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Miska Bellevue cat
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Notorious Bellevue cat sparks debate over keeping pets indoors

One of the many times Miska was snagged by Animal Control. (King County Animal Control)

A notorious Bellevue cat accused of killing dozens of neighborhood pets has sparked a discussion over whether or not cats should be allowed to roam free outdoors in the first place.

“So there’s actually a fair bit of research that’s been done on that question and the answer seems to be that the impact is pretty huge,” Professor Aaron Wirsing told KIRO Radio’s Candy, Mike and Todd Show. “There was a paper a few years ago that came out that suggested that both feral and owned cats are responsible for millions of casualties of small birds, small mammals, and reptiles.”

Bellevue cat said to have killed ‘dozens’ of pets since 2012

Wirsing cites the fact that cats haven’t been domesticated nearly to the same extent as dogs over the years. That makes them especially dangerous when left to their own devices in the great outdoors.

“When they’re outside, they revert back to being a very skilled and effective predator of a variety of species,” he noted.

For Bellevue’s alleged feline menace, Miska, she stands accused of killing rabbits, ducks, and chickens (all pets that belonged to a neighbor) and was even ordered by King County to remain indoors at all times, or leashed when outside.

In 2014, Miska’s owner reached out to Savannah Rescue, a national organization that re-homes surrendered cats with foster families.Iit has a stringent policy regarding outdoor animals and the people it places cats with.

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“Savannah Rescue will not adopt our cats to homes that believe indoor/outdoor is the way cats should live,” Director Kristine Alessio told MyNorthwest.

While Miska’s owner ultimately decided not to surrender her, the organization made a point to explain that she should still not be permitted outside on her own.

The reasoning behind that — and various other adoption and rescue organizations sharing that view — is simple.

“Keeping your cat indoors isn’t just for wildlife — it’s really for the benefit of your cats,” Wirsing pointed out. “The average life expectancy of an indoor cat is about 15 [years old], and outdoor cats (average) 2 to 3.”

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