The Crankee Yankee and I have sheltered and fed cats for years now. We’re often bothered by the fact that some people who have indoor/outdoor cats don’t seem to worry or care about them. In fact, that’s how we got Pepper (sadly missed) years ago; he was someone’s cat and they never checked on him, or even looked for him.
He came running to the Crankee Yankee; with sores on his ears and neck where he’d been in a fight, scruffy dirty fur, and later on after we adopted him, we found that he had a serious heart condition. Long story short, we got him to our vet and got him healthy again. We had nine and a half good months with him until his heart failed.
Years later the Crankee Yankee happened to run into Pepper’s owners and told them about him. They didn’t seem to be bothered at all about him; they just said, ‘oh, we wondered what had happened to him.’
Some facts and fiction about indoor/outdoor cats:
- Cats are domesticated and do NOT always know how to take care of themselves (ferals are another story; this is about house cats.)
- Cats have come to rely on humans for food, care and shelter. Don’t assume that they will automatically “go native;” find their food, find shelter in the cold, etc.
- It’s a good idea not to let your indoor/outdoor cats out for the night. They don’t always find shelter and can get sick or hurt. Having a cat door does not always mean that they will come home.
- Even in neighborhoods there are hungry predators out there who can and will hurt or kill cats. Additionally, it’s not uncommon for raccoons and other animals to have rabies.
- A hungry cat may find and lick up antifreeze on the ground, which is deadly to cats.
- Always put a collar with tags on your indoor/outdoor cats. This lets people know that this is not a stray. Also put an ID tag on their collar that shows the cat’s name, your name, address and phone number, and the fact that your cat’s shots are all up to date.
- Always get your indoor/outdoor cat microchipped. When a cat is brought to a shelter, the first thing they do is to scan them. Having your cat microchipped means that you can get your cat back.
- Spay and neuter your cats. They will never miss having kittens.
- If you own pets, it is your responsibility to care for them, feed them, shelter them and keep them safe from harm. They absolutely need their rabies and other shots, and, if they are indoor/outdoor, they will need flea and tick treatments in the warm weather. Unless you are willing to do all this, please do not adopt a pet.
The Crankee Yankee and I are not professionals nor are we veterinarians or even vets’ assistants. The above is what we have learned over time and after many rescues. A pet certainly is not a human child, but it needs love and care and protection.
A pet is a responsibility, not a toy.