poured out before bed
“But they need their freedom, cats. They need to feel wild sometimes.”
My friend sips her coffee and jiggles a bright pink mouse in front of her tabby’s face. He bats at the puffy toy lazily, watching the bag of treats on the table between us with slitted eyes.
“But they’re actually domesticated – they’ve been bred over centuries and centuries to be indoor pets. And when you let them out they not only crap in other people’s flower boxes and kill their song birds, but they’re forever having close calls with cars and other animals and eating questionable stuff. It’s dangerous out there for a house cat.”
“It’s not dangerous – it’s letting them get back to their true nature. They’re wild at heart, you know. And my Poopsie has always been just fine – never been hurt or sick outdoors. He’s a very wise animal. And he just loves it out there – it makes his life. You really should let Louie try it.”
“I’m going to have to respectfully disagree and tell you that I think it’s irresponsible. Louie’s a smarty pants, but Louie is far from his noble wildcat ancestors. He’s an indoor cat. He’s an indoor cat in a big city. He can come outside with us on a leash under supervision, but indoors on his own he will stay.”
And though Louie may hate it, I mean it. Domesticated cats are just that – domesticated. They aren’t wild animals. Yes, they have some wild instincts, but they lack others. And although I’m sure farmer Fudd would appreciate it if Louie took out some of those pesky wabbits, it’s not exactly the natural order of things that he should do so.
Many of my cat-obsessed comrades may disagree. OK, fine. But the New York Times – not to mention a whole bunch of research scientists – agree with me.
Check out this recent article on feline outdoor living by Natalie Angier, a piece published in yesterday’s edition of the NYT inspired by this original research in Nature Communications and touching on the issue of outdoor pet and feral cats, before you open that screen door for Fluffles.
And if you want a bit of a laugh, dig into the comments. Bonafide cat people and can be real nutters.