The Norman Transcript

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April 25, 2013

Roaming domestic cats can get into dangerous scenarios

NORMAN — Dear Dr. Fox: I just read the letter sent to you by a reader called M.D. expressing his opinion on letting domestic cats roam free. The ignorance and stupidity he showed in his attack on you spiked my blood pressure.

First of all, my wife and I enjoy sitting on our front porch in the summer. Many times, we watch the local, free-roaming domestic cats stalk and attempt to kill fledgling robins while both parents squawk and do what little they can do to protect the baby bird. Whenever I can, I intervene and run the cat off. These cats also defecate and urinate around our shrubbery. The smell is terrible.

But that is not why I’m writing. I had an experience a few summers ago that I will never forget:

I was working in the yard and had left the outbuilding door open. When I finished, I closed and locked the door. A few days later, I entered the outbuilding for something, and I noticed a few items had fallen from the shelves. Frankly, I was hesitant about entering the building because I thought the upset items might have been caused by a rat or some other animal.

The third time I entered the building, I found a dead cat on the floor. The cat had apparently entered the outbuilding to look around and hid when I came back to put my tools away. The cat was emaciated.

There is no doubt in my mind that this poor cat suffered almost a week without water or food and with temperatures in the building well over 100 degrees. I still get upset now, three years later, when I think of the suffering and horrible death this cat endured.

— A.T.P, Keyser, W.Va.

Dear A.T.P.: I hope your letter will convince readers who still let their cats roam free to get them used to life indoors and time outdoors only in an enclosed structure.

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