President’s Message:

Outdoor Cats Face Dangers

Pat Valusek, president of New York State Humane Association
Pat Valusek, President of New York State Humane Association.
It has been a disturbing summer with devastating things happening to cats in our area – cats who have been outside, either due to their owners’ belief that they should be allowed to “experience” nature or due to abandonment or the practice of trap-neuter-release (TNR). The following stories could have been avoided.

A friend recently hit a cat as she was driving down her country road and was devastated, as any of us would be. She was unable to find the cat when it ran off. Although she searched for the cat and the owners all day, it was not until evening that she was successful. They had been away and when they returned, they heard their cat crying in the backyard. They assumed she had been in a cat fight and put her on a blanket in their living room to “observe” her, thinking she would start feeling better after a little rest. When my friend informed them that she had hit the cat that morning, they rushed the cat to their veterinarian, who determined she had a fractured pelvis. Hopefully, with rest and medications, the cat will recover. The couple said that this was a “wake-up call,” and they would no longer let their cats outdoors.

Another cat was not so fortunate. NYSHA received a call for assistance with an injured stray that had a huge abscess on the side of his face and neck. The unsociable cat had been seen in the caller’s neighborhood for a few weeks. The caller had been feeding him, but now he appeared to have been attacked by something, and due to his wound, could not eat and was rapidly losing weight. We told her we would help once she caught the cat in a humane trap that she had. That night, her neighbor found the cat lying in the road, suffering, but unapproachable. The neighbor’s husband shot the poor creature to put him out of his misery. Actually, that was probably a more humane end than trying to trap and transport this unfortunate, suffering animal to a veterinarian.

An equally tragic incident occurred when a local man, who lives in a semi-rural area and truly loves his two cats, let them outside but would bring them in at night. He was another believer in the adage that cats need to go outside. Sadly, one night only one cat returned. The next morning he went into the woods searching for the other one and was horrified to find half of her body. He called one of our volunteers sobbing. He also called the police fearing foul play, but the conclusion drawn by the police and a veterinarian who examined the remains was that a coyote had killed his beloved companion. As if to bring that point home, one of my neighbors recently told me that, as she was driving home one evening, she saw a coyote cross the road with a cat dangling from its mouth. According to research, cats are common victims of coyotes.

Outdoors is too dangerous for your treasured cats as all these incidents demonstrate. Also please keep in mind that with hunting season approaching, if you live near woods, it may be especially hazardous for your cat to venture out. NYSHA advises everyone to keep their cats indoors – period – where they will be safe.

Always be kind to animals,

Patricia Valusek

New York State Humane Association Humane Review, Vol.XXXIV Fall 2019.