Neighborhoods are going to the cats

Our beloved pets are part of our families, and really our best friends. Cats and dogs, as well as fish, birds, hamsters are among all the other “critters” we keep. But this is about cats and dogs, probably the most popular pets.

I may be wrong, and please correct me if I am. Dogs need a tag on a collar, but cats do not. Dogs need to be on a leash or in a secure fenced area. Cats apparently do not. I’ve seen numerous cats roaming my neighborhood, and other neighborhoods, many perhaps most, without a collar and tag. I’ve always wondered why?

Are cats special? Well yes, to a cat lover, but then so are dogs to dog lovers. What is the difference between dogs and cats, (other than the obvious), that permits cats to run around outside without a leash and tag?

This is not to be construed to be any criticism of pet owners. I am simply asking a question. While I have never had a cat, I’ve had several dogs over the years.

Every dog has had a dog tag and collar. When walking the dogs they’ve been on a leash, and/or in a fenced yard.

One time a neighbor’s cat was in our yard. Our dog just sat at the back door, whining until the cat slowly wandered away. The neighbor was unaware of this until I mentioned it to him the next day.

He was indifferent. He said, “So what, cats wander around.”

Is there a different standard for cats than there is for dogs? A dog wandering around a neighborhood would be reported to the animal warden and probably taken to the local shelter.

It has been said cats have nine lives. Whether that is actually true or not, won’t be discussed here. But why push it? Roaming and wandering around the neighborhood could be putting any cat in danger. It could be hit by a car, taken by someone who loves or even hates cats or attacked by another cat or dog. Same would go for a dog if it got loose.

So why are some pet lovers allowing their pets to roam and wander? There are far too many dogs and cats out there, neglected and abused. Just look at the number animal rescue groups that are soliciting donations.

Pets are part of our families. We feed them, shelter them, play with them and love them as if they were children. Why not protect all of them with a tag or license? The purpose is in part, is to identify the owner if one gets loose or lost.

Pets are part of our families, let’s care for them and protect them, all of them.

Herb Dettmer is a retired Bowling Green resident, U.S. Army veteran and writes this column representing the viewpoint of “Joe Average” citizen. He is freelance writer and author of “Others,” a devotional book. Call or text “Joe” with comments at 419-494-4641.