Friends of Felines Fight for Ferals

Encore09The Wisconsin feral cat hunt proposal has run into liberal resistance.  The author of the proposal has received death threats from feral-cat right to lifers.  Stan Temple, a wildlife ecologist whose work is cited in support of radical action against wild kitty-kats has also been threatened.

At my place we delay the first hay cutting until high summer, usually the first week of July.  We do this so the thousands of birds dumb enough to nest in the path of the baler will have a chance to raise a brood of chicks before we degrade their habitat.  Happily, there’s a lot of marshland and native prairie near the fields where the fledglings can find cover.  Unhappily we’re close enough to town that the lazy and irresponsible cat owners who would rather let kitty run free than face the realities of having to give up for adoption or put down an animal they can no longer care for sometimes dump their pets along the road.  Unlike the bald tires, the appliances, the bags of garbage, the lawn cuttings, and once by god a kitchen sink that I find in my ditch, the animals are dynamic. Unlike that discarded tire, the discarded feline will usually fight it’s way out of the garbage bag and head for the marsh.

In Wisconsin this is surfacing as a political issue:

Mark Smith of La Crosse said he wants to make
free-roaming domestic cats an unprotected species. That would
allow anyone with a small-game license to shoot them.

"I mean it’s just trying to protect some native songbirds and a lot
of other wildlife," Smith said. "Whether it’s baby ducks, baby turkeys,
smaller rabbits, small squirrels, or a whole host of other wildlife."

Mark Smith may have blown it big time.  The country dweller has long made it a conservation practice to attempt to control vermin.  Feral cats are of course vermin.  There is no law against shooting them, poisoning them, drowning them, trapping them and so forth.  Now that Smith has raised it as an issue and the National Humane Society has joined the debate, the country dwellers’ shameful secret is bound to emerge:  When you city folks leave your furry bundles of joy at our place, we generally shoot them. 

Now this is perhaps a moment for the "Guns ‘n Quakers" interlude.  This Quaker has a hard time holding onto a gun.  When my grandfather died, he left me his 20 gauge puump action Remington Wingmaster.  Somebody stole from my dad’s place where I kept it.  When I was a kid I had a single shot .22 rifle.  We were on the way out of town to do some shooting in a nearby gravel pit when Paul’s VW somehow turned over.  The gun was seriously damaged.  My dad repaired it.  I haven’t seen it since I left home and I suspect one of my nephews uses it for plinking.  In San  Francisco I picked up a used single shot 12 gauge so I could go trap shooting with Steve, Phil and Betty Jo.  Later I picked up a 1974 Ford Gran Torino, only somewhat damaged in the flood of 1982 and long since dried out.  One day, planning to head out to Lake Merced after work, I parked it at the 5th and Mission garage with the shotgun in the trunk.  Somebody broke in and stole it.  I think that was my last gun until moved to the country.  I bought a Remington pump 12 gauge with multiple choke inserts.  I had a scope mount installed so I could stalk Bambi, using rifled slugs in this shotgun only county.  I had delusions of bird shooting and I picked up a Labrador retriever (free to good home), from which I learned the depth of meaning in the phrase "that dog won’t hunt."  I held onto that shotgun for six or eight years before we had a break-in and somebody stole it out of my bedroom closet.  I have a hard time with guns and indeed I have never killed a cat.  But I would.

I’m thinking a 50 caliber Alaskan Encore handgun might be my next adventure in shooting.  I hope to have it in hand before cat season opens.  Failing that, I’d like to thank Harry for his reminder that there’s more than one way to skin a puss.   

Posted in Farm Almanac
6 comments on “Friends of Felines Fight for Ferals
  1. Harry says:

    On the surface, you have a feral cat problem. Scratch a little deeper and what you really have is a people problem. Whatever steps you take to deal with the kitties are going to be undermined by the brain dead people who drop their cats off as soon as they get tired of scooping out the litter box. Regulatory solutions to this are going to be a hard sell in the responsibility-phobic culture we have. Still, that’s the way to go.

    Pet taxes, posting pet bonds or surcharge fees for pets that haven’t been neutered would put a real crimp in the cycle of feckless adoption-to-abandonment.

  2. gillian says:

    When I adopted my cat two weeks ago from the SPCA, I had to sign a contract and agree to have her fixed, take care of her for a year before giving her away, etc. etc. I have absolutely no problem with any of the requirements.

    Several years ago I lived in a duplex where my downstairs neighbours had two cats. Then they had 7. Then they had 13… They hardly had let their two cats in the house to begin with, and within months of them moving in the backyard was taken over by this extended feline family. I couldn’t go outside without being begged for food. I felt so bad for these cats, and am still pissed off that the neighbours never got in trouble for their irresponsibility.

    I hate the idea of someone shooting at cats, but it’s probably better for the cat than living like that.

  3. NEMESIS1IM says:

    So you want to shoot, drowned, trap or skin feral cats.
    Do you know what happened in the middle ages when they went crazy burning witches and killing cats by the thousands? The Black plague, which proceeded to kill off a good percentage of the population.

    How about we also allow stray dogs to be shoot, drowned, trapped and skinned. I have never ever heard of a feral cat killing a child or an adult. I can not say the same thing about dogs, be they happen to be owned or stray’s. It happens all to often in CA. Someone’s dog gets loose and attacks a child or an adult.

    What happens when a responsible cat owners cat slips out the door without a collar. It will be fair game.

    Bad, bad move. I once shoot a dog that had hold of my cat who happened to be on a lead rope in his yard. The police showed up and I was in trouble. Like I cared. I recall that in the US you still have a right to protect what is yours. Anyone who shot any animal of mine, better have all the loose ends tied up and be on the good side of the Lord because he may get their soul, ( for what it’s worth, dam little) but I know their ass will be mine.

  4. fp says:

    Dear Nem,
    I’m with you on the wild dogs. Shoot ’em. And you’re right about the cats. If you kill them, you get rats. Rats carry plague. Oopsie – bad eco-move! So what’s your solution when there is an abandoned barn next to the wildlife sanctuary and there are 80 cats in the barn that eat lots of songbirds?


    p.s. I was kidding about skinning the cats. I think we ought to just sell them to local restauranteers.

  5. liz says:

    Grouchy old cripple has a bumper sticker for you:

    And Neme has mistaken the urban settings of the middle ages for the current suburban/agricultural/wildlands of today. Even with a rat overrun as we have today

    we don’t get the plague. Why? Better sanitation. You need fleas to transmit the disease, and human habitations are cleaner and easier to sanitize than they were 400 years ago.

  6. fp says:

    I was up at one of the volcano parks a few years ago… Lassen I think. They had signs posted regarding the local rodents carrying the plague. So while the fear of an epidemic may be a thing of the past, good old pestis bubonicus or whatever they call it is still with us.

    I like the cripples bumper stickers! Especially “Cat – The Other White Meat!”



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