An Albany woman named Sheri Wheeler has become fed up by cats leaving cat feces on her property. As a result, she has proposed a new cat law that would require cats to stay indoors. On top of that, Wheeler’s proposal would require cat owners to get cat licenses for their feline companions, which is meant to make it much easier to find said individuals should that become necessary. Having said that, it should be mentioned that the proposal is very moderate in nature. One excellent example can be seen in how it includes an exception for cats that are on cat leashes. Another excellent example can be seen in how Wheeler has no interest in seeing cat owners found in violation of the new cat law to be hit with excessive fines but instead wants something that will encourage them into compliance.
Currently, the proposal is being reviewed by the city council. However, it seems that it could be hindered by the cost of its implementation. In any case, Albany residents haven’t been shy in sharing their opinions on the matter, as shown by the statements of support as well as the statements of opposition.
There are some cat owners who choose to let their cats outdoors in the belief that it is better for their feline companions. However, the fact of the matter is that staying indoors can be very beneficial for cats as shown by these considerations:
Speaking bluntly, if a cat gets hit by a motor vehicle, chances are good that the cat isn’t going to be walking away from said incident. This is a very real issue. After all, cats haven’t evolved instincts for dealing with motor vehicles. Furthermore, since cats are so small, there is no guarantee that the people driving motor vehicles will notice them in time to avoid hitting them. Even worse, said individuals’ first obligation is always to the other people sharing the road with them, which is why it is recommended for drivers to continue driving for anything smaller than a deer if they cannot move out of the way in a safe manner.
Outdoor cats can get into fights with a wide range of animals for a wide range of reasons. For example, it is very common for male cats to fight other male cats, whether because they are competing for a female cat, because they are protecting their territories, or because they are establishing the pecking order. Likewise, it should be mentioned that while cats are predators, they are by no means apex predators. As a result, there are a number of animals such as foxes and coyotes that are perfectly willing to predate upon them when the chance comes up. Besides these examples, cats have been known to get into fights with everything from dogs to raccoons, which can go very poorly for the cats to say the least.
Pests and Pathogens
Speaking of which, there are smaller threats to cats out there as well. By being outdoors, cats are exposed to a wider range of pests and pathogens, which can cause them to bring some very unwanted visitors with them. In some cases, these unwanted visitors will be nothing but huge nuisances that will cause immense frustration for cat owners. In other cases, well, suffice to say that some pests and pathogens can have much more serious consequences for a cat’s health.
Humans are more than capable of causing problems for cats. Often, this is because people have nothing but good intentions. For instance, someone might mistake an outdoor cat for a stray, with the result that they will bring said animal to an animal shelter. Something that can cause cat owners to spend a lot of time and effort searching for their missing pet. However, there is a reason why we need animal cruelty laws, which is definitely something that cat owners should keep in mind.
There Is Nothing that Can’t Be Satisfied Indoors
Some cat owners let their cats outside because of the belief that their feline companions have certain desires that must be satisfied there. However, this isn’t true because every single one of those desires can be satisfied indoors. For example, if cats want to play, they can do so indoors on cat toys that have been made for that precise purpose. Likewise, if cats need to defecate, there are litter boxes for that. On top of this, it should be mentioned that it is very common for cat owners to either spay or neuter their cats as necessary, thus eliminating one more potential source of complications.
What Are Some Other Considerations of Note?
There are a couple of other important considerations to keep in mind as well. As mentioned earlier, outdoor cats can cause a lot of problems for humans, meaning that keeping cats indoors can prevent them from becoming nuisances for other people. On top of that, it should be mentioned that cats are very, very good at killing, meaning that outdoor cats are contributing to a feline-caused ecological disaster that is unfolding throughout much of the world.
For those who are curious, there are estimates that cats are responsible for killing billions of birds as well as tens of billions of mammals in the United States on an annual basis. Some species have sufficient numbers to soak up these losses without issue. However, cats kill without considering whether a particular species is endangered or not, meaning that they are playing a very real role in the ongoing extinction of numerous species. Something that can have catastrophic consequences for entire ecosystems because of how each species is connected with one another. As such, keeping cats indoors is very important for environmentalism, particularly in places where the local species are more susceptible to feline predators because of a lack of previous experience.
It remains to be seen whether this proposal will ever be implemented or not. However, it is far from being the sole proposal of this nature that can be found out there. As a result, it will be interesting to see how people’s perception of indoor cats and outdoor cats will change in the decades to come.