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 Post subject: Controlling feral cats
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:19 pm 
Hawkeye

Joined: Tue Dec 25, 2007 8:11 pm
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Location: missouri
One of the topics in a predator hunting magazine. Now, I know there are some heavy duty pet friendly folks here but I sure got a wake up when the possible numbers of these feline predators was posted. Living on the "edge of a wilderness" as I do, we get what seems like an inordinate number of semi-wild tom cats. The barn dogs chase most of them away but the more brazen ones manage to infiltrate the somewhat fluid farm cat population and hang around until I catch them being tom cats.
I've never called in a feral cat but I've seen some cats far from any inhabited dwelling so have to assume those aren't someone's "tabby cat".

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:13 pm 
Single-Sixer
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My great grandpa had a horrible problem with feral cats where he lived in Colorado in the mid 80's. I'd go visit him in the summer and he'd give me his Remington 551 and a box of 22 shorts. He'd point out 3 or 4 cats, and go "That one, that one, and that one can stay. Take out the rest." That rifle passed down to my dad, and unfortunately last year, passed down to me. Although, the only it animals it has shot in several years are chipmunks. I keep it by the back door just in case.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:49 pm 
Buckeye
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Unless you have predators in the area that will keep them under control, your likely gonna have to trap and/or kill them......if there are males in the same area, their numbers can get out of hand really fast. I had to do it once when an elderly couple got overrun with felines that town folk dumped in the area. Within a year they had over 200 "wild" cats roaming their place. They decimated the local quail, rabbits and squirrel population and also impacted the songbirds the old lady fed............any that you allow to remain should be "fixed". :idea:

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 5:06 am 
Hawkeye

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tinman wrote:
.any that you allow to remain should be "fixed". :idea:


Fixed never seem to be the right word as far as I'm concerned, Broken would be more like it! :D

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:07 am 
Buckeye
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powder smoke wrote:
tinman wrote:
.any that you allow to remain should be "fixed". :idea:


Fixed never seem to be the right word as far as I'm concerned, Broken would be more like it! :D


Unfortunately, when the population reaches a certain level, 99% of them need to be culled. The remainder should be spayed/neutered..........then someone needs to have a "talk" with the townsfolk, who are the cause of far too many of the feral animal scenarios. :idea:

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:37 am 
Ruger Guru

Joined: Wed Sep 18, 2002 1:01 am
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Location: Lake Lure NC USA
As noted,,, people can get quite passionate about pets & all. Dogs or cats. Yet,, cats seem to be the ones most often "hated" by people over dogs.
Let dogs run loose,, and nobody calls them feral & kills them just because they are out & about. Yet with cats,, it is often done.
May think a cat won't roam a long distance,, yet,, they can & will.
Many accuse cats of destroying a population of birds & other small animals. Yet,, not much is said about dogs roaming & killing animals.
Yet,,, dogs can & do attack people.
Many years ago,, many popular outdoor magazines used to publish articles about feral cats & the problems they cause. And how to hunt & shoot them. Not so much anymore.

Now,, all the above is simply food for thought. I'm NOT trying to start any kind of argument about how good or bad EITHER one is. It is simply a bit of info on what is seen & published.

Sadly, too many dogs & cats are unwanted & dumped out in rural areas,, in the hopes somebody will find them & care for them. And animals being animals can & will either hunt to live or starve. In cities,, we find more cats than dogs in general,, but both exist. And like any feral or wild animal,, they exist only if they can hunt & scrounge for food.

I own cats. I have also killed feral cats when I see them as a problem. I get pictures of cats on my game cameras,, and see the same cats quite a distance away at times. But one thing I STRONGLY advise anybody is to be absolutely sure that ANY animal that could POSSIBLY be a pet to anyone be left alone.
Many, many years ago,, there was a dog that roamed all around Lake Lure & Chimney Rock. Many folks fed it too. It was basically a Chow or a Chow mix. Yet,, it had a few bad habits in that it would urinate on the front door of a drug store,, and it would also get into trash cans, fight other pets, etc. It put 2 dogs in the vets office. This went on for months,, with nobody claiming the dog. Well, an upset local quietly put out a "Wanted; Dead!" reward for this dog. A guy quietly shot & killed the dog,, and never even bothered to try & claim the reward. He said; "That SOB jumped my dog on it's chain,, and about killed her." When it happened,, about a week later,, "Lost; Reward for the recovery" posters went up all over. Apparently,, the dog lived about 6-7 miles away,, and the owner wanted to find it. The dog had been given the 3-S treatment. Apparently the owner really liked the dog,, but failed to keep him up, OR take responsibility for it's actions. Nobody even knew that the dog had an owner until after it disappeared.
I was party to the knowledge,, as I knew both the person offering the reward,, and the one who killed to dog. But the shooter never told, and the guy offering the reward never had to pay.

My point is that people are passionate about pets,, and with todays attitudes,, animal cruelty being a hot topic,, always be very careful.

But I do think the topic of feral cats being responsible for widespread decimation of birds & small game is exaggerated. Many things cause the loss of many species.
Changes in how farms plow & not leave hedgerows, loss of habitat with developments, increases in other species, ( such as coyotes,) all have effects.

I own a small piece of land,, of about 30 acres. Yet,, I get to see all kinds of wildlife on my cameras,, as well as when I'm hunting. Cats, dogs, bobcats, coyotes, deer, turkey, bear, hawks, songbirds, squirrels, doves, grouse, woodcock, rabbits, possums, coons, etc,, ALL co-exist here. (We just saw a grouse in my yard this past week & I can't recall the last time I saw one here.)

As a person who deals in "problem" animals,, I have had to learn a lot more about them. What I've learned goes against conventional wisdom. Or,, maybe I should call it "ancient wisdom."

Yes,, when there is a breedable pair of anything,, populations can "explode." Cats, dogs, rabbits, mice, etc. Yet,, when this happens,, many do not survive due to the lack of food & cover. Soon, populations can & will "stabilize" and as such,, unless something is changed,, all can & will co-exist.

So,, to the OP & the original idea of how many "possible predators" there COULD be,, I also like to present a different angle. Often,, these well meaning articles fail to account for mortality of these breeding animals.

I'll give it some more food for thought.
Bird feeders. They help me stay in business. Why? Because people love to watch birds. Well, I call this the Democratic platform at work. Birds come to the feeders, for free food. These birds breed and have more birds. The bird lovers all seem happy,, yet notice they are putting out food more often.
Enter the other animals who also eat bird feed. They too enjoy free food & breed. Pretty soon,, these bird lovers have a problem. Mice,, snakes, coons, squirrels, bears, etc. all also enjoy free or easy food. Then they look for shelter close by the easy food source. They move into homes. I get called,, and I have to fix the homeowners problems.

Animals die.

My main point is that just because you see an animal,,, be it cat, dog, bobcat, snake or whatever,, doesn't always mean it's a problem animal. Usually the root of the problem is man.

Locally, an animal shelter is catching feral cats,, spaying or neutering them, then finding homes for them in local barns,, as working ferals. I think that program has merits,,, but there has to be a balance for sure.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:22 am 
Hunter

Joined: Thu Oct 22, 2009 2:57 pm
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Location: Eastern Washington
Feral cats are a MAJOR threat to native birds, including game birds. Hundreds of thousands of song-birds are killed by feral (and wandering domestics). It has gotten so that cats are listed (along with feral dogs in some cases) as a standard threat in many Endangered Species decisions and petitions. Based on over 20 years as an endangered species biologist.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 3:06 pm 
Hawkeye
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I love cats. I have several. But an uncontrolled population of feral cats is a health risk to domestic pets. There is a group locally that regularly traps and neuters/spays then releases feral cats. This would work very well, but we still have idiots that abandon non-neutered/spayed animals.

Several times the animal control folks have tried to quietly trap and euthanize the sexually active feral cats. A huge outcry usually follows. I personally believe that the number needs to be controlled/reduced. Trapping and euthanasia is the only way.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 16, 2019 8:35 am 
Ruger Guru

Joined: Wed Sep 18, 2002 1:01 am
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Location: Lake Lure NC USA
I fully agree that uncontrolled populations of any species can & will decimate whatever their food source is.
Wolves are another example of this,, in places where they were reintroduced,, and are still afforded protections,, even when their numbers have surpassed the "target" numbers.

Feral cats can & do get out of hand in many places,, and need control. But,, what I'm seeing is more often,, a control has taken over in the form of coyotes. Except in cities,, where the coyote doesn't have as many places to go easily as do the cats.

I was hoping that my post would give folks food for thought,, BEFORE they wantonly think all cats that are out wandering are feral & should be shot. The same goes for dogs.

Remember,, in todays society,, animal cruelty criminal charges, are becoming more & more common for just "controlling" problem animals.

Or,, how would any of us feel if we thought a wandering animal (dog or cat) was feral,,, killed it,, just to find it was owned by a child?
What if your child had a pet killed by this type of mentality?


I have rescued dogs and cats from places that you would not think a pet would be. A dachshund was way out away from any houses (over 4 miles) when I was on a big ranch in Wyoming hunting one day. There were cattle nearby, and she was a very happy little girl when we came along. We left her with a local who promised to find her owners.
Deer hunting,, I had a shepherd mix come to my deer stand. I climbed down, took the dog to my truck, fed her, and luckily she had a collar with a name & number. Called,, and her owner was VERY happy. Seems boyfriend went hiking, and the dog got lost. It was over 2 miles from where he'd lost her.
Saw a cat on my camera,, only to find later it belonged to an elderly gentleman,, about 1/4 mile away.

Point being,, be careful & try to be as sure as you can ANY pet type species is feral before killing it. And even then,, animal lovers can & will try & prosecute you if you do so in any manner they deem cruel.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 17, 2019 1:55 pm 
Hawkeye
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Location: Sierra foothills, Ca. U.S.A.
There are probably 40 to 50 feral cats that "live" in and around the hay barn and feedlot on the ranch. Many of them are strays from t6own that a re trapped and dropped off here with our permission. That's right. We don't mind. Therre are virtually no rats, mice, gophers, ground squirrels etc. anywhere neasr the barn or feed lot. They get cheawp bulk dry catfood and fresh water daily. Other than thast, nothing. Except the chance to live rather than being taken to the pound and being put down.

Sickness and coyotes keep the numbers down, it seems. Any females that try to set up a home around the houses, shop, out-buildings etc. are trapped and moved to the barn. They haven't had any negative impact on the bird life as there are many types of son birds, doves and even a nesting pair of red tailed hawks on site.

Stray dogs are another story all together. If we aren't successful running/scaring them off they are unceremoniously dispatched with extreme prejudice, much like coyotes.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 18, 2019 3:26 pm 
Hawkeye

Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 1:01 am
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When I first moved to my farm, there was a feral German Shepherd mix, and a Rottweiler also feral roaming the various farms killing calves, goats etc. My next door neighbor had a mare with a month old filly. Those dogs got into the pen, tore the baby up, and mama came to the rescue, and got the same. Baby got out and into the pen of their Appaloosa gelding, who suffered NO INJURY, and kept the filly safe till the neighbor’s got home! Although I owned the property, and had 6 horses on the property, I didn’t live there. The neighbors declared war, and killed the feral dogs. I was told this days afterward. Ooops, were they your dogs? NOPE! That explained why my horses, though usually tolerant of my Shelties, all of a sudden weren’t. I have killed feral cats that I know for a fact have killed off my Quail, and Woodcock!
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Last edited by gramps on Tue Aug 20, 2019 9:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 19, 2019 10:06 pm 
Hunter

Joined: Sun Aug 20, 2006 1:01 am
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Location: soda springs, idaho
Around here we call them "Field Lions" and we shoot them if they are isolated from farms & ranches because we know that someone has dumped them off. They are very efficient killers of all birds, rabbits, etc & I never pass on a chance to bust one. We all know the area well & if there is a farm house close by we give them a pass, if they are way out in the meadows we give them something else.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 10:33 am 
Blackhawk

Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 4:35 pm
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Location: Texas
“Let dogs run loose,, and nobody calls them feral & kills them just because they are out & about. Yet with cats,, it is often done.
May think a cat won't roam a long distance,, yet,, they can & will.
Many accuse cats of destroying a population of birds & other small animals. Yet,, not much is said about dogs roaming & killing animals.”

Around here, dogs running game or livestock are dealt with quickly and in a decisive fashion.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 23, 2019 1:30 pm 
Blackhawk

Joined: Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:19 pm
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Location: York County, Virginia
To add to Contender's post, before you decide to shoot a stray cat check your state and local laws. In some states it's illegal to shoot feral cats.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 24, 2019 3:58 pm 
Hawkeye

Joined: Thu Oct 26, 2006 1:01 am
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Location: Woodbury, Tn
fiasconva wrote:
To add to Contender's post, before you decide to shoot a stray cat check your state and local laws. In some states it's illegal to shoot feral cats.

That is where the 3-S rule comes into play. I saw my neighbor’s dog drag a fawn out of the weeds by the throat! I chased the dog off and tried to resuscitate the fawn, to no avail. I notified the owner, that his dog would be shot should I ever see it on my property again!
gramps

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