Thursday, July 15, 2010

All Our Pets by Buzz Wiygul

Dear Buzz:

My owners are talking about getting a kitten from the animal shelter. They have been arguing about whether to make the cat an indoor cat or an outdoor cat. Can you advise them? I am tired of hearing them go on about this. Ranger, their dog

There are good points to each. Me, I am an indoor cat and always have been so the two times I went out through an open door, I was scared to death. Alice, the barn cat, a former stray, has always been outdoors so she might be unhappy inside. The former barn cat, Tishomingo, was an indoor-outdoor cat and he liked both but then, he was a risk-taker who liked to wander afar, but when it got cold, he wanted to be closest to the wood stove. He probably had the ideal life but it was also too short because something finally got him and my owners found his torn-up body. He lasted the longest of all the barn cats at this farm, lasting seven years but he was also everyone’s favorite so my owners took it hard when he died. The thing to remember is that we cats don’t really know the difference. Alice, always being outside, thinks that is normal. I have always been inside and think that is normal. We don’t sweat this stuff the way owners do. I get to lie on the furniture, get special treats, have scratching posts, and get lots of petting. Alice gets to lie on the barn steps in the sun, rub up against the horses, and dine on all the rodents she wants. However, she also probably kills some songbirds, a fact my owners do not like and she is in constant danger. Most people think it is the hawks, owls, and coyotes that kill outside cats but it is usually someone’s roaming dogs or speeding cars. Whatever decision you make, your cat will be happy.

From my owners’ viewpoint, there are negatives to my being indoors. I have a cat friend that lives inside with me and my owner’s least favorite household task is cleaning the litter boxes every few days. Owners of outside cats complain that their cats use the flowerbeds or the kids’ sandbox. If you have close neighbors, they may complain that your cat uses THEIR flowerbeds or sandbox and will surely get mad if your cat leaves footprints on their cars. We inside cats sometimes mistake the couch for the scratching post and that really sets our owners off. Declawing is an option but we try to behave well enough that we avoid THAT. It is a last resort move.

You humans worry way too much about stuff. Indoors, outdoors, give us some good food, fresh water, a warm bed, vaccinations, and flea and tick protection and we will be happy. Well, we aren’t too happy about the vaccination part but we do want long lives so we put up with it. Spay or neuter us so we don’t crank out hundreds of babies (or father them if we are males) who will suffer as strays. We will be happy. Have you ever seen a cat that didn’t seem as though it were satisfied? Our motto is--Dogs grovel; cats command.

If you have a cat-related question for me, I will gladly answer. My email address is If you have a dog-related question, you can write to my canine friend, Peace, at the same email address. I am better educated than he is because I spent my first year in a high school biology classroom. I will admit that for a dog, Peace tries but the poor things just have their limits.

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