By now, many people probably know that outdoor cats are a big pet peeve of mine. I don't write about cats here that often. My fiance is allergic to them, so we can't own any ourselves. After getting Kitsune, I discovered that I'm really more of a 'dog person' anyways. I haven't done much research on cats and am far from an expert on them. But I have a degree in wildlife biology, and I know how bad outdoor cats can be for the environment. Plus, I've had way too many bad experiences with outdoor cats to be able to support allowing them to wander. Last Friday I wrote a bit about having to get post exposure rabies treatment when I was attacked by a cat. Unfortunately, I recently had another bad experience that involved an outdoor cat.
It's been quite hot here lately, not unexpectedly considering it's summertime. Last Tuesday I was walking back to my apartment building after running a few quick errands, when I started hearing a cat crying. As I got closer to the sound I saw a beautiful tabby cat laying on the side of the road. He really was a good looking cat. His fur was sleek, he looked well fed...but he was quite obviously in extreme distress. He was panting very heavily and wasn't able to muster up enough energy to pick himself up off the street.
My first thought was that maybe he had gotten hit by a car, giving his location and the fact that he couldn't get up. But he had no obvious injuries. My second guess, considering it was over 90*f out, and he was panting harder than I've ever seen an animal pant before, was heat stroke.
Since I didn't know for sure what was wrong with him, and I didn't want to hurt him more, or get bitten, I decided not to attempt to move him. I quickly offered him some water - I carry water and a collapsible bowl in my purse for Kitsune, and called animal control. Then all we could do was wait. I sat next to him and talked to him. I don't know if it really helped any, but he did stop crying.
Animal control got to the scene and agreed with me, he looked to be in extreme distress due to the heat. They said they'd do what they could to save him but that he didn't look good.
I called the next day to check up on him. He didn't make it.
This whole situation was so upsetting to me, mostly because it so easily could have been prevented. If that cat was kept indoors where it was cooler, he would still be alive right now. Granted I don't know what his life was like, but he looked like he had a home. Like someone had cared for him. But he suffered on the side of the road, for god knows how long before a stranger attempted to comfort him, and then he died in a strange place, surrounded by strange people. Why would you want that for your pet? Why would you take that risk?
It's not true that indoor cats can't live happy lives. There are so many things you can do to keep them happy indoors. You could do supervised time outside with your cat, or build it a catio, if you really feel that your cat needs to spend some time outdoors. But please, please, please, don't allow cats to just wander outside. They can be a danger to others, human and animal, destructive, a danger to native wildlife, and, last but not least, they can suffer horrible deaths, rather than living long, happy lives at home with you.
I know I'm probably preaching to the choir here, but that whole incident made me so upset I had to post something. Comment below, have you ever had a bad experience with an outdoor cat?