The BC SPCA Williams Lake and District branch came out with a word of warning this week: Keep your cats indoors.
The notice, posted on social media, followed complaints from some South Cariboo cat-owners that their pets were allegedly being live-trapped and relocated in 100 Mile House, 108 Mile Ranch and Williams Lake.
In one purported case, a woman said she was told by a neighbour that her pet had been lured with some fish and then dropped somewhere near Sepa Lake’s accessibility trail to fend for itself. Apparently, the person who allegedly did it was upset because the cat kept peeing in their flowerbox.
It’s hard to determine the facts behind neighbourhood disputes. If any of this is true, it is concerning on both sides. No one’s raised beds should become a feline lavatory, especially if they are growing vegetables along with their flowers. At the same time, leaving a defenseless house pet far from its familiar surroundings is guaranteed trauma or worse.
In the South Cariboo, there’s a good chance an outdoor cat is likely to face a predator, as was evidenced recently in 100 Mile House when conservation officers had to euthanize a lynx that was feasting on stray felines close to downtown.
But there are things that can be done. The SPCA has long promoted keeping cats indoors, as those who don’t go outside have a longer lifespan than those who do. Cat owners can also consider creating a sandbox in their own yard near a thicket of catnip plants. Although they will have to clean up the cat poop afterward, it’s suggested as one way to keep cats out of the neighbour’s yard.
If the cat does seek out new pastures, so to speak, other suggestions include adding pinecones or other “pokey things” to the flower bed or garden so they don’t have room to do their business.
Even the best-trained animals can behave in ways we’d rather they didn’t. But a pet is a pet. To most people, cats, like dogs or hamsters, are part of the family. When they go missing – for whatever reason – the uncertainty of not knowing where they are, or what happened, is highly traumatic for their owners.
In the South Cariboo, a runaway pet on the loose could mean anything from a cow to an ostrich, while it’s not uncommon to have people rounding up horses on the highway. Every one of those creatures deserves to get home.
In the end, when it’s our animals that need to get off our neighbour’s lawn, it’s up to the humans to mend those fences.