Do You Have to Keep Your Cat Indoors in Massachusetts?
I have some roaming cats in my neighborhood. I use the term “roaming” because I’m not sure if they’re free-roaming cats or feral cats. Free-roaming cats are basically outdoor pet cats. They’re tame, and their owners let them free-roam outside. Feral cats are basically homeless cats, or stray cats. Not tame, and not easily befriended. I *think* they’re feral cats in my neighborhood, because I don’t see any collars on them, and they’re very skittish around me. However, they’ve been here for a few months, and I’m not 100% sure.
It can also be confusing because there are no laws about indoor/outdoor cats in Massachusetts.
That’s right, there are no laws in Massachusetts saying that you have to keep your cat indoors.
So here’s my question: If you have a pet cat, do you keep him/her indoors all the time, or do you allow free roam? I’ve had a number of cats over the years, and almost all have been indoor cats. My family and I made the mistake of letting our first cat be more of a free roam cat, and sadly he ended up getting killed by a vehicle. Every cat after that was an indoor cat.
And, lots of data points to the benefit of having indoor only cats. The average lifespan of an indoor cat is around 18 years, as opposed to a free roam cat which is 2-5 years. Also, free roam cats are at risk of any number of things, from wildlife to vehicles to disease and parasites. Who knows what your pet cat is dragging back into your home if you let him/her roam free. If you do allow your cat outside, please put a collar on him/her, and microchip.
If you do have stray cats in your neighborhood that you want to report, the best thing is to contact The Berkshire Humane Society. Earlier this year, they joined forces with Berkshire County Animal DREAMS, which focuses on TNR. They trap, neuter, and release stray cats. And, if any prove friendly, they work with The Berkshire Humane Society in adopting them out.