Sure, keeping your cat inside all day will protect it from cars, diseases, and predators, and the local birds will likely appreciate it, too. But in an op-ed in the New York Times, a deputy news editor at Science argues that cat owners should also acknowledge a truth: Cats "have not evolved to slumber in our living rooms." They need to roam outdoors, if only for an hour a day, and if only on a leash, writes David Grimm. In short, "we need to start walking our cats." Grimm recounts how he and his fiancee gained some neighborhood notoriety 13 years ago by regularly walking their two cats with small dog harnesses.
"I’m not saying that you should put your cat on a leash like we did," he writes. "They don’t like you telling them where to go. But we should let our cats outside for 30 to 60 minutes a day to rove yards, stroll sidewalks and disappear into shrubbery." He advises that cat owners keep an eye on them, picking them up if they head for the street or clapping if they begin hunting a bird. "We don’t let our dogs wander unsupervised or destroy whatever they want," and the same should be true of cats. Keep treats handy to lure the cat back inside, and don't be surprised if "he comes back a complete being, one who has salved his savage heart and who is now perfectly content to be the lion in your lap." Read the full op-ed. (Read more cats stories.)