A recent Facebook post on a local group generated more than 420 comments in just a few days. The original poster lamented that he “watched a neighbour’s cat kill a bird in his yard, rip it apart and leave the mess.” He went on to ask, “Can someone convince me that it’s not rude and irresponsible to let your pet come into my yard, kill just because, and defecate where I have to clean it up?” I, for one, can’t convince you otherwise. It is a problem…
According to the Global Invasive Species Database, felis catus (aka the house cat) is number 38 on the list of worst invasive species worldwide. Bird populations are on the decline, with the number of species considered at risk recently doubling. With all of our efforts to preserve the environment around us, from eliminating the use of plastic straws and bags to helping turtles cross the road, wouldn’t keeping pet cats out of the natural environment be an easy win.
Dogs don’t roam free through our neighbourhoods. We keep our farm animals confined…so why not our beloved cats? Many will argue that it is natural for a cat to roam and hunt. Maybe, but letting them roam free in our neighbourhoods isn’t the way to encourage that. Visit any pet store and you will find aisles of products meant to help your cat engage is natural behaviours, without the need for them to poop in the sand at playground or kill local birdlife.
The reality is it isn’t safe for cats out there. Cars, coyotes, and disease all pose life threatening risks to free roaming cats. If nothing will convince to keep your cat safe indoors, please let your cat roam free responsibly – make sure they are spayed or neutered, update to date on vaccinations, identified with a breakaway collar, bell and tag, as well as a microchip, and ensure your cat is accounted for on a daily basis. Like all our pets, cats too deserve to be kept safe.