Sunday, September 18, 2005

Cats at Large

Ever since I moved into this house I have had a problem with cats. The first year there were so many cats that you could barely drive down the street. They would actually lay in the street. They wouldn't move. They'd just look at you like, "Yeah? What are you going to do about it?" There were times I fantasized about just running them over. Sigh! I could NEVER do it though. It's just not in me. Besides, it's not the cats' fault. It's the owners fault.

I do not know where this whole myth got started about cats shriveling up and dying a horrible death if they are not allowed to roam free through the countryside. My dog would love nothing more than for me to let him loose on society too. Does that mean I should be allowed to do it? I suppose that dogs became more contained as societies became more and more congested due to the fact that they were more dangerous to people. But cats are dangerous in their own right. They can spread diseases, attack animals that are contained- such as dogs and other cats, and they kill billions of birds and other small animals a year. Even if the cat is well fed. Even if the cat is sweet and playful. Cats kill. They have evolved into what some may argue is one of nature's perfect killing machines.

Those birds that were in my last post are just some of the animals at risk to cats at large. I have a friend that I lecture all the time about her cat on the loose. She will tell me sad stories about how he killed a chipmunk or a cardinal (apparently two of his favorite prey items). She will also tell me how her neighbor complains about her cat being in her yard. I tell her that she will get no sympathy from me. I remind her that he should not even be running around. There is a leash ordinace in this city- and that includes CATS!

So, this morning, my son comes running into the house yelling about a cat in my garden. There have been two male cats coming to my yard on a regular basis to hunt. There were three. The third was REALLY annoying because he would howl, for hours! I'm not sure what happened to him. I haven't seen him in awhile. I think his owners moved.

These cats were responsible for two bunny deaths in our yard. You know those cute little bunnies that I posted about. They are also responsible for spraying my house (yeah, YUCK! My house smells like cat piss, and now MY cat is trying to mark over the smell. Thanks, ya jerks!), digging in my garden, shitting in my garden (that's just such a lovely little surprise when you are weeding), and worse yet- they have even killed a few birds.

SSB leaps into action. He ran outside to try and catch it. It was the grey-striped cat. Our neighbor drove his car over (???, uh, weird to us too) and started asking us all sorts of silly questions about the cat. Then he told us who he thought the cat belong too. Hey, thanks! That's actually helpful!

Well, we lost that cat. Just as we were trying to put him in the cat carrier- he got away. Darn!

But, the day was not lost. Within 10 minutes it's buddy- a big black cat came into our yard. This one is especially annoying because he refuses to be chased off. He'll run off, but then come back as soon as you turn to walk away. I had to spray him with the hose several times one day just to get him to leave. He REALLY NEEDED to spray all my bushes apparently. Well, not TODAY SUCKA!! We got him. SSB sustained several nasty scratches and punctures in the process, but he's in the cat carrier right now munching on some cat food.

I called the police to let them know what was going on. I gave them the address that the neighbor gave me. I let them know that I wasn't sure that this really was the owner of the cat that got away, though. They are filing a complaint, and I'm bringing the cat in to the Humane Society tomorrow. Don't fear! It's a no-kill shelter.

I know that this is not the end to my cat problems. I implore all of you out there that let your cats run free and you don't have a barn or grain shed that they are in charge of- keep them contained! For the love of your neighbors and more importantly, for the love of those cute little songbirds!

10 Comments:

Blogger Takoma Gardener said...

I'm totally with ya on this one. When I had outdoor cats they were repeated attacked by other cats and a neighbor's cat was almost killed by a fox. Not to mention cars and bringing fleas into the house. And one of them was very successful in catching birds at the neighbor's bird feeders.
So my kitties are all indoors now and I can have bird feeders on my own deck. They're safer and healthier, and so are the birds!

9/18/2005 4:52 PM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Yay for you Takoma Gardener!! I love my cat so much that I wouldn't dream of letting him go get into trouble out in the world! 90,000 pets die each year from antifreeze ingestion, alone. Yikes!

9/18/2005 8:49 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

I have two neighbor cats that have made my yard there home-away-from-home. While I am less concerned about the songbirds (the snakes around here get more than the cats... not to mention the horrible actions of the grackle and the bluejay against their smaller brethren) I hate the feces and the spraying and the rooting around in my patio pond tubs and ...

I hope you got SSB to the doctor. Cat bites are the most dirty of all bites - having just survived an infected bite that went from 0 to 160 in 12 hours, I can tell you - you don't want to take chances...

9/18/2005 8:50 PM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Thanks Jenn. He did get antibiotic on it right away and we're keeping an eye on it. The cat didn't bite, but cat scratches aren't that much better! I will certainly take your warning and check on it often.

There are natural predators, that's true, and there should be. But when you add on yet another mode of destruction like the very adept house cat- well, it just kind of put things over the top for a lot of animals.

9/18/2005 9:00 PM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Oops, I forgot to say that the punctures were from claws, not teeth. Cats have VERY sharp claws- and dirty ones at that, to be sure!

9/18/2005 9:11 PM  
Blogger Sandy said...

Our(Siamese) cat adopted us when he was five years old. He was a barn cat and it was impossible to keep him inside. He would howl all day and night and scratch the door and windows. We really did try though. He could actually be a real pain in the butt. He past away this summer so I need not to feel guilty about it anymore. With that said I will never have another cat because I think indoors cat become neurotic. I find my garden a little lonely without a cat around.

9/18/2005 10:51 PM  
Blogger OldRoses said...

Being outdoors is dangerous for the cats also as you pointed out. There is nothing "natural" about letting a domestic animal roam around unsupervised outside. Not spaying/neutering pets shortens their lives also (which is why these cats are spraying). Sounds like your neighbors need some educating. I was once guilty years ago of letting my cat outside but after several extremely expensive visits to the vet thanks to his "adventures", I kept him inside. Our current cat has NEVER been outside. I can leave the backdoor open when I bring in groceries because if he does walk out onto the porch, he is so scared, he immediately runs back into the house.

9/19/2005 12:37 AM  
Blogger crazygramma said...

I had a run in with a cat a few years ago that managed to get his claw into my skin by my thumb nail and even though I poured peroxide on it I still almost lost my thumb from an infection. After two weeks of antibiotics it finally cleared up. And yes it is gross to find the presents they leave in your garden when weeding

9/24/2005 12:01 AM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

Sandy, my neighbor had to start keeping her cat inside after years of it being able to freeroam (because the neighbor on her other side ratted on her. I don't like him, but I was so happy that he did that). Her cat went through withdrawl, I could hear him howling when I was in my yard. But luckily, he calmed down after a year and is now fairly quiet to be indoors. She had talked about getting an outdoor kennel for him if he hadn't calmed down. I'm not sure if that would have worked, but it was a good idea.

OldRoses, everytime I see a squashed kitty on the road, I think of how dangerous it is for cats out in the real world. The cat I have now I got because I kept almost running over him as I was backing out of the garage to go to work. I talked to my neighbor about it, but he said he couldn't keep him in the house because of allergies (he had gotten the cat from his sister and his wife was allergic). The cat had recent scarring on his back legs from bites (assuming from the size and amount of damage that they were from a dog). The next time I almost ran him over, I took the poor limpy cat into my house, and have had him ever since. I think the guy was relieved to have gotten rid of him, because he never came to get him from me.

CrayGramma, when I told SSB what was said about cat bites by Jenn, he started to panic. I'm glad you posted this later, because he would have been really freaked out! He's fine and all healed up. I don't know if it matters, but I always use rubbing alcohol on wounds because peroxide gives me bad infections. I can't even use the toothpaste with it in it. I get mouth sores and my gums hurt.

9/30/2005 10:34 AM  
Blogger All About Cats said...

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12/16/2005 2:15 PM  

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