Thanks very much for the recent Ask the Veterinarian column, “Keeping pets warm in the winter.” Just after reading the article I saw a golden retriever tied up outside a coffee shop for at least half an hour while it was snowing heavily. The wind chill made it even worse.
I saw the retriever’s coat was saturated with snow. Per the article, he would not be able to retain body heat, as his coat was soaking wet. I heard him bark for help, as he was obviously in distress. Why not leave him at home? At least put a coat on him.
The column’s author, Dr. Carolyn Karlin, missed an important opportunity to tell cat owners to protect their beloved family members, their cats, from harm by keeping them indoors year round. While stating that it’s advisable to keep cats indoors when temperatures are very cold, it would have been so valuable, as a trusted authority figure, for her to tell cat owners that they endanger their cat’s survival by allowing them to roam at large, period.
It’s not only enabling irresponsible cat ownership to not take a stand on keeping cats indoors, it simply does not make sense for a vet to neglect to tell cat owners it is unsafe to allow cats to roam free outside. Cats are victimized by a world that is dangerous to their survival. Being hit by a car, theft and poisoning are some of the well-documented risks that cats face outside. It has been statistically proven that allowing cats to roam at large significantly reduces their life span.
Further, I live near Xerxes Avenue South; a neighbor wrote the following on our social media: ‘please don’t let your cats to roam -they don’t always die right away after being hit by a car and I don’t want my child to see this.’