Hazel King, Western Province Cat Club, Diep River
The Western Province Cat Club fully supports the sentiments expressed by Virginia Middleton (“Control your cats”, Bulletin, March 24).
As cat lovers, we stand for responsible cat ownership, with the welfare of cats a high priority. “Welfare” does not have to mean allowing a cat freedom to roam in busy roads or annoy neighbours. It is perfectly feasible for owners to keep their cats on their property. In fact, the high walls which surround most gardens make it relatively simple, especially if your fence is topped by electrified wires. If not, the easiest way to cat-proof your boundary is to mount about three wires at right angles to the top of the wall, so that when your cat tries to jump onto the wall, it meets a physical barrier. If your cat could avoid this by climbing a tree, put a similar collar around the tree. Also look closely at your sliding gate – there is often space for a cat to walk through the gate, or between the gate and wall. Alternatively, you could build a run for your cat – I have seen a number of houses where existing features could easily be converted to cat runs. There are also other alternatives.
Virginia explained how she managed to keep a cat from irritating her neighbours and asks why other people can’t. There are probably two main reasons: as she implied, it does require a bit of effort, and also it’s traditional to think that cats can’t or shouldn’t be contained.
This may have been acceptable in the 1950s, when properties were larger, the population was smaller, and roads were far, far less busy. These days, it is simply not safe to give a cat free rein.
From page 14
The number of heartbroken pleas for help from people whose cats have gone missing is ample evidence of this. There is also the health issue: vets have reported an increase in deadly diseases which are spread by fighting or mating cats – which brings us to the absolute essential of sterilising all pet cats before they reach puberty.
There is no excuse for cruelty against animals, but that is not a reason for animal owners not to be good neighbours.
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