Monday, September 28, 2009

A letter I am seriously considering putting into distribution in our neighborhood

Dear Neighbor,

This is an open letter to everyone in the neighborhood. Specifically, cat owners.
If you don't own a cat, you are free to recycle this.
And if you have kids who are selling chocolate for fund raising, please send them our way.

Cat Owners:
If you own an indoor cat, then bless you.

If you let your cat roam freely outside, please consider this not a warning, but a declaration.
When you own a pet, there comes a set of responsibilities.
This includes feeding it, loving it, giving it veterinary care and keeping it out of danger. You are promising to keep this animal happy and healthy.
IF YOU LET YOUR CAT ROAM FREE, you are blatantly ignoring your DUTY as a pet owner.
Cats are non-native, predatory animals who kill our native wildlife such as birds, mice, lizards, amphibians, etc. Studies have shown that bird populations and diversity drop dramatically in areas where cats are allowed to roam free. And it's not THEIR FAULT.

If you are about to start explaining to me that "cats are just acting on their instincts", or "My cat won't stay indoors!" or "My cat is happy when he's outside!", please think on this:

Imagine your cat. Better yet, go find your cat and look into his or her eyes.
Now, imagine your cat, just having been hit by a car. Your cat is laying in a ditch, maybe already dead.
Or maybe the blow wasn't quite enough to kill him. Your cat is mangled and in excruciating pain, dragging himself into the weeds. Your cat will spend the next few hours, or maybe a day or two, either bleeding to death or slowly succumbing to starvation, because he is paralyzed and can't get back to the house. Your cat has died a horrible death.

Or maybe a stray dog has gotten hold of your cat. The dog is savagely shaking the life out of your cat. Your cat has died a horrible death.

Or maybe your cat has been caught by a great horned owl, or red-tailed hawk. He has been lifted off the ground and taken to a tree where he is being squeezed by hundreds of pounds of pressure so that he will stop struggling so the bird can eat him. Your cat has died a horrible death.

Or maybe your cat has been captured by sick teenagers who set him on fire. Just for fun.
He is left to lay wherever they throw him. Your cat has died a horrible death.

Sick to your stomach yet? You should be.
Ready to wipe these scenarios from your mind? There is one, and only one thing you need to do.

That's it.

And here comes the declaration:
If I find your cat roaming the neighborhood, I will be taking him off the streets to our local shelter where he will have the safety you neglected to provide.
If you didn't have him micro-chipped, then you will probably never see him again.
I will be giving him the chance you never did. Because I care more about him than you do.

If you want to come down and yell at me, feel free.
I'm the Freak Down the Street with all the birds in her yard, and her cats in the HOUSE.


KGMom said...

Susan--first, I agree with you so whole-heartedly I hesitate to say--but...
I don't say that to argue with your point of view. But unless you know your neighbors (assuming you really plan to give this letter to your neighbors), I would be cautious. Someone might read this and assume you are threatening them in a way that they may act against you.
It's a crazy world--and sometimes passionate sane thinking is mistaken for a challenge.
Be careful...

Elizabeth said...

What great timing! Did you see the article in the NY Times today?
It has the clever tactic of mentioning that outdoor cats live at least three years less than indoor cats. I put it on my Facebook page hoping that people might be persuaded.

Susan Gets Native said...

I'm not really going to hand it out guys. I needed to get it out of me, that's all.
Elizabeth: yeah, I put that on my FB page too.

Kelly said...

...we have 6 neighborhood cats who cruise our yard. I'm convinced they are what wiped out our White-throated Sparrows this spring. They drive me nuts...and they drive my sweet indoor kitty, Bip, nuts too. Many, many years ago I was an animal health technician and saw quite a few kitties who had been attacked by other cats, dogs, hit by cars, you name it--horrible abscesses crawling with maggots, broken bones...a broken jaw with a mouth filled with maggots...cats vomiting blood after eating glass-laced hamburger set out for them by evil people... If people saw what I did they would never let their cats roam around outside...(and my White-throated Sparrows would have been around to sing their lovely song this spring...)

Sandiana Jones said...

I Love it! I totally agree with you 100% Roaming cats have been my biggest pet pieve since the dawn of my life. I have 2 dogs, I don't let them roam in someone elses yard eating thier birds at the feeder. yet I cahse cats from my yard regularly. They spray my shrubs, try to eat birds from my feeders and poop in my flower beds. Then someone has the nerve to complain to me that a coyote ate their cat or it got hit by a car....HELLO! that wouldn't happen if you kept track of your pets. Anyway, enough on that. Thanks for saying what I've been thinking.

Stacy Hurt said...

You forgot those say 'My cat is a good 'mouser/rat catcher'. The huge problem there is that many folks put out RAT POISON, Rat eats it; goes away sick; cat eats rat. Very bad juju for messing with this food chain. Don't forget; folks with farms kept cats for that reason, that is why humans tolerated cats from the beginning, for rodent control. We have come so far past that now. Keep them kitties safe.. Keep them indoors. AND DON'T UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES DECLAW YOUR CAT, IT'S ILLEGAL IN EUROPE BECAUSE IT'S MUTILATION! If you don't want clawed furniture there are any number of non invasive things you can do before ripping their fingernails out!

Mary said...

Dear Susan,

You wrote that from your heart AND mind. It's good. I like it. I would actually love to send it to some knuckleheads in my neighborhood.

My next door neighbor and I get along just fine. She keeps her harnessed cat "Harry" on a 30 foot lead out back. He loves it. She allows him outdoors about 30 minutes then back inside you go, buster ;-)

Love ya,

NCmountainwoman said...

LOL here! I make up these letters all the time. The one for my neighborhood would be PICK UP AFTER YOUR DOG!!! The words in my letters to the idiots driving on the roads are mostly expletives so I can't share them.

I'm so glad others share my pleasure in composing these imaginary letters.

Kathiesbirds said...

Good for you Susan. My friend with the Harris hawks nesting in her yard didn't believe me when I told her they would eat her cat, but one day she saw its carcass up in the nest being fed to their young. A hawk or an owl does not differentiate between a cat or a rabbit. You know this better than me, but I see and hear about it happening quite frequently down here. BTW, my indooor cat is sitting on the desk getting cat hair all over the keyboard at the moment!

littleorangeguy said...

You. Rock. (You should know that, but it's worth repeating.)