Cat on a harness is not cruelty

EDITOR – I am an animal lover, I love everything that moves, except for maybe cockroaches.

I have a cat of my own and she is not allowed outside unless she is on a harness accompanied by me.

Having said that, a lot of people say this is cruel, as a cat should be free to come and go as they please.

To this I ask the question, how can it be cruel to ensure your animal is safe? Inside it has no chance of going next door and getting caught by the neighbour’s dogs, it has no chance of finding itself in the road and getting hit by a car, and there is no chance to come into contact with other cats and pick up a disease.

Apart from loving my cat enough to keep her safe, I also consider the environmental impacts that just a single cat can have on the ecosystem.

I read an article once where they did research on feral cats (in Australia I think). They caught and euthanssed some cats to see what their stomach contents consisted of. Some cats had up to 30 different small creatures that they had eaten in a single night, most of which were not invasive rats and mice. This proved that cats have a detrimental impact on the environment, the natural eco-system. It has been proven that feral cats have directly led to the extinction of quite a few bird species.

The online article ‘Feral cats are a blessing in disguise’ is totally misleading. Yes, cats may aid in helping keep the rat and mice populations down, but ultimately they kill off way more of our natural-occurring wildlife like reptiles and birds.

Snakes are often considered to be vermin, however they are natural pest control agents, like owls and other birds of prey.

People often ask me where have all the chameleons gone which used to frequent gardens many years ago. Three major factors have contributed to their decline in numbers and even the decline in wild birds and other small creatures:

  1. Habitat destruction
  2. Pesticide and poison
  3. The introduction of more cats and some breeds of dogs

In my opinion, the things that can be done:

  • People need to take the time to learn about snakes and get over their fear of them.
  • People need to keep their environment clean. If there is no rubbish for rats and mice to eat, they won’t be there in such numbers.
  • People need to practise responsible pet ownership. Spay and neuter and don’t get a pet unless you can properly afford to look after it.
  • I also believe that a plan needs to be made to make it much cheaper and easier to get your cat or dog spayed.
  • Feral cat populations need to be monitored and not allowed to get out of hand.
  • Poison is never a better alternative to an environmental issue like a rat plague.

WARREN K DICK

 

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