Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Little killers free to a good home

Cat lovers cover your ears.

I used to like cats. Then I decided that I liked birds and other wildlife better.

What really happened is that I had a beautiful fat black cat that got sick and broke my heart when I was a kid.

So I swore off cats for good. I like other people's cats well enough, but I really don't like my neighbor's cats that are allowed free run of the neighborhood.

Some of my favorite people have *mostly* indoor cats that are *let out* each day to do whatever it is that their dear owners think is so necessary to a domestic cat's nature.

Kill birds and torture small furry innocent woodland creatures and HAVE KITTENS UNDER MY SHED!

Why are these kittens my problem? I don't own a cat.

Have I mentioned the free catch and release (to the SPCA) program we run here?

;-)

This was tonight's catch. 4 adorable and hissy-scared little killers. We're trying to catch their mother, but she ran the DH out of the backyard one too many times and he finally said uncle. What a protective mother!

I don't know the answer. I don't understand why this behavior is tolerated from cat owners. Jeez... I can't even walk my dog on a leash in the local park except for under the cover of darkness for fear that I'll be ticketed by the local police. My town is very serious about protecting our parks from dogs. I once had the police follow me home after walking my dog in the cul-de-sac that leads to the park.

Cats get a free pass. Why is that?

NJ Audubon has collaborated with the American Bird Conservancy in an effort to educate cat lovers to be more responsible cat owners.
Cats Indoors has lots of great info, but I'm not so sure that anyone will be so easily convinced as me.

14 comments:

KGMom said...

Laura--you raise a critical and important issue. For some reason, cats are not seen as property of people, so if someone kills your cat (at least in PA) you have no recourse under law. If someone kills your dog, you do. This is a general statement, and I can think of ways it has not always been carried out.

Perhaps, because of that attitude, people also give cat owners a by on being responsible? Doesn't really make sense, does it.

We have a dog and two cats--our cats are NEVER allowed to stalk or kill small furry creatures or birds. They go outside, but only when supervised--much to their frustration, I might add.

Feral cats--which is what it sounds like you have--are a real problem. Around here, there are spay and neuter plans, but that only gets at the populating tendencies, not the killer instinct.

We have dear friends who leave their cats out to roam--I try to gently chide them, but their response is--the cats are just doing "what comes naturally." Please note, I do not agree with their response.

DKM said...

I wish people were more responsible with their cats and took precautions to keep them well fed and spay/neutered. A full and happy cat is more content with hunting bugs than prey. Those people should all be placed in a special level of hell with folks who dump rabbits in parks 3 months after Easter because their child no longer wants to clean up poop, or people to turn their dogs into killing machines, because they can.

Susan Gets Native said...

I think they were in your yard just because they wanted their 15 minutes of fame on your blog.

: )

You know my position on this and it's too late and I'm too tired to rant.
KEEP CATS INDOORS, DAMMIT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jayne said...

I feel the same way Laura. I have two in particular who will sit under my swing and stalk the feeders. I run them off constantly, but to no avail, and watched one kill and carry away a baby bunny several weeks back. It makes my blood boil. I've considered a paint gun to just scare them and send a message to their owners.

MojoMan said...

I'll always remember a British study reported on PBS about the level of devastation house cats can have on local wildlife populations. It's higher than most would ever imagine or admit.

Be careful when dealing with cat lovers. I once left a comment on a blog saying that it was not 'cute' that her adorable kitty was having so much fun playing with that little garter snake. The blogger and her supporters jumped all over me saying how cats are part of nature too, blah blah blah. It was almost as bad as if someone had ragged on Chet Baker!

KatDoc said...

DKM:

Just a bit of clarification - Even a well-fed cat will hunt and kill birds and small mammals, even snakes and frogs, not just bugs. The prey drive is too strong. Cats don't kill just to eat. They kill because they are cats and they can't help themselves. Keeping cats fed doesn't stop them from hunting.

~Kathi

ReluctantChickenFarmer said...

To really understand how cats operate, you have to have been owned by one. Truth is, you never really are a cat "owner". You are a member of their "staff". Cats have a very independent attitude about everything. Feed me when I am hungry, pet me when I feel like being touched. I am owned by an indoor /outdoor cat. He (Hobbes) goes in and out, in and out, in and out, all damn day long. He meows at 3am to go out and meows at the door at dinner time to come back in when he hears the tinkle of the forks on the plates. If you think you can control a cat, try walking one on a leash. For some reason, they face you and then back up as far as they can go. Tempting... He is not a good mouser and I catch all of the mice in my house. I think its beneath him. He does catch chipmunks once in a while and some other unidentified thing that he lovingly regurgitates for me. Thanks for that. Oh, and fur balls. I love stepping on them at 3am when I am summoned to let you out. I often say that I would like to be reincarnated as a cat.

I agree, cats need more responsible staff. Those free wheeling, renegade cats that are "staff-less" must fend for themselves and are required to revert to the only thing they are born to do. Hunt.

Anonymous said...
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cedrorum said...

If cats pooped as big as dogs and didn't bury their poop more people would care that they were running around in their yards. Sadly, most people only care if something is bothering their own little world and don't think much about the bigger picture.

Mary said...

Laura, I used to be an owner of three cats - never allowed outdoors without my supervision to let them "safari". I do love cats.

Now I have a neighborhood cat that stalks occasionally and I don't know the owners. I call C & B after her but I'd rather call an agency...

nina said...

I can sympathize--a litter of kittens appeared under the floor boards of our barn this spring.
We've adopted them,and will keep them as indoor cats.
As much as I am angered by their appearance, I remind myself my anger should be toward whomever dropped their pregnant mother by the side of the road.
The kittens deserve a good life.

LauraHinNJ said...

Nina: Hi. They do deserve a good life - I think the SPCA will see to that. I hope so anyway.

Mary: I don't see much of a stalking problem here with birds, tho I do hear them complaining.

(That's when I go out with the flip-flops in hand!)

Cedrorum: Mostly... that's me!

;-)

ReluctantChickenFarmer: Brother Kevin... you never fail to reduce me to fits of giggles. Thanks!

Your Hobbes is a fine fat cat - one of those I actually like - but still he's a cat.

Why can't he handle your groundhog problems?

(And I don't remember your liking cats so much when we grew up.)

Funny, it seems like I became the dog lover and you turned into a cat lover.

???

(shudder)

KatDoc: Hi... thanks for your voice of reason (and expertise)

Mojoman: I know I'm playing with fire, but I feel like so long as I haven't offended the cat lovers here (hope not anyway) that there must be some grain of truth to my ranting.

Jayne: A paint gun? (You surprise me!)

Susan: I don't know... seems like there's something about them that makes keeping them inside impossible.

DivaKitty'sMom: Yeah... animal lovers can be stupid, too, I guess.

KGMom: Really? Jeez.. I'd not heard of that.

That whole *doing what's natural* thing I don't understand, but I've not ever had a fixed cat either that I tried to keep in.

Growing up, we didn't fix our cats, but they had their kittens at home, or disappeared and never came back if they were allowed outside (usually they snuck out).

I know cats are lovable, and mostly I don't mean any of them any serious sort of harm...

;-)

I'm just kinda tired of the summer litter under the shed story, you know?

bobbie said...

Your post really hit home. Our neighborhood is full of feral cats. But worse, my next door neighbor has five cats, allowed to roam. They only go home to eat. My problems are my garden being dug up and used as a litter box, muddy cat prints ALL over my car every day, finding a cat curled up under the hummingbird feeder, or a sleeping cat to be tripped over outside my door. My friend has had kittens in her shed, and believe it or not, a rusted out, practically new gas tank, ruined by cat urine.
If you own a pet, you should take care of it - INDOORS.

NCmountainwoman said...

Laura, it's a good thing the SPCA has a program to take the kittens. An advertisement like "Little Killers Free to a Good Home" probably wouldn't inspire a lot of takers.

I've never been a cat fancier. I know my dogs don't climb on the kitchen cabinets, but you can never be sure of a cat.