By Jeanne

Below is a photo of a kitty we rescued through our local SPCA. She was 8 months old when we got her a couple of years ago, and has grown into a real beauty. We think she looks like a Norwegian Forest Cat, but who knows. She wants to be outside all the time, but her original owners had her declawed. So, we bought a little jacket for her, and we hook up a leash to it, and off we go.

Kitty on my Porch

I came home from work one day to find her on the porch watching my husband do yard work. She sat there like a queen for over an hour watching us work and letting me take her picture.

When we take her out, she usually heads straight down the street to a neighbor’s bird feeder, lays down on the sidewalk, and just watches the birds. She wants to grab one so badly! The crows and squirrels scream at her, but she just twitches her tail and ignores them. We live across the street from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin Martin House, and Kitty loves to watch the tour groups from her perch on the porch.


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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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  • I meant "preteens" and teens in my earlier comment. Combination of autocorrect and my needing bifocals but being too stubborn to get them.

    I like your analysis, Michael, that people prefer a more sanitized world. I think many people are afraid of the natural world and feel the need to subdue and control it. It's shown in the difference between my neighbor's perfectly manicured grass, neat flower beds and professional landscaping of her back yard and my yard which is left more natural. I think sometimes people go overboard, feeling the need to erase all traces of anything wild or natural. My parents have seen this as new people from the city have moved near them and have felt the need to cut down many trees in the ravine and plant grass in there. It's like, if it's part of their land it has to be landscaped and perfectly manicured. It's not that the change is necessarily bad, but it seems like a silly waste of time and a lot of extra work to those of us who don't mind a few wildflowers and natural areas. I saw this fear of natural areas in my cousins who lived in the city and would come and play with us up north when we were kids. They were not comfortable with a little bit of dirt, a few nettles and having to climb up and down some hills. They were not only not having fun, they actually were afraid. I remember my cousin screaming in fear, too terrified to climb back down a hill into the woods, and we had to walk back to the house via the road. We have whole generations of children completely out of touch with the natural world, so instead of respecting and enjoying it they fear it. I used to question the value of outdoor education when I was young, even though I enjoyed it. Today, with very few children playing outside at all, much less in the woods, I think it's essential. It's no wonder Americans are fine with keeping their cats indoors, because they themselves mostly stay indoors.

    What's surprising is that trying to keep the world more "sanitized" and safe, isn't convenient. A garden of wildflowers is much easier to maintain than a more conventional flower garden. It takes much more effort to go out there and water grass every day than to just leave it be. It takes much more energy to constantly worry about your kids and to not allow them ever to get their clothes dirty than to get out there and get dirty with them and enjoy the outdoors together.

    • Good points Ruth. I am convinced that we need to be more in touch with nature because if we are not we will simply destroy it gradually and in doing so destroy our planet that sustains us.

      I agree that the indoor cat phenomenon is a symptom of a developing mentality that is increasingly distanced from nature as is declawing.

  • America is a country full of people trying to make life perfectly safe! Kid's playgrounds today are so safe that they don't appeal to any but the smallest of children, so it is no wonder our pretend and teens are becoming more and more sedentary and obese. As soon as you try to make life perfectly safe, there are unintended consequences. Like when Americans started keeping cats indoors (to keep them safe) but this made declawing acceptable, because the cat would never go outside.

    • The ever more safe, sanitised world is the same in the UK. And children and cats have less of a life because of it. Funny that people's desire for a more sanitised world affects the most vulnerable the most. This must be proof that parents of kids and cats want things more safe and sanitised for their convenience. Life is more controlled that way. In a chaotic world it provides some control and comfort to people.

  • Some people will probably say that a declawed cat should never be let outside, but I think if you carefully supervise her I would think it would be ok. You can just never forget that she is essentially defenseless. And of course, no cat has defenses against getting crushed under the wheels of a car. I take my little guy out too, in our fenced back yard. We used to use the leash, but he stays in the yard, so I let him do his thing. I usually stay out there with him, or check on him frequently. In winter I could see him through the back glass patio door, so I'd sit there practicing my guitar and watch him at the same time. Now with all the vegetation back there he can hide from me, so I pretty much stay out with him. Also, he thinks bumble bees are big buzzing cat toys and he can go up trees but not down, so he really needs supervision.
    I think it's good for your cat to be outside. She has lost so much through the loss of her claws, to take the opportunity to be outside away from her too would be very sad, since she enjoys it. Life is not without risk. You can't make her perfectly safe, inside or outside. I'm glad she enjoys her time outside with you.

    • Very sensible approach. I don't know why more Americans don't follow you! :) I am not saying letting a cat outside is always a good thing. I just believe that where possible an effort should be made to take a cat outside provided it is safe as it is good for cat health. As you say a bit of risk is part of a healthy life.

  • Well? I'm leaning more toward Maine Coon. Both breeds have the ruff and ear hair. Weggies often have 'owl ears' but not all of them. The reason I say Maine Coon is the shape of her face and eyes. I have been wrong before. Either way she is a real beauty! I'm sooo jealous!

  • Hi Jeanne, your cat has an unusual appearance for a rescue cat and could be Norwegian Forest Cat. Purebred cats do make up a percentage of rescue cats (about 7 percent of all cats relinquished to shelters).

    She has a striking appearance. And I like the way you take her out on a leash with a harness. That's unusual too! But very nice to read about. A safe way to get out and be natural. I would expect that you get the occasional pedestrian coming up to you having been attracted by your cat.

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