Dear Cat Owners

cats

I so respect your right to have any pet you want. I even respect your right to have a pet that I would never want to have. Truly, I have your back on that issue. I would never chose to have a cat as a pet but you go right ahead.

I think some people chose a cat as a pet because they do not require a lot of upkeep. Compared to a dog, they are smaller, more independent, seldom hurt or kill other people, cost less to feed, do not need to be exercised and know how to bury their own faeces in a neat little sandbox you can empty once in a while without too much hassle. Not having to “train” them in the art of bathrooming is a big plus. You can give your child or yourself a furry companion but not be tied down in the same way you are with a dog. Cats are pretty resilient and much more forgiving as far as recovering from neglect. But let’s talk serious here for a moment; having a pet comes with lots of responsibilities. I am sure that you bought your kitty lots of cool toys and that you feed them regularly. You may even let your cat sleep with you. Funny how they become such a big part of your family so quickly, isn’t it?

You know what is not funny? It’s not funny that YOUR cat roams all over the neighbourhood forcing all the rest of us to share in your cat ownership. You see, I would love to have a pet. I don’t because our lifestyle would not support that. We travel a lot and I know we would not be able to commit to the time and energy a pet would need. I thought a lot about that, and sadly, realized, it would be irresponsible for me to try and take on a pet, even an independent cat.

So what I do, is I have compensated. I love the birds and the little lizards, geckos, the possums, the wallabies and the kangaroos. I even love the little rabbits that occasionally show up in our yard. We planted our yard to facilitate all of them. I have a debilitating illness that sees me spend most of my time indoors so my husband went to some lengths – effort and finances – to plant all kinds of trees and bushes outside the windows of my office and my bedroom to attract the birds I love. It has allowed me to enjoy them up close and personal. These have become MY pets and while none of them share my bed, I can assure you that I love them and take pleasure in them every bit as much as you do your cat.

The thing is, your cat spends more time in the neighbour’s yards than it does in yours. It uses our flower beds as its bathroom which has basically killed off some of our favourite flowers. I bet it is nice not to have the worry of a smelly litter box around your place. What a relief to just let the neighbours deal with that, right? I hear your cat out fighting with other cats in our yard at night. Yes, I know your cat so well I can identify its voice. I wonder, can you? We have found it sleeping in our lounge chairs, leaving cat hair everywhere that my granddaughter is very allergic to. Some of the cushion and furniture has been used as a scratching post. Good thing YOUR cat is destroying my furniture and not your living room suite, right?

I have watched your cat stalking birds and lizards in our yard. The other day we saw 5 of the neighbourhood cats all together down by the woods, obviously forming a pack. More recently one of the bigger birds in the neighbourhood was killed – not for meat, no, its dead body lay in pieces all over our yard and the feathers were everywhere. Now, hardly any of the birds come around at all. All of the little water lizards disappeared without a trace. The wildlife in our yard is practically non-existent. So basically you have exercised your right to have a pet and have made all the rest of us have to suffer the animal while you have destroyed my right to first NOT have a cat and then secondly to enjoy the wildlife that are my “pets” of choice.

How does that work?

Australia is overrun with feral cats. How did there come to be so many of them? Owners, who basically ignored their “pets” let them run wild until eventually, their cats ran away and never returned. Owners, who never had their cats fixed so they could not reproduce. Owners, who never bothered to look for the cat or worry about what happened to it. So yes, they are breeding wild and they are killing off the wildlife. It is claimed that 29 Native species to Australia have already been killed off by feral cats. Some say that feral cats kill over 20 billion native animals a year, 75 million in a single night. And the thing is, cats are cruel beyond belief. They torture the animals they kill.

At 10 -12 months a cat can start reproducing. They can have 3 litters a year, averaging 4 kittens per litter. Female cats can produce for their entire adult lives. Think about that.

And while you are thinking, I am heading out to get a cat trap. I hope to catch every single damn cat that all of the cat owners in this neighbourhood have let roam free without a single thought or regard for their neighbours, the wildlife, or the country they live in. Shame on you. Shame on all of you.

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