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A serious question for cat lovers.


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Let me begin by saying that I know cat lovers love their cats as much as I love my dogs.  We all share a love of our pets when we snuggle and play, and we grieve deeply when it’s time to ease them over the bridge.  

 

So it’s with complete seriousness that I ask, why do some cat people feel it’s okay to let their pets run loose?  It seems like the practice leads to nothing but trouble.

 

Our neighborhood has an unusually large number of what we call “porch cats”.  Their owners feed them on the porch, have had them fixed, and take good care of them.  But then the pets run loose.  This leads to the regular email from one or another cat owner saying Fifi hasn’t been home in several days.  They’re obviously sad, but the situation could be prevented by keeping Fifi indoors.  Please help me understand.

 

And litter boxes...  I get that they stink and are lousy to maintain, but why is it then okay for Fifi to crap in my garden, waiting for me to kneel in the mess while digging?  I clean my dog’s mess.  Help me understand why some cat owners don’t clean their cat’s mess.

 

Then there are the times when a cat owner finds it so cute when Fifi brings home dead mice and moles and leaves them at the doorstep.  But what about when it’s a dead newborn finch that Fifi killed in a nest in my yard?  A nest built by two finches attracted to my yard by a bird feeder we put up?  A nest that we watched them build, and a newborn that we saw hatch, along with two siblings.  Three siblings that we saw killed by Fifi while their parents squawked and dove on the cat in vain and we sat on the porch in shock.  My wife cried for hours.

 

We know Fifi’s owners.  They’re very nice people.  But they accept Fifi’s mice, moles, and birds as being part of a cat’s nature.  But it’s my nature to protect those I care about, including pets.  I nearly used lethal force once when my dog was attacked.  How'd they feel if I did the same to Fifi?

 

I know this note went dark, but i truly want to understand the mindset of letting cats run free.  To me it seems like no good ever come from it for the owners or the neighbors.  

 

Please keep the conversation civil and seriousness. I earnestly want to understand.

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I have a friend who fosters cats and has one ("Big BOY") huge neutered male that is let out to run around the neighborhood.  This guy is veterinarian, retired now, who is constantly crying about his cat up being up a tree and how the fire department got it down once for free, but now wants to charge him for the service.

 

He worries about Big Boy being gone for days at a time, and that he may be stuck up a tree.  He got angry when I told him to let the cat come home when he wants to and not to worry about him being stuck up tree. I told him that in my almost eighty years wandering around the world I had never seen a cat skeleton in a tree.  He took offense at that, too.

 

I also told him that by living on a rural hillside in Arizona he should worry more about hawks and owls than anything else. 

 

Having been a practicing vet you'd think he'd know these things, but...............?

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21 minutes ago, Joe Cross, SASS #13848 L said:

The same question can be asked of dog owners using the same reasoning.....;)

And I as a dog owner keep him on a leash, in my yard, or in my house. 
 

Also, there’s a cultural difference that thinks it’s acceptable for cats to freely roam the neighborhood. It’s that mindset I’m trying to understand. 

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I don't have problems with cats... my problem is the chronic dog crap in my yard.
I call out their asshole owners, and get "the look" or the finger in return.
These are the jerks who have their dog on a leash, then let him crap in my yard, then walk away from that steaming turd.
I always find them with the lawn mower.

Our (final) cat was an indoor model for 9 years.
I have the back yard blocked off so he spends all day in the yard.
At 17 pounds, he is either too fat, or never got the idea, to climb the fence.

Yes, we get the cat fights and breeding howling in the yard (we have a pool).
But this is very seldom... skunks are more frequent.

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What exactly did you expect the outcome of your post would be? It's just you complaining about cats. Same issue with dogs killing squirrels, or cats or? 

Dogs constantly barking day and night.

We all could pile on about "pets" and how their owners manage them. But it would be to no avail.

 

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Nothing different about pet owners and non-pet owners, fundamentally -- there are responsible ones and irresponsible ones.  It doesn't matter whether the pet is a cat or dog; responsible pet owners take reasonable steps to prevent their pets from being disgusting nuisances to others, or agents of death to other critters, and irresponsible pet owners do not.  Is anyone shocked by this news?  By the way, the Number One cause of wild bird mortality in the United States is -- you guessed it -- cats.  And it is not a close call, either.  As of 2017, the US Fish & Wildlife Service estimated the annual death toll of birds to be about 3.325 billion birds, and of that total cats were responsible for an estimated 2.4 billion bird deaths -- about 72%.  People who get all excited about wind turbines killing birds need to understand that the same USFWS figures estimated that cats annually killed ten thousand two hundred fifty-five times as many birds as all land-based wind turbines.  Cats were estimated to annually kill just shy of 3.4 times the total number of birds killed by all industrial causes combined.

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Not that it is better but pretty sure wind turbines kill more eagles and hawks than cats do, who mostly kill smaller songbirds. My cats mostly bring home mice and rats and lizards. Not too many birds. Once in a blue moon a squirrel.

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I have two cats that go outside daily.  They both use the litter box we keep in our basement, but I have seen them dig a hole in my yard and cover their business.  

 

Both are fixed.  Both use a litter box in my basement.  Both stay primarily on my property, but might stray onto a neighbor's property, I guess.  No-one has complained.  

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19 minutes ago, Springfield Slim SASS #24733 said:

Not that it is better but pretty sure wind turbines kill more eagles and hawks than cats do, who mostly kill smaller songbirds. My cats mostly bring home mice and rats and lizards. Not too many birds. Once in a blue moon a squirrel.

Slim, I don't think that's accurate.  Wind turbines kill far more birds in flying flocks than single raptors, and almost exclusively at night.  Many smaller and not-so-small songbirds and other non-singing birds migrate at night when they seem to use the stars to navigate (in addition to those that have been shown to have a biomagnetic compass in their brains) and most bird deaths from land-based wind turbines occur during migration seasons.  For the same reason, collisions with building architectural glass panels of illuminated (and thus confusing to birds) office buildings, hotels, and other tall structures along coastlines kill almost 600 million migrating birds each year, almost all at night, and there are almost no raptors in that death toll.

Edited by Nostrum Damus SASS #110702
typo
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My mom used to have a lot of cats. At first she'd let them outdoors, but after the third one became coyote food she started leaving them indoors. They all lived a happy, normal life, didn't kill anything except house spiders, and we also had a lot less fleas to contend with.

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My parents always had cats from before I was born until long after I went away to college.  And when I was much much younger, like several decades ago, I had cats, too.  They were all exclusively "indoor" cats, never bothered anyone, never killed anything except an occasional bug.  Some friends still have indoor cats and I must say that the modern technologically advanced cat litter really is something that makes indoor cats much more pleasant to have around the house.

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It is a good question.

We have our PET, indoor cat. Matty has never been outside.

His mother and one brother live outside. The only time Momma Kitty was inside was 3 days after being fixed.

With that said, we live in the country...where 'barn cats' are common.

Usually never viewed as pets, as many don't survive "yotes and such.

We have 6 homes in a half mile area...

If we lived in a city or town...we would NOT have cats outdoors.

 

We do have an old end table/box on the porch where we feed them to keep them around, as well as a shelter when needed.

(Also known to attract others like mice, birds and occasional skunk!)

 

I do not get attached to those 'outdoor' animals...good stewards to them...but not attached.

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I like cats, but I don’t like them harming the birds that I feed. I keep feeders high so Kitty can’t get to them. 
In my neighborhood there are very few cats outside. We had some new people move in that had a big Siamese cat that they let roam everywhere. We also have coyotes that run a circuit. They show up every few weeks. I told these new neighbors about the coyotes and I also told them their cat got a dove in my yard and how much I didn’t appreciate them leaving their mini-lion roam. I haven’t seen the cat since so I figured they started keeping it inside. My next door neighbor told me that “something got that cat.” Apparently he is no longer with us…and no, I did nothing to that cat. My neighbor said that she thought a raccoon killed it because coyotes would have carried him off. 
 

Charlie, I agree. I often wonder why people think it’s okay to let their cats roam. 

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In my experience, some cats simply will not accept confinement.  They will misbehave dramatically if the caretaker tries to confine them indoors.  Incontinence, spraying urine, incessant crying, clawing furniture, drapes and humans, fighting with other pets.  So the caretaker of such a cat makes a choice; let the cat out, take it somewhere else and dump it, or euthanize It.  These are difficult decisions for anyone who cares about animals.

 

My cats have all been strictly indoor cats, accepting their confinement without misbehavior.  Getting them as very young kittens helps.  Trying to confine one that has already been feral is usually much less successful.  The ones adopted as young kittens are independent and challenging enough, without trying to “tame” a wild one.


Feeding feral cats is just as bad an idea as feeding any other wild animal.  But some folks will continue to do it.

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I have had formerly feral, indoor/outdoor, and other cats. You cannot keep a former feral or in/out cat inside, no matter how hard you try. When we moved, we brought 3 former in/out cats with us. As it is very rural, we had a custom fence put in. All three were too big to get outside the fence. The largest of them, climbed a wall to get out, the others yelled so much when he was out, that we ended up leaving the gate open during the day. They seemed to know that they shouldn't go outside the fence at night.

 

The three we have now don't go outside the yard. They tried when they were smaller. They still try. We manage to keep them in. Now, Bandit is hanging around. He will be big and is strong. He was feral for months. He insists on going out. We let him. We think he has another home as he is gone for a day or two at a time and came back once with a flea collar.

 

Sorry, I can't answer your questions. My experience has been, cats will do as they please.

 

Following is the fence and Ziggy when he was finally large enough to go out in the yard.

 

 

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I have been owned by cats and dogs most of my life, so I detest those who abuse pets. However, I have used an old Red Ryder BB gun to sting animals whose owners allowed them to damage property. I deliberately use the old gun because it won't harm them [no head shots, just the rump], however I did kill one very aggressive dog who was acting in a very hostile manner to some neighbor's kids once. This was a dog allowed to roam free and had caused many complaints.

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Feral and stray cats have never been a problem for me, as foxes, coyotes, cougars, big birds of prey, and probably even domestic dogs tend to kill and/or eat them, but those domestic dogs...

 

Folks want to move out of town, so they buy a little 5 acre lot in a small subdivision two, three, four miles, or whatever, from my place. Typically they bring two or three dogs along and buy a horse to live its days in a small shed and sub-acre enclosure, so they can tell their friends in town they have a horse, I guess. Now that they're out "in the country", they let the dogs run loose, and they "pack up" with other dogs in the area and start harassing my cattle and wildlife. I used to call around and try to tell folks their dogs were running fawns, elk calves, and livestock around, but the normal answers were either, "We moved out here so we could let our dogs out to run free wherever they want" or "Our dogs never leave the yard".

I've found *other ways* to deal with the problem. :mellow:

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12 minutes ago, Three Foot Johnson said:

Feral and stray cats have never been a problem for me, as foxes, coyotes, cougars, big birds of prey, and probably even domestic dogs tend to kill and/or eat them, but those domestic dogs...

 

Folks want to move out of town, so they buy a little 5 acre lot in a small subdivision two, three, four miles, or whatever, from my place. Typically they bring two or three dogs along and buy a horse to live its days in a small shed and sub-acre enclosure, so they can tell their friends in town they have a horse, I guess. Now that they're out "in the country", they let the dogs run loose, and they "pack up" with other dogs in the area and start harassing my cattle and wildlife. I used to call around and try to tell folks their dogs were running fawns, elk calves, and livestock around, but the normal answers were either, "We moved out here so we could let our dogs out to run free wherever they want" or "Our dogs never leave the yard".

I've found *other ways* to deal with the problem. :mellow:

Have dealt with these people for the last 20 years or so. Doesn't take long to identify those people who let their critters run crazy because "they are in the country". Usual sequence of events is a walk over to their place (usually with cell phone video of their precious pet) and let them know that the vet bills for stitching up a horse, cow, or sheep after being run into a fence are quite pricey. If that doesn't work then an interaction with the animal control people to get their attention (usually including a citation). After then politely informing them that an animal harassing livestock can be "eliminated" without warning (and then listening to their threats that if that happens they will make life a living hell) it becomes a SSS issue. For those who don't know the term - Shoot, Shovel, Shut up.

Hate to make a permanent example out of a pet because the owners are complete A$$hats but my critters don't roam off property, stay inside at night, are never barking because we took the time to train them and DO NOT mess with other peoples livestock.

Just one more of the joys of living out of the city.

Regards

:FlagAm::FlagAm::FlagAm:

Gateway Kid

PS don't get me started on those jerks who dump their unwanted dogs and cats in the country because "someone else will adopt them" :angry:  :angry:  :angry:

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I'm a dog guy who married a cat girl.  We currently have 5 in-door cats.  We have three large litter boxes that are cleaned three times a day.  You cannot detected a litter box odor in our house.  I know people who don't have enough litter boxes for multiple cats, or do not clean them regularly and they reek!

 

In the past we had a few cats that went in and out, because they were use to that system when we acquired them.  They would totally misbehave if they weren't allowed out.  When those cats were eaten by coyotes, or run over by cars, we vowed never to have another outdoor cat.

 

Currently, in our neighborhood, dogs that run free are a far greater problem.  My neighbor across the street has a dog that was allowed to roam free and is a real PIA.  It would always bark and growl at us when we went up to the top of the street to retrieve the paper or the mail.  The dog also had a really bad habit of taking its "morning constitutional" on my lawn right near our mailbox.

 

After debating a proper response to this daily assault that ranged from verbal complaints to "eliminating" the offender, we reached an acceptable response.  Every day when I went up to get the morning paper, I took a shovel with me.  I would pick up all the dog dropping and walk across the street and deposit them in the grass around the dog owners mailbox.  After about two months of this, I came home in time to see an invisible fence installer leave that neighbor's driveway.  I still get dirty looks from the neighbor's dog, but at least I don't have to take a shovel with me every morning to get my paper.

 

Edited by TN Mongo, SASS #61450
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8 hours ago, Allie Mo, SASS No. 25217 said:

 

I have had formerly feral, indoor/outdoor, and other cats. You cannot keep a former feral or in/out cat inside, no matter how hard you try.

 

 

Allie, I'm pleased to tell you that this is not necessarily true.  :)

 

Several years ago, Sassparilla Kid and I arrived home one night and discovered two deceased kittens in our driveway - about 10 - 12 weeks old.  But, there were four more, still barely alive.  Those we nursed back to health, and in a few weeks I captured 'em and took 'em in for "the works."

 

One male (I called 'im "Beast," solid black, mean and meaner) took off as soon as I brought him home from the vet.  That left three; two black females and one tabby male.  A few months later, the male, Rowdy, vanished.  Expecting the worse, I captured the smallest female, Sherwin, and brought her inside.  She adapted quickly.  Late one night about ten days after he'd disappeared, I found Rowdy behind a woodpile.  He was covered with dried mud and blood, had a snapped femur, many deep punctures, and was evidently in agony as well as starved.  

 

I gathered him up, and the next morning hauled 'im to the vet.  Turns out he'd been severely mauled, undoubtedly by a neighbor's Pitbull, known for breaking into my yard and wreaking havoc.

 

Well, both Rowdy and Sherwin have been happy indoor cats ever since!  

 

Elvira, on the other hand, has a few scars and is still hanging around.  She gets fed, catches mice, and appears to be friendly... but any attempt to pet her would likely result in pulling back a bloody stump.  

 

 

Once in a while cat another will cruise though.  These cats, in my opinion, earn the right to live in the neighborhood and receive occasional handouts for the service they provide in rodent control.  As far as birds, I have no doubt cats can occasionally catch and dispatch some birds - but in my entire life, I've only seen it happen once.  Heck... the birds have a distinct advantage in being able to fly.  I've watch cats attempt this feat, but have never seen one succeed.  :rolleyes:

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Birds are stupid.
Hence the term "bird brain".

Our old Tom used to sit in the back yard and let the birds fly at him.
They would get more and more bold, and fly closer while he ignored them.
At the opportune time, he would fast-as-lightning grab one out of the air kill the stupid thing.

The roof rats used to run the fence and laugh at him down on the ground.
He would wait patiently in the neighbor's tree until a rat jumped from the fence to the tree...
Then we got a dead rat trophy delivered at the back door.

Unfortunately, he was a sprayer, and somebody shot him.
He was failing from lead poisoning when I took him to the vet for the Long Walk.

Edited by bgavin
edited for typos
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A story:

 

About thirty years ago we built a home on one of those 1-hectare (2 1/2 acre) places "in the country."  Loved it!  Ample room for large-scale gardening and "country living," and a wonderful place to raise a kid.  And we had dogs.  And cats.

 

For the dogs, I fenced in a back yard, 80' x 90' with a 6' chain link fence.  NEVER had a dog get out and wander.  And our two cats, Rosemary (a Manx) and Thyme (who looked like Tom, of Tom 'n' Jerry fame), took full advantage of an outdoor life.  They absolutely hated coming in the house, and seemed to understand the boundaries of "home."

 

Well, just after the turn of the century, the Former Missus Hardpan decided she wanted a new lifestyle that did not include a Mister Hardpan.  Things came to pass, and she decided to sell the homestead.  I was in an apartment for a year (yuck!), and she was semi-mobile.  One of the dogs had passed from old age (17-year old Brittany), and the Lab was farmed out for a while.  But the cats... well, what to do with the cats?  As it turned out, the people who bought the house were cat people and wanted to adopt 'em.  Since they'd been born next door, that seemed to be a good thing.

 

And it was, for a while.

 

Then some new folk moved in across the road and two lots to the east.  At the risk of sounding xenophobic - I am not, in the least - I will say that this were somewhat at odds with the demographics of the neighborhood... most of the neighbors were hard-working, middle-class, white and blue collar types.  Mostly Caucasian, with a good representation of Hispanic, and even Indian (dot!) and Asian.

 

This couple were a bit different:  neither worked; the young lady was Native American, and the young man was Hispanic.  But neither worked; rather, they lived on a rather generous allotment she received from a local "Indian (feather!) Casino."  

 

The first thing the fella did was to hang a six-foot tall Raiders emblem on the garage door.  Any hour of the day or night we would be serenaded from a couple hundred yards away by all sorts of raucous music, including an unhealthy dose of rap.

 

Ah well... Suum Cuique - "to each his own."

 

But!

 

The young man had a dog.  He was quite proud of his dog, and made it clear that he considered himself the owner of the "baddest-ass dog in the neighborhood!"  Possibly the largest Pitbull I've ever seen, and undoubtedly well deserving of his label.

 

Unfortunately, he liked to turn said demon loose to roam the neighborhood from time to time - he might sit out front drinking beer while Cujo wandered about spreading cheer and goodwill.  (Not!)

 

Well, one afternoon, li'l Rosemary was sitting in her driveway, minding her own business, when the Hound of the Basketballs decided to mosey on over and, right before the shocked eyes of the new owners, eat the poor cat.

 

Dismayed and incensed, they called the Sheriff's office, and a pair of deputies were dispatched.

 

Amazingly, when they explained what had happened, the deputies said that golly gee, there just wasn't anything they could do.  Now, if they had been on hand when it happened, they MIGHT have been able to do something; but even then it was unlikely.  According to the deputy, since the woman was Native American, she may have some sort of "special" status.  Keep your cats indoors.

 

Well now!  That was not acceptable... so they called in a Higher Authority!

 

The Dog Catcher!!

 

The lady Animal Control Officer who was dispatched didn't care one whit who these folk were - Mister "Baddest-ass Dog in the Neighborhood" took a one-way trip to town.  And was never seen again.

 

Oh... and the "new neighbors?" They moved away shortly afterward.  After all, the neighbors were so unfriendly! 

 

                                       image.png.bdfbee4aca61249e9112cce43f99b0f4.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Every day when I get home from work the first thing I do is grab a Chuckit and 3 or 4 tennis balls and call our toy poodle, April, aka Little Miss, out to the walkway.  She comes dashing out and takes her ready stance.  I fling the ball.  She gives chase, goes nosing into the shrubs .  Once she has the ball and starts heading back she will usually stop off in a patch of tanbark to piddle.  Sometimes she also dedicated, always setting the ball down next to the walkway, which is why I always have a roll of bags in my pocket.

 

My wife can walk her on a leash with no problem.  For some reason Little Miss has issues with men.  When I try to walk her on a leash, if my wife isn't with me, it's ten steps, tug on the leash.  Another ten steps, tug on the leash.  I take her off the leash, she takes point about seven or eight yards ahead.  If I say "April, WAIT!" she stops and waits until I either say, "Okay!" or catch up to her.

 

I've taken her out to piddle at Oh: dark and had her take a bound towards one of those black cats with the white stripes and fluffy tails.  A sharp "April! NO!!" stops her in mid-bound.  

 

About a month ago she followed one of us out , maybe when we took the trash out.  We didn't notice.  Around 3 a m. I got up to use the necessary, got back to bed and asked my wife, "Where is Little Miss?" since she almost always sleeps on the bed near my feet, then if I get up, will roll around on my pillow.  Or jingle her collar to show she needs to go out.  We looked around and found her on the carport steps, looking abandoned and confused.  

 

And we had been told that she would run off if not leashed.

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As a long time cat owner and growing up with cats, I find that if they are inside only they live long lives.  Just lost two in the last 12 moths that were 15 and 19.   Outside or inside/outside have shorter lives.  As a kid we never had one that went outside last past 5 years.   Cars and larger critters do a number on them.   The kitten we have now came from a farm and was left an orphan after her mother was killed by a neighborhood dog.  Living in coloradoI small dogs and cats are coyote food.   
 

roaming dogs can be more of an issue as they pack up and can kill.  Had a woman killed a while ago in the county north of us.  Most people who move to the country have no idea that it’s ok to kill a dog worrying cattle.    The cattle farmers on the other hand know how to shoot, shovel and shut up.  When Fido goes missing he isn’t coming home. 

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