BIRD WATCH: ‘Feral’ cat a hungry burden for bird lover

My goal is now the relocation of an animal that would make a great housecat.

NOT ALL VAGRANT cats are feral.

Some are pets that were abandoned by their owners, and that is sad to see.

The situation created isn’t easily resolved.

The cat wants a home. It wants and needs something to eat.

That means birds and other small wild creatures acquire another predator.

It took months for me to realize this was taking place in our yard.

The first sign it was happening was the animal fur accumulating on a cushion for one of the outdoor chairs.

I remarked about this to my late husband and mumbled something about people keeping their animals in their own yard.

A glimpse of this trespasser was seen from time to time, and I would rap on the window to send it on its way.

Did its owners know it was roaming all over the neighborhood?

The truth was discovered one cold and wet morning in March.

I witnessed the cat crawling from under the neighbor’s house.

It looked miserable and scruffy but still tried to groom its long and ragged fur coat.

The next time it appeared was a sudden surprise.

I was mixing up potting soil in the garden shed.

When I looked up for a moment, I was staring into two green and watchful eyes.

The cat was curled up on some boxes where it could be out of the weather.

That only lasted a few days, and of course I fed it.

It was not a wild, feral cat. It was thin, hungry and vocal.

I didn’t want a cat and still don’t. The plan was to feed it until I could get it into an animal crate and take it to the humane society.

It’s a very large cat and doesn’t want to be put in that cage.

The figures on feral cats (or lost ones) are staggering when it comes to their predation on wild birds.

Julie Zickefoose is not only an artist and someone who writes about birds; she is also an avian rehabilitator.

In her book “The Bluebird Effect,” she presented some numbers that are difficult to comprehend.

“Birds die by the hundreds of millions, and more than a billion small mammals die every year at the claws of some of our 90 million pet cats. … An estimated 100 million additional stray cats add to the ranks of bird and small mammal predators.”

If you are a cat person, and there are several in my family, you don’t like to hear these numbers.

The sticking point is “responsibility.” These independent animals know how to outwit their owners.

They refuse to cooperate because they want to hunt.

Right now, I am facing some serious responsibility for the cat someone foisted off on me.

This cat wants to be a pet. It wants to move into the house, and my dog has turned into an angry, green-eyed monster.

I know what she wants done with their interloper, but I am determined to find it a home.

I have an applicant but am still faced with the problem of wrestling a large cat with claws into a cage.

Fortunately, the birds have the cat’s number, and now that it is being stuffed with cat food, it isn’t much of a hunter.

It prefers to lie on the lawn furniture and wait for the next meal.

The feeders have been moved to the center of the lawn where they cannot be sneaked up on.

I hope the person or persons who abandoned this affectionate animal are experiencing some guilt for what they have done.

That’s probably a futile wish.

In the meantime, my goal is the relocation of an animal that would make a great housecat.

It has way too much class to be a wild and feral creature.

This “feral” cat problem seems impossible to resolve because taking responsibility for it makes almost everyone squirm and look away.

I’m trying not to do that.

________

Joan Carson’s column appears every Sunday. Contact her at P.O. Box 532, Poulsbo, WA 98370, with a self-addressed, stamped envelope for a reply. Email: joanpcarson@comcast.net.

More in Life

The 2024 Community Service Awards winners gather before Thursday's awards ceremony at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church in Port Angeles. This year's recipients were, seated from left, Steph Ellyas and Lyn Fiveash, and standing from left, Gordon Taylor, Don Zanon, Carol Labbe and Betsy Reed Schultz. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)
Six honored for community service efforts

Volunteers provide energy for trails, respite care

Photo by Karen Griffiths

Cutline: A fundraiser for WAG and Open starts Today at 11 a.m. with an English and jumping fun show, followed tomorrow with a Western Games show at Kari Payne’s 4-L arena off Blue Mountain Road, 95 S. McCrorie Rd. Port Angeles.  Fox-Bell Farm owner Shelby Vaughan, and her assistants Sophie Feik and Kaia Lestage (holding Marley) will be there to host. Shown is Tatar Trots, 10. a horse Shelby got from OPEN five years ago when he was a feral, unhandled stallion and, now, after castrating and training,  he’s a docile horse who enjoys teaching kids how to ride.

 

(Rescue dog Rocky laying down if he’s shown in photo)
HORSEPLAY: Rescue program gives horses new life

SHELBY VAUGHAN WAS born into the rescue mindset. She grew up on… Continue reading

A GROWING CONCERN: For garden chores, keep the spring in your step

SO THE DREAM Playground build is going wonderfully. Thank you for those… Continue reading

ISSUES OF FAITH: Be a gracious and hospitable host

NOTICE OUR ROAD traffic is getting busier? Yep. We are beginning our… Continue reading

The Rev. Larry Schellink will present “Love God and Tie up your Camel” at 10:30 a.m. Sunday. Schellink is the guest speaker at Unity in the Olympics, 2917 E. Myrtle Ave.
Weekend program scheduled for Unity in the Olympics

The Rev. Larry Schellink will present “Love God and… Continue reading

Unity speaker slated in Port Angeles

Phoenix Biggs will present “Singing of Honor… Continue reading

Jaiden Dokken, at Jeanette Best Gallery in Port Townsend, is Northwind Art’s new exhibits coordinator. (Northwind Art)
Poet laureate takes on new role with Northwind Art

Artist, poet and educator Jaiden Dokken is Northwind Art’s… Continue reading

Author John Vaillant stands in front of the iconic tower at Port Angeles City Pier. (Elijah Sussman/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Author visits Peninsula for Writer in Residence program

Vaillant awarded Shaughnessy Cohen Prize

A GROWING CONCERN: Volunteers a dream for playground

YOU, MY LOYAL readers, have been excellent the couple of times I… Continue reading

Unity in Port Townsend planning for Sunday services

Joanna Gabriel will present the lesson at 11 a.m.… Continue reading

The Rev. Cindy Akana
Program scheduled for OUUF on Sunday

The Rev. Cindy Akana will present “Mother Wolf, Mother… Continue reading