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Discussion Starter #1
I am so depressed. We just moved here a couple of months ago and have the most amazing backyard birds... and our whole family loves birding. All winter we were enjoying eating breakfast while watching the little juncos hop around on the snow and the four mating pairs of cardinals and even have a red headed woodpecker stopping by regularly to feast on a small dead tree by the garage. Now it's spring migration season and we've had new sightings almost every week... the finches are back, some warblers are already stopping by, etc.<br><br>
Well, our next door neighbor adopted a fully grown cat 3 weeks ago who is apparently a seasoned birder himself. In the past week alone he has killed a mama cardinal and a tufted titmouse. Within 24 hours of him first arriving, he killed "our" garter snake living in our storm drain - the kids called him Snakey and checked on him every day. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> They were crushed and so were we (garter snakes are terrific helpers).<br><br>
Complicating this at least for me is that she is a REALLY nice old lady - a widow who lives alone. I think she wanted some companionship in the cat and seems to have really taken to him. He's quite an independent cat - not particularly cuddly, and heads off on his own quite a bit (for a day at a time), but if she loves him I don't want to begrudge her that.<br><br>
What do I do? I know there are leash laws for dogs, but what about cats? Should I say something? And if so, WHAT do I say?
 

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Our local animal control will rent traps out for 5 dollars a week. I would get a trap, then surrender the cat to the animal control. I have HUGE issues with domestic cats, which are not natural predators to many animals in North America, killing animals that they shouldn't be. Plus, I think it is extremely rude to let your cat run the neighborhood, pooping in peoples yards, and going through the trash bins. We can't open the doors and let our dogs run the neighborhood, so I have a zero tolerance policy for people who do that with their cats.<br><br>
After bailing their cats out a few times they'll get the point.<br><br>
ETA: Oh crap, just noticed the part about her being a nice old lady. Perhaps in that case I would show some leniency and talk to her about how BAD it is for cats to be allowed out doors. Start with the fact that cats make great raccoon and coyote bait, plus they get hit by cars, dogs attack them, etc. Cats should not be allowed outside. Ask her if she wants advice on things to keep a cat happy indoors, like scratching posts, oat grass, treat toys, etc. It IS possible to keep a cat happy indoors. Also talk to her about halter and leash training her cat so she can take it outside, or perhaps getting an outdoor cat run.<br><br>
I might also say something like "if the cat continues to kill the native birds, animal control may trap your cat and charge you a fine".
 

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I like the bell collar (although that won't help with the snakes). You can also revamp your feeder placement so that there isn't easy cover for the cat to stalk them from; that can help.
 

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Unless you put a bear bell on a cat collar, chances are it won't help with scaring off the birds. Especially birds that are used to living around people. I've had a few ferral barn cats that I've tried this with, and it didn't work.
 

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My grandmother had a bird killing cat and she tried the bell, but the cat was so smooth and stealthy that he learned how to hunt without the bell ringing until it was too late for the bird. But I still think it's a good idea... not all cats are quite that slick and it may work.
 

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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I have HUGE issues with domestic cats, which are not natural predators to many animals in North America, killing animals that they shouldn't be.</td>
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How is the cat supposed to know it's not the natural predator of squirrels and birds? I'm not being sarcastic, I really do want to know. Every cat I've known has hunted. My cats (when I was a child) hunted and ate mice, squirrels and birds in our neighborhood, and I assumed it was part of their nature, unless bred out of them, as in the case of ragdolls.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Animal control will seriously trap a housecat? It never occured to me.<br><br>
Yes she is a delightful old lady and we were getting along SO well, but this is really upsetting to us. The kids adore her and v.v. She's also been living in her house for like 60 years and I don't want to be the persniketty upstart new neighbors who move in and start harrassing her, kwim? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/gloomy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Gloomy">:<br><br>
I'm just struggling with how to talk to her and what to say. The weird thing is, if she were a PITA I would have an easier time asserting myself and stating our case etc., but she's so darn nice. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/redface.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Embarrassment">
 

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I just want to add a caution on the cat collar idea. If you are going to put a collar on an outdoor cat, which is actually pretty dangerous, make SURE it is a break-away collar. Cats can fit through any space they can squeeze their head through, which puts them at risk for getting caught up on their collar and possibly strangled. I've seen it happen.<br><br>
Don't get a stretch collar with the elastic in it. The cat can panic and get a paw caught in the collar while fighting to get loose. Make sure it is a true break away collar that will open up and free itself from the cat's neck if there is pressure on the buckle.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Is there any kind of spray or pellets or something you could put at the border of your property to scare the cats away? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/blush.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="blush"> Like fox pee for rabbits or something?<br><br>
(grasping at straws)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>North_Of_60</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7950749"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I just want to add a caution on the cat collar idea. If you are going to put a collar on an outdoor cat, which is actually pretty dangerous, make SURE it is a break-away collar. Cats can fit through any space they can squeeze their head through, which puts them at risk for getting caught up on their collar and possibly strangled. I've seen it happen.<br><br>
Don't get a stretch collar with the elastic in it. The cat can panic and get a paw caught in the collar while fighting to get loose. Make sure it is a true break away collar that will open up and free itself from the cat's neck if there is pressure on the buckle.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/yikes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="EEK!"><br><br>
I'll check to see if he has a bell on his collar (he does wear a collar... I'll check to see what kind it is too). I'm not sure if he does or doesn't have a bell already to be honest.<br><br>
I mean, I'm telling you this cat is an EXPERT hunter. And when I think about all our poor birds trying to nest right now with the new addition to the neighborhood lurking around. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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I think requesting they put a bell collar on the cat is a good idea. Although IMO the cat is going as instinct and nature intended.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>KermitMissesJim</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7950724"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">How is the cat supposed to know it's not the natural predator of squirrels and birds? I'm not being sarcastic, I really do want to know. Every cat I've known has hunted. My cats (when I was a child) hunted and ate mice, squirrels and birds in our neighborhood, and I assumed it was part of their nature, unless bred out of them, as in the case of ragdolls.</div>
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I don't think it's about them KNOWING, it's about they shouldn't be outdoors in the first place. They're not native animals to North America!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Arduinna</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7950797"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I think requesting they put a bell collar on the cat is a good idea. Although IMO the cat is going as instinct and nature intended.</div>
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I disagree. Housecats are introduced species that have no business being here. There's nothing natural about it. Like kudzu. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

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But at this point they've BEEN in North America for over 100 years.<br><br>
I guess I also believe it's their natural instinct and that I wouldn't force a cat to stay inside unless it always was an indoors only cat.<br><br>
ETA: off to look up kudzu...
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>KermitMissesJim</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7950724"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">How is the cat supposed to know it's not the natural predator of squirrels and birds? I'm not being sarcastic, I really do want to know. Every cat I've known has hunted. My cats (when I was a child) hunted and ate mice, squirrels and birds in our neighborhood, and I assumed it was part of their nature, unless bred out of them, as in the case of ragdolls.</div>
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I don't understand the point of your question. Of course a cat wouldn't know they aren't a predator, but we, as responsible humans, do. Domestic house cats are not natural predators to the many animals in North America that they kill. The wild cats that ARE natural predators (cougars, snow shoe lynxes, etc) do not prey on the animals a domestic house cat would.<br><br>
There have been many things written on how domesticated animals are throwing off the natural food chain. I personally feel that domesticated animals have no place in the "wild". And as a responsible pet owner, it is your responsibility to make sure that the ANIMAL, which even a domesticated one will have natural instincts, is stimulated and kept to a level at which the animal remains happy and fulfilled. If you aren't prepared for that investment, get a plant.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Periwinkle</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7950740"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Animal control will seriously trap a housecat? It never occurred to me.</div>
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No, they will rent YOU the trap, you put it out, then bring the trap with the cat. I'm not sure why they don't do it themselves. They would probably make you trap problem dogs too, if there wasn't the possibility of getting bitten. I suspect they feel cats are easier to handle, they let you do it if it bothers you enough. They do, however, handle feral cat <i>populations</i>.<br><br>
I would buy her an issue of Cat Fancy, or Cats USA.. they have a lot of good articles on keeping cats happy indoors. They also have a TON of advertisements for things like cat posts, and outdoor cat runs. Which may get the ball rolling to helping her keep the cat inside.
 

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well damn, let's exterminate all the cats then, since they have no business in NA <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/rolleyes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="rolleyes">
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>KermitMissesJim</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7950839"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">But at this point they've BEEN in North America for over 100 years.</div>
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Which is a blip on the evolutionary scale of how long garter snakes and birds have been in this area. Look, I don't import fancy ivies and mosses just because they look pretty in my garden, I don't have exotic fish in a pond only to have their eggs escape and have them end up taking over entire lakes and rivers, and I don't cut down all the native trees in my yard just so I can build a greenhouse and try to grow citrus trees here in Zone 6. I think loosing a skilled hunter on the backyards of millions of homes across America (and elsewhere, but I live here so this is my ecosystem) is almost environmental terrorism.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
<div class="smallfont" style="margin-bottom:2px;">Quote:</div>
<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">
<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Periwinkle</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/7950924"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Which is a blip on the evolutionary scale of how long garter snakes and birds have been in this area. Look, I don't import fancy ivies and mosses just because they look pretty in my garden, I don't have exotic fish in a pond only to have their eggs escape and have them end up taking over entire lakes and rivers, and I don't cut down all the native trees in my yard just so I can build a greenhouse and try to grow citrus trees here in Zone 6. I think loosing a skilled hunter on the backyards of millions of homes across America (and elsewhere, but I live here so this is my ecosystem) is almost environmental terrorism.</div>
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I TOTALLY agree with you. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/nod.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="nod">
 

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In my neighborhood it seems like EVERYONE has outdoor cats. You don't know how sick I am of them skulking around my yard, pooping in my garden beds, chasing off/catching the songbirds, and attacking my little flock of urban chickens (which while we *love* the eggs ~ they are really pets and we all love them!). I have to keep my back window open all the time and constantly check to make sure the girls are okay and that no one is stalking them. I usually have to chase off a cat at least once a day. The other day I missed seeing one and she attacked one of the girls which luckily I heard and ran it off before any damage was done. I can't stand it how it's so acceptable to let your cat just do whatever and everyone else is supposed to tolerate it. It's such a huge peeve of mine.
 
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