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Letters to the EditorA reader writes about outdoor cats

A reader writes about outdoor cats

Dear Editor

I received an anonymous note in the mail and, as I cannot communicate directly with the sender, I would appreciate your publishing this letter.

The note, printed in capitals in black ballpoint, was just six words long: “KEEP YOUR DAM [sic] CATS AT HOME”

I have two cats. Both are rescue animals who were abandoned by their previous owners. During the period that they were homeless, they must have foraged for themselves. Since my husband and I took them in, 15 years ago for one and a year ago for the second, they have been fed, housed, loved and well-cared for. They both stay close to home, often tagging along when I take my dog for a walk (to the amusement of several of my neighbours).

Cats who have known the outdoor life are not comfortable being housebound 24/7. Therefore, my cats are free to enjoy being outside — most of the time hanging out on our property, during as much of the day as they want and I bring them in at night — both to keep them safe from any predators and to ensure that they do not bother my immediate neighbours.

There are several other cats in the area who keep a similar schedule and no one has indicated that this is a problem in what has been a very pleasant area to live in until now.

Perhaps similar notes were sent to the owners of the other cats who live along our street.

There are simple ways to discourage cats from your property without harming the animals and without any major cost. For example, cats dislike certain scents, such as lavender or citrus fruits. Interspersing a little lemon thyme and a few lavender plants among your vegetables would make it less cat friendly. You could also throw a few orange or lemon peels or coffee grounds around to similar effect. Such actions would be much more likely to achieve the desired result than building hostility.

Meanwhile, I would ask the note writer to come to my door and explain her/his issue and I will do my best to address it.

Thank you.

Iris Boston




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