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My amazing cat:

Is a ball of fluff that is full of life and fun.

It's not that bad to go out and explore, roam or just go for visits and my cat is not one of the bad cats and doesn't hunt and kill. My cat just doesn't do that.

That is a reply from many owners of well loved cats. Of course it's true what we can't see can't be happening. How to manage this conversation is becoming a little bit more important.

What is not well known is what do the cats get up to when they are out of sight. Your cat is ridiculously cute and unspeakably adorable so to think that you sweet little angel can be anything else is probably painful.

However your precious moggie may on occasion bringing home a trophy catch to parade in front of you the owner. Cute! Unfortunately that is cute and we can sometimes think "well done" Unfortunately the community debate does not see it the same way. So how can we manage that conversation because to say "my cat doesn't do that (very often)" will fall on deaf ears. So we need a respectful conversation about responsible pet ownership. That will be an interesting topic because even amongst the throng of passionate cat owners the meaning of responsible is different. 

In Australia this is a community debate that is gaining momentum. Questions for self are: do I know what responsible pet ownership is? Can I explain that my pet is not responsible or involved with the wildlife threatened species debate? Am I really aware of council rules, laws and requirement.

Studies are becoming a little more frequent helping understand the relationship between our family pet and our suburban environment. This is a good thing. Our feline pets are here to stay and we l know that our fragile endangered ecology needs to be protected.

It's interesting that whilst feral and abandoned cat population are a serious problem, destruction of habitat and global warming are and should be part of the debate. 

The issue of cat ownership is a global one and with climate change being part of the ecosystem conversation cat ownership and behaviour are being drawn into the whole conversation about ecology. This is a conversation we can have and we can contribute our own perspective. Avoiding the danger of 'us against them mentality' we can engage and put our point of view. Global democracy is great and your Facebook account has given you a most fantastic opportunity to engage those in your community about these issues.

There have  been long held position between two camps. Cat owners and environmentalists. So a starting point to a meaningful discussion is where is the common ground  and how can both sides be winners. It's not that hard if we think clearly and with empathy. Show respect and expect respect, this can lead to meaningful dialogue.

These two polar positions and the variety of opinion that exist in between is base on some science and some anecdotal information and of course a sprinkling of emotional content to drive home a position. What is 'right' is right and what is 'wrong' is wrong. No amount of spin can change the truth of that. So avoid the temptation to just win the argument. Demonstrate why it is right and you have a powerful position. 

So what is needed is more fact and here is some.

Cat lovers by definition love their cats and will feed them properly with balanced nutritional food somewhere warm and comfortable to rest or sleep and regularly check for parasites and fleas. In the community today is a debate about responsible cat ownership. Implied the is not all cat owners are responsible. It's difficult to argue for a position that supports responsible cat ownership and ignoring irresponsible cat ownership.  So clearly we need to think through the position we are defending so that it is not easily attacked and made irrelevant.

These are the very same reasons that cat owners are paying attention to this conversation about responsible cat ownership. For too long responsible cat ownership has been about the devastation and destruction that cats are reported to do to the environment. Cats are not responsible for all that damage. This is an example of exaggeration and polarisation. A more considered approach would be to acknowledge that given the opportunity a cat will harm the environment but by employing these responsible pet ownership strategies the environment where I live is protected.

As a pet owner we have more than the immediate environment to consider.When we considered what it means to be responsible a responsible cat owners will need to protect our cats from many dangers.

Below is a link to a small study and considered views about what happens to the environment. OK it's Australian but it is interesting just the same. It highlights what dangers exist for our pet cats. It's not intended to be alarmist but is  a very healthy and well written perspective on how to protect and  care for our cats which of course is what we do and as  responsible cat owner our action are based based on a little more science.

When you read the article it raises question that at this time have no answers but that is a bigger picture. It also helps focus on how and where to look for dangers that could and do impact the health of much loved cats.

For more information about the dangers we unwittingly expose our cats to. Go Here.

Do you feel compelled to have a conversation about these issues. You might notice there are no comments here. It is deliberate. To have a comments section here you view would be lost to the global nature of this debate. The better option is to post this article to you Facebook page and have this conversation at a local level. You maybe surprised at other opinions. You may even be able to influence a local attitude towards what it means to be responsible. Good luck to you and may you be the 'cat-alyst for a great debate'