Why Cats Are Getting Curfews in Some Icelandic Towns


Apparently, Icelanders are very fond of cats. For proof, look no further than the fact that its capital Reykjavik forbade the ownership of dogs until 1984 because they were considered to be farm animals whereas the ownership of cats was no issue whatsoever. However, it is interesting to note that Icelanders are also coming around to the idea of preventing cats from going outside. Once upon a time, this was a new and novel thing. Nowadays, it has become widespread enough to start making its way into law. Very recently, the city council of Akureyri voted to ban outdoor cats before being forced to compromise by imposing a nighttime curfew on outdoor cats. Something that was forced by widespread opposition throughout the country. Still, Akureyri isn’t alone, as shown by how similar policies are already in place for two towns as well as two of the smaller islands.

Chance of the Cat Getting a Medical Problem

Outdoor cats get exposed to more things than their indoor counterparts. This means that they can catch various diseases such as feline AIDS, feline distemper, and feline leukemia from stray cats, which can be found everywhere because stray cats breed so fast. Similarly, outdoor cats can pick up parasites such as fleas, ear mites, and intestinal worms. Generally speaking, parasites won’t kill cats. However, being infected parasites can still be painful and otherwise unpleasant. For that matter, some of these parasites can spread to humans as well as other animals. As a result, it is very much possible for an outdoor cat to get infected with something like fleas before passing them on to everyone else in their household. Suffice to say that dealing with said issue will be a serious hassle at the very least.

Chance of the Cats Getting Hurt

In any case, outdoor cats can also get hurt by a wide range of other things. For instance, they can be hurt by other animals. Sometimes, cats fight other cats, which can result in them being seriously hurt. Furthermore, cats are predators that get predated upon, meaning that it isn’t uncommon for them to come under attack by a wide range of bigger predators. Depending on where people live, that can range from being dangerous to being extremely dangerous for them. Moving on, cats can also be threatened by humans. After all, they aren’t just born with the knowledge of how to navigate busy streets. As a result, if they are unlucky, they could be struck by cars as well as other moving vehicles. Even worse, outdoor cats have a higher chance of experiencing animal cruelty because they are so much more vulnerable than their indoor counterparts. Besides these things, it is also possible for cats to get hurt by poisons. Essentially, if they go outside, they won’t be wandering about in controlled environments. Thanks to that, cats can encounter various things that are poisonous to them. For example, they might take a bite out of a plant that is unsuitable for feline consumption. Similarly, they might hunt a pest animal that has already been poisoned, thus taking that poison into themselves. On top of this, cats can even get hurt because they perform physical movements that they aren’t capable of performing. Tree climbing is a classic example. In short, cats can choose to climb up trees for all sorts of reasons. Unfortunately, they aren’t as good at climbing down trees because their claws just aren’t built that way. Thanks to this, if cats climb too high, they might not be able to return to the ground unless they can jump to safety. Yes, cats are supposed to be good at landing on their feet. However, there are real limitations to what they can and can’t do in this regard. Moreover, some cats are less capable of safe landings than average, whether because they are too young, too old, too scared, too inexperienced, or too affected by some other issue.

The Potential For the Cats to Damage the Environment

Cats are quite good at hunting. This is particularly true once they manage to get some experience at it. Unfortunately, cats are too good at hunting. Moreover, they don’t just hunt what they plan on eating. Instead, they are perfectly willing to engage in surplus killing, which is when a predator kills more animals than they can eat. As such, outdoor cats have a devastating effect on their environments. To name a particularly infamous example, a cat named Tibbles was responsible for the extinction of an entire species of small, flightless birds called the Stephens Island Wren when she was brought to an untouched island by her owner. Of course, birds and other small animals are under threat by a wide range of other things. After all, humans have been claiming more and more of the planet for our use while pumping out more and more pollutants, which have combined to cause a great deal of habitat loss for numerous species. However, that is even more reason to be concerned about the effects of outdoor cats on vulnerable species because it just doesn’t take much for the latter to get pushed over the metaphorical ledge. This is one of the major reasons why people are pushing for cat curfews and similar restrictions. A sentiment that is particularly strong in places with ecosystems that just aren’t adapted to the presence of cats, meaning that they can be expected to take an extra-hard hit from outdoor cats doing their thing.

The Potential For the Cats to Be Nuisances

Having said that, some people will also be motivated by the potential for outdoor cats to be nuisances. They might be annoyed by outdoor cats wandering onto their properties, particularly if those outdoor cats dig in their yard, shed on their possessions, and do other things that will create more hassle for them. On top of that, outdoor cats can make a lot of noise as well, which can happen at very inconvenient times of the day or the night as the case might be.

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