Part of the Bay Area News Group

More Beastly Blogger

By Gary Bogue
Wednesday, October 5th, 2005 at 2:03 pm in Animals, Pets.

Quality of Life? For Who?

I got a call from someone who took issue with something I said in Wednesday’s (10/5) column about the cat that was shot in Richmond. The cat is recovering but may lose its right front leg.

My suggestion:

"While he’s recovering, which will probably take a while, this is a good time to turn him into a permanent indoor cat. It’s a jungle out there in the streets, and he’s going to be even slower at dodging bullets on three legs that he was on four. My cats are indoor cats and I recommend it to all felines. It’s a lot safer and indoor cats live 5-plus years longer than outdoor cats."

My caller felt keeping cats indoors was like putting them into a big cage, and it was a "quality of life" issue for the cats, and that cats needed to be allowed to roam outside. I said I felt otherwise. And I asked what about the quality of life of the birds and other wildlife killed by the cats?

We volleyed back and forth for a bit and finally parted friends (I hope). It’s an endless debate, really. It’s all a matter of perspective and I’m not too sure there’s really a single definitive answer.

What do you think?

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

9 Responses to “More Beastly Blogger”

  1. becky 3131 Says:

    my personal opinion is that she needs to expect things like this to happen. its sad yes but if she is unwilling to change anything than she needs to accept the fact that stuff will happen. we cannot change people who shoot animals with pellet guns..its sick and cruel..but there is always going to be people out there doing those kinds of horrible things. so basically quit complaing. she is putting her cat at risk by not keeping it indoors. she is responsible for what happens. as in financially…emotionally and so on. if its so important for her to keep her cat outside then own up to what thats going to bring.

  2. Anna Says:

    Gary, you missed the mark here. You gave this bad neighbor and irresponsible pet owner “airtime” for her issues; issues which are entirely of her own making. Her cat got shot. It is HER fault. I own a cat and she has claws, is properly trained, and is very well adjusted & emotionally stable as an indoor cat. That having been said, I not dislike cats, but I dislike their reckless owners that let them illegally, yes illegally, run the streets. There are at least 3 cats owned by people on my street alone that run free in my neighborhood. They constantly spray and defecate in my yard and I’ve caught them “red pawed” killing birds at my feeders. Contrary to popular belief, cats not in their own turf do not bury their smelly evidence, rather they leave it to make their presence known. I am tired of scooping up dead birds out of my backyard and stepping in cat crap when I walk the yard to water my plants. Why should I have to patrol my yard and clap and spray with my hose to keep these unwanted visitors at bay just because their owners 1. Don’t love them, 2. Reject them, and 3. Endanger them? If an owner doesn’t want to deal with the smell and responsiblity of a cat, then get rid of it, don’t loose the thing on the neighborhood. This lady may have one or two people who think her cat is “Cute” or enjoy it’s “antics” but I guarantee there are plenty of folks who dislike it. She deserves to have her cat shot, to have cars run it over, and to have it attacked brutally by dogs. It is HER fault. I spoke to Animal Control this morning and asked if they had fined this woman for letting her pet run loose, unfortunately they could not divulge that information, but it is ILLEGAL to let cats run loose. The only reason Animal Control doesn’t chase them down and impound them is that cats do not have the same biting danger to humans that stray dogs do and resources i.e. $$ are limited. Happily though, I was told, that I can legally trap cats on my property and turn them into Animal Control free of charge. Hmmm. Best of all, I can turn a Contra Costa cat in to a Sacramento Animal Control Facility I will also have an added bonus of ensuring the owner won’t be able to find the damn thing to bring it home and wreak further havoc in my yard. Maybe I should box up the dead birds and leave them in THEIR yards and scoop up all the crap and dump in in their driveways or on their doorsteps. Keeping a trained and clawed cat indoors is not cruel; it is accepting ownership of the cat and demonstrating courtesy for your neighbors. Why does this woman think she has a right to let her cat annoy and harrass her neighbors? Her CAT’S rights over ride MINE? I don’t think so. I don’t advocate harming any animal, but if her cat got shot, it’s her fault and no one else’s. I’m researching legal traps as we speak and after a one time, not required, warning note to the neighbors, intend to begin deporting them to another county. Gas money well spent! TA TA Kitty Trespassers. You are not welcome here. P.S. Declawing is mutilation and if you don’t want to take the time to train your indoor cat, buy a plush toy. P.P.S. And kindly quit offering me your out-doors cat’s unwanted kittens after it gets impregnated by a stray Tom. Spay and Neuter your pets!

  3. Debs Says:

    Well now, I think Anna goes a bit overboard in her comments, okay a LOT overboard. However, I do agree with the bit about keeping your cats indoors and out of my yard and the street in general. I own two dogs who do NOT like cats. This does cut down somewhat on the “kitty traffic” in our backyard but alas not our front yard where numerous birds have fallen prey to neighborhood cats.

    I have much sympathy for the women whose cat was shot but do agree with you Gary that it’s time to make that cat and indoor kitty.

    I love you new blog by the way!

  4. Pat in Antioch Says:

    Hi Gary,
    My indoor cats (all 4 of them) are happy, healthy & ALIVE because they are indoor cats. Mandy (the oldest at 14) wasn’t a happy camper in the beginning (at about 9 months), but she adjusted well. (She was an outdoor cat that I started to feed & brought in the day before we moved.) That poor baby was SO scared, but a little patience & a lot of love did the trick. She’s one fat, sassy kitty now! Bob was a feral cat who moved into my back yard in May of ’03. Since he is a black cat, I decided that he had to “move in” before Halloween, so in Sept. (when I was finally able to pet him somewhat regularly) I scruffed him, boxed him up & took him to the vet. (There was a little blood shed, but I healed quickly! :-) He checked out healthy, was neutered, came home & after a month or so was comfortable with me again. He’s such a sweetie & the biggest couch potato you’ve ever seen. I have no doubt that if these guys didn’t opt to move in they probably wouldn’t be alive today. It’s a crazy world out there. (The other 2, by the way, came as indoor cats from private homes.) I am becoming increasingly upset with my neighbor 2 houses down who has a wandering cat. I am SO tired of this cat stalking the birds at the feeders I’ve put out for my feathered friends. They have the mindset that this cat is “free” too. They’re lucky I love animals because I would never intentionally hurt one. There have been a couple of close calls when I let the dog out into my FENCED yard & the cat is there too. I may be wrong, but I don’t feel I should have to check the yard before she goes out just to make sure the cat isn’t lurking in the shrubs. I’m comfortable knowing that there are no neighbors going through this with MY cats…
    they’re home, safe & sound, where they belong.

    Pat in Antioch

  5. Ray Lamanno Says:

    Like you, I’ve heard a thousand comments from cat people who are in denial about their cats actions. I have a friend who is an avid bird watcher who claims her cat is “too slow” to catch birds. It’s not just the damage to wildlife, it’s the idea that somehow it’s okay for their cat to go into others people’s yards and do “whatever”. We have bird feeders in our yard and a “heard” of quail that share our yard. I’ve watched cats hide in the shrubs in my backyard and then ambush the birds. If those owners care for their cats so much, keep them indoors so that they don’t end up at the animal shelter as a stray.

  6. Judy in Walnut Creek Says:

    Every time I take a walk (which is almost every morning), I am saddened by how many Lost Cat signs I see posted. With so many coyotes, cars, etc., in the neighborhood, I doubt that more than a few are ever recovered.

    When I see these postings, I’m so grateful that my 3 2-year old ‘girls’ are indoor cats. They’re happy, healthy, well adjusted and get plenty of exercise chasing each other all over our 2 story house. Not only that, we don’t have to deal with fleas, dead ‘presents’ brought in from outdoors, and no bloody wounds to take care of from fights with other cats.

    If you really care about our cat’s well being, you’ll make it an indoor cat.

  7. Karen Hester Says:

    Actually, you can make it an indoor/outdoor cat that would be relatively safe from harm. Our indoor/outdoor cats access our backyard (which is very small) through two doggie doors – one from the kitchen to the garage and one from the garage to our side/back yard. When we first got the kitten brothers (their mother was a feral cat and they were born on my girlfriend’s front porch) four years ago, we had a ten year old German Shorthair Pointer named Duke. Duke was used to using the doggie doors and we didn’t want to suddenly restrict his activity. So, I bought a rather expensive electronic doggie door that opened when Duke approached (he had and electronic device on his collar) and locked a few seconds after he went through. One of the kitten brothers was predominately Siamese and learned to follow Duke out of the door within the first two weeks, so we gave up and deactivated the door. We didn’t want the kitten brothers to roam the neighborhood and get hurt so I went on-line and found out how to cat-proof a fence. My husband used flag pole holders, wooden dowels, and wire fencing (netting would do) and rigged up our fence so our cats couldn’t get out and as a by-product, other cats couldn’t get in our yard and aggrevate our dog, Duke. Duke passed on a few years ago, but the cats, Kwai and Misha, still enjoy the doggie doors and the fact they can go unmolested into our back yard. Oh, and by the way, we have a new member of our family, Tula, a 4-month old German Shorthair Pointer(GSP)we got from the GSP rescue, who will also be able to use the doggie doors.

  8. kathleen - brentwood Says:

    I agree completely about the indoor cat thing. There is a perfect examlpe ( or should I say 5!) living in my backyard right now. They were in the neighbor’s yard, then he started spraying repellent, and lo & behold, now they’re in mine! I suggested he call the humane society or feral cat place, but he did this instead, making it my problem now. I have two indoor cats, one born under my son’s bed 7 yrs ago, and 1 rescued at 2 weeks in Livermore, now 2. Both are happy, alive, and don’t know of any other way of life. The momma cat is scrawney, has given both the dogs worms, and fleas, and poos in the lawn, a trick she has now taught the babies. I’m pretty sure she was someone’s “pet” which was allowed outside, and “ran away”, or wound up pregnant and tossed. This is why people shpuld keep cats indoors. It’s a matter of CARING enough about your pet, not ensuring it has a so-called “quality of life”. What better quality of life could you give your pet than regular meals, a warm bed, clean litter box and love enough to ensure it doesn’t get hurt? Argue all you want, the only reason a cat should be outdoors is when it’s being transported, safely, in a carrier.

  9. Damian Scharping Says:

    Perhaps you have ever heard concerning the Environmental protection agency and flea preventive products? Why can’t everybody adore felines just as much as we do? It is pretty unsettling just what several of those products are causing to our pets.

Leave a Reply