Thursday, October 7, 2010

Should Cats Be Allowed to Roam Free?

This morning your beautiful white fluffy cat ran in front of my car and was almost road kill. Luckily, I was doing under the limit and was paying attention so when your kitty darted out from under a car into traffic, I was able to stop quickly. If it had been the speeding Maryland driver behind me, your cat would be dead.  --Posted on a DC email list
The question comes up often, and remains unresolved: Should cats be allowed to roam freely? In the pro-camp are cat owners who say that cats are meant to roam, that they have happier and more fulfilled lives when they're free to satisfy their curiosity, meet other neighborhood cats, and chase mice.

Opposed are people who point to the avoidable death that roaming cats face, usually because of cars. Roaming cats also kill birds, and can have a significant impact on the local songbird population. Well-fed cats, which is to say most domestic cats, only hunt for fun, and don't need to be outside.

So what's the answer? Cats in or out?


  1. Cats don't typically hunt and kill other pets or people, or leave doodoo where you step on it, which is often why dogs have leash laws. They do keep pests away, though maybe delivered to the owners door as a present.

    They also are not as smart as dogs and consistently trainable to not go outside...they are hard to catch when they do.

    When I was younger my dad ran over a dog because it darted into 4 lane traffic, and I cried for hours, but if the cats do go out, let's not blame the driver.

  2. "Cats don't typically hunt and kill other pets or people ...".
    Ah, but they hide well and pop out to kill wild birds, and they even somehow get into our large DC trash cans, when we have tossed food remains that we don't put down our disposals, like shrimp or mussel shells, and make a real mess with them. For the first reason alone, I believe cats ought not to roam free. The second is an added nuisance.

  3. Keeps the rats away.

  4. Wandering cats seem to be very bad for the birds. Do they kill a lot of birds?

  5. Cats are pests.
    They come into gardens to kill birds.
    They dig up gardens.
    They can be vicious.

    On our street, cats have been winding our dogs up at night, and they bark at them, and it keeps people awake. How do I know it's cats winding the dogs up at night? I've seen them. All four of them.

    I have no problem with people having cats, but they should keep them in their own garden. It's not my pet, why should I have to put up with it vandalising my garden and killing all the birds?

  6. Are deer or foxes pests? They're part of wildlife and they might make your dog bark and dig up gardens but should they be removed and contained? I understand you want your land to be yours - but the cats don't know the difference and as far as they're concerned you're not protecting your territory (that is what your dog is doing). When you see cats you don't want in your yard spray them with a mild water pistol - they'll get the message that this is your home and you don't want them here. But certainly they are not pests. They do not cause you severe annoyance or harm. They are animals just like we are animals. As for the birds, it's just nature being nature and evolution at work.

  7. Unlike deer or foxes, pet cats are not wild animals, and thus are not comparable. If they are, you should have no problem with me letting my Great Dane take a dump in your yard because a fox or raccoon might do that too. Perhaps we should allow dogs to roam free too, since its just nature and evolution at work when they attack people and ruin property.

    Cats should have to be confined on their owner's property like every other pet in existence. Why stupid cat owners think "well, my cat can climb my fence lolz" is good reasoning for being able to let their pets roam off their property is beyond me. That wouldn't work with bird or gecko owners, so it shouldn't work with cat eithers. Keep your cat indoors, on a leash or behind a cat-proof fence (yes, they do make them).

  8. If you want a cat, fine. Keep it on your property though. If you choose to have a pet, it is your responsibility and not anyone elses.

    All other pet animals have to be kept under control. Why are cats any different?