My Pet World | by Steve Dale

Reader questions stance on keeping cats indoors

Reader wonders about motive behind stance on indoor cats

Q: You're obviously a Democrat and a socialist because you feel compelled to say in your column that people should have no choice and be forced to keep their cats indoors. I just saw another of your pieces on the same subject in USA (Weekend) Today, I heard you on the radio spouting the same rhetoric. Pet owners should be free to do whatever they want with their animals. My cats enjoy being outdoors. How am I harming society by letting them out? The next thing you know, you'll want socialized medicine for pets. What's with you?

V.G., Cyberspace

A: Thanks for your comments, which give me yet another chance to describe the merits of keeping cats indoors and how letting cats roam does, indeed, impact others. In fact, it's downright selfish to let cats wander unsupervised; it's inconsiderate to the community and giving cats complete freedom is not in their best interest.

Outdoor cats may annoy neighbors by spraying against homes and using flower beds for toilets. The sight of wandering cats can wreak havoc on indoor cats, causing extreme anxiety. This heightened anxiety may unmask underlying illness and cause behavior changes such as missing the litter box or fighting with other pets in the home.

Do only socialists spay or neuter their pets? By not altering the cats you let outdoors, you're allowing them to proliferate, which is irresponsible and costs taxpayers for municipal animal control. Vaccinating for rabies is the law, and for good reason; this disease is deadly and a serious public health risk.

While habitat destruction and pollution are the greatest factors in the decline of songbird populations, outdoor cats contribute to the problem.

I have a friend who swerved and drove off the road to avoid hitting a cat. My friend, ironically a cat lover, died in the accident.

Not only is it a problem for the community when cats wander, it's also a problem for the cats, which may be attacked by predators. No one is around to prevent them from lapping up tasty but deadly antifreeze, or grazing on a toxic plant. Outdoor cats are susceptible to feline diseases and human idiocy; in some places, people even shoot at wandering cats.

Fascist, communist, socialist, call me what you like, but cats belong indoors. As for socialized medicine for pets, why not?

Dog could find costume fun, depending on temperament

Q: Do you think I should dress our dog for Halloween? My 8-year-old daughter is going to be a ballerina, and I think it would be so cute if our toy poodle, Tinker (for Tinker Bell), was also a ballerina. My husband, who never wanted the poodle in the first place, thinks the idea of dressing up pets is sicko. What do you think?

C. H., Henderson, Nev.

A: I'm in your camp on this one, as long as your dog has a good time. If you do put a costume on a dog and the pet looks mortified, it's not the best candidate for trick-or-treating. Some also fear the goblins, monsters, screeching kids and other dogs parading from house to house. Others relish the extra attention (and extra treats). Also, toy poodles were bred to do tricks (as circus dogs) and please us. Two ballerinas in one family is the ultimate in cute; I hope you send me a photo.

Reader questions stance on keeping cats indoors 10/27/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 5:30am]

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