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A Defense of Free-Roaming Cats from a Hedonist Account of Feline Well-being

By C. E. Abbate

Category Journal Articles
Abstract

There is a widespread belief that for their own safety and for the protection of wildlife, cats should be permanently kept indoors. Against this view, I argue that cat guardians have a duty to provide their feline companions with outdoor access. The argument is based on a sophisticated hedonistic account of animal well-being that acknowledges that the performance of species-normal ethological behavior is especially pleasurable. Territorial behavior, which requires outdoor access, is a feline-normal ethological behavior, so when a cat is permanently confined to the indoors, her ability to flourish is impaired. Since cat guardians have a duty not to impair the well-being of their cats, the impairment of cat flourishing via confinement signifies a moral failing. Although some cats assume significant risks and sometimes kill wild animals when roaming outdoors, these important considerations do not imply that all cats should be deprived of the opportunity to access the outdoors. Indeed, they do not, by themselves, imply that any cat should be permanently kept indoors.

Submitter

Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2019
Publication Title Acta Analytica
Volume 34
Issue 4
Pages 1-23
DOI 10.1007/s12136-019-00408-x
URL https://digitalscholarship.unlv.edu/philosophy_fac_articles/46/
Language English
Additional Language English
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Tags
  1. Animal roles
  2. Animal welfare
  3. Cats
  4. Mammals
  5. open access
  6. Pets and companion animals
  7. Philosophy
  8. stray animals
Badges
  1. open access