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Outdoor Cats
November 14, 2016

Karen's Christmas cactus.

Christmas cactus typically bloom 6-8 weeks before you would like them to, unless you know how to manipulate bloom time.

Finally, a killing frost this past Saturday morning.

I'm not thrilled to see the last of the blooms, however I was able to finish up cutting down things and plan on finishing up fall cleanup this week (most of it).

I did cut some Hydrangea to enjoy over the next few days.

I will say that I so enjoyed the recent fall season.

A few trees still have foliage and some color to enjoy.

Keet and Snickers are sporting a fresh cut and looking good

Below are a couple of pictures of Snickers and Miss Penny as sleep mates.

Three or so weeks ago, I mentioned that we plan on getting Miss Penny declawed.

Many of you were surprised and even showed displeasure in this choice, and even have outdoor cats.

Don't take this wrong, we love animals, especially our pets.

I will attempt to share with you on why this choice and keeping kitty indoors.

Many, many years ago when I was naive, we had an outdoor cat.

We got him as a barn kitten to hunt mice in our then old house.

When we moved, there were no mice, but Rusty was a full blown indoor/outdoor cat.

Smart as a whip, he would rattle Karen's perfume bottles on her dresser when he wanted out at night.

When he wanted back in and we were sleeping, he would climb the screen, meow to wake us up.

He would back away from the street when a car was coming.

Rusty was also a very efficient predator.

He would drag home full grown rabbits, as well as bunnies, chipmunks (for gifts) and I would watch him kill birds in our yard.

A three bell collar was no match for his skills, as he learned to walk without a jingle.

By now I was well aware of the dangers of outdoor cats to wildlife.

I also know that every year he had to be de-wormed, we were on tick alert, and flea colors were part of his life.

Did I mention his run in with a skunk one year?

Outdoor cats are in danger from dogs (plus coyotes and other wild animals), cars, and cruel people that think it is fun to torture and kill cats and other animals.

All that said, Karen even asked our veterinarian about declawing.

The good doctor said something along like this " if it was harmful for kitty, we wouldn't do it".

Cats don't sharpen their claws on your furniture, they are

leaving their scent (declawed cats will still do this action).

In doing so, cats with claws damage your furniture.

The information below is from the 'American Bird Conservancy' (ABC), credit is due to them.


More than 4,000 invasive species—usually introduced (non native) in a particular area—had been established in the United States alone as of 1999.

You and I may think invasive as Burmese python, African bees, Nutria, and possibly wild horses.

I sit here and think of the numerous introduced species to the Great Lakes alone, and the damage that continues
to the natural ecosystem.

From the Gobi fish, to the Zebra mussel.

Competing with native species, transmitting diseases, or even killing native species outright, invasive species also inflict huge economic losses and can harm human health.

As landscapes are increasingly fragmented by people, the impacts of invasive species continue to increase.

What many don't think of as invasive, is the domestic cat (Felis catus).

Today, more than 100 million feral and outdoor cats (160 million including barn cats), function as an invasive species with enormous impacts.

Read on.

Cats and Birds:

The combination can be disastrous. Although domestic cats (Felis catus) can make wonderful pets, they threaten birds and other wildlife and disrupt ecosystems.

Cats and Birds are a Bad Combination.

Outdoor domestic cats are a recognized threat to global biodiversity.

Cats have contributed to the extinction of 33 species and continue to adversely impact a wide variety of other species, including those at risk of extinction such as Piping Plover.

The ecological dangers are so critical that the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists domestic cats as one of the world’s worst non-native invasive species.

Cats #1 Threat to Birds:

Predation by domestic cats is the number-one direct, human-caused threat to birds in the United States and Canada, as the graphic on the left details. (2014 State of the Birds report.)

In the United States alone, outdoor cats kill approximately 2.4 billion birds every year, and nealry 12 billion animals. Although these numbers may seem unbelievable, it represents the combined impact of tens of millions of outdoor cats. Each outdoor cat plays a part.

Instinctive Predators of Wildlife:

Even well-fed cats will hunt and kill. Upon reflection, most cat owners will have observed this behavior (I have). When a cat plays with a feather toy or laser, it is practicing predatory behaviors. When these behaviors continue outdoors, the results are deadly for birds and other wildlife.

Unfortunately, the mere presence of cats outdoors is enough to cause significant impacts to birds. Because cats are recognizable predators, their presence near nesting birds has been shown to reduce the health of chicks and decrease nest success.

Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) is advertised as a tool to reduce feral cat numbers. Unfortunately, TNR programs have been shown to fail to reduce feral cat populations while simultaneously maintaining feral cats on the landscape, where they contribute to wildlife and public health risks.

Trap, Neuter, Release (TNR) is a program by which feral cats are trapped, spayed or neutered, and then released into the environment. Rather than immediately reducing numbers through removal, TNR practitioners hope to slowly reduce populations over time.

The scientific evidence regarding TNR clearly indicates that TNR programs are not an effective tool to reduce feral cat populations. Rather than slowly disappearing, studies have shown that feral cat colonies persist and may actually increase in size.

Why TNR Programs Fail:

TNR programs fail because they do not operate in an enclosed system and cannot spay or neuter a sufficient number of cats to affect feral cat numbers at the population level. Despite the good intentions of many involved in TNR programs, TNR has been found to be a waste of time, money, and resources.

Once feral cats are spayed or neutered, they are then abandoned back into the environment to continue a feral existence. Not only is this systematic abandonment inhumane to the cats, it perpetuates numerous problems such as wildlife predation, transmission of disease, and property destruction.

I will lose some readers over this topic, but it is one that cannot be ignored.

Hopefully this has given you pause to rethink issues and a new love for your kitty.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive word for the week.

“Every man's work, whether it be literature or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself.”

Samuel Butler (1835 - 1902) English Writer

Here the bible reminds us that ultimately, we are working for God rather than others, and your hard work will not be done in vain.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”

This verse reminds us that ultimately, we are working for God rather than others.

Colossians 3:23-24

"For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Jeremiah 29:11

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb.

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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