RANT: Roaming cats

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    It’s no secret that I think cats should be kept indoors for a variety of reasons, mostly related to their own health and welfare. However, some of those reasons have to do with the welfare of other creatures.

    Last evening one of my indoor cats was quite stressed over the fact that another cat was prowling our yard. I chased that one away. Some time later I looked into my heavily planted “wildlife habitat” front yard and noticed that a large Arborvitae was shaking around. A finch was chipping wildly. I then saw a flash of black fur, and went out again to chase away a second cat. Unfortunately, I was too late. A perfect purple finch nest was lying on the ground, empty. Small, bloody feathers were found nearby.

    Free-roaming cats are not only in danger of death by car, coyote, or a multitude of other threats, but they are a nuisance to your neighbors. They dig up and defecate in gardens not their own, and they kill and harass wild songbirds. Many birds have young ready to fledge right now. Be responsible and either monitor your cats or keep them indoors.

    I would never harm any animal. But if you own a young all-black cat or a ‘marbled’ black and white cat, and live in the vicinity of 36th & 102nd, your loose, uncollared, unlicensed (and probably un-neutered) cats are about to be re-homed.



    I know where you are, I have trapped there many times. I would be happy to at least make sure the cat is fixed and see if he/she is friendly and we can go from there?






    You may want to reconsider “re-homing” someone else’s pet… It is legal for Cats to run loose, not wear collars, and they do not have to wear their licenses.

    On the other hand, it would be illegal of you to “re-home” someone’s licensed pet…



    Cats don’t have to wear their collar/ license only if they are microchipped and the chip is registered with the municipal shelter (which means the cat is licensed).



    The all black cat may be the same one that’s been wandering around near my house (about 7 blocks from the original post… ). He often sits and creeps around our car and front yard. I just saw him tonight. But yesterday he was actually up on my back deck peering in the door. He seems friendly enough (or desperate enough?) that I wondered if he is/was a pet. I haven’t seem him randomly spraying the neighborhood bushes, but do see him often enough that he’s either lost, very bored, or loose on the prowl. His new found boldness seems to me to indicate he is without a home.



    next time you see him, check to see if his ear is tipped. He may be a feral cat that Pamela has already had neutered.



    Well hope to hear from some one about this, both FAF and FCAT have trapped in this area.



    I saw these cats again last night. They could well be related, both are quite young (under a year, I’d say) and slender. Hard to say if that’s because they’re underfed, or just because they’re young hunters.

    There is a rental house on the south side of 102nd between 37th and 38th that was recently vacated. An entire litter of kittens lived at that house, and I’m wondering if they were abandoned when the tenants moved. I used to see all the cats outside when I passed by, and had a feeling that might happen.

    Pam, do you know what the laws are regarding roaming cats? It seems to me there must be some recourse for homeowners if a neighbor’s cat is coming on to their property and causing harm. And let me be absolutely clear that I would NEVER harm the cat in any way. The cat is just doing what cats do. It’s the owner that needs a bit of ‘education’.



    ok I first say, it sounds like they have been left behind again NOT the cats fault. I will NOT remove these cats if they are feral. If they are friendly and you are in the seattle city limits then you can take them to the shelter. I of course will help you get them. If they have no identification then they do not belong to anyone.

    YES there is, if the cat is feral and you trap the cats and bring them to the shelter and claim they are doing harm to your property, then they will either be killed or POSSIBLY relocated but that is tough to do. If they are determined they are friendly then they will be taken care of properly.

    I will be point blank I will not lend traps to trap feral cats to be removed.

    I have “roaming” cats, but my neighbors love them and they too have a huge garden.

    Education does not work, if there people want to fix their pets they will, there are soooo many resources out there it is not tough to find.

    So again happy to help. Call me 206-427-6454 and we can go from there.

    It is apparent this is a human who is at fault and now the cats will have to suffer for it.




    Ever read the book “101 uses for a Dead Cat”. Terrible awful humor but hilarious.




    Thank you Pamela, for all you do. I feel better knowing you are out there.



    Please don’t steal any cats without making sure they’re truly feral. The cats may be chipped and/or just really good at getting out of their collars. The responsible thing would be to at least put up signs and see if someone will claim them.

    Also, some cats just will not stay indoors. We picked up a stray who was so insistent on getting outdoors that we had to give her away to someone who lived in a less coyote infested area. That cat was willing to bolt out a door open even for a second, climb out a window, etc. She would scream and scream to be let out. It sucks that cats kill birds, but it’s hardly like the cat population has eradicated all song birds. Actually, one of the biggest culprits for that is the starling population.

    Also, animals poop outside. Rats, raccoons, squirrels, birds, etc. Yes, it’s unpleasant to find cat droppings in your garden, but it’s safe to assume that the outdoors is not clean and sanitary.



    Queseara, your last statement is the biggest load of crap (no pun intended). Cats are a domesticated pet that the owner is not being responsible in keeping it’s excrement on their own property. They took responsibility for their pet and that means all of it!

    Why do you think they created a dog scoop law? Would you be okay with a dog pooping in your yard, garden, where your kids or you play? But outside is dirty so that would be okay?

    Not to mention cat poop is very dangerous to pregnant women whereas racoons and squirrels are naturally and continually wild, they have never been domesticated and gotten new diseases that can harm humans much more than wild animals.

    Build an outdoor run for your cat just like a dog.

    Don’t use the “outside is dirty anyway” line to justify your cat crapping in someone else’s hobby or joy such as gardening or playing in their yard.



    Freerange, I heart you. And ditto all you said, although I would add that raccoon poop can be dangerous to dogs. Pet poop in private yards is required by law to be scooped at least once every 24 hours, but the fact that cats bury their treasures makes that task problematic – not to mention annoying.

    Quesera, the fact is that a minimum of 60 million songbirds are killed by domestic cats every year. That is the most modest estimate, but some studies indicate the numbers could reach a billion or more. Many songbird species ARE reaching endangered status. While cats may not represent 100% of the cause, these are very significant numbers. Here is a link:


    Pam, I’ll look out for these cats and try to determine their status. They’re also in danger, as they are roaming the 35th corridor. As you pointed out, it’s the animals (cats and birds alike) that will suffer for human stupidity.



    An interesting topic. Cats do seem to be given free reign whereas dogs must be leashed etc. And while cats aren’t the same type of threat that dogs can be they still present problems. And then there’s the idea that I don’t want your pet’s crap in my yard. On my shoes, my kids rolling in it. So what is a cat owner’s responsibility to their neighbors? If you think it’s just fine for them to go crap at the neighbors you better at least tell them and offer to do regular pickups. I own cats but they don’t go out. And I don’t crap in my neighbor’s yard either, I prefer my own.



    I don’t have the address in front of me but i think I know the house on 102nd between 37th and 38th that was vacated (chain-link fence?). FAF helped to get all of their cats spayed and neutered. I will check on my way home tonight, but doubt they would have left any of their cats behind when they moved.



    YES YES YES, thank you guys, so I’m not the only one! How about invisible fence for your cat? A large dog run for them?

    So, 99.9% of the population doesn’t go for walks with their cats like they do dogs, so why not impose a law that says they must be on a leash no longer than the shortest distance from the owners area of tie-up to a neighboring property? Or something to this effect, why are they given free reign?

    Excactly, I don’t crap in your yard and mess that up, why is it okay for them to do it to mine?

    Just think of your neighbors when you let your cat out, who you’ve bought because you love and want to take care of, goes and digs up and craps in your neighbors’ yards.



    quesera, FYI i actually do know what I am doing, when it comes to friendly or feral cats. I deal with this all the time, and 99% of the time, cats are left behind. If friendly I will take to SSV to check for a chip(again 99% cats do not have chips) if true feral, when they go to the feral cat project EVERY single cat is scanned for a chip.

    If signs are not posted already chances are that have been left behind. If they are not being feed on a regular basis, then killing mice or birds to survive well then it is what it is.

    anonyme, sadly humans and pesticides are far more harmful to birds than cats. I know you are an animal supporter, and I respect your issues.

    FAF and FCAT again will do what we can to help resolve the issue when we are called.

    Again, we can never kill all the feral cats to solve the pooping in the yards and other “issues” that ferals present. Again it is the humans that do NOT s/n and leave behind to breed.

    We can not compare dogs to cats pooping in yards.

    Here is an example of a phone call that I got today:

    The person lives on SW cloverdale, one cat. Told her FAF/FCAT can get a trap to her, all she has to do is call us when cat is in trap. We can get cat fixed for free, all we ask is for small donation(gas is pricey). Husband wants to take a “different” route, ei another vet, I say why would you spend over a 100.00 to get a cat fixed when I can do it basically for free? She says I will call you back. So again here you have the same basic scenario, the human does not want to do anything. What am I to do, it is out of my hands.

    Freerange, I agree with you about a big run that is a great idea. I have a few clients who do that for their cats.




    Pam, I absolutely agree that pesticides and humans are probably the greatest threats to wild birds. I didn’t mean to suggest at all that cats are the primary reason for bird extinction or species endangerment. I only meant to point out that predation figures that can be safely estimated in the hundreds of millions are pretty significant.

    I think it’s reasonable to expect people to keep cats confined to their own property. It’s not the law (yet) but it makes sense both for cats, humans – and birds. In the meantime, if you must let your cats roam the big, bad world – please provide them with a breakaway collar with a BELL.

    mehud7, was it a yellow house adjacent to an alley?

    Heading a little off topic here – I just put out a big pile of free ornamental grasses (Carex ‘Frosted Curls’). I seem to remember one or more of the rescue folks needed plants to sell. I have more, but for now there’s a bunch on the SW corner of 35th & 102nd near the alley…


    Anyone know why Seattle doesn’t have a leash law for cats? So many other cities have these laws.

    I own a dog that has very high prey drive and I have trapped and brought cats to the local shelter in the past for their safety. I asked the staff to place a note on the cat so that if reclaimed the owner knows about the cat’s lack of safety when it enters my yard.

    On another note, here is a site where you can purchase pre-made cat runs, http://www.paws.org/outdoor-cat-enclosures.html.



    Good luck imposing a law to leash cats, even if it did pass owners wouldn’t obey it, look at the leash law for dogs.

    To the OP, it’s called the food chain, get over it. It may suck and be sad, but it’s the food chain, cats hunt. If there were wild dogs in West Seattle they would hunt too. until we have an utopian society out of wonderland where no person or beast does anything that makes anyone else angry cats will roam and owners won’t put their dog on a leash.

    Not trying to be offensive to you, I understand your frustration, but, life is contingient upon eating….nourishment. You can’t control the world, and to try to would be futile.



    A leash law for cats really? They can’t even keep up on the leash laws for dogs.

    Waste of resources. Again I understand everyone hates cat sh*t in their yards a leash law will NOT solve that problem, to be honest the feral generally won’t go near your yard, just like weeds cats friendly or feral will never go away.

    Then if the cat comes into YOUR yard, then it is the owners fault, if the dog attacks the cat it is what is, heck even I get that. No different than some one coming into your house you have a right to protect it.




    anonyme- Went by tonight and yes we are talking about the same house. I didn’t see any cats, and as I said before, I doubt the family left theirs behind. They had been planning the move for some time. I am trying to find their phone number so I can confirm. FCAT and FAF are available to help you though.



    HunterG, it is NOT called the food chain! Yes, cats will hunt but they were never meant to be domesticated and bred in the numbers like they are now. You’re essentially saying that introducing a new non-native species is okay and it’s okay if it kills off a native one. If so, why are all the states trying to eradicate so many non-native plant species killing off native ones for example? Dogs are domesticated too but they are not allowed by law to roam free with no oversight over their actions like cats. In a natural ecosystem, things would balance out but when you have 3 cats per house (not scientific) in the city due to breeding, things sway to one side. Think about the whole situation before you speak.

    IMO, people get cats as pets because they want a pet but don’t want to be fully responsible or have to care for it like they would a dog, rabbit, fish, etc. It’s a form of lazy pet ownership IMO. Only play with it when it’s convenient to them and don’t want to deal with the not fun parts. I commend all of those that have set up outdoor runs or have made their cats safer and neighbors happier by keeping them indoors.

    Another solution? Just as leash laws for dogs, if they wanted to get a bunch of high school kids that needs jobs and work for cheap, to drive around and site all of the off-leash dogs (and cats), this city would be rich. Cheap workers and hefty fines would more than compensate and make people think twice.



    I checked the Seattle Municipal Code to see what the law actually says about cats roaming and pooping and whatnot. (Not to say many of you don’t already know the law, only that I didn’t and the thread made me wonder.)

    Seattle does not have any leash law for cats, as several have pointed out. In fact, cats are specifically exempted from the section of the code that prohibits roaming and trespassing. SMC 9.25.084 says that it is unlawful for a pet owner to “permit any animal, except cats and pigeons, to be at large or trespass upon the property of another.” So cats are free to trespass.

    Other parts of the code impose some restrictions on that. For example, owners must keep their cats out of public fountains, out of schools when school is in session, and, if the cat is in heat, out of the presence of male cats (except with the consent of the male cat’s owner).

    However, pet owners, including owners of cats, are required to clean up after their animals. SMC 9.25.082(B) says that it is unlawful for a pet owner to “fail to remove the fecal matter deposited by his/her animal on public property or private property of another before the owner leaves the immediate area where the fecal matter was deposited.” This seems to contemplate dog-walking more than the cat-roaming, but I think it would apply to the owner of a cat that is pooping on the neighbor’s property.

    More to the point is SMC 9.25.082(A) (which Hammerhead alluded to), which says a pet owner cannot allow animal feces to accumulate in the yard and must pick up and dispose of the animal poop at least once every 24 hours. That section applies not only to people who let the poop of their own pets accumulate in their yards, but also to people whose pets are roaming around pooping in other people’s yards. If your kitty is roaming around, pooping hither and thither, you are required to go clean it up; it’s not supposed to be the job of the person whose property has been pooped-upon.

    Well, that’s the law anyway. I actually think it might be easier to train the cats to poop at home than to train cat owners to cruise the neighborhood cleaning up after their cats. Perhaps I am cynical. I am, however, in that 0.1% of people who walks her cats on a leash and has an enclosure for them attached to the house. (Talk about some spoiled cats!…)

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