Have you ever had neighbours who let their cat(s) out? Did the cats dig up plants in your garden, or use it as a litter box? Did they ‘mark their territory’ (spray urine) on your house and car? Did they dig in your garbage when it was curbside, and make a mess? Or have you been awoken by cats fighting outside your window? These things have happened to me and it is aggravating.
Let’s be clear – the cats don’t open the door and let themselves out, people let them out. I have complained to neighbours who allow their cats to roam. One person told me that I should just spray their cat with my garden hose so it would leave. Seriously? I have to assault your cat so that my garden and garbage remains intact?
I have cats. I keep them inside for their safety, and out of consideration for my neighbours and local wildlife. So imagine my ire when the neighbourhood cats stalk my indoor cats through our windows and our catio! My cats get along well, but visiting cats have caused them enough stress and misplaced aggression that they have gotten into some pretty wicked fights – one of my cats required veterinary treatment after such an episode! Another of my cats started to mark his territory inside.
In addition to the annoyances caused by the nuisance behaviour of roaming cats, I find it stressful because I love all animals. I know it isn’t safe for these cats to be outside and I worry about them. I see them cross the street and I hold my breath. When I see a hawk or eagle fly overhead I go outside to check and make sure they are safe. It’s not their fault they are outside, it’s a decision made by their humans, their owners.
Be responsible and considerate of others – keep your cat(s) inside. Be a good neighbour. Don’t let your cat be a nuisance; it can cause conflict and hard feelings.
The Community at Large
Animal shelters and rescue groups exist because the need is there. The numbers of free roaming cats who end up missing or lost is high – check out the numerous lost and found cat groups on social media, and missing cat posters on lamp posts and bulletin boards across the city. Veterinary clinics are frequently contacted and maintain lists of missing cats, as does the City Pound.
There are far more stray cats than dogs taken to shelters, and very few of these lost cats get reunited with their owner. Once an owner cannot be found, and after the required waiting period, the cat is put up for adoption. This process costs money – there is veterinary care, food/litter, employees’ wages, and shelter space to pay for.
If there were fewer homeless cats, resources could be reallocated. The focus could be on enhancing programs that benefit the community as a whole, for example – low-cost spay/neuter, education, and cruelty investigations.
Fewer missing cats mean happier families and happier healthier communities.