While flipping channels the other night I came across an alarming bit of news from — of all places — the CP24 show Animal Housecalls. It seems that anyone wishing to adopt a cat from the Toronto Humane Society is contractually obligated to keep it indoors, which is tantamount to cruelty if you ask me.
Any outdoor cat owner will tell you that all felines have a deep instinctual need to define a patrol a territory far bigger than your average one-bedroom apartment, and contrary to what you’d think they also enjoy an active social life with other members of their species. Don’t believe me? Check out photographic proof from the famous Mr. Lee CatCam!
By locking your cat indoors you take all this away, and more often than not you end up with a diabetic monstrosity like the one pictured above, simply because your poor kitty has nothing else to fill its day with other than food.
To be clear I’m not condoning neglect — having an outdoor cat doesn’t mean that you deny your animal entry when it’s done doing whatever it is that cats do. And if you’re worried about “what the cat dragged in” you can take comfort in the fact that at least your animal is getting some much-needed exercise.
This contract clause (no pun intended) is certainly going to keep me from adopting a Humane Society cat, and really, the only justification for it that I can think of would be to appease non-cat owners who might otherwise sue over the occasional bird carcass in their backyard. These folks might also benefit from more time outdoors and less time inside on the phone complaining…
UPDATE (September, 2008): For proof that I’ve made good on my word, click here.