San Diego

Opinion: If You Adopted A Pandemic Pet, Keep It Indoors For A Long, Happy Life

March 6, 2021

One silver lining ensuing from this darkish pandemic time is the rise that animal rescue organizations all through the nation have reported within the variety of cats and canines being adopted. As a volunteer kitten foster for the extremely profitable San Diego Humane Society Kitten Nursery, I respect the thought of extra cat adoptions.

However, primarily based on my current commentary of on-line “missing cat” posts, in addition to comparable themed flyers incessantly posted round my neighborhood, I contend we have to honor the total promise of adoptions by doing a greater job of preserving our pet felines safely indoors, shielded from the risks of the outside world.

A pandemic pet demand is definitely comprehensible. Residents responding to stay-at-home orders have discovered themselves with time to maintain newly adopted animals. And by welcoming furry pals into our homes, we people have realized a approach to reduce social isolation. Time Magazine just lately acknowledged this pandemic phenomena by honoring “Rescue Animals” as their 2020 Pet of the Year.

While serving as a volunteer foster, I’ve taken word of the massive variety of kittens that make their approach via the kitten nursery every year. The organizational effort that goes into saving, elevating, socializing and finally adopting these most weak of animals is noteworthy. And I have fun the thought of them dwelling fortunately ever after inside the safe confines of their new without end houses.

That notion of a fairy tale-like ending is threatened, nevertheless, when scanning posts on the favored website This web site, used to speak native neighborhood information, wants and considerations, is usually dominated by two not unrelated forms of posts—”missing cat” and “coyote sighting.” The frequency of those two posts displays a significant issue with pet cats allowed to roam exterior their houses.

Though very intelligent, cats do not stand an opportunity towards the hungry coyotes that prowl our San Diego canyons and streets. And coyotes are solely one among a number of outside cat hazards posed by the surface world. Speeding vehicles, unleashed canines, merciless folks and illness additionally actual a toll. The dread expressed by these on-line posts is strengthened after I stroll round my neighborhood and see the ever-present “missing cat” flyers taped to lamp posts.

I favor my fairy tale-like adoption ending. I hate considering any kittens I as soon as fostered had their lives lower quick as a result of they had been allowed to roam open air.

The root of this downside is straightforward. Too many cat house owners consider a cat should be allowed to roam exterior to fulfill its pure behaviors. In an ideal world, this roaming could be acceptable. An outside cat is a mentally and bodily stimulated animal, with its senses on full alert.

Unfortunately, the world we people have created contains too many obstacles for roaming pets to securely navigate. They belong indoors. According to WebMD , indoor cats can attain the ripe previous age of 17 years or extra, whereas outside cats stay a mean of simply two to 5 years.

Does the indoor life all the time end in a bored cat? Not essentially. If we’re to meet our obligation to maintain cats inside, we now have an extra obligation to make sure they continue to be bodily and mentally stimulated. This merely requires caring cat house owners to train a bit of additional effort and ingenuity.

Such choices as day by day enjoying time with our cats, offering them toys and fascinating objects that pique their curiosity and immediate bodily exercise, making certain entry to home windows with charming views of the surface world, enclosing a patio (or constructing a catio), coaching them to stroll on a leash, and getting a second cat will help compensate for abandoning the outside life.

In quick, a cat’s pure intuition to stalk and pounce on small prey will be simply simulated by tossing a catnip-filled toy mouse from one finish of the lounge to a different. The cat will get pleasure from it. The cat proprietor too. And nobody will get damage.

I hope San Diegans can build on the constructive momentum created by extra pet adoptions and pause to rethink the observe of cat care. The compassion that motivates folks to undertake and lift a kitten needs to be prolonged all through a cat’s whole lifetime. This will be simply achieved with a dose of pet proprietor additional effort and ingenuity to make sure valued feline members of the family lead lengthy, pleased and protected indoor lives.

Steve Rodriguez is a retired Marine Corps officer and highschool trainer who final taught at Olympian High School in Chula Vista.

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