Time To Build a Catio: Cats Can’t Just Roam Free in Fort Collins
I'm not a cat hater, but here's a hot take lighting up the interwebs: your cat isn't allowed outside, not in the city limits of Fort Collins without a leash, anyway. Unincorporated Larimer County? Go nuts.
We don't have a cat, but not because I don't like cats. We don't have a cat because I don't like the idea of a litter box in our house. We have a 3 year old and a very curious 1 year old, and while both are very smart, neither of them are exactly nuanced on what's in the litter box and why they shouldn't touch it, know what I mean? But I digress. I hated the idea of a litter box in the house even before kids.
Our neighbor does have a cat and his name is Timmy. The cat, not the neighbor. And Timmy spends literally 3/4 of the overnight laying in our driveway, not his own. I know this because I wake up in the morning to 30 or 40 Ring Camera notifications as he chases the odd moth or jumps on the hood of my wife's car to stake out his next snack.
It's become a hot topic lately, the idea of letting cats roam - see this thread on Reddit as an example - leaving many to wonder why as a society we generally aren't cool with dogs roaming free around the neighborhood, but with cats, we all sort of agree an "outdoor cat" is no big deal. Some say it's because we prioritize dogs. Maybe, but find me a cat that can go to the fridge and fetch a beer, then we'll talk.
Letting cats roam free IS actually a big deal in the City of Fort Collins, where city code states: "All pet animals, except birds, shall be kept under restraint. It shall be unlawful for the owner or keeper of any pet animal, except birds, to permit such animal to be at large in the City, with or without the owner or keeper's knowledge."
Which means leash up Timmy, or run the risk of him getting swooped up by Animal Control and taken to the Larimer Humane Society. At that point, you can either make his bail or he's going up for adoption.
Please, neighbor. Bring Timmy inside the house. To not break the law, but mostly to keep Timmy safe. There's lots of things out there that can hurt him, from other animals to cars and who knows what else. Or, you could always jump on the new trend sweeping the nation and build him a "catio." No really, it's a thing. See below, and you're welcome!