Toronto’s Cat Debate
The Globe and Mail published a thoughtful piece on the indoor-outdoor cat debate by Elizabeth Renzetti. In the article, she talks to a Toronto couple, Matthew Carver and Joy Tan, who walk their cat Eleven on a harness, as well as Joyce Creet, an outdoor cat owner, and Nature Canada’s own Ted Cheskey.
For Ms. Creet, the benefits of letting her cats Indy and Winter roam outdoors outweigh the risks to their health. But she fits the hunter (Indy) with a BirdsBeSafe(TM) collar so he catches fewer birds. For Carver and Tan, the risks far to Eleven far outweigh the benefits, so they supervise Eleven’s outdoor time by walking her on a leash.
Ms. Renzetti also describes her own relationship to the issue, “I praise [my cats] when they kill mice and rats, and shriek at them on the extremely rare occasions they bring in birds. You don’t need to tell me that it makes no sense … It never occurred to me to keep them inside the house, because they seem so happy to leave.”
The article concludes with the perspective of Jen Edwards, a long-time fosterer with Uxbridge Cat Rescue. Ms. Edwards doesn’t like to think about the number of times she’s seen dead cats on the road near her home northeast of Toronto, or scrolled through “Lost Cat” postings on Facebook. “Whether my cats would choose to be inside or outside honestly doesn’t matter to me,” Ms. Edwards said. “I chose to make them part of my family. And every day I choose to keep them safe and loved. It is my responsibility as a pet owner to ensure they have lots to do to keep them busy. And truly, it’s not hard to keep a cat busy and stimulated.”