Herein, I'll list my personal opinions about things heard regarding cats.
1. Cats should be kept indoors.
Oh, kitty poo, people! I can't see myself being forced to stay inside my own home for 80 to 90 years, never to ever be let outside - "for the safety of other endangered animal life;" so I can't see how any human being could be so cruel to a cat, then, as to force it to sit in a windowsill for all of its lifetime and WISH and DREAM that it could BE outdoors. Perhaps the feathered fowl activists see this as a highly viable and completely reasonable suppression of a cat's rights; but I do NOT. To the bird owners of America ... LEASH YOUR BIRD! On second thought ... what's your EXOTIC BIRD doing outside in the first place? That's illegal, isn't it? ...Keep a cat indoors! GIMME a break!
...Only bird and dog owners think in that way.
PROTECT ONE BIRD! CAGE ALL CATS! THAT'S the solution! Birds of America...BE FREE!
BIRD activists are strange. These people aren't people...they're nuts. I've actually seen them form bird rights groups and spend thousands to create a TV COMMERCIAL advising cat owners to keep their cats indoors to "protect" the neighborhood birds. That blows me away! I like the fact that the crows stay far away from my home when my cat is outdoors! Anyone with a cat APPRECIATES that! Crows are loud, they never come one at a time, they destroy the landscape, and they're a pain in the freaking ass, quite frankly! You won't find many people at ALL who sympathise with the "plight" of the crow! I'm sorry.
When you press these activists, it turns out that what they're really trying to protect is ONE OR TWO PARTICULAR RARE BIRDS that happen to fly through town once or twice a year. To them then, keeping tens of thousands of cats indoors all year round to protect this one STUPID bird is not unreasonable a thought. (They don't dare try to suggest a solution which takes care of the tens of thousands more FERAL, UNOWNED cats which would be even WORSE a problem.) On the other hand, who said they were even being reasonable-minded in the first place? I understand the plight of the endangered species and agree; but caging CATS is not going to save them.
They also recommend spaying and neutering, and using leashes and runners, but for some strange reason, with these bird activists, it's always the LAST thing they mention, way down at the bottom of the web site or pamphlet, in tiny print. The FIRST thing they suggest, though - with emboldened headlines - is to keep the cat INDOORS! So, everybody MISSES the other more viable suggestions. It's unfair to state only a selective part of the argument like they do (stating only those parts which serve their cause) and to leave the rest of the just as important information out (the parts which could possibly harm their cause).
I'm sick and tired of seeing dog lovers and bird lovers treat cats like they're trash and making outrageous suggestions such as this one to solve what is really their own personal peeve.
I LIKE the current bird population the way it is. Cats keep it down to a manageable number, and in so doing, they keep these disease transmitters from becoming far too large in number to handle. They also scare the more pesky of the nuisance birds away ... and they keep them away. The world is in NO WAY in danger of losing all of its birds due to cats, and it is not right for these BIRD brains ... I mean "groups" - to implicate otherwise. It's like suggesting that to eliminate lightning, you need to remove all of the trees in your yard. That's what the tree cutting services will tell you. In fact, the more trees you have, the more likely the rest of them is going to STOP a tree from hitting your house if it falls. As well, the more likely the lightning will hit the TREE and not your HOUSE. Take those trees AWAY ... and you become the tallest object in the surrounding territory, DON'T you! What's the lightning likely to go for, then? You didn't ELIMINATE the problem; you just increased your chances of ENCOUNTERING it! The bird activists are only stating HALF of the equation, just like those tree cutters - stating only the part that serves them best.
As for the "keep your cats indoors" commercial, the one that played here locally played for a few weeks and was never seen again. I guess a lot of cat people called to complain about THAT. That was the most rediculous commercial I've ever seen! It sure didn't last long around here.
Why do dogs have the rule of the land when they're FAR more dangerous and unpredictable?
Quite frankly, most dogs that I have met - even when on leashes - are NOT suitable for public mingling, and are really the ones that should be kept indoors for the safety of other people and other animals. I am continually AMAZED at the total FREEDOM that these untrained and often very highly dangerous animals have over the face of the earth, while cats are demanded to be kept indoors. I've not yet met ONE DOG OWNER who properly trained his or her dog in proper etiquette BEFORE the Courts finally ordered them to. Usually, they wait until the dog does something drastically wrong before they decide to "get with it." (And they'll lie and blame the other person with the fault of the situation if they can get away with it in the meantime.) But by the time they're ordered to train the dog, the dog is usually too old to adequately pay attention without a severe regiment. And then the regiment has to be constant or it will forget. ...That's IF it hadn't committed something so grievous that it required euthenasia to satisfy the Courts. Dog owners are NOT able to be trusted to keep thier dogs properly trained. They'll spend HOURS and DAYS training that dog to catch a stupid frisbee, to sit, to beg, to talk, to shake hands, to fetch a stick, to retreive ... but none of them puts OBEDIENCE and PUBLIC ASSOCIATION training at the top of the list. It's put on the back burner, for tomorrow, next week, next month, in a few years ... maybe ... "when I get around to it." Meanwhile, the dog gets older, and it becomes too old to easily train for that, now. It's nearly impossible without GREAT EXPENSE now to take care of the problem. And most will even be given a COURT ORDER to get that dog that training...and they'll deliberately, conciously REFUSE - just because they don't want to be "told what to do.". These people have DENIAL problems when it is discovered their dog has a problem. They outright REFUSE to admit their dogs did anything wrong; so they continue to be a problem. I have seen it time and time again. Most dog owners CANNOT be trusted responsibly to own and take care of the very dog that they own. You can NOT change my mind on that. There's fantasy; and then there's real life experience. If you dare me, I'll test your dog by placing my cat right next to it and we'll SEE how "trained" your dog is. Don't dare me again like that. I'll prove you wrong, every time. (Only very FEW dog owners actually have properly trained dogs. That's why I am so confident about that dare. And to them, my kudos. You deserve the lifetime of fun and love you'll also get from that dog for spending so much time with it ... as it deserves, anyway. Most will keep the dog in the doghouse in the backyard through the rain and the snow, only letting it out when they want to jog. Then, they blame the other guy when their dog bites another animal, because it didn't know how to handle being around other animals because it was never trained, or ever paid any attention to. As such, they can become dangerous, and quite often a menace.)
2. It's cruel to keep cats on leashes.
That's BS! Where'd you get that? Tell me. Why is it okay, a must in fact, to keep a dog on a leash? Why is it "okay" for a dog? So, what makes the cat any different? They should be on a leash for the same reasons. Are they EXEMPT from the unpredictability, somehow? Although, in my experience, cats sure show a HECK of a lot more control in normal situations than dogs do.
The argument that cats are designed to be free "by nature" is a lot of baloney, because the same can be said, then, for dogs. But dog owners see it "okay" for a dog to be on a leash because they're "meant" to be. "MEANT to be?" Excuse me? Oh. Maybe you mean that macho "alpha male" thing - the "pack leader" thing. The owner is the master and the dog is "following the leader." And the dogs "understand" that relationship. Is that it? "...UNDERSTAND?" Who proved there was even an "understanding" going on at all, there? You raised them that way and they expected that was "normal." Just like with raising your kids. That's all there is too it. No behavioural psychology involved, THERE. It's really quite simple. Cats "understand" that too, if you have to use that word ... if you train them early enough. Just, nobody's ever TRIED training a cat on a leash because they're too busy believing all those wives tales about cats and leashes and chains and "cruelty." It's complete NONESENSE! I know. I'm the one who tried. ...And I can tell you for an experienced FACT - it works just FINE; and they're none the wiser, either. You just have to train cats for it when they're kittens; just like you have to train the dogs for it as puppies. Is this REALLY that difficult to understand? SHEESH! Why so complicated, people? Sometimes the real answer is just the "duh" one.
My cats are trained in the use of both the leash AND the "runner." It DOESN'T bother them. In fact, they look forward to the chance to get out there on it again, every time. They love you just as much, and in fact, if you don't get out there and PLAY with them while they're ON the runner ... then, you're a BUM.
3. I hate cats. Only dogs should be allowed to roam the earth.
It amazes me the number of people who fear and/or hate cats. Usually, it can be traced to an incident in their childhood where they were doing something they should not have with a cat, and the cat retaliated in the only way it knew how. To protect themselves from ridicule, these people usually invent a wild story to explain the cat attack, and they repeat it so often that they develop a real fear of cats, and begin to believe their own lie. These people always insist that the cat attacked them for absolutely no reason at all, and completely out of the blue. Unless a cat had rabies, or was being tortured or otherwise was being treated inhumanely, or had been ... consistently enough to change a cat's outlook on humans completely, I have never, EVER, in my LIFE, seen a cat attack "out of the blue." The people who spread this kind of stuff are full of crapola.
Domesticated cats befriend. Feral cats avoid. Only rabid or frightened cats who feel cornered attack - but only when there is no other way out. If a cat looks frightened it feels cornered. Just leave it a clear way out. The situation will resolve itself, then.
I've been around 40 years, myself, and have yet to see a cat attack anyone for no reason with my own eyes. On the other hand, I can recall countless situations where dogs have done just that ... not because they were frightened, but because they were trained to attack, or because they were stray and had no guidance; and often they would attack WITHOUT a command, first ... owned or not. All people would have to do at the picnic table is motion their hand towards the owner. THIS, is far too common with dogs. It blows me away then how one could be terrified of cats, but have no worries at all around dogs. Not wise. See, the problem with dogs is, you can offer them an obvious clear way out but they will still choose to turn and attack, instead. At least a CAT'S method of panic is logical and clear - just RUN AWAY. Dogs, however, are incredibly unpredictable, and certainly show no logic. Dogs will, in fact, hang around, FOLLOW, and even HARASS ... cruelly.
So again, I do not understand how people can be more fearful of cats than dogs.
Even with a BEAR, there are options and advice. With DOGS, there really IS none - except how to MINIMIZE the damage ... for a time. When one is attacked by a vicious dog that is relentless I do NOT recommend wasting time trying to find a way to gain "control" of it. Injure it severely or kill it any way possible. Protect yourself, first. THEN call the police and animal control, immediately. It's gruesome advice, but you CANNOT take chances with mean dogs. With dogs, you CAN lose your life.
You will NEVER come across such a dangerous and life threatening situation with a CAT.
That being said, I have seen, with my own eyes, everyday people walk up to cats and deliberately try to harass and scare them into some kind of a reaction. I've seen people actually hiss at them, stomp at them, kick them, chase them, and throw things at them. I've seen people walking or jogging with their dogs actually encourage them to harass my cats as they passed by them as they sat on my own front yard. So, even supposedly thinking and reasoning and intelligent humans can be trusted only about as much as dogs can, around cats.
4. Dogs are MUCH better than cats as pets.
Which would you rather take on a walk? ...The cat who buries and covers its waste when done? or the dog who just plops it anywhere and leaves you to scoop it up and bag it because the law requires it? (But then again, how many dog owners do YOU know who ACTUALLY abide by that law?)
Which would you rather have? ...The cat that is low maintenance and which cleans itself? or the dog you have to bathe twice a week in order to keep it clean ... before it smells up the house? (Awful lot of shampoo expense, there.)
Which would you rather know? ...The dog owners who encourage their dogs to plop it right there beneath your mailbox, leaving you with the sight and the smell to clean up yourself, later? and who deliberately act like they don't see you every time? or the cat owner whose cat is at least concerned enough to clean the area UP, afterwards ... all by itself?
Joe? What's your yearly dog food budget, again? Mary? What's your yearly cat food budget, again?
(Rolls his eyes.)
...I leave the very obvious choice up to you, people. (grin)
5. Cats can't be trained like dogs.
Ah. Another person who never gave it a try and who got suckered by a wives tale, again.
Again, I can tell you from personal experience that that is completely false.
Cats can be trained to do anything. It's easier starting them when they're kittens; but any cat can learn to do the same things dogs can, and more.
It's just that you have to look at cats a little differently than dogs. With dogs, you have the "alpha leader" thing. With cats, you have to treat them like they're family ... like they're your own child. Once you have that relationship started, the cat will try to do anything it can to please you and even to become just like "daddy" or "mommy." See the difference, now? Dogs follow the "pack leader." Cats prefer respect and attention. Once you accomplish this relationship, it will not matter how old the cat is, then.
My cats walked on a leash; ran on a runner in the backyard; rode in the car with me - and enjoyed it; walked into the Pet Taxi as soon as it was opened - on their own, without any encouragement; came when called, sat on my shoulder as I walked around the block; ate at the dinner table with me; ate at the picnic table in the park with me; played fetch; chased sticks, balls, and pine cones; and slept next to my face on the pillow at night - while holding my hand, even! Most of the above wasn't even something I trained them to do. They learned it on their own. They did these things because they loved me, and because they wanted to be a part of my life, and be with me. That's the key with cats ... making them feel like they're loved and a close-nit part of the family. From that point on, they'll do things on their own to please you - because they feel loved - and not because you told them to. Although, if I wanted to, I'm sure I could have trained them to talk, or to sing, or to beg, or shake hands. But I chose not to. I chose to let them do what they wanted to do, and only offered some praise when they did it. If you want to call that "training"... I treated them as if they were my human children at every turn ... like they were just as intelligent. They turned out to be exceptional, above most other cats, then.
I think families should have one cat and one dog, at least. From the dog, the child learns authority, how to give commands, how to take control, how to teach others, and how to be a leader when necessary. From the cat, the child learns the most important things - how to love and nurture, how to be a parent, how to listen closely, how to understand the other person's thoughts, feelings and sides (because they're dealing with two different mind sets - the dog's, and the cat's), how to give in now and then, and how to be a real human being. Too often we teach one side; but not the other; and the child grows up imbalanced and confused, and incapable of properly interacting with others.
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Todd L. Sherman/KB4MHH
Gainesville, Alachua Co., Fla.
Page Created: February 24, 2002.
Last updated: February 24, 2002.
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