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birds : I deal in hope

I deal in hope : Carolyn R Scheidies

Blog: Cats, birds, and consideration of others

A while ago, the Hub published an article about how free-roaming cats decimate the bird population. Somehow, we’ve grown up with the idea that dogs can be leashed and taught how to walk with us and that works–when we bother. However, we also have it our heads that cats like to run free.

This part is true enough when they live on a farm or open acreage. But then, farm dogs are also free to roam. On a farm, cats have a role to play in keeping down the rodent populations. Birds are a possibility only when there isn’t another alternative–or not fast enough.

In town, there are differences. I still see cats walking around our house and lawn, down our sidewalk or across the street at the park. Some wear collars, many do not. Yet, most seem tame and probably have a home in the vicinity. In a kept-up household in town, rodents shouldn’t be too much of a problem.  That leaves free-roaming cats seeking prey wherever they can find it–even if fed at home. Birds are prey, though they aren’t that easy to catch. The more cats there are roaming free, the more the possibility exists for a bird to become prey. But I am concerned not just for birds, but for cats in town.

When our kids were growing up, our daughter had a cat. I thought about the constant traffic in front of our house. I thought about people and dogs in the area. I didn’t even consider letting Cutie roam alone outside. Doing so seemed irresponsible at the very least. Still, Cutie liked going outside. We bought a collar. We bought a long rope. I didn’t buy the idea cats can’t be trained. Cutie learned to be outside on the long leash rope, safely on our property.

Our biggest danger was from those who somehow thought laws didn’t apply to their pets. Our cat was chased, long after she was too old to defend herself, by several puppies. She darted behind the wheels of our car, frightened at the attack because she couldn’t defend herself. Keith had to scoot under the car to rescue her. The owner thought it was ok to let her puppies run in the park without leashes. It wasn’t. She had no control of puppies who saw our cat across the street. A few years earlier, Cutie almost died when two little girls brought a large dog to the park and lost control. The dog had every intention of killing Cutie. Our daughter rescued her, but Cutie spent a couple of nights at the vets, which cost us several hundred dollars.

My point? Dogs, cats, pets that live in town need to be under the care and control of someone strong enough do just that. It also shows respect, not just for the pet involved, not just for endangered birds and other possible prey, but also for the pets of others–who are under control or on their own turf.

Love your pet enough to keep it leashed and under control when off your property, and, yes, that includes your cat.

By Carolyn R Scheidies

Published by Kearney Hub 10/22/2018

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