Thursday, February 28, 2013

When species are hated

I don't really have a decent amount of time to think about this post. However when I put something off to "post later" I often forget to post anything at all, or I lose track of the link.

This article about the hatred of the wolf by some conservationists drew a surprising parallel in my mind to the hatred of cats by a small but very vocal group of conservationists.

I'm not talking about the valid discussion about whether cats should be outdoors or not. Obviously, in a best possible world, all cats would be safe and loved in vibrant and perfect indoor homes, with supervised-only access to the outdoors. We aren't in a perfect world and we never will be.

But this essayist attempts to tackle the issue of the desire among some "conservationists" to irrationally advocate the destruction of an entire species. While I absolutely do not think the parallels are exact, I do find the similarity compelling. I honestly feel that even if TNR was proven to work--with published results---in every situation in which is was utilized, and we could verify without question that the number of outdoor cats was decreasing, there would still be angry, vocal people who would despise cats in the name of conservation.

I was on the phone today with a representative of a national advocacy group, and we talked for a moment about valid "outdoor cat" concerns versus the simple hatred of cats. It's a tough thing to address publicly, because anyone who might suggest that "You know, the issue here is that you just dislike cats" sounds like the speaker is dismissing the seriousness of the issue, as well as the seriousness of those who are legitimately concerned about the impact of outdoor cats on other animals.

Yet clearly, reading this wolf article, there are species besides cats that are NOT non-native, that are NOT "pets gone wild" and that DO belong in the wild...and nonetheless they are in some cases hated and viewed as a threat, and even, dare I say, viewed as trash. These are my words...not the author's.

I think perhaps that by examining the persecution of "legitimately wild" species, we might be able to understand, a little bit better, those certain over-the-top and irrational efforts we have recently run into where the persecution of cats is also promoted in a manner that seems beyond logical. At some point we need to understand why some anti-cat public statements sound less like conservation, and more like hatred and hysteria. It may in fact be...because they are.

Too much spam

I'm sorry, but anonymous posters will no longer be able to comment. It seems like all I do is moderate spam. I left it open to anonymous comments hoping more people would feel comfortable adding input, but it seems like the comments have remained about the same (with the exception of the spammers!) I apologize to anyone for whom the restriction is a nuisance.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Catching up on feral cats

I've been lax about posting about the actual cat-catching I've been up to. A tiger cat began appearing on Molly's bed both day and night a few weeks ago. I was sure he would turn out to be tame (what feral cat camps out on a cushy dog bed 10 feet from a front door when there is a big barn to hide in?) but he doesn't have a tame whisker on him. He has been neutered, vaccinated and tested at my vet and I'll release him here in my barn once I'm sure the weather won't drop to zero.

Hopefully he and Bullet will work out any differences with hisses rather than bloodshed.

I've noticed a few strange cats down at the Fast Food Ferals feeding station, and I also got a call about cats being fed at a business across the highway, so Sunday I headed down, met with the feeder (a man), caught two cats at his location, and two at mine. The Tompkins County SPCA was able to fit in all four. I know there are a few more FFFerals, and at least three more at the new business location, and probably a few we haven't seen, so that will keep me busy for a few weeks. The one nice thing about catching cats in Tompkins is that (at least in winter) there are free/affordable spay/neuter options that are fairly easy to get into. There are options in Tioga as well, but the gap between the cost for spay/neuter clinic surgery and surgery at my private vet is so little, I take them to my private vet to leave the limited spaces at the s/n clinic for residents.

If I'm lucky, the three I'm keeping will all be males, so they can be returned ASAP. One of the male is handleable, so I'm having him FeLV/FIV tested. If he's negative, I may keep him to find him a home. Four caught, two off the street. That would be nice.

This is one World Spay Day (formerly Spay Day USA) when I'll actually get a bunch of cats fixed!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Definitely a think-about animinated short

So simple on one level. But then you do the "dog is god spelled backwards" thing, and, well, there you go.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Tomahawk's improvements to feral cat handling equipment

I am a cat-trap junkie. I cannot even recall the days when I used to wrangle cats with gloves and substandard equipment, always in danger of being scratched, bitten, or having a cat escape. I never have to even touch a fractious or scared cat any longer, now that there are cage traps with back doors, feral cat dens, and the comb-like isolators.

However, there is always room for improvement, and Tomahawk has come up with some good ones. I love meeting up with them at conferences, because they always have something new for cats! (Apologies in advance for my somewhat-fuzzy photos).

Maybe some of you, like myself, have invested in kitten-sized traps, only to discover that those little teenage moms can squish right in there. Tomahawk has developed a kitten screen to let those tiny kittens in, but keep out the bigger adults. It's affordable at $20.

You'll find a video here.

And for those of you, like myself, who resort to duct-tape to keep those round doors on the feral cat dens closed, or who have discovered the cat has shut himself out of the den and now you are stuck with a peeved cat in a cage sitting on top of the closed den, Tomahawk has also come up with a spring that will not only hold the door closed, but hold it open.

And that wonderful toy we all have dreamed of owning....the remote control trap trigger:

It's $130.00, which makes it something most of us would need to save up for, but it is still far cheaper than previous versions that have been available. You'll find a video here.

(Dear family, I'll take any of these as a Christmas present next year).

Here is the page where most of Tomahawk's TNR equipment lives.

Here are their dens.

I was surprised to learn that the dens must be made one-by-one---the molds are handled by a single person. They aren't churned out by some huge machine, which is why the price is higher than you might assume, at $69.50. However, as a person who owns six of them, I can attest to the fact that both the cats, and myself, are safer and happier using them.

Unfortunately I was flying home, so I couldn't do my usual conference bargaining and come home with cool stuff for a reduced price. I usually wait until the conference is nearing a close to make an offer, so that others have a chance to get it first. I did ask about the isolator/divider, but someone else already had dibs on it. Ah well!

Name that airport

For my traveling friends...we haven't played this game in awhile. What airport is this?

And a few flying photos. I can never get enough of long as the plane isn't bouncing around, that is. Click to enlarge.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Wings checks in!

And this is a cat who spend seven years of his life without any contact with dogs. What a happy cat!

Moxie (Jewel) checks in!

It looks like Jewel (now Moxie--a much better name!) has pretty much taken over her household, don't you think?