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Cats in the Community

By Lynn Lewis - lynnl@landings.org
Communications Manager

Ask any pet owner, and most will tell you that their pet is very much a part of the family. Most also will tell you that all pets are as different as the people who love them. But one thing remains constant regardless of whether your pet is a cat, dog, bird, pot-bellied pig, or iguana -- their care and well-being is a top priority.

Most domestic animals are confined to a cage or designated areas of your home to keep them safe from outside dangers such as predatory animals, cars, and humans who may not have the same appreciation for them as those who love them dearly. Often, you will read articles about keeping your dogs leashed and not letting them roam free, but what about the cats? Of all animals, confining a cat to a select few areas can be tricky business.

By nature, cats are mysterious, curious, and independent creatures that receive and give love on their own terms. Many jokes have been made and children’s books written about the jams their curiosity can get them into if allowed to roam without boundaries.

Following are a few suggestions and thoughts to ponder from The Good Neighbour Project – a Cat Protection Society based in Australia.

  • Pets are a vital part of our human ecology, but pet ownership requires consideration of both natural and social/built ecologies.
  • Being a responsible cat owner means ensuring the welfare and well-being of your cat as well as protecting the local fauna and neighborhood amenities. Put simply, it means being a good neighbor.
  • Being a good neighbor means different things in different places. Whether you live in a condo or a house, in the city or the suburbs, or bordering a wildlife-sensitive area, get to know the rules as they relate to pet ownership in your County, Homeowners’ Association, etc.
  • Confining your cat to your property means they are at a reduced risk of being killed or injured by cars, other animals, or people, and are at a reduced risk of exposure to poisons, disease, and parasites.
  • Ensure your cat is registered and its vaccinations (including rabies) are up-to-date.
  • Different areas support different species of birds and native wildlife, and their activity levels and behaviors are important to consider. If you are installing cat-proof fencing, be guided by your local experts and in The Landings -- the Community Development Department (CDD@landings.org).
  • Remember, it is best not to allow your cat to consider your neighbors’ property as part of its territory. Although you may have a neighbor who wouldn’t mind, neighbors can change. If your cat-loving, next door neighbor moves out and a neighbor who doesn't like cats moves in, this could be disastrous and potentially deadly for your cat. It is best to err on the side of caution and keep your cat on your property.

Residents are reminded that Chatham County’s Animal Control ordinances (which are observed in The Landings) apply to both dogs and cats. Section 22-103, item # 2 reads, “It shall be unlawful for the owner of any dog or cat to permit the same to run at large. At large means, any animal which is not under manual control of a person and which is on any public roads of this state or on any property not belonging to the owner of the animal, unless by the permission of the owner of such property.”

To read more about Chatham County’s Animal Control Policies, visit https://cccdn.blob.core.windows.net/cdn/Files/ChathamCounty/Code%20Book/Chapter22.PDF.