Some people in Barre, Vermont, are in a tizzy over a recently rediscovered (but never enforced) 1973 ordinance that bans residents from allowing their cats to roam unattended. I say that this 37-year-old law is smart, kind, and ahead of its time, because allowing cats to prowl the suburban jungle unattended isn’t doing them any favors. This cat, who was rescued by fieldworkers with PETA’s Community Animal Project, is a heartbreaking example of why:
Every day, cats whose guardians see no harm in letting them roam are injured or killed by vehicles, shot by cruel neighbors who don’t want them using their gardens as litter boxes, poisoned, stolen to be used in experiments or as bait in dogfighting, and worse. Cats also instinctively terrorize, maim, and kill countless native birds and other wildlife who are already struggling to survive challenges such as habitat loss and who aren’t equipped to deal with such predators.
Protecting cats and wildlife doesn’t have to mean making Kitty a full-time housecat. Many cats quickly become comfortable with wearing a harness and enjoy leisurely leashed excursions around the yard with their guardians. And then there are “catios”—cat patios that clever and compassionate people build so that their feline friends can safely enjoy the great outdoors. Whatever we do, if we love our cats, we must never let them roam out of our sight.
Written by Lindsay Pollard-Post