Ah, summer! Sitting in my gazebo, I’m drinking in the sights, sounds and smells all around me: the lilies, the bird calls, the buzzing of bees. Rabbits and chipmunks cavort; birds flit from nest to feeder to birdbath. And then onto this idyllic scene creeps a black-and-white striped feline, prowling the greenery in hunting mode, ready to pounce!
I rise to my feet to chase away this interloper, for cats are not wildlife. They are domestic animals that belong inside. Sorry to annoy any cat owner who’s reading this who feels his or her fur buddy should be free to roam in the warm months, but allowing your cat to do so is neither good for the cat nor for wildlife.
Outdoor cats kill as many as 3.7 billion birds every year in the United States. They also go for chipmunks and other small mammals, killing an eye-popping 20.7 billion of them yearly. We can’t blame the cats — even well-fed felines will be on the hunt because it’s their instinct. But we CAN blame their humans.
Outdoor cats face their own risks. They can get hit by cars or be injured in fights with other animals, such as dogs or coyotes. They can even be attacked by raptors like red-tailed hawks and great horned owls. Allowing cats outdoors also increases their risk of being exposed to infectious diseases such as feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus.
Still want your fur ball to be outside but want your pet to be safe and prevent the carnage? Set up an enclosure like a cat tube or tent. That way, your cat gets to enjoy all the sights, sounds and smells of the great outdoors without the drawbacks.