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Location: California, United States

Monday, June 03, 2013

Among the bulrushes

Or a plant that looks like bulrushes, anyway, is my neighbor's cat. I worry about him and his female counterpart - they cross a pretty busy street multiple times a day to visit here and cars aren't the only danger to outdoor cats. The average lifespan of an outdoor cat is less than 5 years, but indoor cats can live up to 20 years (Kermit was 18).

People often say their cats need to be outside because it's natural - I think this is anthropomorphized‎ projecting - and some people think their cats accept the inherent dangers of being ourdoors, but cats just don't have the knowledge necessary to make an informed decision about what they will face .... pesticides and fertilizers from lawns, anti-freeze on driveways, poisonous plants ... fights with dogs, raccoons, possums, and other cats who could be carriers of the feline AIDS virus and feline leukemia virus ... they're more likely to get skin cancer (my outdoor cat in college, Shrimpus, suffered and died from this) ... to get heart worm disease ... to get lost ... and then there are the mean people out there ... yikes! It is possible to turn an outdoor cat into an indoor cat - I did it with Grendel and part of the transition was taking her for walks around the yard with a little harness and leash :) - and it's possible to make safe outdoor areas for your cat too (Home, Sweet Home: Bringing an Outside Cat In ).

OK, end of rant - I'm just worried about them.

Here's happy indoor Data :) ...


Anonymous Richard said...

Yeah its a tough one. My sister's cats have never seen the outside probably don't know what they're missing and live routinely into their late teens. When Rocky adopted us he was already an accomplished hunter and we live in a rural area where traffic is not a problem so we used to let him come and go as he pleased. Earlier this year he became very sick for several days and I was afraid we were going to lose him. He recovered but I suspect he may have eaten a rodent poisoned by the neighbors, I guess that happens. We've been trying to keep him in but now he waits at the door and streaks out if you just open it a crack and spends a good part of the rest of his day staring wistfully at the trees or more likely the birds in the trees.

10:20 AM  
Blogger crystal said...

Yeah, when I was a kid all our cats were mostly outdoor and they didn't live very long.

It was hard to get Grendel to stay inside after having been an outdoor stray. I made a fence around an outside area and I also took her for walks but it was a long transition. I bought a lot of cat furniture and toys ;) My dread was that the babies, who never went outside, would get out and be totally lost in a strange environment - they had subcutaneous ID chips.

My vet had a fence all around her property and had an electric wire around the top to keep her cats inside.

I guess there is no perfect solution.

1:30 PM  

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