Desert Messenger

June 1, 2011

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J��� 1, 2011 DID YOU KNOW? FEREL CATS 101 By Beth Praast As nocturnal predators, cats use their acute hearing and ability to see in near darkness to locate prey. Not only can cats hear sounds too faint for human ears, they can also hear sounds higher in frequency humans can perceive. This is because the usual preys of cats (particu- larly rodents such as mice) make high frequency noises, so the hearing of the cat has evolved to pinpoint these faint high-pitched sounds. Cats rely more on smell than taste, and have a much bet- ter sense of smell than humans. Feral cats are associated with human habitations and may be fed by people or forage in rubbish, but are wary of human interaction. These pseudo- wildcats are descended from domestic cats, but now tend to live entirely inde- pendently from people. With feral cats, the most common rea- son for cat fi ghting is when two males are competing to mate with a female: here most fi ghts will be won by the heavier male. Female cats will also fi ght over territory or to defend their kittens. Spaying females and neutering males will decrease or eliminate this behavior in many cases, suggesting that the be- havior is linked to sex hormones. Cats are found across much of the world. They are extremely adaptable. Their habitats even include small oce- anic islands with no human inhabit- ants… the close relatives of domestic cats, the African Wildcat (Felis silvestris lybica) and the Arabian Sand cat (Felis margarita) both inhabit desert envi- ronments, and domestic cats still show similar adaptations and behaviors. Feral cats can live in forests, grass- lands, tundra, coastal areas, agricul- tural land, scrublands, urban areas, dry deserts, and wetlands. Feral cats that are unfamiliar with hu- mans, roam freely in urban or rural ar- eas. Feral cats may live alone, but most are found in large groups called feral colonies, which occupy a specifi c terri- tory and are usually associated with a source of food. Public attitudes towards feral cats vary widely: ranging from seeing them as free-ranging pets, to regarding them as vermin. Some people feed and give care to these cats throughout their lives, this not only greatly increases their lifespan, ���.D�����M��������.��� but behavior and nuisance problems continue and tend to increase. The notion that cats belong only in- doors or as “owned pets” is contrary to the natural history of the Felis catus species, a species that has fl ourished outdoors for 8,000 to 10,000 years. Setting a standard of well-being for the species based on the life of an in- door cat ignores the true habitat and natural history of the cat species. The cat was domesticated on several occasions; when nomadic human pop- ulations began to gather in small vil- lages, the result was the birth of human and feline civilizations. The develop- ment of human agriculture led to grain stores, which in turn led to plentiful rodent populations. Attracted to those populations, wildcats began to live in proximity to humans and became in- creasingly socialized to humans. These cats “linked their fortunes to those of humans. They migrated with humans across the globe. The ability to adapt and re-adapt is a central characteris- tic of this species. The humans, see- ing the necessity of the cats to control the rodent population encouraged the migration of the felines along with the humans. NOTE: The above information was gathered from Wikipedia, the free en- cyclopedia as well as, the U.S. Public Opinion on Humane Treatments of Stray Cats and the July 2007 issue of the Scientifi c American. In summary: The animal control and sheltering system which claims that cats are bet- ter off being killed than allowed to live outdoors ignores history and also acts in direct opposition to the beliefs of the general public about what is hu- mane treatment of animals. Public health policies all over the country refl ect the scientifi c evidence: feral cats live healthy lives outdoors and don’t spread disease to people – possibly to other cats especially do- mesticated cats, but not to people. The number one all time favorite meal for the coyote is cat? Are you aware that feeding the feral cats in your neighbor- hood will attract the coyotes? You be- lieve you are doing these feral cats a fa- vor? You feel sorry for them? You think they are suffering? Have you ever sat on your porch, or outside your home watch- ing the feral cats eating cat food you’ve placed outdoors for them, and see a coyote sneak up behind them and grab them right out from under your nose? I have, it’s a horrible, heart wrenching, nightmare, that will stay with you forev- er. Why, if you love the feral cats, would you put them through that? Want to eliminate the feral cats around your home or neighborhood? Here are some very basic, steps to follow: 1. Get rid of the food. Feral cats know where to fi nd food. Stop feeding them. Report to the authorities, neighbors who feed them. No food, no cats. 2. Get rid of the “shelters” humans have knowingly or unknowingly pro- vided the feral cats such as old aban- doned buildings, storage sheds that have access through small ground level holes, mobile homes not properly skirted invite the females to give birth and raise their young. 3. Stop feeding the birds. A natural predator to the wild birds, where ever you happen to have bird feeders, wa- ter, or such… there will also be feral cats (the feeding of wild birds and oth- er wild animals will be followed up in a future article). 4. Last but not least, I have mentioned in previous articles about TNR (Trap- Neuter-Return). By practicing the TRN system, we are gradually, humanely, solving the feral cat population, prob- lems and issues in Quartzsite. Watch for articles on Ferel Cats through- out the summer in the Desert Messenger. P��� 9 The mightiest oak was once a little nut who held its ground. ~Unknown Experienced HANDYMAN Residential and RV Plumbing & Electrical Service & Repair. Minor Carpentry & Yard Work. FREE Estimates! All Work Guaranteed - Not a licensed contractor Call Bud 928-583-3905 Wayne’s Pet Service Need someone to take care of your pet(s), in your home, while away? REASONABLE RATES! Call 928-927-4329 Come Visit our Salvation Army 101 S. Moon Mountain Ave. New Mini Store for the We are now accepting donations and doing our char- ity work from our new location. Summer hours are 8am-10am Mon. thru Sat. Our new mini store is now open while we wait for the construction of our brand new building. We still need and are accepting your donations so we may continue to help our local people. For more information, contact Salvation Army at 928-927-3636.

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