Since we were discussing pet poop yesterday, I thought I'd follow it up with another pet oriented post today.
Because there is quite a distinct impact of free-roaming cats by way of them urinating and defecating in neighbor's yards, vegetable gardens, and planter boxes, this begs the question: what is the solution to kitty poop terrorism?
This is a different issue than with dogs, for the most part, because in most urban and suburban areas, off leash dogs aren't running through your backyard, pooping in your vegetable gardens. And, in most heavily populated areas, there are poop scooping laws to protect you from having to contend with big steamy piles. This is not the case with cats.
On one hand, the cat litter from America's 90 million pet cats results in around 2 million tons of cat litter being sent to landfills each year. So, is it better to let them poop outside? No, not really. Cat poop can be a danger to other animals in that they carry diseases that impact other wildlife, other cats and can spread disease to native cat populations.
Cats can carry all sorts of human transmittable diseases too such as rabies, round worm, hook worm, and ring worm. As was discussed in the comments of yesterday's post, cat poop can cause additional issues since they can carry toxoplasma gondii (about 50% of them do), which can cause illness in immune compromised humans and pregnant women. The end result of roaming cats is that their feces and urine can contaminate soil and water, endangering fish, wildlife and people.
Cats also have a big impact on wildlife as a predator (although I'm certainly not complaining about their effectiveness against our local mouse population). Outdoor cats kill a staggering number of lizards, songbirds and small mammals every year.
In urban areas, dogs aren't allowed to roam free, why should cats? Twenty years ago, dogs were allowed to wander off leash throughout most urban and suburban neighborhoods. That has certainly changed and now there are laws enforcing responsible dog ownership.
What are your thoughts? Should there be a ban on outdoor cats?
Pet poop disposal
Down the rabbit hole
Save a horse, eat a cowboy