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An article today in the NY Times (free signup needed) pleads with people to keep their cats indoors, to save migratory birds and other wildlife and to keep the cats healthier. Predictably, many people are posting comments that say that cats preying on birds is “natural.” It isn’t. The density of predators — cats and dogs — in cities and suburbs is dozens or hundreds of times higher than it would be if we didn’t subsidize the predators.
My wife and I have four cats, which puts us well into the realm of “eccentric cat lover.” (Three is really our natural level, I think, but when we went to pick up #3 at the pound, we felt so sorry for #4, we took her too). Believe me, this is a true cat-lover saying: keep your cats inside. Keys are (1) have more than one cat, so they interact with each other to avoid being bored, (2) live up to your responsibility to play with your cats a lot, and (3) change their environment occasionally to keep things interesting (e.g. get a new cat tree, or install shelves at ceiling level so they can prowl around up there). If you put as much effort into your cats every week as many dog owners do every day, they’ll do great.