Out of all the myths about cats, the myth that feral cats live short, miserable lives outdoors is the one that drives me crazy the most. It is pretty much why I started this blog. This blog chronicles the lives of the feral cat colonies that I TNR, trap-neuter-return, and continue to care for with the help of feeders and caretakers in my community. You can see the stories of the individual colonies by clicking on the links under “Categories” on the right. All of these cats and their colonies have names.
The reason why this myth is wrong is because it is based only on human emotion, and is propagated by humans who know nothing about these cats. They are the people who walk into a room, shout, “You’re doing it wrong!,” and walk out without offering help or an alternate solution. They never tried TNR. They never tried to do anything at all.
Who are we to determine what constitutes a short, miserable life? What is short? What is miserable? Do these people think these cats would rather die than be outdoors?
So enough about these myths, and let’s show the cats that dispel these myths.
I’ve written about Dash before, since he has been in the colony in my yard, the James’ Gang Colony, since being TNR’d in November of 2007. He’s been coming back ever since sporadically, on his terms, for almost six years now. He never lets me get close, but he will stay in my yard now when I open the back door, instead of dashing away like he used to. He doesn’t even feed all the time in my yard, so obviously he finds alternate food sources because he is clearly not starving. He is healthy and free and feral.
This morning I opened the door and found him hanging out under my deck. He was hard to see at first as he was in the shade. I couldn’t figure out what he was doing, and then realized he was enjoying the catmint. Sometimes I worry (another pesky human emotion that is a waste of time) that the cats are not visiting my yard in the summer, but then I can tell when there must have been a cat party overnight by the freshly trampled catmint plants.
I ran back inside to get Dash a plate of food, put it outside for him, and went back into the house to watch him eat it. But he didn’t eat it, he just turned and walked out of my yard. He is living his life outdoors, as he wants to, as he knows how, doing exactly what he wants to. We should all be so lucky to live our own lives like that.