Who Let The Cats Out!

He was a beautiful tabby cat.
A full apple head.
Skulking across the back deck.
Then pausing at the back door.
Almost as if wanting to come in.
He seemed so friendly.
Somebody’s pet, for sure, perhaps.
Who would let that cat outside?
One of a few cats that roam the neighbourhood.
In search of mouse morsels.
There are some people who decide that it’s okay to let their pet cats outside.
To avoid having a litter box inside the house.
To allow their cats to have entertainment, to satisfy and satiate their wild side.
There is no right or wrong way.
But I am a firm believer that if you allow your pet cat outside, you had better be prepared to never see it again.
There are so many ills that can befall a cat that is outside.
Raccoons, even.
Psychotic and sadistic people.
Accidents of all kinds.
Getting lost.
At the barn where I used to keep my horse, there were new batches of kittens each spring and fall.
All born with hope.
All lost within a few weeks.
No one ever knew what happened to them all.
Where they all went.
But it was a certainty that they would eventually all disappear.
Only a couple of hardy kittens would ever make it to adolescence.
Even fewer to adulthood.
Such is the wild side.
There was a story in the news recently of a family who let their pet cat out on a regular basis, only to have a neighbour trap it, take it several kilometres away and release it into the wild.
It is miraculous that that story had a happy ending.
The cat was actually found and returned to its owner, several weeks later.
Turns out the neighbour that trapped the cat didn’t like that cat coming over and feasting on the resident birds at the bird feeder.
Let alone using the gardens as a litter.
I understand.
Cats are the ultimate predators.
And often, birds are their prey.
It is said that cats kill more birds than wind turbines and tall glass skyscrapers combined.
A sad statistic.
I am on the bird’s side, for sure.
And the cat’s side.
Allowing a cat to look outside at the goings on of chipmunks and squirrels and birds is the ultimate cat toy.
The best in tv entertainment.
Allowing a cat outside to act upon those instincts, in my humble opinion, is wrong.
WE must become the cat’s entertainment.
After all, we have chosen to have these wild creatures in our home.
Invited them in, agreed to feed them and water them and clean their litter boxes.
Surely we can find 15 minutes a day to play with them?
To interact with them – with a string on a stick – tossing a small cat toy – whatever.
Not only does that increase our bond with our seemingly distant felines, it entertains them and fulfills that need for hunting.
For they do like and need to hunt.
That is in their DNA.
It releases a stress relieving hormone.
Anyone who owns a dog would never think of not playing with them, interacting and throwing a ball.
The same should be true for our cats.
They need us to interact with them, to entertain them.
Otherwise, I believe they sink into a type of feline depression.
Their hunting needs are not met, and they sort of fall into a learned helplessness, sleeping a lot, showing disinterest at everything.
That is no life for a cat.
It not only benefits the cat to entertain it and play with it.
It benefits us as humans as well.
We get to see our cats at their finest.
Their eyes and ears perked, their paws ready to pounce.
Just 15 minutes a day.
Surely we all can spare that.
And spare our pet cats a possibly terrible fate should they be let outside.
I read a story in the newspaper recently about a cat named Steve who demanded his owners let him outside.
He would put up a fuss if he didn’t get outside.
Well, Steve has since disappeared.
Perhaps retraining the cat to learn to enjoy being entertained by his owners inside would have allowed him to still be around.
That cat trained his owners to let him outside.
It is up to us, as owners, to train our cats to enjoy being inside, with us.
To stimulate their intellectual and physical appetites and needs.
To entertain and challenge them, and in doing so, entertain ourselves.
Someone said, “Two cats can live as cheaply as one, but the owner will have twice as much fun!”
So, don’t let the cats out, please.


Separator image .