“Camus was a sweet and friendly cat; she was a part of our family and we’ll forever regret not bringing her inside that day.”
Those are the words of Jacksonville, Florida, resident Adam Arendell, whose cat, Camus, was found dead in an alley after having been doused with lighter fluid and set on fire. The alleged perpetrator—a 14-year-old who was reportedly found with two severely injured cats in his backpack and who admitted to killing at least five other cats—told the police, “Killing a cat is like killing a sheet of paper. It is nothing to kill a cat.”
This is not an isolated case: Recently, another cat, in Antioch, California, had to be euthanized after being found severely burned; a cat in Jefferson, Ohio, was found huddled under a porch with burns over most of his body; and a mother cat and her kittens were found suffering from major burns at an apartment complex in Houston, Texas. Horrible things happen to unattended cats every day.
Could your cat be the next victim? If you allow your cat to roam outdoors unsupervised, he or she certainly could be.
In addition to being burned, countless free-roaming cats have been shot, poisoned, or dismembered. PETA receives hundreds of reports of abuse every month. Many cats “disappear” and are never found, and many are no doubt the victims of foul play. Here is just a sampling of cases that made headlines during the past month alone:
- After being shot by unknown assailants, cats in Illinois and Michigan were found with arrows protruding from their backs. One cat was euthanized, and the other was unlikely to survive.
- A cat and an opossum were shot and killed in South Carolina, and their bodies were thrown into a garbage can.
- A stray kitten was shot twice in the face with a BB gun in Salem, Oregon, and will have to undergo dangerous surgery; free-roaming cats in Pennsylvania and Washington state were shot, shattering their front legs; and another free-roaming cat in Georgia was shot in the back with a BB gun while lying on a car. It’s not known whether or not that cat will survive.
- A cat in Indianapolis, Indiana, died at a veterinarian’s office after being shot with at least 10 blow darts.
- The remains of dismembered cats were found in El Paso and Houston, Texas, and in Wilmington, North Carolina. No suspects have been identified in any of these cases.
- Two cats in Dallas, Texas, were found impaled on a fence, with the spikes protruding through their hind legs. One cat had to be euthanized because of the severity of the injuries, and the other cat escaped while being freed from the fence.
- A cat in North Carolina was killed by coyotes in an attack witnessed by a horrified neighbor, two cats in Mississippi were killed by coyotes, and authorities in Palo Alto, California, report that they pick up cats who have been attacked and/or killed by coyotes nearly every day.
Forget about what Sting said: If you love your cat, don’t set him or her free. The best way for cats to enjoy the great outdoors is from the safety of a window or screened porch or from a securely fenced, escape-proof enclosure. If your cat is more adventurous, consider taking him or her for walks with a harness and leash or in a “kitty stroller.”
Cats rely on us to keep them safe. Don’t learn a lesson at your cat’s expense: Act now before it’s too late.