Nothing annoys the knowledgeable cat lover more than hearing a fellow-owner speak of putting the cat out at night; except, that is, hearing the fable that you never feed a farm cat, the idea being to keep it hungry, so that it will need to catch mice.
It is strange how the idea of having to starve a ‘mouser’ persists. After all, in days gone by the farmer would not have expected a starving horse to pull the plough, and he himself would hardly expect to have to tackle a day’s work out of doors, without sustenance. Good farmers consider the welfare of their machinery, but many have never thought seriously of the value of the farmer’s friend, the farm cat.
The words ‘Have you put the cat out?’ are almost a music hall joke. One wishes they could be forgotten. Cats that are turned out at night are likely to be stolen, injured or killed. They may also get caught in traps or wander away and become strays. Worse, they could be picked up by some unscrupulous person whose aim is to sell cats to vivisection laboratories. Your cat is far too precious to be faced with such risks and, why after all, should he not share and enjoy the same fireside comfort as a dog companion? If introduced to the family dog from kittenhood, he is likely to want to share his pal’s basket!
Ideally, the cat should have a soft, warm, draught-free bed. His cushion, covered in washable material, may be placed either in a basket raised from the floor on a footstool or box, or it may be in a large, lidless box, turned on its side and a narrow board fixed across the lower part of the front.
Cats are creatures of habit and if, in late evening, you let puss out and call him in again a few minutes later, perhaps by banging a spoon on a saucer, he will quickly develop a lifetime habit of coming in and settling down for the night. Investing in a cat flap is sound advice. Then your cat can rise and retire when it wishes. Also, unlike that inviting open window, it is not a temptation to burglars.