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Must Cats Run Free?

Updated on March 6, 2018
DzyMsLizzy profile image

Liz loves animals. Seeing them ill, hurt, or killed breaks her heart. She advocates for "adopt, don't shop" and TNR programs for feral cats.

Kitty Escaping Safely Indoors

This kind of escape is perfectly safe; if somewhat annoying for the photographer!
This kind of escape is perfectly safe; if somewhat annoying for the photographer! | Source

Is this your cat,

I see in my yard?

Beautiful animal;

a sleek rainbow.


Is this your cat,

out and about in the park?

Intelligence shines

in golden eyes.


Is this your cat,

down by the school?

Every muscle is taut,

alive.


Is this your cat,

out in the road?

Taking a gamble

on having nine lives!

**************************

I just drove past

a lifeless form,

Wind stirring the fur

a hand might've stroked..


Empty gaze

stares up at me;

past understanding.


Could it be,

this was your cat?

About The Poem

Originally written in November of 1993, after having seen quite a sad spate of kitties dead in the road. I made a small edit in June of 2010, and with the same sad emotion.

It "kills" me to see that. I almost have to stop the car and grieve over the poor dears.

© 2010 Liz Elias

Comments

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  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    6 years ago from Oakley, CA

    You are lucky if your kitty does not roam. I've seen 3 cats dead in the roads just in the past 2 weeks around here. Our kitties are so content to be indoors that they don't even try to make a run for it when the door does open, and two of them absolutely freak out if I try to take them outside, whether in my arms or on their leash and harness.

    Thanks for that, Angie. I agree, being able to have a civilized difference of opinion is important--too bad the politicians don't know this--then we could avoid wars!

    May you have a healthy and prosperous new year as well. All the best to you and your kitty(ies).

  • Angie Jardine profile image

    Angie Jardine 

    6 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

    Ah, so it must be just me who is the wild animal, Dzy : )

    It's all about choice ... and human or animal I believe in being allowed the freedom to choose. The Toof does roam ... he just knows he can come home to us whenever he chooses ... plus he is getting a bit long in the fang now.

    Thanks a lot for the dialogue ... it's good to have a difference of opinion of civilised proportions where we can both hold firmly to our views without having to get the guns out ... lol.

    All the best to you too for 2012 ... I wish you health, prosperity ... and freedom.

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    6 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hi again, Angie--

    I believe in total freedom for the truly wild--and as such, I am opposed to zoos.

    Good that you leash kitty when away from home, but I had to snicker at your closing statement--it just about proves my point that cats are perfectly happy to remain indoors. ;-)

    Cheers, and best wishes to you and yours in the coming year--let's hope it is a better one.

  • Angie Jardine profile image

    Angie Jardine 

    6 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

    I totally agree that we must agree to disagree. As a person who has a strong need to be free myself it could be that I over-rate freedom for other creatures.

    I take my cat away with me when we go motor homing and he walks on a lead as I have a horror of losing him when I am far away from home but at home he has total freedom to be himself. Strangely he rarely even leaves the house never mind the garden. But then he is a real mummy's boy :)

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    6 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hi, Angie--No, I do not believe I misunderstood you. I simply believe that cats are safer and live longer if kept indoors, and I'm referring to beloved pets, not ferals--such cats are a whole other issue.

    I am absolutely horrified at the concept of declawing, and would never advise such a thing. I long ago came to the conclusion that it is possible to have nice furniture or kids and pets, but never both at the same time.

    Vaccinate your animals, yes, for there are some diseases than can be tracked in on the shoes, even if the cat never ventures out.

    I have harnesses and leashes for my kitties, and there are net enclosures that also allow kitties to experience fresh air and a change of scene while remaining safe.

    You are, of course, entitled to your opinion, and we must simply agree to disagree, remembering the adage, "A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still."

  • Angie Jardine profile image

    Angie Jardine 

    6 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

    I think you may have misunderstood what I meant, Dzy. I didn't mean they should be strays or left to fend for themselves. I just meant that they shouldn't be denied the freedom to go outside.

    Surely every animals needs to be able to bask in the sun and pick up the smells on the breeze. Whilst cats have been made to live indoors and so have, of necessity adapted to the way of life that has been imposed upon them, I don't necessarily think that is a good thing for them.

    Sometimes indoor cats are declawed but why mutilate the poor animal just to preserve your furniture? If you are that careful of your furniture perhaps you should not have a cat.

    And as it is possible to have cat vaccinated against all the major cat diseases, I don't believe it is morally right to deny it it's chance of as natural a life as possible just because people want a pet.

    I'm sorry if my point of view offends you but I don't think we have ever 'civilised' the true cat out of the domestic cat. I've only got to watch my old boy stalking a would-be victim in the garden. All my cats have lived indoors, totally pampered, but with the option to come and go as they pleased. And yes, they have all lived to a great age ...

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    6 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hi, Angie--

    Thanks for your input. I'm glad you enjoyed the poem.

    Unfortunately, I must strongly disagree with your conclusion. "Running wild" is still "natural" for wild cats. Our pets have been domesticated for so many centuries that they can and do adapt wonderfully to living indoors. In fact, a cat allowed to run free faces not only dangers from cars, but also disease, fights with other cats, and becoming prey to other animals including (depending on your region) coyotes, wolves, bobcats, and even birds of prey.

    An "outdoor cat" has a life expectancy of only 6 to 8 years. (Naturally, there will always be someone who points to a cat they had or knew who lived outside and lived to be very old--that is the rare exception, however.)

    An indoor cat, on the other hand can live a very long and healthy, happy life, anywhere from 12 to as many as 20 years. Why anyone would choose to risk cutting that many wonderful extra years with a beloved pet is beyond my understanding.

  • Angie Jardine profile image

    Angie Jardine 

    6 years ago from Cornwall, land of the eternally youthful mind ...

    A moving poem, Dzy, and so sad.

    Every time I have a cat die on me, for whatever reason, I vow I'll never get another as I find the whole thing so traumatising. I'm grief stricken for ages.

    But I always get another as there is always one who needs a home, always a cat in need of rescuing.

    Despite this I do believe cats should be given their freedom ... it is unnatural to keep a cat locked inside. If you love cats more than yourself you should always let them do what is natural to them ... they should wander free. You just have to hope they stay safe ...

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    7 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Hi again, Lucky Cats--

    I've not heard of that poem, but is sounds very sad. I'll have to do some resesarch on it.

    I've just finished reading a book about archaic words and phrases that have dropped out of the language many years since. One of those referenced a tale with mixed happiness and sadness--the term was "merry-go-sorry."

    This may be a good opportunity to revive the phrase.

    :-|

  • Lucky Cats profile image

    Kathy 

    7 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

    Lizzy....I'm in total understanding..it takes time to read all the wonderful writing of others and then, the comments and then the feedback and writing and, oh my! I just love it here, though...even though I fear my lower half is paying the price as I sit!!

    Have you ever heard of a poem entitled VELVET which was written about 50 years ago...a poem about a cat abandoned? I have googled and everything; I have an original typed copy but, for the life of me, have no idea where it came from or who wrote it..

  • DzyMsLizzy profile imageAUTHOR

    Liz Elias 

    7 years ago from Oakley, CA

    Thank you all so much for your kind comments, and @Lucky Cats, thank you so much for the votes and for sharing.

    I apologize for not having individual answers to everyone. This was first published when I was brand-new to HP, and unaware of some of the "niceties" such as responding to comments.

    I've learned much since then. ;-) Thank you all again.

  • Lucky Cats profile image

    Kathy 

    7 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

    Oh my God..you've said it. So so true, my friend. And sad. good for you to have put it out there in such a palatable form. Your friend, for animals and for the heck of it!

    Useful and Awesome (for the fortitude and honesty) and there should be an INSTRUCTIONAL! Kathy

    LIKE on FB, too

  • epigramman profile image

    epigramman 

    7 years ago

    ....oh dear this is so devastating and it's a gift you have as a writer - the surprise ending!!!

    I'd better keep a closer reign on my two buddies Little Miss Tiffy (she's the diva) and Mister Gabriel (he's a ladies' man and way too friendly)

  • Micky Dee profile image

    Micky Dee 

    8 years ago

    Those darn cats feel like they have to be free sometimes. Then they just don't go the right way sometimes! Dang it!

  • Slainia profile image

    Slainia 

    8 years ago from Goderich Ontario

    This makes me so sad. I've wanted a cat for so many years, and..yeah. Beautiful.

  • Wayne Brown profile image

    Wayne Brown 

    8 years ago from Texas

    Oh my! RoadKill! Keep your kitty out of traffic! WB

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