Loose Cats At Risk in Rural Areas, Says Letter to the Editor
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Letter to the Editor: Loose Animals At Risk in Rural Areas
As a cat owner, I empathize with those who choose to allow their cats to roam outside. Cleaning litter boxes is unpleasant, and allowing cats to live outdoors provides them with a more “natural” lifestyle. Unfortunately, there is nothing “natural” about allowing domesticated cats to live in the wild; they are a non-native predator species. If you claim to love animals, then you should care enough to protect all of the native species upon which cats prey. If you care about private property rights, you should respect your neighbor’s right to not have your animals on their land.
Over many years, my dogs have wandered from my property on only three occasions. Each time, various rural neighbors have been helpful in capturing them on their land and returning them to me, unharmed. Each time, these ranchers gave me a stern warning: “if your pets come back to my property and bother the animals within its boundaries, I will shoot them dead”.
I care for my land, and I encourage songbirds to make it their home as well. The neighbor’s cats kill them. I love the frogs, salamanders and snakes that take refuge in my wood pile. The cats kill them, too. I find them with broken spines as they die on my lawn.
My neighbors have a dozen outdoor cats. They defecate in my garden and uproot the food I grow to feed my family. They mark my home with their urine. They wake me in the night when they fight and when they mate. I keep my dogs tightly secured, or else I know I will lose them. There should not be a double standard for cats. Just like dogs, and just like your cows, goats, sheep and hens, your cats should be kept within the boundaries of your property and prevented from entering mine.Julian Klehr