Posts Tagged ‘indoor cats’

Happy 40th Earth Day!

In recognition of the day, here are 10 ways to be green. Ten was an arbitrary number. There are many more ways to practise low-impact living. Join in! The planet needs your help.

1. Drink Shade-grown Coffee! There’s no easier way to help save rainforest. See Shade the Coffee, Shelter the Birds for more information.

2. Garden Organically. Whether you grow your own food or prefer flowers, or just plain grass, avoid using pesticides in your yard. Sprays that kill insects and weeds become part of your backyard environment and are bad for other wildlife as well (not to mention you!). If possible, plant a variety of native species to provide food and shelter for birds and bugs.

3. Make Every Cat an Indoor Cat. When it comes to birds, cats are killers. Birds face enough challenges without having domestic pets to contend with. Read more at Natural Born Killers.

4. Choose Seafood Wisely. The days when the bounty of the ocean was limitless are gone. Many fish species are threatened by overfishing. See The End of the Line for more information.

5. Buy Locally-grown Produce. Buying local produce supports local farmers, helps to maintain greenspace, and provides local jobs. Imported foods are transported thousands of miles, contributing to carbon emissions and pollution. Fruits and vegetables from other countries may have been sprayed with pesticides banned in North America or harvested by an exploited workforce. Choose organic food when possible. For more information, see Organic Food is For the Birds.

6. Avoid Bottled Water. All those bottles waste resources and add to landfills. Although recyclable, most water bottles are thrown in the garbage. Bottled water is no safer than tap water in the Toronto area. Sometimes it is tap water. Visit The Polaris Institute for more information about water issues.

7. Eat Less Meat. It takes about 2500 gallons of water and 16 pounds of grain to produce one pound of beef. Over 60% of U.S. grain is fed to livestock. Meat is an inefficient source of protein. “Factory farming” practices that crowd many animals into a small space promote the use of hormones and antibiotics that make their way into the food chain. A vegetarian or near-vegetarian diet is associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes and hypertension.

8. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Take your own reusable shopping bags or bins with you when you go grocery shopping. The first defense against garbage and waste is not to accept unnecessary articles in the first place. Reduce your use of single-use items such as lighters, razors and other disposable items. Choose reusable items and look for recyclable materials. Recycle your newspapers and other items accepted by community recycling programs.

9. Buy Certified Forest Products. The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international non-profit organization that supports the environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world’s forests. Forests are certified against a strict set of environmental and social standards. Producers and manufacturers along the supply chain are certified to ensure that the final product bearing the FSC logo actually originated from a certified forest. For more information, see www.fsccanada.org.

10. Get involved. Become informed about environmental issues. There are many great organizations, from large ones like the World Wildlife Fund to grassroots local causes in your own community. Donate funds to your favorites. Volunteer. Change won’t happen without you.

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Momcat could be a poster girl for the Cats Indoors campaign. We’ll never know who her caregiver was when she was a kitten, but whoever they were, they should never have had a pet. Poor Momcat! Barely a kitten herself, she was allowed to roam the neighbourhood, and as her caregiver had failed to have her spade, it wasn’t long before she was pregnant. Although this event was a result of her caregiver’s negligence, it was Momcat who paid the price. After her kittens were born, her caregiver bundled her and her new family into a cardboard box and drove them out to a country road. The little family was dumped unceremoniously by the roadside. You can read Momcat’s story here.


Momcat has lived inside with us now for a year. All winter she was content to laze away the days, sleeping in the sun, happily gazing out the window, watching the world go by. I thought that when the spring came, a touch of wanderlust might overcome her and make her restless, but such was not the case. She has continued to contentedly while away her days inside. Although she never allows us to approach within a few yards of her, and has in no way grown to appreciate human attention, Momcat is no fool. She has led a hard life and she knows when she has a good thing going. No more outdoors for her! No way! Momcat has come inside to stay.


When Momcat’s son, Arthur, managed to slip out one evening through a hole he discovered in a screen, his curiosity quickly turned to terror. Poor Arthur! He was so frightened, he wouldn’t respond to our calls. He hid himself away and we couldn’t find him anywhere. However, that night, after the house was still and dark, he tried his best to return home. We jumped up repeatedly on the windows, trying to find his way back into the house. In the morning, we found the screens ripped to bits. But no Arthur. With the light of day, he returned to his hiding place. Finally, the next evening, he crept in a window we left open for him in a closed-off room. Although he enjoys sitting on the screened porch, he has never left the house again.



The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies has promoted keeping cats indoors for more than a decade now. Indoor cats live longer, healthier lives, free of injury and disease. They don’t get run over by cars, carried away by coyotes, or pick up fleas and worms. They don’t dig in the neighbour’s garden or haunt the bird feeder. If you don’t want a cat living indoors with you, 24/7, for the next 15 years, don’t get a kitten.



Contrary to signs you see that read FREE KITTENS!, kittens are definitely not free. They come with a responsibility to have the kitten spade or neutered and vaccinated. If you can’t afford the several hundred dollars it will cost, you can’t afford a free kitten.



All across North America, shelters are full of cats and kittens like Holden and the other cats featured here. Holden and friends were seeking homes at the Toronto Cat Rescue. Toronto Cat Rescue is a “no kill” shelter, but perfectly healthy cats and kittens, unwanted and unloved, are euthanized by the thousands across North America every year. Thousands and thousands more live short, hard lives as feral cats.



The cats and kittens that are euthanized, the cats and kittens that live hungry, tough outdoor lives, are the result of irresponsible pet owners. Don’t let your pet become a statistic. Keep your cat inside where it will be safe and can get on with its job: being a much-loved pet.


Arthur and Tonka, safe inside.

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Capone’s name was inspired by his appearance. He has hooded eyes that imbue him with a malevolent look, and he is dressed in a grey striped suit. Any similarity with a gangster ends there, because Capone is one shy, sweet, gentle guy. He was one of the kittens that was deserted with Momcat on a country roadside and accompanied her to our house. He wasn’t too hard to catch because by the time that kitten had been roughing it in the bush for a few weeks, he was one sick little fellow.

Capone, soaking up the sun

Capone, soaking up the sun

He had a runny nose and needed a trip to the vet for treatment of a respiratory infection. He also had a strange lump right at the center of his chest. The lump turned out to be a cuterebra larva. Cuterebra are a species of fly that lay their eggs at the entrance to rabbit and animal burrows. The eggs are picked up by the animals sniffing around the den and when they hatch, the larva burrows into the animal. On a cat, they can form a cyst-like lump with a small breathing hole at its center. The larva can grow up to half an inch long. The vet was able to remove the larva from Capone. Another kitten had a larva growing in his nasal cavity that was removed through his nostril. Gross! Check here for more information.

Because cats can be very independent, people often mistakenly think they can look after themselves outside. But there are many dangers in the outdoor world. Cats belong indoors where they are safe. Here are recommendations from the Canadian Federation of Humane Societies for indoor cats.


Capone is easygoing and gets along with everyone. He is often curled up with one of his fellow cats. Here he is with younger brother Mikey.

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