In 2009, an Elmhurst , IL, man killed a skunk all by himself. Elmhurst fined him. I argued via letter that the town should have immediately issued him an apology and a refund of his $25 fine, because what he did was kill a nuisance animal. Even one of his neighbors, an animal lover, admitted that she was breathing easier since he took care of the stinky matter.
Chicago city ordinance requires pet owners, cat as well as dog, to keep them under control at all times, but God forbid I should ask anyone who deliberately lets the cat out to keep it in instead. I have done so in the past, receiving sullen glares and muttered comments to mind my own business. News flash: your cat depositing excrement and its attendant stink, just as offensive as a skunk’s, in my garden or on any public way, is against the law.
I would say, More’s the pity, but too many keepers of cats allow them out at will rather try to keep them inside or walk them on leash. And because the cats are alone, their mess becomes somebody else’s problem, and the person feeding the cat – even if getting it shots – gets to avoid all a real pet owner’s responsibilities. Nobody’s picking up after the feral cats like dog with owners (mostly) do, so it’s worse than a pity. It’s disgusting.
Besides this, cats unsupervised get grabbed for dog-fight bait, they kill voles and lizards and pollinators, they get run over by cars, and they bring home fleas, ticks, and other nasties, such as the Toxoplasma gondii organism, to your other pets and you. Toxo is known to make mice do weird, unsafe things, such as stand on their hind legs and be sexually aroused at the smell of cat urine, meaning they’re more likely to wind up inside a cat, where the parasite can then manage its own sexual reproduction; only in a cat gut. Toxo has been found in sea otters and beluga whale, so perhaps it’s making the poor ocean beast beach themselves. It’s implicated in several human mental disorders. Cats kill millions of birds (of species that were here long before cats) and other native creatures, the ones that evolved here, that belong here. Veterinarians want cats kept under control so they don’t have to try to sew them back up.
If I don’t want your “pet” in my yard and your cat is, in fact, in my yard (or anywhere you’re not), it is no longer under your control, but trespassing as surely as you or any burglar would be.
Some of us find cats stink as bad as, maybe worse than, skunks. Other people get used to the considerable odor of cat pee, or even to like it. If that sounds like you, keep it to yourself instead of letting your beast impose its stench on the rest of us.
“Neighborhood” cats? No such thing – not in my backyard!