Tag Archives: feral cats

Are cats just ruthless killers?

Letting your pet cats outdoors is a controversial topic (and apparently a cultural issue - here in the States, we lean more towards keeping them inside, and the Brits think we're nuts!).  Does it prevent behavior problems? Maybe -- but I have to say I have PLENTY of behavior clients with indoor/outdoor cats who fight with other cats, urinate or spray inside the house, or have aggression or attention seeking issues. So letting cats go outdoors is not the panacea for all feline behavioral ills as some might have you believe (I've previously written about some reasons to keep your cats indoors).

A new book "Cat Wars" might have you thinking that cats are the only source of avian woes (I've also written on this topic before for The Dodo - so don't forget about humans, squirrels, raccoons and other animals that make life rough on songbirds).

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Our pet cats need enrichment, activities and things to do! But do these things only exist out of doors? No! While there are certainly problems that can arise from keeping a cat indoors under insufficiently stimulating conditions, it doesn't have to be that way. Also note there are safe ways to give your cat a taste of the outdoors, such as via a catio/enclosure, cat fence, or harness training!

Those are all topics that could each take up a whole blog post! Today, just some quick food for thought on why you should consider keeping your cat indoors...

1. This won't happen to your cat

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Salamander Brigade! #CitSci to the Rescue!

If a salamander is going to make babies, they have to head to a vernal pool. In some places, that means a deadly trek across a freeway, resulting in many (50-100%) squished amphibians.  Conservationists in New Hampshire started a Citizen Science program to track both live and dead salamanders and give them a little help crossing the road. The Salamander Brigade has over 600 volunteers and helped 25K salamanders get to the pool, and hopefully, find a mate. They've also started photographing and ID-ing salamanders by their individual markings, and found that many of the same salamanders make the cross-freeway trek year after year! So COOL!

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Cats in print

A study examining the role of  cats in New York Times' stories over the year revealed some interesting patterns: cats were mostly hated in the 1800's, and beginning in the 1970's, stories about cats were more focused on welfare issues and treatment of cats. This shift likely reflects the growing interest in human-animal relations, and on-going debates over how we treat all animals. Fascinating!

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Cats + Tech

The MousR is a cat toy being developed to respond to your cats' movements - with "vision" that can detect your cat's reactions. MousR was created by cat-loving PhD students in Engineering at UC Illinois and I'm now wondering if I went into the wrong field! They've almost convinced me to spend $150 on a cat toy! After a successful kickstarter, MousR is set for a fall 2015 release.

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Now, the Meowlingual has me less convinced. For $169, it will apparently read your cat's facial expressions and meows. Given the Bowlingual's less than overwhelming success (Behaviorist Sophia Yin reviewed it on her blog and said: "Overall, my final ruling is that the Bow-lingual is fun to play with for a while if you got it for free, but it’s not very useful since the translations aren’t trustworthy and most don’t make sense." I'm guessing the same is true of Meowlingual. Buyer beware!

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What happens if there aren't enough rabbits for cats?

I recently wrote about a study about cat's individual prey preferences, and one of the authors of that study is a co-author on a new paper looking at the effects of the rabbit population of feral cat predation in Australia. Apparently, cats really love rabbits, but when there aren't enough rabbits, they focus more heavily on other animals, including native birds and rodents. This means thinking twice about rabbit-eradication programs. Read about the study here.

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Why do cats love boxes?

A subject that pops up from time to time, I've even written about it before! People REALLY WANT TO KNOW: why do cats love boxes? It's quite simple really: heat and safety. Wired dug deeper and talked to some cat experts.

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