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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Feral cat on the camera trap

Here is an interesting sequence from my south hedgerow recently. We have three feral cats that regularly show up on my cameras and I have to say I am not happy. I have a real bias towards native animals and that makes the cats unwelcome additions to our property. I have nothing against predation (see my previous post for example) but I feel that every animal taken by one of these cats is one less that a fox or coyote has available. I do very little small game hunting myself, so this is not a case of me wanting the critters all for myself. And I feel that feral cats in many ways represent irresponsible behavior on the part of humans. Owning an indoor "fixed" cat is one thing; feeding semi-wild neighborhood cats is another. But before I say too much and get myself into trouble, let's just have a look at some amazing photos.

Eastern cottontails
(612 Seneca Falls, NY)
Regular readers of my blog (are there any???) might recognize the location in the accompanying photos. I call this my south hedgerow set. It is a nice shady spot in some overcrowded silver maples. There is a nice mowed trail that I keep here and I have obtained some nice photos here. Check out the time and date on this first photo of two eastern cottontails. I like this photo. It is full of energy and composed nicely. It is a real study in how rabbits move, too. Look at the one closest to the camera and focus on the front feet. Now look at the one in the back and see how it is springing up from its rear feet.

This next photo captures just the tail end of one of the regularly occurring feral cats on the property.
Feral cat
(6/12 Seneca Falls, NY)

It wasn't long before this cat was back. I do not know how common it is for a cat to kill a rabbit this large, but in my years of camera trapping, this is my only photo.
Feral cat with eastern cottontail
(6/12 Seneca Falls, NY)
I wanted to post the entire photo so you could see the time and date stamp. Here is a magnified view:
Feral cat with eastern cottontail
(6/12 Seneca Falls, NY)
An eastern cottontail should weigh 2-3 pounds I am guessing. This cat was either very good or very lucky. Is this a female with young that need feeding? I am not sure. But two days later, I got this photo:
Feral cat with eastern chipmunk
(6/12 Seneca Falls, NY)
What makes me angry is the idea that this cat may not even BE feral. There is a very real possibility that it is owned and fed by someone that wants an outdoor pet. And these carcasses are being brought home and left on the front porch as "gifts" or whatever to the owner.


  1. Are there any regular readers? Ahem!!


    Great post.

    One of the properties I'm currently working on is crawling with feral cats.

    I don't think most folks appreciate how destructive they are. They're a global epidemic, if you ask me....

  2. I, too, read your blog regularly! I have been waiting for one of your entries about local wildlife. It's neat to see what home looks like and what's going on via camera trap. And I recognize this spot on the Magical Van Niel Estate as one of the spots we passed through on our woodcock walk this spring. The CT pic is awesome...I'm hoping to get similar pics with my camera of SH as they're so active and common, I think more so than CT at home. I finally got my camera back from Cuddeback and just set it up- hopefully working well now. I so wish I had more than one camera here! So many cool "spots" that I wish I could watch.

    As far as the cats...we've always had indoor/outdoor cats, vaccinated and fixed, but always allowed outdoors. I think I'm a bit ignorant in the scope of impact they have on local ecosystems. Interesting though to see this cat take on a full sized rabbit.

  3. Get rid of them and get rid of them fast. Because if you don't? You'll be a**-deep in cats destroying ALL your native wildlife in no time. If you see 3 you can bet there's another 300 out of sight. I made the mistake of trying to reason with the people that were releasing these deadly disease-spreading invasive species that somehow it would get solved. It only got worse and worse. Until on advice of the sheriff, "Shoot every last cat you see." Was the problem finally solved. Collared or not, day and night, they all got shot and buried. If you don't destroy every last stray cat too, the source of all feral cats, you've done nothing to solve the problem.

    I had to shoot and bury HUNDREDS of these invasive vermin. No fun I tell you. But it was the ONLY way to restore the wildlife to my land. They had annihilated nearly all of it. Foxes, raccoons, opossum, hawks, owls, pheasant, grouse, turkeys, etc. etc. etc. All gone for nearly 15 years because I tried to reason with mentally deficient cat-lovers all that time. Always being lied to and none of their promises ever coming true. Asking cat-lovers to stop their cats solved absolutely nothing and only made matters worse and worse. That's a lesson that I will never forget. No amount of being "nice" is going to solve an ecological disaster of this magnitude. The time for being "nice" to cat-lovers is OVER, DONE, FINISHED. You don't ask your local career-thieves how to safeguard your valuables, just as you don't ask a delusional invasive-species advocate how to protect your native wildlife. Learn from this. Don't make the same mistake I did by trying to reason with cat-lovers. Just do what needs to be done and there'll be nothing to argue about. Simple as that.

    On the upside, it has only taken 2 years since every last cat is gone for many of these species to start to repopulate my woods.

    Interesting note: I tried feeding one of the shot-dead cats on my land to the last few starving opossum (almost all the rest of my native wildlife starved to death from cats destroying all their food sources). Those opossum promptly died from some disease in that cat-meat. Alarming -- in that opossum, due to their cooler body temperatures, cannot contract nor transmit many common diseases, not even rabies. They are one of the most disease-free animals in N. America. (Quite an admirable species when you learn about them.) Yet ... something in that cat-meat was able to kill them all. Cats truly are complete and total wastes of flesh. They can't even be used to safely feed wild animals. Leaving any of these invasive-species cats out in nature, alive OR dead, is no better than intentionally poisoning your native wildlife to death.

    PLEASE dispose of them safely and responsibly. Wear gloves while doing so to protect yourself as well. After the last cat is gone incinerate or bury those gloves too.

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