I always try to discourage midnight cats from hunting in my yard by having a little discussion with them. Some listen, some don’t.
I know I am not alone in my annoyance of cats that are left to their own devices after dark. They hunt birds, bunnies and anything else they can find until your yard is empty of visitors, and drive our dogs and indoor cats nutty….usually in the middle of the night.
Maybe you think I’m about to go on some crusade to demonize the cat. I am not. I love cats, love the way their minds work. The cat is not the object of my frustration, the cat’s guardian is. It boggles my mind that they are not concerned with all the things that can happen while kitty is out on his nightly foray.
Many years ago my Pyrenees slipped out of our yard and was missing overnight. What I remember about the event is that I was sleeplessly overwrought worrying about all the things that could happen to him. (It was living in Phoenix at the time.) I worried about Sebastian being hit by a car, losing his way when faced with unfamiliar surroundings, would he find enough water (no small thing on an Arizona night) or, worse, would somebody who was cruel find him before me?
Some of us have experienced just this kind of panic. And once is enough. For the person who let’s their cat out at night, how can they not go crazy is my question.
For my clients who leave their cats out, knowing that they do indeed care about their companions, we discuss other options for letting kitty experience the outdoors safely and there are many to chose from.
Every day when I walked my girls (dogs) I would wave a greeting to young lady who walked her two cats on a leash, on the other side of the street of course. I always admired her concern for their exercise and mental stimulation a walk can provide. Some people say you cannot teach a cat to walk on a leash, so I’m just saying they are very clever animals and my friend does it, so obviously that is a false notion. One of my sisters takes her two cats outside and stands in the yard with them so she can supervise their explorations, another sister simply does not let them outside at all and has numerous play areas throughout the house. One of my friends has a cat enclosure outside, complete with a roof so her three cats can enjoy outdoors safely, much like dog people have fenced yards.
It is not very difficult to find a way to give your animal wonderful experiences without putting them in harm’s way.
Little Elsa, a black and white kitty with a red collar, that I have had many talks with while she hunted in my yard in the wee hours, (to which she replied, ‘But it is such a good place to hunt.’) sadly will not be visiting my yard anymore. Because she was hit by a car last night and I found her in the street this morning, snow dusted over her beautiful little lifeless body.
Such an avoidable tragedy. For all the love she gave them, the least her guardians could have done was keep her safe.