My cat, or the neighbors?
In this article I will talk about the outdoor cat, I get a lot of input at regular basis from every possible angle. Of course, this will reflect a lot on the “Swedish point of view” other countries might have other regulations and therefore it might be a whole other story there.
But I do think this is a problem in many, many countries.
This article is not so much from the cat's point of view, I’m focusing on the human's point of view here.
Those who got outdoor cats usually see it as a right for the cat and some kind of zero responsibility on their part. Of course this does not apply for everyone, but generally that's the opinion you encounter when you speak to the owner of outdoor cats.
The thing is, in the end, I’m the one who chooses to have a cat, my neighbor might not.
At the cat forum, it is incredibly common for non-cat owners to enter and wonder what to do so that the neighbor's cat does not step right into their house when they want the door open in the summer, they wonder how to protect their chair cushions from being destroyed by peeing cats, the children's sandbox from getting soiled by cats who do their needs there.
Whose responsibility is it really? The one who chosen to have a cat or the one who chose not to have a cat?
A dog is not allowed to walk freely outside there is even a leash-constraint in the urban areas, I have for long thought about why this is a law for the dog and why does not the same apply for the cat? The truth is that it is easier to teach a dog to stay within certain limits than a cat, so how come the dog must be in a leash and not the cat? In the area for birds to have their babies, there is a stricter law how demands the owner to keep their dog in a leash even on the countryside, in the woods, parks and so on, but the cat is the real killer and for them, there is not one single law? This really confuse me?
Many people than directly claim that it is only because the dog is so much more dangerous than the cat? Are they really? How many have encountered a raging cat who has completely lost control? Believe me, put the cat against the dog and the cat wins a thousandfold! The dog has strong jaws and sharp teeth and can kill a human being, although this happens very rarely. A cat may not kill a human but believe me, the damage can be quite real, unlike the dog that has "only strong jaws and teeth", the cat has teeth sharp as needles, and extremely sharp claws both in front and back, this in combination with a unbelievable speed and agility can make a cat extremely dangerous.
Fortunately for us and other animals, the cat has an instinct that tells them to fight in the very last possible resort, just because of their extremely dangerous weapons. A cat will fight only as the last possible resort, that's why cat owners often do not realize that the problems they do have within their group of cats at home, in fact, is fights about rank or just plain discord, since the cats do not go into battle? Cats will avoid an attack for as long as possible.
But enough said about that, we can in short summarize the above and recommend only controlled outdoor stay also for the cat on the basis below.
The neighbor of a cat owner does have the privilege to keep their doors open without risking to get the neighbor's cat inside their home.
The neighbor can be really allergic and then the cat may simply be a danger to their life.
Neighbors shouldn't have to pick up your cat's crap from their plot, sandbox or flowerbed!
Anyone who breeds and keep their complete females indoors, should not be exposed to get their door soiled by your uncastrated male cat marking territory on it.
The neighbor should not be exposed to your unneutered male / female urine marking on their chair cushions, their flowerbed, their doorstep or their children's sandbox.
The person with cat phobia should not need to walk around always on edge in fear of all the cats running around freely.
At last, I would like to add that if a cat is going to walk outside freely, it’s in my opinion absolutely necessary, that the following is fulfilled:
The cat should go outside for a purpose, ie have a job to perform, for example, as a stable cat or out in the countryside to keep rodents away.
The cat should have access to proper food a cat does not hunt because it is hungry but as an amusement and it hunts just as well with the stomach full of good food. Even better since it will naturally be in better health and thus have more energy.
Keep the cat insured or have a good saving for veterinary bills, and go through the cat at least once a week after to see if there are any wounds or injuries, ticks or anything like that. You will this way also get a general look at the general condition of the cat. If the cat is ill, keep it inside and under supervision until the cat is well again.
Once a year, take the cat to the veterinarian and have it examined at the same time as the annual vaccination. Make sure the cat is ID-marked!
And above all, make sure your outdoor cat is neutered! Not only does it prevent it to get into fewer fights, but it also stays more closeby, it destroys less for the neighbors and most importantly, it will not contribute to increasing the stock of the homeless!
Another minus when it comes to outdoor cats is that you do not see as easily if the cat is ill, this is why it’s so often is believed that the house cats are so healthy. The domestic cat owners who all too often have their cats outdoor freely, often do not notice when their animals are getting ill.
How can you tell if the cat is tormented by a bad stomach if it does its needs in the forest or on others' plots, how do you detect, for example, blood in the stool if the cat does everything it should outdoors when the owner is not present? How can urinary problems be detected in a cat that goes outside, it is not possible to know if it's been peeing normally or 40 times a day or not at all?
When you got an indoor cat with controlled outdoor stay (in leash or cat run) you will quickly notice if something is wrong!
Well, cat owners time clean up your act and start take responsibility for your cats, and just like the dog owner make sure to clean up after your cat, make sure your cat can't ruin anyone else's property and keep the cat in a leash or in a cat run.
Please take your responsibility as an animal owner!
By: Malin Sundqvist