Thursday, February 15, 2007

A Word about Cats, Part 1

While at Sizzle’s place, I jokingly made the comment that she’d be much happier if she got rid of her cats. It is true that housecats are not my favorites. Someone, however, took my comment to mean that I do not like animals, and that for me to suggest to Sizzle she get rid of her cats must indicate a character defect.

So, first of all, yes, I have about a thousand serious character defects.

Second, it isn’t exactly true that I don’t like cats, to say nothing of other animals. It is true that cats and I don’t always get along. The reasons for that have more to do with the owners of the cats, rather than the cats themselves.

Before I moved to my current location, I lived in a rural area. Our only neighbor, whose house was only about a hundred feet from ours, was the stereotypical crazy cat lady. She owned at least a dozen and fed any other feral cats that would come around. And if you feed them, they will come. They came in droves. She even went to town and fed the cats at several locations in town.

I would look out to the back yard, and there would be 6-8 cats lounging around like a pride of lions. They would dig up my freshly-planted garden to use as a litter box. My patio furniture provided perfect scratching posts. If I actually wanted to use a patio chair for sitting, I had to shovel off several inches of accumulated cat hair first.

I also enjoyed watching the birds and lizards in my yard. You can imagine what a pack of cats does to birds and lizards. No environment needs an artificially high population of predators running around. (They did, I admit, get some rats, too, which also play havoc on bird populations.)

So, you see, it was not so much the cats, but the behavior of the owner/feeder that irked me. Cats will be cats, and there is no use being angry at them for doing what they are programmed to do. Our neighbor, however, was irresponsible in the way she kept and attracted cats. The whole experience turned "cat" into a four-letter word around my house.

The American Bird Conservancy (ABC) estimates that outdoor cats--both pets and feral ones--kill hundreds of millions of birds every year. This *.pdf factsheet says that University of Wisconsin researchers estimated that cats kill 217 million wild birds annually in that state alone. The sheet further indicates that cats have been primarily responsible for the extinction of at least eight different island bird species.

The ABC says the only solution is to keep cats indoors since even well fed cats kill birds and other animals. Yet, are cats really indoor animals? Can they thrive in a life lived completely indoors? It isn't fair to the cat. Would you like to live a life stuck in the house all the time?

We human beings really make a mess of things sometimes, don’t we? What's the solution?

(To be continued.)


Anonymous xboxgirl said...

Yes,some(really do think most)of the people(ie.mostly loner type old women)who have(and/or love to keep every single thing about cats and only cats) many cats seam like very weird,creapy people.And I like animals a lot,though I'm some what of a germphobe,(mainly lizeards,crocadiles,frogs,hamesters,turtles,fish,hermet crabs,birds,rats and dogs)and I'm so not a PETA member.

7:17 PM  
Blogger Sizzle said...

i didn't hold your cat comment against you. lots of people aren't particularly fond of cats. if you hated all pets i might raise an eyebrow and possibly shun you. :)

my cats are indoor cats due to the fact that i did (and do) live on a very busy street. being the worrier that i am (thanks grandma) i was overly concerned for their safety. i've never kept cats indoors in all the years i've had pets (that'd be since i was born) but it seemed the safe thing to do. since i have two, they tend to run around chasing each other and basically going ape shit (can cats imitate apes?) and then they nap. there is a lot of napping. hence the term "cat nap."

is it my first choice to have indoor kitties? no. do i worry less? yes.

and clearly, everything is about me.

i'm glad we cleared that up.

10:18 PM  
Blogger Bird Advocate said...

Thank you for your post, yes, all cats should be indoors where they are safe, and our wildlife is, too!

10:49 AM  

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