Cages, Cats And Confinement

Melanistic f4 savannah cat climbing fencing

The three go together, don’t they? What is it that brings these three words together, so often? You have to come to one conclusion: the world is potentially a dangerous place for a cat or the cat is a danger to people if, as so often happens, people separate the cat from the world and people.

The ubiquitous cat cage reminds me how unsatisfactory it can be, sometimes, for the cat to live in the human world which is, as a matter of fact, “The World”. It is now a human construction and every part of the world is touched by human activity and every time the cat can be affected.

Often, we have to separate the cat from the human. In rescue centers nearly all the cats are in cages. In zoos, cats are in cages. We take our cat to the vet in a cage. Breeders keep their cats in cages. Backyard zoos are full of cages confining large exotic cats that need an area to live in that is millions of times larger. The remarkable fact is that the people who put these cats in cages in their backyard think it is normal.

Wouldn’t it be nice if a rescue center kept all their cats in a wide open large space with indoor and outdoor areas? Totally impractical, people will say. The idea is crazy. Why is the idea crazy? It is crazy because it would be financially unworkable. It would cost too much to run a cat rescue facility that covered many acres in which the cats played and enjoyed themselves and, here is the important bit…people are unwilling to spend any more money than necessary on stray cats. Understandable. Cat rescue is a cut-price business. So the reason why cats are in cages in rescue centres is because we don’t want to spend the money to make the lives of these cats better while they are waiting for a new home. Why is that? Because we don’t value their lives anymore than fairly cheaply if we are honest. Cats have little value, is the conclusion.

Wouldn’t it be nice if all zoos were 100 times larger? Impractical. It would cost too much. Once again cage confinement of zoo cats comes down to the value of the cat to society and the value is reflected in the size of the cage. I have conclude that we don’t value wild cat species very highly.

Take cat breeders and kitten mills. The smaller the cage for the breeding cats the more commercial the breeder is. It is all about valuing the life of the cat.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could take our cat to the veterinarian without using a cage (cat carrier). Totally idiotic idea and impractical. Why? Because cats don’t like cars and being at a vet’s. They panic. It would be dangerous for our cat. Shouldn’t all vets come to the cat? Crazy idea because it would cost too much. Once again the cat is confined to a cage because of the value we place on him/her. We can’t afford to get a vet to come out to our home. So financially we are unable to provide best veterinary care. But if vets were cheaper we could afford it and we would do it. It is about money again. The value we place on the cat companion.

There is no absolute rule which says we cannot have a companion animal veterinary service part subsidised by the state. If we did, cats would not be in cages going to the vet’s clinic. Of course, it sounds preposterous and it will never happen because we don’t value animals highly enough. We value submarines and nuclear missiles far more highly. We value trying to make Afghanistan more “civilized” (by Western standards which can be disputed) and ridding the country of the Taliban which is impossible.

The Afghan war has cost Britain more than £37bn! It has cost the USA, $700bn. There are 4,500 vet practices in the UK. If each was worth half a million pounds that makes a total value of £2,250 million or £2.25bn, a fraction of the cost of the Afghan war. The entire veterinary business in the UK is worth 6% of the value of the Afghan war.

We can afford an NHS for animals. We just don’t want to do it. Note: the Afghan war is a waste of money and worse: when we leave the country it is likely to revert to the way it was before we started. Zero benefit for the billions spent.

We value the wrong things. We waste our money on the wrong things. It is possible to reduce the number of cats in cages. It is just a question of redistributing the money and to start valuing the lives of all animals more highly.

Photo by Michael

Facebook Discussion


Cages, Cats And Confinement — 9 Comments

  1. Cool. Remind me to ask the government to subsidize my fish-tanks and train collection and stamp collection too. And my kids’ doll collections, that’s a must. If we’re going to have the government subsidize all our hobbies and all those non-essential things that we want in life that make only us happy, let’s get them all subsidized and paid-for by the government. Count me in! How very “deep and brilliant” of everyone here! Wow!


    • Barry (sorry, Woody) you miss the point, a train set is not a domestic cat which is treated as part of the family and a living creature and cats are not hobbies. Human babies are not hobbies and neither are cat companions. You are miles off the point and the argument. Totally stupid comment, sorry.


    • One thing for sure Woody’s ilk, your comment is certainly not “deep and brilliant”
      It is in fact un-necessary and sarcastic and it does you no credit at all.


  2. Horrible, hateful confinement, poor cats large and small denied their freedom and kept to be pretty kitties to be stared at or breeding machines to churn out kittens. I wish all cat rescues had the same attitude as Cats Protection and Ark on the Edge with clean roomy cabins for the cats and access to fresh air, they do have to be confined but surely not in dank, cramped cages out of the daylight, it must be such a soulless existence for them waiting, waiting, waiting to be chosen, so sad,
    Carrying boxes have a purpose, to get the cat safely to the vets who these days mostly refuse to do house visits at any price, as do doctors, it wouldn’t be safe to transport a cat without a carrier, even using one there are sad stories of cats escaping during and after vet visits, I don’t think many cats would hop in the car and voluntarily go to visit the vet, I know our boys wouldn’t.


    • agreed its sad when animals domestic and wild have to be confined to long period in cages. It must be just so horrible for them. I know my felines just hate so much the cat cage. As soon as they see it they know exactly what its there for i.e Vet Visit. They run away or try to Escape. Have to trick Smokey and Rebel as their senses are very alerted to when its that time.


  3. A very deep and brilliant article Michael which really gets to the nitty gritty of how we have taken cats lives over and expect them to be content as our prisoners and how some people think cats should be grateful to us for this.
    Yes bigger zoos would be better, but even better still would be no zoos, just leave wild animals in the wild, where they belong!
    But no they can’t do that, they have to ‘own’ animals, take over their lives, force cats large and small to breed in captivity, so more people can ‘own’ them.
    Yes we have to put our cats in cat carriers to go to the vets but it’s for their benefit, not ours and yes more vets should do house calls, they make the excuse everything is at hand at the surgery but the truth is they know cats are more manageable there than at home. They have back up to help subdue cats difficult to handle. So they charge the earth to put people off asking for house calls.
    I think the biggest problem is that many people don’t respect cats or consider their feelings, human beings wants and rights come first and therefore many cats have to live un-natural lives to please those people.


    • Thanks Ruth. I am trying to address the underlying problems in society which leave us where we are with the domestic cat – not ideal. We (meaning humankind) can do so much better. At the end of the day it is about money and pretty well all the woes in the cat world revolve around money and the value of the cat.



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