Lilies and cats

Robin Hansen via pbs
Sun, 28 Jun 2020 09:53:27 PDT
The whole issue of domestic cats versus wildlife is a really tough one.  I've had cats all my life and they've gotten me through some very tough times. One thing I've always done is train my cats to come when called, and yes, I've let them out. When I got my current cat as a dumped four-week old kitten, I decided she would always come in at night and stay in the house if I'm gone for a few hours or days (with cat carer, if needed). I've always kept the kittens in until they were 6 to 8 months old, after their spay or neuter and all of them turned out quite sensibly to be afraid of cars and wary of people.

Certainly with my current cat, with her particular temperament, she has been quite amenable to this regimen and has caught very few birds, no mice, one snake whom I gently put outside quite alive and unharmed. In fact she seems to have quit hunting and become lazy cat. I train the cats the same way I train the dog to come, with treats. One brand of treats comes in a zip bag that makes nice crackly noises when squeezed and she only gets the treats after she comes in.

I don't want any more dead birds either, but I'm not giving up my cat, so I had to figure a way to protect all of us and this is what I came up with. I cannot bear to lock a cat forever inside. If I'd had two or more kittens at the same time, I might have reconsidered, but my cat has no buddies but the blue heeler, so here I am. I absolutely respect the concern about birds as I have so many here that I've not seen before and I want to keep seeing them. Unfortunately, I also have neighbors  who let their cats roam at all hours. They cause me and my cat problems although the heeler does a good job of keeping them away and the birds are safe in my yard. I know this isn't an ideal situation, but certainly there's huge room for improvement. Despite all the information and education out there about the danger to wildlife, people mostly know and don't care, can't be bothered, shouldn't have a cat in the first place, etc.

And no, in fifty years of owning cats, I've never had a problem with them eating anything they shouldn't. Apparently there has been some recent research that shows cats are as intelligent as dogs, just in a different way.

Robin Hansen
Southwest Oregon with a bit of rain to cool things off

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