Sunday, October 09, 2005

First let me say that I used to be a cat person. I had four cats, even though I was deathly (and I mean DEATHLY) allergic to them. I love animals of all kinds.

What I don't understand is the concept of the "outdoor" cat. Loving my cats the way I did, there is no way in hell that I would have opened my door and sent them on their merry way, wishing them well as they go play in traffic. I don't see that as consistent with the treatment of a pet.

My particular problem these days with the freedom-for-cats bunch is that I walk this:

Problem #1: Greyhound with extremely high prey drive.
Problem #2: Greyhound is 90 pounds.
Problem #3: I like having my right arm IN the socket. Call me a princess.

When I moved into these condos, I noticed that the people downstairs had an outdoor cat. Or should I say Kelso, my greyhound, noticed. I warned them about my him and his nature, but they assured me that although she was 16 years old, she could hold her own. The second morning we lived here I opened the door to take him out and didn't notice the cat at the bottom of the stairs. Someone waved to me, and as I waved back Kelso grabbed the cat by the neck and started to shake her back and forth.

It was 6 AM. I started to SCREAM: "No! Don't! Stop it!" over and over. (No one came out to see what the commotion was about. I could have been getting raped and killed. Can you say, "Kitty Genovese?") Miraculously, the cat scratched Kelso on his nose and ran away. She died a few months later, of old age.

Yesterday they told me that they've gotten a new kitten. She's not outside "yet". I assume that means in a few weeks I'll be getting dragged down my front steps on a regular basis.

Am I missing something? What is the point of having a pet and then letting it fend for itself? My cats were perfectly happy living indoors and I never had to worry about them being hit by cars or eaten by dogs. And I know now that my dog-walking neighbors were thankful.

Edited to ask this specific question: How would you react if your new neighbor rang your doorbell to say that her on-leash dog had killed your free-roaming cat? Would you see it as a calculated risk that you took?