Allow me to place this in context. My beloved and I take the fuzzy monsters for a walk every morning through Vancouver's West End. Inevitably there are always a bunch of hand made signs plastered on mailboxes and trees announcing the loss of a beloved family feline. The signs boldly display a photo copied photo of NORMAN or JUNE or Mr. Kettles and announce that he/she was "last seen on the front porch". Norman or June or Mr. Kettles is always billed as being very dear to their owner and very friendly.
Here is my immediate question. If your cat is both dear to you and friendly to strangers, why the hell do you let him roam free in a neighbourhood where he could easily be run over or taken home?
I should state my bias from the beginning. I am not a cat person. This is of course in part because of the fact that every cat I meet prompts me to have a full blown asthma attack. But of course, the hate for such domestic pets goes deeper.
I find cats stand offish. When I come home from a long day at work I want my pet to run to the door and practically pee on the floor out of the sheer joy of seeing me. You will not get this level of excitement from a cat. Instead a cat, if he/she greets you at the door is flippant and expectant.
A cat is the kind of animal that you can leave alone for days with food and water and maybe a scratch post and they are good to go. While I admire this level of independence in a house pet, I am not about to support this aloof behaviour in any mammal in my home.
Sure, it's great to let your pet roam about the hood and feel a sense of independence. But when that pet winds up on the neighbourhood equivalent of a milk carton it is time to shut that shit down. Bring Mr Kettles in and lock that sucker up. No more born free, my friend.
I know what you cat people out there are thinking.... cats don't get lost as often as we think. Bullshit. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, there are 86.4 million pet cats in the USA. There are about 60 million feral cats living in the USA. Approximately 5 million cats are found in animal shelters each year. More than 60% of the cat owning population allow their cats to go outside. CUTE? Let's let Mr. Kettles roam free in his natural habitat? Not so much. Those little shits eat song birds. Mr Kettles is domesticated but still knows how to hunt. According to the American Songbird Society, about 4 million song birds are killed each year by cats. Furthermore- karma is a bitch 3 million cats are killed each year by cars. Mr. Kettles- you eat the bird or the bumper.
Let me not leave you with the impression my sisters that I hate cats (but I do). According to a study presented in 2011 at the International Stroke Conference cats may indeed save lives.
This finding was based on data extracted from people aged 30 to 75, from the second National Health and Nutrition Examination Study. Participants were recruited from 1976-1980 and followed over a 10 year period. Of the 4,435 Americans in the study, 2,435 of the participants were current or former cat owners, while the remaining 2,000 had never had a cat.
Using the main outcome as death from all causes, including stroke and heart events, the researchers found that over a 10 year follow up period, cat owners showed a 30 per cent lower risk of death from heart attack compared to non cat owners.
So there you have it- cats do indeed save lives and serve a purpose beyond the weird videos that their owners feel the need to post about them on the internet. (Have my sisters not noticed the ridiculous amount of cat videos on the net these days??)
Yes, we all have our path in life and yes, we all have our choice in pets. I'm not asking you all to get a dog and get on with it. But if you must own a cat (fine- we can still be friends) do keep the little sucker indoors.... for the sake of you and your pet- and the robin redbreast out back- it's best we all try to have nine lives, no?