There are Two Kinds of Cats

Chloe BilliesI saw a very sad sight the other day while diving in traffic in Charlottesville. In the median someone had put the body of a dead cat who had probably been hit by a car. I’m sure that they did it to allow the road department to pick it up.

This is Chloe Anne, our eldest cat. She’s been with us about 10 years and is probably 11 years old.

I immediately flashed on our three cats and realized that they would never end on a road hit by a car. Cats are the most popular pets in America with almost 100 million according to a 2007-2008 survey. There are hundreds of breeds but in reality only two kinds of cats: indoor cats and outdoor cats.

Our three cats are all indoor cats who have only been outside for the rare visits to the vet or the occasional escape. I say rare visits because indoor cats are generally healthier and longer-lived than outdoor cats.

Quite honestly, I would worry every minute that they were outside. We live in the country and their are all sorts of dangers for cats and other household pets in the outdoors. There are snakes, hawks and other wild animals just waiting to prey on them.

The closest that they get to the outside is our screen porch where they can experience the best of the outdoors without the dangers. They exercise their need to stalk prey by going after any bugs in our house. Besides, we have a big house with plenty of places to roam and sleep the day away.

Indoor cats eat well and are pampered in many ways. Their litter boxes are cleaned and sanitized regularly. They get treats every morning and snuggles every morning and evening by my wife. They each have regular sleeping spots around our house: on beds, couches and chairs.

Outdoor cats live shorter lives and like the dead one that I saw are prone to accidents and predators. Feral cats or strays are forced to fend for themselves in urban, suburban or rural environments. Each presents a different challenge for a cat.

 

They have no regular sources of food and tend to eat birds, field mice and other small animals. They also eat nuts and berries when they’re available. They have to find warm sleeping spots in the winter and protected spots in the summer to avoid predators.

All three of our “girls” were strays. Two of them were adopted from our local SPCA in Charlottesville while the oldest was a stray that our niece rescued from certain death in the cold. All were under a year when they joined our family. We haven’t regretted adopting any of them.

 

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