Fort McMurray, Opinion

Cats Do Roam – And Why They Shouldn’t

Cats are adorable creatures that are beloved by many pet owners. They are curious, playful, and independent animals that make great companions. Much like humans, they have so many different personalities….and so many needs. However, as much as we love our feline friends, it’s important to understand that allowing them to roam freely outdoors can be dangerous and harmful. So here’s a few things to consider if your furry feline is the type to wander.

  1. Wildlife and bird populations can be affected

Did you know that in North America, cats are actually an invasive species? It’s true. Cats are natural predators and can have an absolutely devastating impact on local wildlife populations. When allowed to roam free, they can kill birds, small mammals, and reptiles, which can upset the ecological balance. No wonder they made the list of the world’s 100 most invasive species!

  1. Safety concerns for cats

One of the biggest dangers that outdoor cats face is getting hit by cars. Unfortunately, cats are often struck by vehicles while crossing busy streets. Needless to say, this can result in serious injuries or even death. Even if your cat is an experienced outdoor cat, they are still at risk of getting hit by a car.

  1. Predators

Cats that are allowed to roam outdoors are also at risk of being attacked by predators. Coyotes, foxes, and even larger cats like cougars can pose a serious threat to your outdoor cat. Even birds of prey like eagles and owls can be a massive threat. And just because you live in the city, doesn’t mean there aren’t predators around. You’d be surprised just how much wildlife there is wandering about!

  1. Health risks

Cats that are allowed to roam free can also pose a health risk to humans. They can carry diseases such as toxoplasmosis, which can be transmitted to people through contact with their feces. In addition, outdoor cats can be infested with fleas, ticks, and other parasites, which can also affect human health. The risk doesn’t stop there, either. Outdoor cats are more likely to come into contact with other cats, both domestic and feral, which increases their risk of contracting diseases such as feline leukemia, feline immunodeficiency virus, and upper respiratory infections. These diseases can be serious, and sometimes fatal.

  1. Environmental Hazards

Outdoor cats are also exposed to environmental hazards such as extreme temperatures, inclement weather, and other natural hazards. Especially in northern areas, frostbite and hypothermia can threaten the health and well-being of the unprepared. They may also encounter dangerous or unstable objects such as broken glass, sharp objects, or construction sites.

  1. Legal responsibility

In some areas, pet owners can be held legally responsible for the actions of their pets. If a free-roaming cat causes damage or injury to someone or something, the owner could be held liable for any resulting costs or damages. In addition, many cities have bylaws that outline guidelines for responsible pet ownership. For example, Fort McMurray’s bylaws include restrictions for animals roaming at large (both cats and dogs). If your cat is picked up by Animal Control, you may be subject to fines. So letting them out is a big no-no! Wherever you live, it never hurts to check the local municipal laws just to be safe.

I know this may upset some pet owners. “We’ve always let our cat outside! I wouldn’t deprive them of that!” I’m not here to make a decision for you. Take my advice, or don’t. That’s up to you! But while it may seem natural for cats to roam outdoors, it’s important to recognize the many risks and dangers they face when allowed to do so. Keeping your cat indoors, or providing them with a safe and secure outdoor enclosure, is the best way to ensure their safety and well-being. Remember, indoor cats can still enjoy a happy and fulfilling life with plenty of toys, playtime, and interaction with their owners. So give them the love they deserve, and they will continue to do the same with you for years to come!

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