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field trip tonight?

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field trip tonight?

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Savage is watching the snow fall.

I kinda want to take him outside for a few minutes - long enough for him to freak out, and then get over it and start to explore. It would be cute to watch, and I think it would be good for him, too. His kitty life is so insular.

Sometimes I think about all the different viewpoints on animal rights. I haven't researched the issues - I have my own pet owner ideology, and haven't felt the need to branch out - but I have come across some other ideas just in the course of living and talking to people.

Some would have it that I should feel guilty for treating my pets like pets. I refuse, because I don't think I am doing wrong (though if I knew then what I know now, my poor babies would still have been spayed/neutered but NOT declawed. Never again.). I've interacted with enough housecats to be able to tell that mine are happy... but on the other hand, I don't really respect the idea that the living room is the cat's natural habitat (and I'm not exaggerating; I've met this basic viewpoint in conversation, though of course this awesome phrasing is my own *g*).

I'm well aware that their existence would be different, and in some ways better, if they were outdoor cats. They would live shorter lives, and be in poorer health, but those lives would be much richer in experience. We humans think of tasting varied aspects of the world outside our normal existence as being an important thing for ourselves, for our character and quality of life, and I think that can be easily enough extrapolated to cover cats as well. As predators, it would especially be healthy for them to have to catch their own food - sure, they chase anything that might get inside (bugs mostly, but once there was a baby mouse. It was the second best toy ever!!), but come on, they don't live on that - they live on kibble, which doesn't really pose too much of a challenge, seein' as how it just lies in the bowl, and when they run out, they ask us for more (and while sometimes waking me up and getting me to go to the kitchen *is* a challenge for Valentine (Savage never tries to wake me, he's Mike's cat), it's not really a fight for survival).

I think that a lot of indoor cats develop the weird neuroses that they do because their instincts, for the most part, aren't needed in their daily lives*. My kitties are never living the wild life again (though they were born to it: Savage was a farm cat; Valentine was a stray - hey, sounds like a cat country-and-western song!) - even if I were willing to let them go, I think their years of sheltered pampering would give them too many disadvantages, make the odds against them too steep - but on the other hand, both Savage and Valentine (along with all the other cats we had at the time) have lived as indoor/outdoor cats, and I think they were the better for it. I think, if you live in a relatively safe area (no highway, no cat-killing dogs, no neighbors with guns/poison/whatever, etc.), and you get them collars and all the necessary extra health care that they need for outdoor safety, this can be the best of both worlds for cats: a safe refuge and consistent source of food (and affection *g*), combined with the freedom to live as much of their animal natures as they choose. Perfect safety isn't good for children, and I don't think it's good for non-human animals, either.

*for the record, I think the same thing of other domesticated critters, too - including human beings. My sociology prof insisted that humans don't have instincts, just reflexes, but I like my own theory better. A LOT better, now that I think about it. I should look and see if anyone has written about this.

On a more practical note, this is a good time of year for the cats to go outside - there aren't any fleas out there at the moment. On the whole, I think it's better to schedule the restretching of those horizons during the time when the vermin are away.

As for Valentine, this is probably the only time I can let her outside, because if she gets out in warmer weather, she instantly becomes Miss Jungle Princess and has to be chased down and recaptured. It's cute, in a really annoying way - like, I'd love to watch someone else's cat do it. :)
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