Jun 10, 2009 at 8:03 pm #1236986
Enough about dogs. Anybody backpack with their cat? What breed is best? On or off-leash? What do you do with a wet cat? Bird-Aversion classes?
This is how I pack mine:
Jun 10, 2009 at 8:43 pm #1507401
A guy with a cabin in my local mountains had a cat that would hike for miles with you. When he got bored, he'd head home.
Not needy, can be left at home alone for weeks without worry, don't stink, bury their own crap, clean themselves, don't bring dirt in the house and leave your bed stinking, play when you want them to and get the message when you don't…
Dogs are cool but more than I want to deal with right now.Jun 10, 2009 at 8:44 pm #1507403
Damn but sorry…..why would you want to? Cats are the single biggest introduced pest that account for huge numbers of native animals being wiped out.
Boo to the idea!Jun 10, 2009 at 8:59 pm #1507405
humans are much, much worseJun 10, 2009 at 9:08 pm #1507406
I see your humour, however "introduced pest", in the context of this topic, yes they are! At least here they are.Jun 10, 2009 at 9:52 pm #1507413
western man is the worst introduced pest in australia
followed by the rabbit, fox, rat, cane toad, and yes – cat
rabbit and fox both far worse than the cat
but the thing about all the other "pests" is that they were brought in by western man, so i say a rabbit problem or cat problem is actually a human problem
humans are almost always the problem – we take credit readily but usually try to shed blameJun 10, 2009 at 10:00 pm #1507416
I can see there is no point in arguing you on this with an Avatar like that :).
Cats and pets in general are bad for the native animals, regardless of who introduced them and we should all play a part in stopping it.Jun 10, 2009 at 10:16 pm #1507418
is that the damage they do is a small fraction of the damage done by humans
actually 2 points:
the above & that they are only one of many invasive species, and aren't the species having the most impact anywhere, even if we don't count humans
and 2(b): that all of those invasive species were introduced by the human species
i agree we should do something to help. in the last 5 years, my wife and i have neutered over 100 feral cats in our county as part of TNR (trap, neuter, release). we also currently take care of 13 formerly feral cats in our home, at our own expense. we have placed over 50 neutered cats that were once feral in homes & all the people adopting them have signed contracts agreeing to keep their cats indoors.Jun 11, 2009 at 2:46 am #1507437
@acrosomeLocale: Back in the Front Range
I think your point has been accepted, that humans screw up everything. :-) However, we don't have the human-control options that we do for feral animals.
Saying that humans are worse, or the root of all other introduced species, does not deny that the introduced species are bad. Do you propose, then, that we just let the introduced species run amok, uncontrolled? Obviously not- given your previous post.
So I'm not sure what you're arguing, here…Jun 11, 2009 at 4:15 am #1507439
i responded to argue against the erroneous claim that cats are "the single biggest introduced pest that account for huge numbers of native animals being wiped out." there are several other species that are more damaging – in australia, the rabbit is probably the most damaging non-human introduced mammal species. But I mentioned humans mostly for perspective – since the other species are the result of bad behavior on the part of the human species of animal, I think any corrective behavior by human animals should be sensitive to the fact that the introduced "pest" species didn't choose to be there – they didn't invade, they were invited.
What i propose to do about cats in most places is what i have been doing: TNR (trap, neuter, release). I also think jurisdictions should offer low-cost and/or free spay & neuter clinics (some are doing this now) along with education to reduce the number of new introduced ferals. Finally, I advocate implementation of mandatory neuter laws for pets, such as nearly passed a couple years ago in California (there can be provisions for exceptions for licensed breeders, etc.).
No "pest" species once established and thriving will ever be eliminated from a continent. I think some of the mental perspective that allows callous "corrective" measures begins with the idea that they are simply "bad" and their presence is "wrong." If we begin from the idea that their existence in a location, the very fact of their hearts beating, is our responsibility, we can perhaps more readily proceed with a management strategy based in compassion.Jun 11, 2009 at 4:56 am #1507440
Craig, you forgot two points:
They're cute, and they kill mice. The perfect animal for camping in a shelter.Jun 11, 2009 at 5:19 am #1507443
I agree that rabbits are right up there, along with sheep and cattle, but feral cats here can be pretty bad.
I'm not sure what your aim is with TNR. Whilst this is pretty nice to the cat, it doesn't do much for his native dinner for the next couple of years. Having trapped and presumably anaesthetised it, wouldn't it be better on balance to euthanise it, rather than release it?Jun 11, 2009 at 5:19 am #1507444
Quote:THREAT ABATEMENT PLAN
for predation by feral cats
"The first recorded instance of cats being brought to Australia was by English settlers in the 18th century, although cats may have arrived much earlier with other human visitors (Baldwin 1980). Cats were deliberately released into the wild during the 19th century to control rabbits and mice (Rolls 1969). Today there are about 18 million feral cats in Australia (McLeod 2004), distributed through all habitats (except some of the wettest rainforests) in mainland Australia and Tasmania and on many offshore islands.
Feral cats are a serious vertebrate pest in Australia, and have severe effects on native fauna. Predation by
feral cats is listed as a key threatening process under the EPBC Act.
End of story…Jun 11, 2009 at 5:49 am #1507447
@djohnsonLocale: Washington State
The initial post was not about feral cats in the wild- it was about James backpacking with HIS cat, whom I'm certainly survives off of cat food that he brings along on his trip.
I think this is very interesting James. How do you keep track of your cat? Mine would wander off and certainly doesn't come when I call. :-) How does that work out?
Does she sleep in the tent with you? Do you really carry her in your backpack like that?
Thanks, DougJun 11, 2009 at 5:51 am #1507449
all the cats we do TNR with we feed afterward at feeding stations (one ear is clipped for identification – new cats arriving are then TNR'd). we do this at 2 colonies – at one colony entirely at our own expense & at another partially our own expense & largely via funds from a private non-profit group.
they average 3-5 years lifespan as non-reproducing ferals & their impacts on native wildlife are significantly reduced by the feeding stations.
the colony funded mostly by the non-profit has had no feral born kittens in 7 years. Initial TNR resulted in a declining population – population is now mostly stable due to illegal dumping of cats by irresponsible people compensating for deaths or rehabs (some cats are tamed and adopted out – we've done this with a few dozen over the last several years). only 1 person i know of has been caught releasing a cat there & prosecuted, but there is a proposal to install video surveillance in order to improve this statistic.
australia's situation is somewhat different in that there is a wide ranging population in wilderness areas & perhaps it may be better to euthanize depending on location, resources, etc, (even though the benefit is not really the removal of a single cat, but rather the prevention of 1000's of potential offspring – cats are territorial & a living sterile cat prevents a viable cat from occupying that location and reproducing), but i suspect the wild cat may be a permanent part of australia's wildscape, along with the rabbit, cane toad, wild goat, wild pig and many other purposefully introduced species. like many of our similar human follies (the mongoose in hawaii comes to mind), i think the result is the new reality. I think the only way for some of the native species to survive is probably in well protected preserve areas, and i think this is true whether cats are killed mercilessly or left alone entirely.Jun 11, 2009 at 6:13 am #1507450
I'm guessing that curious kitty just climbed into the pack for the photo op
Backpacking with a cat is not a very good idea – they just panic too easily in unfamiliar places, which can result in a lost cat; I've heard a few sad stories about cats that went on camping trips
Cats are best spoiled at home. I always let the cats living with us smell my pant legs, socks and shoes after a trip – they get to explore the smells of some of the places I've been & really seem to enjoy that, safe in the comfort of their home.Jun 11, 2009 at 8:35 am #1507471
Yeah, mt cat hates being left at home, so anytime she sees something that resembles luggage, she climbs in and makes her self at home . . .not that she really wants to leave the house. She's had to move across the country a few times now, and despite the kitty strength valium the vet has prescribed, she still makes a pretty big fuss. As Cary makes the point, unfamiliar situations freak her out. Though in that case, her reaction would probably be to leave claw marks climbing onto my shoulders.
Outdoor cats, as Mark points out, are a real problem though, and something I think a lot of cat owners (presumably de facto animal lovers) would rather not talk about, so I don't mind my silly thread being hijacked for those purposes.Jun 11, 2009 at 8:51 am #1507478Jun 11, 2009 at 9:31 am #1507487
the "former" deserve compassion and a chance to survive, which they have: they have a chance to survive. they aren't being systematically targeted for eradication, they are being left alone in nature to survive, which includes being part of the same predator/prey dynamic with the cats.
however clapper rail is probably not the best choice, since they live in marsh environments, which are not very amenable to cats. actually few birds are in much danger from cats – cell phone towers may be responsible for
more bird deaths each year (one reason i refuse to own a cell phone). a study done in golden gate park found, in fact, that the cats in the park had a net beneficial effect on bird populations. why? because while some cats are adept at preying on birds, all cats are particularly adept at preying on rodents; rats are adept at climbing up high to bird nests and eating eggs and baby birds – in golden gate park, the cat predation on rats resulted in a better survival ratio for baby birds. a large number of cats in an area does tend to affect bird some populations in a very local way, but mostly because the birds simply move, mostly not because of predation.
the cats we work with are fed – they do very little killing, which is why managed colonies are the way to go.
the biggest problem i have is the scapegoating that goes on. in the case of birds, for example, cats are often mentioned as a major factor. this is simply not true. they are a factor – a minor factor. habitat loss is responsible for over 90% of the impact on n. american bird species. various pollution impacts are about 5% more. human hunting activities, cell phone towers, airports and airplanes, and cats are each around 1%.
in n. america, we don't have and won't ever have the same problem as exists in australia – it is a unique environment. there are quite a lot of species there that evolved without a significant primary predator. the normal predator/prey scenario is not in their programming & they are disadvantaged against many of the newer, introduced predators. feral cats in n. america have to compete with some very well adapted predators for some very well adapted prey. house cats will not out compete coyotes, bobcats, mountain lions anywhere they are the primary predators, just to name the top 3. in most n. american wilderness situations, a feral housecat is as much prey as it is predator & in many it is easy prey. where they live in numbers is in urban and suburban environments – which is where managed TNR is efficient & effective.Jun 11, 2009 at 9:47 am #1507495
@creachenLocale: East Bay
Cat's are cool!! They always help me set up my shelter.Jun 11, 2009 at 9:51 am #1507496Jun 11, 2009 at 10:03 am #1507498
The question is, Jay, how many creatures native to Walnut Creek did that cat eat while helping you set up that shelter. I think I can see the blood on it's paws.Jun 11, 2009 at 10:07 am #1507499
@owareLocale: Steptoe Butte
"to take it to another Chaff-appropriate level: why not set up TNR/feeding stations for starlings, European green crabs, and whatnot? i can see folks at Lake Davis feeding baby ducklings to northern pike, while humanely neutering them. perhaps we can set up a watering, fertilizing, and flower de-heading program for yellow star thistle! it might take a while to pull all the flowers of a Tamarisk after installing drip irrigation on it, but it does deserve the right to grow in that desert wetland. etc."
They are doing this now with horses in Nevada. They round
them up each year, vaccinate them, then turn them loose.
If there are two many for the range, they either feed them,
or catch them again and keep them in pens. They don't do
that for the antelope etc. that the horses displace.
Last year in Tahoe, there was someone hiking into the
backcountry and leaving food for the bears. Their plan
was to keep the overpopulation of bears away from
urban places. They kept it a secret where they left food
so they wouldn't get into trouble with the wildlife agencies.Jun 11, 2009 at 10:09 am #1507500
some do, some don't
one cat here – Tigger, is actually afraid of mice & birds. she'd die if not fed. years ago, before we learned about proper cat containment and some of them had access to the neighborhood, Stinky demonstrated some hunting skill, but of the then 5 cats, he was the only one that ever had much success. He probably average a rat or mouse every other week or so, and did manage 2 birds in almost 5 years of hunting.
now we have a cat fence – a specially designed fence that keeps the cats from leaving our yard – and currently with a 1/10th acre backyard that gets a lot of birds the 10 cats living here have caught exactly 1 bird, 1 lizard and 1 rat in 4 years – the bird I was able to get from them and release unharmed. some cats will still hunt if fed and are good at it, but they still do it much, much less than they would if they were hunting for sustenance. a lot of cats (the majority in our household) are happy to lounge about, maybe sometimes watching the birds flitting around, but do not feel inclined to hunt.
at the 2 feral colonies, in 7 years of working with them and 1000s of contact hours, there have been no reports of hunting activities observed, no feathers or entrails or other evidence of hunting behavior. I assume there have been some, but the point is that it is a negligible amount.
cats are as varied in their personalities and behaviors as people are: even if well fed, some will hunt often, some will hunt on occasion, and some will never hunt; and some that hunt will not be very good at it. Also, some will never figure out how to get birds. Insects, rodents and sometimes lizards are much more typical prey for those that do hunt – generally speaking, house cats are much more adept at scurrying ground animals than anything else.Jun 11, 2009 at 10:17 am #1507501
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