Wednesday, January 11, 2006

I Never Thought I'd Side With a Cat-Killer

My friends know -- and by now you probably do, too -- how much I love animals. And my heart goes out to this woman who found her 13-year old cat dead on her property.

I even applaud her tenacity in investigating the circumstances surrounding her cat's death, including DNA testing. I've been a longtime supporter of the Animal Legal Defense Fund, an organization that pushes our nation's laws to stop treating animal cruelty and abuse as petty vandalism and to start treating it as the vicious crime it is.

And if she had found out the murderer was a human, I'd personally be donating money to a fund to prosecute that prick to the fullest extent of the law. And if the law was inadequate to punish him, I'd be donating money to help change the law. (That's what the ALDF does.)


In this case, the DNA testing proved that the cat-killer was a dog.

The woman whose cat was killed is asking for the dog to be destroyed. Based on what little I know of the case, I think she is out of line. This was a new dog in the neighborhood, unknown to her, and should not have had access to her cat in the first place. Dogs and cats, as any cartoon viewer can tell you, do not necessarily mix.

Now I'm going to piss some people off, I know, because this is a statement that always causes people to argue online... So let me just warn you, it's not just what I believe, it's common sense, and it's what the Humane Society believes:

Cats belong indoors. Only.

A cat that is indoor-only can live twice to three times as long as a cat that lives outdoors all or part of the time.

The dangers outside are not just dogs. They're bacteria, chemically-treated lawns and gardens, antifreeze, animal traps, toxic plants, pests (including ticks, spiders, scorpions, bats and rats), coyotes, cars, and worst of all, humans.

It's never too late to create a safe and stimulating indoor environment for your cat. Trust me, my cats are indoor only and they get plenty of exercise, stimulation and input. They want for nothing, believe me. Every window gives them a chance to "hunt"... to sneak up on birds. Just without the killing and blood and fleas.

And it's never too late to turn your outdoor cat into an indoor cat. (The Humane Society calls them Safe Cats) It's important to remember that cats don't have long-term memories the way we think of them.

Even a cat that spent the first three years, say, of his life outdoors can be turned into an indoor cat and made happy; it's not like he's pining away for "the good old days." Even if he "goes for the door," he is really moving toward a particularly interesting smell, not trying to "escape." With patience and love and a lot of play, your cat will forget there ever was any place more fun than inside your home. There certainly never was any place safer.

And you'll have a lot more years together. And you'll never need a DNA test.


peeky said...

Animals kill animals, and animals also eat other animals, much to the consternation of a crazy airy-fairy aktress I knew, who insisted her cat become a vegetarian just like she was (!), and a short while later it expired. Apparently the aktress is still alive, despite the concentrated thoughts and wishes of a great many people.

Michael Markowitz said...

People who deny cats meat are guilty of abuse, plain and simple.

Many of the problems people face with training animals, by the way, come from treating them like people instead of animals. There was an interesting article in Slate:

peeky said...

I saw that article! Really eye-opening. The people I know who have crate-trained their dogs seem to have nicer, happier dogs.