I recently overheard a number of dog owners complaining about their apartment complex in the Oak Harbor area. For a while there was an outbreak of renters allowing their cats to run outdoors, despite this being against the terms of their lease. Dogs, being dogs, like the taste of cat excrement. They were eating it and becoming ill with rampant diarrhea. Can you imagine what is contained in outdoor cat excrement? If you own both a cat and dog, you have probably caught your dog in the litter box. A veterinarian I knew once called it “kitty Almond Roca!”
It is not healthy for a dog to eat cat or any other kind of excrement, including its own. (Rabbits produce a unique bowel movement once a day that is different from their other droppings. This is natural and necessary for them to consume, but this is an exception).
However, this is not the topic under discussion; rather it is about pet cats being allowed outdoors. Veterinarians will tell you it is not healthy for a pet cat to live part of its life outside and certainly not its entire life. If you could monitor what activities the animal comes in to contact with, what it consumes and what poisonous greens it can eat, you would be quite surprised. Just think one word: Dumpster. Everything in a garbage Dumpster is harmful for a pet cat. Feral cats subsist on dumpster delights. It certainly isn’t a habit you want the cat that sleeps in your bed to engage in.
Weather is another consideration. What could start as a lovely day can suddenly turn into a lightning and thunder storm. Where will the cat take shelter? A wood shed crawling with vermin? In a crawl space under an abandoned home? Under a car with recent oil stains, or worse, an open garage where antifreeze has just been used and leaked onto the cement?
One can argue that vaccinations eliminate much of the concern. Their immune system is weakened considerably once they have been exposed to the dangers of every day outside life. You love your cat and/or cats. Surely you don’t want their lives shortened by years. Let them enjoy nature from the safety of your window sill. Finding your cat ill, or worse, dead, is all that you should be thinking of. If you have rescued a cat, they most likely will appreciate a warm and dry home as opposed to what they have just been rescued from. If you have just gotten a kitten, trust its happiness to the security of your home.