Buddy in a Box
Buddy is an utterly charming young fellow who devoted his summer to taking our hearts hostage. He arrived one day in the spring, a jaunty, devil-may-care rake with a handsome white tuxedo front accenting his grey striped coat. Our resident cat population was harder to win over than we mere humans. They didn’t take to this new kid on the block, and were especially put off by his confident tomcat demeanour.
Once it was clear that Buddy had checked us out and decided he was moving in, we hurried him in for a visit with the vet. Buddy was in no way discombobulated by this turn of events and gave no indication of being put out by his minor surgery. It did help to smooth the waters with the other cats, though. The veterinarian guessed Buddy to be about a year and a half old.
One of Buddy’s people-charming tricks involves boxes. Buddy loves sitting in boxes or napping in boxes. The photograph above shows Buddy curled up in a shoe box beside my computer desk where he keeps me company. I bet he wishes I wore a slightly bigger shoe size.
We don’t know where Buddy came from. It seems likely that he is the offspring of barn cats and was perhaps chased away from his home by the resident Tom. Buddy was lucky to find a new family. Many, many feral cats live short, tough lives filled with hardship. Animal shelters are often bursting at the seams with unwanted cats and kittens. The planet has way too many people and way too many cats. It’s difficult to solve overpopulation issues where humans are involved. With cats, the answer is easy. Please have your cat spayed or neutered and keep them at home where they are safe. Help make every cat a beloved indoor cat.
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While we cat owners like to think of our cats as warm, cuddly lap-sitters, the fact remains that cats are natural born killers. Inside that cute exterior is a very skilled hunter. In fact, cats are famous for their mousing abilities. However, mice aren’t their only victims. Any small creature is fair game to a cat, and that includes birds.
Cats are not a natural part of the North American ecosystem. They arrived with humans, and have been wreaking havoc on the bird population ever since. This might not have been too much of a problem when the cat population was small, but those days are long gone. Today, there are an estimated at 75 million cats in the United States alone. Studies of cat poop (ewwww!) have shown that the average cat kills and eats at least one bird a week. That includes cats whose owners have never seen their cat with a bird and are convinced that their pet doesn’t hunt. The instinct to hunt is strong. The fact that the cat is well-fed will not prevent it from hunting. Wearing a bell will not prevent these crafty hunters from successfully catching prey.
If you do the math, you will see that the toll cats inflict on the bird population is astronomical. Six hundred cats will kill 600 birds a week. Over a 10 week breeding period, those 600 cats will kill 6000 birds. Those figures are for house cats. Consider that half the cat population consists of free-roaming, homeless cats hunting for their livelihood. Cats kill millions and millions of songbirds every year. You can read more about cats and birds at the American Bird Conservancy site. Cat lovers and bird conservators agree. Cats belong indoors. The Great Outdoors is no place for a cat! For more on indoor cats, see Every Cat an Indoor Cat: Part One.
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