In regards to the recent article about cat shootings in the lower Rattlesnake (Missoulian, Dec. 31), I can only express sympathy for the poor animals involved and anger at the owners, who apparently have little control over where their "children" roam.
While there is really no excuse for shooting a defenseless house cat, especially in the city limits, Traci Scharfe and Wayne Mostad reflect the attitudes of many pet owners who would prefer to blame anyone but themselves when unfortunate things happen to their pets. Contrary to what many pet owners assume, neighbors don't appreciate random stray animals wandering into their yards. Most people will only be able to run over so many cat droppings with their lawnmowers before they resolve to do something about it; unfortunately, that anger is usually directed at the animals, rather than the owners who refuse to take care of them properly.
It's a fairly simple point for pet owners to learn. House cats should stay just that; inside your house, if your yard cannot keep them from wandering, unwanted, onto other people's properties. The same goes for dogs, hamsters, guinea pigs, parrots, elephants or whatever animal you choose to keep. If your neighbors wanted a pet, they would buy one themselves. Take responsibility for where your pets stray; don't give idiots a chance to improperly respond by shooting at them.
If you really consider your pets "children," then act like parents; if you wouldn't let a 4-year-old wander into a strange neighbor's yard, don't let your pet do the same!