Forgive me for saying that - BUT when it comes to protecting a animal I would put my life on the line!!!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 4:22AM
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    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 4:26AM
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Thank you for coming to my defense. I think that cats belong inside regardless of the circumstances and your statistics back us up.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 12:05PM
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Another idiot here, with a feral barn cat from a feral barn cat rescue group ... guess they're idiots too.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 12:25PM
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Feral colonies are an entirely different matter. That is why there are TNR programs all over, and I support them. While I have taken in a few feral cats, and they are as happy as clams in my house, there are others who cannot successfully be brought indoors. That's why rescue groups capture, neuter, and release them and break the cycle.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 1:21PM
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Feral cats have to start somewhere. Guess where? With people letting cats outside in the first place. So yet ANOTHER reason for people to keep their cats inside.

I was watching one of the animal cops shows on Animal Planet and there was a serial cat killer killing people's cats and turning them inside out and leaving them around town. Did people start keeping their cats inside though? Nope. Of course not. But where they surprised and angry to find their dead cats? Of course they were even though they couldn't be bothered to take responsibility for their own pets and do anything to prevent it, LIKE KEEPING THEM INSIDE.

We have coyotes coming back into the area, cats are fair game, as well as other small unprotected animals. Does it take a genius to figure out that it's probably not the best idea to leave cats outside where they can and will be killed? Apparently... But yet again, people can't be bothered to take responsibility for their own pets, they'd much rather kill off the coyotes rather than keep their poor cats inside.

If you want your cat to experience the joys of the outdoors, there are safe ways to do it. See if your cat will accept a harness and leash system. Build a cat enclosure. Put a cat fence topper on top of your fence to keep your cat in your own yard. Take it outside in a cage or carrier. Buy a cat tunnel system.

I've spent years volunteering at a wildlife center. We get in plenty of cat attack wildlife victims. The same people keep bringing in victims, yet they never stop letting their cats outside.

Almost every time I go to the vet, people bring in cats that they allow outside with all kinds of health problems. Yet they just keep letting the cats out and keep showing up at the vets with more health problems.

If you can't be bothered to take responsibility for your own cat and keep it where it belongs, then you shouldn't have a cat. It's not fair to the cats, to the wildlife and to other people to let your cats just roam outside.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 9:57PM
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"Feral cats have to start somewhere. Guess where? With people letting cats outside in the first place. "

sorry but that's not why there is a feral cat problem, these are not strays - they are animals living in the wild. They are there because people dump their unwanted cats, often pregnant or with entire litters out in wooded areas to get rid of them. The cats become feral to survive, they have no human contact which is why they often can't become house cats.

I've lived in an area like this where our house was the only one for miles, every year there were litters of kittens dumped near our property destined to be the next generation of feral cats if we hadn't found them. We also had a few feral cats stumble upon our property, these were truly feral but once you start feeding them, they stay close by to get fed, they may never want to be touched or patted and in spite of their distrust and fear of people, they are hungry, they do not want to be out in wild fending for themselves, they are not there by choice, and keeping cats indoors does nothing to stop the problem - sterilization is the only answer so they don't keep breeding and people need to stop dumping unwanted cats in these area.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2011 at 10:31PM
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Keeping cats indoors AND sterilizing cats is the answer.

And to the people who flat out don't believe that cats kill an alarming number of wild animals, you people quite simply don't know what you're talking about. Volunteer at a wild life rehabilitation center for just a year and get ready to keep count of all the cat attack victims.

Even if an animal, ESPECIALLY A BIRD, happens to survive an initial attack by a cat, they often die later due to shock, stress and infections due to the bacteria that cats host in their mouths in large quantities, more so than dogs. ALL mammal saliva is toxic to birds.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2011 at 1:16AM
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"And to the people who flat out don't believe that cats kill an alarming number of wild animals, you people quite simply don't know what you're talking about.

msminnamouse, Im not here to win an arguement. My point is that you can not have a sensible discussion when people lump cats into one group. Domestic cats and feral cats are two different situations entirely. There are also behavioural differences in cats between male and female, sterilized and unsterilized. You can not make blanket statements about "all cats" and have it be true. That would be like saying "all dogs are aggressive and bite children", it might be true of some, but as a blanket statement it's false.

People who feel it is ok to dump animals like this are still going to do it no matter if the cat was an indoor or an outdoor cat, and many will justify not sterilizing because the cat is kept indoors but once those cats are dumped, nothing is any different, they still become feral and they'll still mate with feral cats etc.

I would love it if my neighbours would get rid of their lawns plant some things that the birds could use for food, for shelter, for nesting etc, because it would do a heck of a lot more good for the wildlife numbers. I think scapegoating cats is an easy excuse, and if we really want to make a difference, we should take a look at ourselves, what we do and don't do for wildlife and put the blame where it really belongs. Putting the blame on cats is like plugging a leak in a boat and ignoring the gigantic whole right next to it, and kidding ourselves that it makes any difference.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2011 at 2:47AM
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I have a neutral question about wildlife survival for the wildlife/bird people. Up above it says feral or not, cats kill up to 1,000 birds annually (per cat). I went out to try to find some kind of estimation on cats which is all over the board. The US Pet Statistics said that there are roughly 86 million owned cats. Surveys are saying anywhere from 40-66% of owners let their cats outside. For easy math, if we said 50% of those were let outside we'd have 43 million roaming cats on our hands. Even if you halved that again, your talking almost 22 million cats. Multiplied times the 1000 birds they each kill annually, wouldn't the birds rapidly overpopulate and starve to death if they were kept indoors? That's a lot of birds without even taking in to account the estimates of anywhere between 13 to 87 million ferals which people are actively trying to reduce. And if the coyote and other wildlife are such a threat on cats, what would become of them? Not all areas have enough ferals to support their dietary needs.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2011 at 10:30AM
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Kittens, I'd get a citation on the 1000 birds per cat before going further with the math :) I think that's a mistype. Certainly not all outdoor cats eat 3 birds a day. Mice and voles are easier prey for them. Several folks have googled this and it sounds a bit extreme and no legitimate source has been provided by the poster. I'd like to see a link. If one cat once ate a thousand birds a year, that's a huge leap to say all outdoor cats eat a thousand birds a year. Problem with the internet is that facts and nonsense are interchangeable and hard to tell which is which.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2011 at 11:28AM
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I am going to insist that this is a question without a definitive yes-no answer. Depends on your location in US and how conscientious is the owner in looking after or supervising the cat. And, it depends on the cat.

I recently got a pair of cats from the shelter - one is a total lap slug. Loves to play with toys and bat a pingpong ball in the bathtub. Could care less about going outside. A former stray, I get the impression he had enough of the great outdoors. Once the door was accidentally left open and he wouldnt go out!

The other one, Orange, constantly whimpers and whines, lays by the door, has perfected the art of darting outside before you even know he's there. He has ripped out window screens and jumps onto the roof of the neighbor's house and down to the ground (Im on 2nd floor)

I am in the process of building Orange a backyard enclosure out of steel posts and plastic deer fence. YES IT IS POSSIBLE TO FENCE A CAT!!!

But, you must be very diligent about finding and closing up every gap. The cat WILL spend every waking minute looking FOR THE WAY OUT, but once he realizes there are none - then they do settle down and enjoy their little yard.

The plastic deerfence is wobbly so most cats can't climb it, but if he does the top panel should angle downward so if a cat climbs the fence, he meets the barrier and cant get around it (same idea a maximum security prison yard.)

Mine should cost less than $300 for 10 posts and 100 ft of 7' tall deerfence. (You can buy kits for more $$$) This is really a minor expense when you consider all the other expenses a responsible owner has.

Incidentally, if yours are indoor cats, here's a request for YOU. Please please please teach your cat to come when called - some day your cat's life may depend on it (recently I met a woman whose cat accidentally got loose - I'd seen it in the back yard but it was a few hours ago and I couldnt catch it - poor thing was absolutely terrified. Woman told me she never taught the cat to come - Hope she found her cat ... but I dont know.)

    Bookmark   October 8, 2011 at 4:51PM
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trancegemini_wa, are you not aware that cats have wiped out a lot of ground nesting birds or do you just choose to ignore that fact? Cats kill for fun, they don't always even eat what they catch. Cats. Kill. Wildlife.

Feral cats or owned cats, it makes no difference. Cats that are allowed outdoors to hunt DO hunt. Many people's cats bring birds and such back to their owners.

Yes, humans are to blame for a lot of wildlife fatalities and are also to blame for allowing cats outside to kill yet more wildlife. Cats can't help themselves and don't know better, that's why you'd hope that humans would know better and would keep their cats inside. But they don't.

I've held broken, dead and dying animals in my hands and tried to put them back together again. I see the problem first hand and I don't have any sympathy for owners who won't be bothered to keep their cats inside. If they don't want to be bothered to be responsible and keep their cats inside where they should be, then cats aren't the right pet for them to have. No one is forcing them to have cats.

Wildlife faces enough problems from humans, we don't need to add to their trouble by allowing our cats to hunt them as well.

    Bookmark   October 8, 2011 at 9:54PM
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Good for you building your Orange an outside enclosure. Funny because I had a beloved orange cat named Louie and he always tried to bolt out every time a door opened. He was a real pain. Now my four cats would just sit and look at a opened door. It actually was proven here because my husband left the door just partially closed thinking I was right behind him. I went out another door. When we got home an hour later , our door was hanging wide open, and I could see straight in the keeping room. There all of my cats were sitting just looking at this new view. No one left.

I have my sweet little Phoebe on my lap purring away. I could not go to bed if she or any of the other three weren't safe in the house.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2011 at 2:09AM
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We live in an urban area that has Great Horned Owels, coyotes and foxes. There are constantly pole signs of missing cats. A once large population of feral cats is long gone.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2011 at 11:41AM
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Even a lot of suburban cities now have those animals coming back. Dangers are in abundance every where for cats. :(

    Bookmark   October 10, 2011 at 12:12AM
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Gotta wonder about the math in this thread when Mazer states:
"If only one feral or outood cat killed only one bird each day, that is 375 birds per cat per year."
last I checked there were only 365 days in a year...

    Bookmark   October 12, 2011 at 4:04PM
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I know, and look out Tweety-Bird when it's a leap-year!

I'm still wondering about the questions I asked a few days ago. If we could agree on some kind of rational number of birds cats kill, what would become of the birds if we removed the threat of cats? At their reproduction rate, would they overpopulate within a few years? Everyone is saying the cats are such a grave threat on the birds; we'd have to be talking about millions of birds just given the number of ferals out there. I'm envisioning that the old Alfred Hitchcock movie :) Everything has a cause and effect. No cats outside = more birds = less butterflies/ beneficial insects and less food for coyote. No?

    Bookmark   October 12, 2011 at 11:39PM
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"I'm still wondering about the questions I asked a few days ago. If we could agree on some kind of rational number of birds cats kill, what would become of the birds if we removed the threat of cats? At their reproduction rate, would they overpopulate within a few years? Everyone is saying the cats are such a grave threat on the birds; we'd have to be talking about millions of birds just given the number of ferals out there. I'm envisioning that the old Alfred Hitchcock movie :) Everything has a cause and effect. No cats outside = more birds = less butterflies/ beneficial insects and less food for coyote. No?"

Good to think about.

The problem is that the people who blame cats for destroying bird populations are completely ignoring their own culpability in the decline of avian populations. Any homeowner using fertilisers and pesticides is endangering the birds (and other wildlife). Anyone who builds or buys a new home contributes to habitat destruction, which results in bird population decline. Commercial farming operations contribute to avian population decline. The local guy who calls himself a landscaper because he has a big lawn mower and a pesticide permit is a single-handed death machine causing avian population decline. Golf courses are big juicy contributors to natural declines of all sorts of populations. All of these not only directly kill birds, but add to levels of toxins in waterways, killing fish and other aquatic creatures, including some food sources for the birds who "the cats are killing". I wonder how many birds are eating the poisoned insects that suburban homeowners spray? Yet the folks who blame cats for the destruction of bird populations glibly ignore all this.

My neighbour's dog was fantastic at grabbing birds who were unlucky enough to fly within his leap range-he killed far more birds than the feral cats who drag their kills to my front walk. I suppose that means that ALL dogs are out to DECIMATE the wild bird populations. Silly? not at all, in light of the view taken on cats.

Other bird killers include raccoons, skunks and opossums, coyotes and foxes, plus birds of prey and even other birds who destroy eggs in the nest to eliminate competition for resources. But, LIKE CATS, most of these animals ALSO kill and consume VERMIN-such as rats, mice, and insects (skunks love eating grubs too!). I've seen a raccoon grab a grass snake and put it to death. Oh noes! That must mean that raccoons are decimating the grass snake populations!

There are no credible figures for the cats-destroying-birds claims. It's a lot of alarmist bs but people will believe what they want to believe without making the effort to verify the crap they're swallowing. Even the basic ability to use rational thought would make it apparent that cats aren't as huge a problem as they so desperately want to believe. NO ONE knows how many cats are in, for example, the US, let alone how many are feral, how many are working cats (barn cats), and how many are pets let outdoors. Therefore it is IMPOSSIBLE to know how many birds the cats are killing. It is impossible to exclude cat kills from all other factors.

And the problem of bird over-population, although remote, is a pretty disgusting concept of its own. Sure, I love to hear the songbirds. But I don't want their poop all over my house and gardens and yard and trees. I don't want to worry about illnesses that sicken and kill birds possibly sickening and killing people. I do believe that the animals, whose existence the "cats destroy bird populations" camp are apparently unaware of, and the pesticides and fertilisers and habitat destruction that they also don't seem to know about, would keep the bird populations in check.

Are cats a problem? They can be. But to be blamed for all of the causes of avian population decline is inaccurate. And that's the nicest way I know to say it.

I still agree with the original poster-KEEP YOUR PET CATS INSIDE. They are safer indoors, as long as the home environment is well monitored. And they're not annoying other people if kept indoors. If you have feral cats, get busy with Trap-Neuter-Release. Around here we can trap a cat on our properties and have it spayed or neutered-even if it has a collar identifying it as a pet. Keeping the outdoor cat population in tight control is healthier for everyone. Cats will always be blamed for more havoc than they can create. I wish we had the same freedoms with the unneutered dogs that are let to terrorise the neighbourhood.

I wonder what avian population declines would be blamed on by the "cats kill bird populations" camp if all the cats were removed? Avian populations would still decline and any change might not even be noticeable.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 11:27AM
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I apologize. I was not shouting. I type so fast and never look at the screen, Didn't mean the CAPS. On another note, my friends Whippet went to a world known dog ophthalmologist yesterday and was declared permanently blind in his left eye. His pupil is pulverized.

    Bookmark   October 14, 2011 at 12:07PM
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lily I agree that having birds and other wildlife around is great. But I just don't believe cats and wildlife gardening are mutally exclusive, because I have built up a wildlife garden here, and over the last 10 years there has been a huge increase in birds, lizards of different types, various insects etc over that time because when we moved here there were almost no birds or lizards etc and nothing they could use to etch out a living.

All of this has happened in spite of the fact that there have always been cats around and coming through my yard. If I was convinced that cats were all that evil, I would be the sort of person to have a fit just seeing cats around, but I don't believe (or see with my own eyes) the alarmist exaggerations that harebell talked about. Maybe my birds are just really smart because whenever they see a cat around they make a ruckus to warn the other birds, some of them will even swoop a cat,and they will fight with any other birds that get near their nest. I personally believe that birds are not stupid and do have strong survival skills and the anti-cat people ignore a lot of logic and get too caught up in an emotional arguement based on "things they've read somewhere" that don't hold up to scrutiny but harebell's post put it much better than I could. Some people see a cat killing one bird and equate that with a massacre of wildlife but these things should be kept in perspective.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2011 at 3:21AM
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Trancegemini - Amen!

    Bookmark   October 15, 2011 at 9:37AM
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Folks this thread belongs on the animal debates forum! It's taking on a life of it's own and seems to be going in circles.

    Bookmark   October 15, 2011 at 11:37AM
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