I get into a lot of trouble with cat people when I say this, but here goes. I try to allow my pets as natural an environment as possible. I have a cat door, so they can come and go as they please. I’m gone a lot because of my work, and my landlord checks on them every day, changing the litter box and putting out fresh food.
My cats have a rich, active life. Yes, they bring in moles, voles, mice and the occasional bird (not many, though. Apparently mice are more plentiful.) In the spring and summer, they keep my little home mouse and mole free. They have also extended their work to my landlord’s garden. We refer to it as “paying the rent.”
They are both neutered so there is little fighting with neighborhood cats other than the occasional territorial yowling. Max is an outdoor cat. Big and strong, he loves to spend his days outside, but comes in to check on me periodically when I’m home. Annie is perfectly content to stay inside. She does go outside, just not nearly as much as Max.
I get a lot of terrible feedback about how many birds my cats kill every year and I have to stress that birds are probably killed by strays more often than house pets. I think it’s more important that we work toward eliminating the number of strays. My cats are familiar with their home, inside and out. When they are outside they know what, and who, to watch out for. Cats that are never let outside are vulnerable when they accidentally get outside. Believe me, they will get out- it’s a matter of when, not if. I know too many people who have terrible stories about the cat that got out.
Mine are happy and have no weight problems. Max is big and loves to go outside, regardless of weather. The boy is all muscle! Annie is more petite but is active enough that she’s well within her weight ratio. And they are both very healthy.
I recommend allowing your cats lots and lots of activity as well as watching their weight. We have to increase our exercise routine when we want to lose weight; they are no different. If you live in an area where it really is dangerous (busy thoroughfare, for example) I understand your reluctance to allow them out. I used to have a cat tree when I lived in the city. Make room for it. They LOVE it and they can busy themselves all day.
These are Nature’s creatures. They need activity and healthy food just like everything else. They’re not pretty things to plop on the sofa. And they aren’t just there to make us feel better-we owe them an environment that allows an active, healthy life even when we’re not around.
We’ve done it both ways, but our current cat is a house cat. My mom has a strictly outdoor cat, but this time of year they set up a cat flap so she can come into the basement for the nights when it gets really cold. Even though she’s an outside cat, she’s still vaccinated and healthy. Yes, they kill vermin, but that’s what nature intended. I don’t think it matters what other people think. They’re your cats, and as long as they’re not a nuisance to the neighbors, who cares?
Thank you Gwen. I feel the same. I keep an open mind about most everything-I try to, anyway-because I want to always be learning. But after I read what I could find about cats and their natural predatory abilities, and the appalling facts about strays I came to the conclusion my guys are helping me keep my home vermin free naturally and I am not addign to the stray problem. Max and Annie are healthy and happy and that’s what matters most to me. Thanks again for commenting. It always tickles me when you stop by, too!
Your recent posts about structure and getting back into an exercise routine have inspired me to plan a new routine for the coming year with my writing and exercise. Let’s keep supporting each other!