As admirable as Rene Lozano is in his work as an animal control officer [May 9], Josh Schonwald missed an opportunity to educate your readers further, specifically in stating that dog packs are “more likely to threaten cats.” Many otherwise intelligent people believe cats must roam, but the truth is that neither cats nor dogs should be let out unattended.
The negative issues related to feral and supposedly tame cats being out surpass those of canines. Cats contract or pass on diseases and parasites, get into fights or run over by cars, and breed indiscriminately, just as dogs do. But where dogs are confined to the ground or stairways, cats can climb trees (which still prompts a few well-meaning citizens to call 911 about cats “stuck up a tree”), where cats revert to their instincts–they kill birds and disturb their nests. Cats are exotic (to this continent) predators to which ground- and shrub-dwelling birds have evolved no defenses.
Cat owners who let their pets out to roam fail to consider their neighbors’ efforts, since their cats are scratching up gardens, leaving excrement (which has no fertilizer value, as does the manure of herbivores) and their stink behind. And who trying to sleep in anything other than a high-rise has never been awakened by their caterwauling? Unfortunately, cats’ agility and smaller size means they are less able to be cornered by ACOs.
As a veteran Chicago police officer, I was dismayed to be told by a citizen to whom I was issuing an unrestrained-animal citation for his loose cat, “There are cats out all over this neighborhood!” He proved to be correct, for a mere two blocks over, someone else’s disgruntled neighbor identified another misinformed individual who had been letting her five cats out.
Just as my right to swing my fists stops at your nose, your cat’s “right” to explore stops at your property line. It’s time inconsiderate cat “guardians” got cited at the same rate as dog owners, and for those who know which doors get opened for cats to clue the offenders in.
P.O. Maja Ramirez
019th District/2nd Watch