High Rise KittyA recent Crosscut post by Knute Berger has people fretting over the possible impact of their cat on the planet. Berger suggests that getting rid of your cat might be the solution. But a closer look at Mossback’s logic reveals a bias against density.

Berger’s criticisms make a big (and probably mistaken) assumption about the cat population: that they are all roaming around chasing birds and burying their poop in the yard of single family homes. That’s not the whole story. Many cats live in apartments and condominiums where their ecological effects are likely negligible. If Garfield stays indoors, as happens for nearly every condo or apartment-dwelling feline, birds will stay perfectly safe. Plus, by building dense communities, we spare the habitat of wild birds on the urban fringe.

And as for the cat poop that Mossback worries about, there’s no yard to bury it in.  Owners can just flush it. That way it gets treated and processed like our own excrement.  It just means a little extra scooping now and then.

As Berger’s mistaken cat criticism shows, urban living can do a lot of good. It lightens our ecological footprints (and pawprints). It’s easier and healthier for us, as well as for our pets (indoor cats live longer and have healthier lives).

Update 4/13/2008 As Cat Lover points out in the comments below there is an ongoing debate about what to do with animal excrement including output from cats .  But locally anyway Seattle Public Utilities does recommend flushing pet excrement as preferable to other options because their treatment accounts for pet waste.