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« Very Good Sentences - on Fear | Main | New video on breed-specific preemption bills »

August 21, 2014

Comments

Jan

What a great idea.

Jen Brighton

Nice project. I understand about feral cats, but appreciate the programs where they are captured and altered and re-released so they aren't breeding like bunnies. Native birds suffer greatly at the hands of outdoor kitties (and windows), not to mention our vegetable and flower gardens.

Our kitties are indoors-only, with supervised outdoor forays into a fenced back yard. We have many native birds in our yard and have been known to chase neighbor kitties out who are stalking the birds. We are also gardeners. There's nothing worse than digging in the dirt with bare hands and coming across kitty poo. And whose yard do they pick on, but the yard that has the loose, easily worked soil. LOL

Having said that, I love kitties. I used to love them more than dogs. Now I love both and we are constantly entertained watching our cats and dogs interact with each other.

Lori

My cats, 18 of them, are outdoor cats with access to buildings with cool and heat. They are extremely happy, and co-exist with a horse and 13 chickens and a rooster. I feed them on a picnic table on my porch and the chickens hop up there and eat with them. I brought them with me from Pennsylvania when I moved to Texas. They had a family of possums that would eat with them when we lived in PA. I LOVE THEM. There is a town here in Texas, called Blooming Grove. There are hundreds of cats there, all over the entire neighborhood. I love it! There are some farms around here with oodles of cats. They are working cats, well fed and happy. My husband manages a farm store and there are mouser cats there that the employees feed and there is a colony at our local Walmart.

db

I am glad to read something positive about community cats. So many end up dead at "shelters" who think there is no other option than killing them. I hope the posters who have outdoor cats have had them vetted and spayed/neutered. Right now I take care of a couple who are regulars for dinner at my house. Although they are very fearful of humans and will run and hide, they don't seem all that unhappy with their lives. I think the big changes we need to see are more TNR and educating people about them.
As far as the bird question, well, I still believe more birds die because of pollution, destruction of habitat and humans. The hawks in my yard kill more birds than any cats do. In fact, I can't remember when my cats killed any of the birds at my feeder.
Thanks for shining a positive light on these precious cats.

Linda

I love this. And I would love to emulate the Putsches. I'm concerned though, how to be sure that the photos don't subject any community cats to vandalism or undue attention (ahem!) from animal control or the uninformed. I know that community cats in my state are overwhelmingly fit, and healthy, and are good neighbors. However, when I have known journalists or others who wanted to photograph the cats, the thing that keeps nagging at me is, what if an animal control officer should recognize the terrain around the cat in the photo? What if animal control decided to catch and kill at that site? Is this farfetched? What recourse would a program (or an individual caretaker) have, if this were to take place?

Jen Brighton

I do have to say that I think most cats are happier living outdoors or at least having access to the outdoors. We did try to let our kitties be outdoor cats, but they did kill our birds (maybe b/c they are all female, which I find to be the more avid hunters), so they were put on house arrest with supervised outings. Seems to be working. I agree that kitties for mousing are necessary when you live in the country or on a farm. Better than using poison, for sure.

Jen Brighton

Food for thought about cats and birds:

http://www.abcbirds.org/abcprograms/policy/cats/materials/predation.pdf

These scientists from the American Bird Conservancy estimate that cats are the #2 killer of native birds and small mammals, behind habitat deprivation.

Sorry, Brent, didn't mean to turn your lovely post into a debate about cats and birds. Just something more for people to think about if you have the ability to manage your kitties. I love cats and I love bird watching, so subjects near and dear to my heart.

Brent

Jen,

I think the conversation about cats and birds is a legitimate one to have. I suspect that most people that care about cats, also care about birds.

It seems that a lot of the studies out there have actually been funded by ABC to help further an agenda to try to promote the rounding up and killing of cats. I tend to look at a lot of their data with a suspicious eye. That said, cats do kill birds, so it isn't without some merit even if the scale is misrepresented a little by ABC.

Meanwhile, I'd also think there may be a geographical difference. I live in the Midwest, where bird species have basically evolved to fly well and avoid the large number of native ground predators that already exist. This may not be true in coastal areas that don't have a lot of the predatory ground mammals and thus, some species may be more heavily impacted.

I do think there is a legit discussion to be had here...unfortunately, it seems that ABC is more about the eradication of cats than trying to come up with a viable solution that can benefit both species.

Jen Brighton

Thanks for the reply, Brent.

Being a cat lover, I would never, ever support an organization that wants to eradicate cats. I will definitely look into the ABC a little more. My husband and I volunteered as backyard habitat mentors locally through our parks dept. and I know some of the bird/cat info. that we shared with people came from the National Wildlife Federation.

I agree that geography may have a huge impact. Where we live in the Pacific NW there's lots of foliage and cover for predators to hide. I've caught my kitties stalking our Bewick's wrens and Towhees from 3 feet away and the birds don't seem to have a clue they are about to be pounced on. The birds are flitting around on the ground and in the bushes; the kitties are hiding in the bushes. Growing up we had a Siamese cat that would just sit in the platform bird feeder and grab the birds as they flew in to feed. We thought it was cute!

My two dogs caught a Northern flicker this summer in our yard that was feeding on suet. They tag teamed it to bring it down. Needless to say, the suet feeder got moved to the other side of the fence.

db

I continue to argue that we humans are responsible for more bird and wild animal deaths than any predator. We pollute the land, we destroy habitats to build, we hunt animals, and then blame cats. I have one outdoor cat (long story, she'd be inside if possible), an indoor-outdoor neighbor's cat, and ferals. The hawks take many more birds from my feeding area than any of the cats. In fact, my outdoor girl has brought me a dead mouse and chipmunk, but no birds (she either thinks I'm a terrible hunter or loves me).

As far as the study, well we all know that the mindset behind the study often dictates how the statistics are used. There are cat haters who are using these statistics as a reason to catch and kill cats. So, that's another concern.

Finally, I would also be concerned with overzealous or cat hating animal controls rounding up cats if the back grounds are identifiable. Love this project and the exposure it will give to the wonderful animals these cats are. Don't understand why we can't just learn to value life and to live together in harmony.

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