Neighbours cat just killed my last chipmunk :(

datura222July 14, 2005

I am so very sad right now. We started with 5 chipmunks residing in various sections of our property and now have zero all because of the new cat the next door neighbour recently adopted 2months ago. We also have only 1 frog left out of 7 in our pond. I have also seen him kill 2 baby birds and numerous times various other neighbours have caught the cat pouncing on bird nests.

I feel like giving up because here I am trying to create a retreat for wildlife and this cat keeps killing everything :( There are currently no restrictions or bylaws involving outdoor cats where I live.

Tonight was the worst because "Chippie" was lying on the bottom step near our patio motionless but still very much alive. He just looked up at me but couldn't run away because he was so badly injured. He slowly passed away in a small cardboard box we placed him in.

We have told this lady before that my son was getting upset because he has already seen one or two of our chipmunks dead (we actually saw the cat carrying it in its mouth). My son considers them his little pets. Her only response was "Well, the cat loves to play with things so just try and get them out of his mouth" She won't even consider keeping the cat indoors more often.

Does anyone have any suggestions to help in this situation?

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That's awful! It's your property tell her that cat's tresspassing and squirt him with a hose. We have neighbors that just got a cat too and he's always in my yard or under the other neighbors car. I noticed he has a bell around the neck our neighbors cat is large not fast I have only seen more chipmunks since they got him and I have seen rabbits which I haven't seen in ten years he did chase the groundhog away. When ever he comes to the yard the chipmunks and catbirds make alot of noise I guess to warn the others he's there. Good Luck! I don't own cats I have two house rabbits and two turtles. Sarah

    Bookmark   July 14, 2005 at 10:18PM
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cindy6806(z7 DE)

Sorry to be rude, but if I would be marching my butt right over to the neighbor's house, telling them that if they want their cat, keep tabs on it, if not, they may be found at the local shelter. I have 2 cats and both are indoors.. though my male cat gets his days, and I have had to chase him through the yard and beyond. We live in the counry with no real standards also, so I can understand your problem. But, take and make a trap, and send these cat's to a shelter, they will be better off in the long run

    Bookmark   July 14, 2005 at 11:42PM
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FurryCritterFan(5a WI)

Find this disgusting. I feel for you and your son. Cat owner is clueless about her killer having a mouth full of toxic bacteria. Even if a caring individual got the chippy out of the cat's mouth, the cat saliva has already poisoned the little critter. Outdoor cat populations are a Huge Problem. Irresponsible people are the root of the problem.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2005 at 1:05AM
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I would consider taking this stray cat to the shelter, as suggested above. Of course, you should politely tell your neighbor first that that's what you always to with strays.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2005 at 9:25AM
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jillmcm(z6 PA)

Google information on the Cats Indoors! program, print out their handouts, and bring them to your neighbor. Inform her that your garden is a wildlife haven and you will not tolerate her cat killing wildlife on your property. Also inform her that you will trap the cat and take it to the local humane shelter if it is in your yard again. I believe that you are within your legal rights to do this.

I love cats and have way too many of them, all indoors, but I bought a Hav-a-Hart trap and catch any cats that end up in my yard for this exact reason. It's not the cat's fault, it's the owner's, but unfortunately, it's your wildlife and her cat that will pay the price.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2005 at 9:33AM
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cantstopgardening(Zone 4/5 WI)

I agree with the idea of informing the neighbor, discussing politely, then following through on trapping. You should have the right to enjoy your yard with out her predator hunting there. (Hmm, more than that. Wildlife should be able to enjoy their lives without domestic animals getting into the hunting business. I believe in the food chain for wildlife, but domestic cats eat store bought food. If the cat needs to play, 'dear neighbor' should get it some cat toys, and keep it inside!!)


    Bookmark   July 15, 2005 at 12:51PM
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Just sanction the cat in a manner you choose. There is no point in trying to reason with neighbors on this topic. To them their cat is far more important than you or your silly whimsical notions.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2005 at 1:04PM
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That is so sad. Im sick of irresponsible owners letting their cats roam around. If somone decides to get a cat, that cat is their responsibility. It is the owner's responsibility to provide enough stimulation for the cat, or they shouldn't have gotten it in the first place. I've seen so many baby birds die in my neighboorhood die because of a cat. If I were you I would set traps and bring the cats to a shelter. It will be better for the cats and the wildlife. Obviously the owners don't care anyway.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2005 at 12:33AM
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Aleina(z6 PA)

I don't see how traping the cat and bringing it to a shelter would be better in the long run for neighbor relations unless it is a last resort. It is irresponsible of owner's to let their cats roam. Perhaps most don't care, but many DO...just don't understand the effect they truly have on our wildlife habitats.

education and negotiantion are the keys, in my opinion. Exhaust these first. give her the 'cat's indoor's' handout (as mentioned above), talk to her more to see if she fully understands the consequences (most don't), compromise...bells? a few hours out a week only? that CatStop bib product?.

If all else fails, then go ahead and trap the cat (after informing her that you may have to do this if necessary).

I grew up with cats, oblivious to their impact. It's only through education and talk with wildlife rehabs that I realized what harm I was doing by letting them out (they are fully indoor now).

The lady may care less about wildlife, but she probably cares about remaining cordial with neighbors, and the health of her cat. Use those to your advantage when discussing alternatives. Worth a shot.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2005 at 12:09PM
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Cat Deterrents for your Garden:

Keep in mind that each cat is different (like people), a deterrent that works for one may not necessarily work for another. On the plus side, most cats will keep pesty squirrels, moles and other critters out of your garden. They're great for keeping out moles, rabbits, squirrels, and other critters which can do more damage in your garden than a cat ever will. If the cats have owners, talk to them without being confrontational. The cat owner who allows his cat to damage other peoples' property is as guilty as the cat hater who kills the cat for trespassing. Remember, cats will be cats, and it is unfair of us to blame them for being what they are and how nature intended them to participate in this world. After-all, we praise them when they catch mice or rats or other creatures we deem to be 'pests'.

* amonia soaked (corncobs, etc)
* aluminum foil
* bamboo skewers
* black pepper
* blood meal fertilizer
* bramble cuttings
* Carefresh - "recycled" wood pulp
* catnip - donated into your neighbor's yards (so they'll stay in their own yards)
* cedar compost
* chicken wire (metal or plastic)
* cinnamon
* citrus peels
* citrus spray
* cocoa bean shells
* coffee grounds -fresh & unbrewed, not just a light sprinkling (highly recommended by MANY Gardenwebbers!)
* dogs
* electric fence for animals
* essence of orange. essence of lemon, lime (citrus essential oils)
* fresh manure(ditto)
* garlic cloves
* gumballs from the Sweet Gum Tree
* gutter covers
* hardware cloth
* heavy bark mulch
* holly leaves
* keep the area damp, they like dry soil
* lavender
* liquid manure (good for your garden too)
* motion sensor sprinkler
* pennyroyal
* pinecones
* pipe tobacco
* plastic forks
* predator urine
* red wine vinegar
* river rocks over the exposed soil
* rocks, crushed
* rose bush clippings
* rue, an herb (Ruta graveolens) (highly recommended in plant form only)
* short twigs throughout the planted area about 6" apart
* six-inch bamboo skewers (pointy side up)
* Spray on your leaves (not the cat): fill a spray bottle with 1/2 t chili powder, 1/2 t cayenne pepper, 1 t dish soap and water
* squirt gun with water
* talk to your neighbors
* tansy
* thorny berry, lilac, hawthorn, rose clippings
* toothpicks
* upside down vinyl carpet
* vinegar sprayed on areas where they roam
* water bottle on "stream"

*** chili powder, red crushed pepper, cayenne pepper (NOT recommended), it gets on the cat's paws then they wash themselves and they get it in their eyes, beware cats have literally scratched their eyes out because of this. Even if it's one cat out of 500 infected in this way, that's one too many for me.
*** Don't ever use mothballs or flakes. Those little toxic waste pellets destroy cats' kidney function, could seriously harm people who handle them, and yes, contaminate your own garden soil. Their packaging even warns against using them this way.

Give them their own areas:

(To keep them out of where you don't want them)
(If you don't mind them protecting your garden from other critters)

+ pick the cat up and bring it to eye level with the plant to see and smell it up close. She noted that once her cat has seen and sniffed at the plant, she usually doesn't bother with it later.

+ give them their own plants - i.e., pots of grass for her to chew on and a place in a large planted container on her balcony with some miscanthus grass in it (the cat likes to curl up in that for some reason)

+ if the cats are strictly indoors and attracted to your houseplants, grow catgrass for them. If someone forced you to remain inside one enclosed structure all your life, you might be attracted to the plants too.

+ Barley Grass
+ Any type of "catgrass" from the pet store
+ Carex elata 'Bolwes Golden' but put it in some shade
+ Catmint Nepeta mussinicultivars (Simply put, Catmints are Catnips without any culinary or feline use. In any case, they are, however, phenomenal, long flowering, hardy perennials that belong in every fairie or flower garden.)
+ Catnip Nepeta cataria (in your own yard) The oils of which also work as a mosquito repellent that works 10 times better than Deet! Catmint is the common name for all varieties of Nepeta. Catnip is the common name for the specific variety of Nepeta called nepeta cataria, which is the variety that cats are most attracted to.
+ Cat Thyme (Teucrium marum)
+ Flax
+ Oat Grass
+ Jacob's Ladder
+ Lemon Grass
+ Loose soil and mulch like small bark mulch
+ Mints
+ Purple Fountain Grass so the cat lays in the long leaves all day. Maybe put something in that the cats really like and - you know cats won't winky were they like to hang out.
+ Sandy area
+ Silver vine (Actinidia polygama)
+ Striped Ribbon Grass (can be invasive)
+ Sweet grass
+ Trificum aestivum (type of cat grass)
+ Various Varieties of Cat Mints (Catnips)
+ Wheat Grass
+ Wheat Berries
+ Valerian

This list compiled by Violet_Z6, email at for comments and suggestions regarding this list.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 3:01AM
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deefar(zone 5 NY)

First off, I feel your pain. I am in the same boat. Secondly, you can feed cats and give them all the toys and catnip in the world but that won't stop them from killing. Cats are natural born killers, its what they do best. It's not the "cats" fault, its what mother nature intended. Our neighbor lost a whole years breedings of pheasants do to cats killing them. Now he shoots the cats as they come onto his property. He has a special permit that allows him to do this. Call your local police dept (not 911) and ask them if there is anything that can be done about that. Being that there are no regulations to owning a cat I doubt there is much that can be done. But it doesn't hurt to try. Explain to your neighbor the diseases that her cat could be bringing back to her and the family. That might work.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2005 at 1:23PM
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WestEnder(z7 Atlanta GA)

I would suggest that you get a dog, one that is not interested in chasing wildlife such as chipmunks or birds. My Akita has no interest in squirrels, birds, chipmunks, or snakes, but she would never allow a cat in our yard. She also kills rats when she finds them. If you could get a dog like mine, I think your problem would be solved.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2005 at 5:08PM
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I would recommend that you trap the cat and take it to a shelter. Of course, I would start by explaining to my neighbor that the cat is interfering with your enjoyment of your property and tell them that that is what you will do if they don't keep the cat indoors.

Violet: Mice are not pests unless they are in the house. Cats are not native and do considerable damage to native wildlife as can be seen from this post. They belong indoors for the health of the cat and the ecosystem.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2005 at 9:30PM
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Sorry to hear about your situation. I also have tried to create a wild critter friendly yard, but have to be very careful during certain times of day to not let my cats outside. Your neighbor doesn't sound like she gives a crap one way or the other, but maybe she's be receptive to at least keeping her cat indoors during peak animal activity hours.

I've been a cat owner for decades, and lived in over 20 houses with them. The one thing I have observed over and over again, is that cats are very territorial. Each time we move, I find that my cats manage to figure out which is their yard and what is another cat's territory. In my current house, where there aren't even fences, I never see either of my neighbors' cats come into my yard, and have never seen mine leave my yard. I don't know how they figure this stuff out, but they do. My point here is that your neighbor's cat is unlikely to come into your yard if there's something in your yard to deter it. Any chance you can borrow a dog for awhile? It doesn't take much to discourage an invading cat in my experience. If your neighbor's cat comes over around the same time each day, I highly recommend arming yourself with a garden hose and playing water sniper with it. I've used this technique successfully more than once.

If all else fails, feel free to deposit the dead animals on her doorstep. Maybe your local animal control will have some suggestions for your as well. Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2005 at 10:06PM
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newjerseybt(5b NE PA)

I keep my cat indoors else she will kill all the rabbits and chipmunks in the neighborhood.

Another problem is stray cats and dogs. In large cities like Newark, NJ, the animal shelters have to put down hundreds of cats and dogs a month because people do not fix their pets and let them roam the streets.

Two things I find many pet owners lack IMO: accountablity and responsibility.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2005 at 9:46AM
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FurryCritterFan(5a WI)

During 2003/2004 I volunteered full time rehabbing wildlife; namely cottontails and ground squirrels. It amazed me how many submissions were cat & dog attacks.

I did take a snapshot of the baby cottontail who died in my care with the claw marks of a cat on his belly.

I volunteer at a shelter which is why I'm not posting too regularly. (Not gardening as much as I'd like.) Or my DH and I are taking pics of small critters we see. Three baby chippies just made their announcement this past weekend. Putting in the rock wall was one of the nicest Yard-Garden improvements my hubby did. Hooray for wildlife habitat. Mom Chippy has a bare patch on her tail; suspected mange?

newjerseybt and everyone, you are very cognizant of the issue and concern, !namely problem!, with stray cats and dogs. Last year we had five different vagrant cats visiting our yard. This year I've counted three in the immediate vicinity. Including the gold one who ran off with a baby rabbit in its mouth last year.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2005 at 12:24PM
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Pet owners should contain their animals to their own property 24/7.
Cats allowed to run loose cause many problems, not the least of which is killing birds, maiming wildlife, and torturing small animals.
We have at least two wild colonies of cats in my township. If residents obeyed the law, we would not have this.
Health officials working with rescues have been trapping these cats.
I am finding more and more residents opt for a cat or multiple cats. These animals are outside all day while their owners work.
Cats are being run over by cars. A local gardening friend reported finding a dead cat locked in her garage. Apparently when she had opened the door, the cat sneaked in. It wasn't until days later it was discovered. She has no idea to whom the cat belonged.
It all amounts to the selfish neighbors imposing their will on everyone else. Many people are allergic to pets, afraid of them.
Nobody on their own property should experience forced exposure to anyone's domestic pet - not dog, cat, bird or anything else.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2005 at 12:24PM
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FurryCritterFan(5a WI)

mia, hope your chipmunks come back. Carol, sarah, and everyone, your input on this thread and stories are appreciated.
Yesterday I transported a single rehab patient to the center for a second opinion. Juvey eastern cottontail found in inground pool. Enroute to wildlife center I stopped at humane society and picked-up a surrendered baby chipmunk.
At the center, a staff member asked for advice on two orphaned cottontails she's caring for; the mother Rabbit and sibs were violently killed by a dog. Surviving babies still in shock.

** Nobody on their own property should experience forced exposure to anyone's domestic pet - not dog, cat, bird or anything else. ** - carol23

    Bookmark   August 11, 2005 at 2:07PM
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FCF: Those rabbits and chips are so lucky to have you and your hubby. I smile everytime I read one of your posts to think of the work that you do.

Carol: I couldn't agree with you more. Pets are the same as loud music or anything else that prevents a neighbor from enjoying their property the way they see fit. I used to have outdoor cats years ago and know that I would never let one out again because of all the things I have read on here.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2005 at 4:02PM
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Fledgeling_(4b SD)

See if you cant convince your neibors to put a bell around its neck, and try to limit dense vegetation areas where your animals make a home so it cant find cover to sneak up on your creatures, and add some dense impenetrable shubs as retreats. Preferably thorny.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2005 at 5:33PM
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garden4wildlife(z8 GA)

If you happen to know where the cat was adopted from, that might help. If the cat was adopted from a rescue group, try to find out if the rescue group has a policy on indoor only cats. I've been involved with dog and cat rescue for years and I can tell you that any responsible cat rescue group will require all their adoptees to be kept indoors 24/7. If you're lucky, this cat will have been adopted from a group like that, and the new owner will be in violation of the adoption contract she signed, meaning the group should take back the cat. Keep in mind, though, this is only if the cat was adopted from a responsible rescue group. Unfortunately, there are a lot of irresponsible rescue groups out there that don't follow up on their adoptees or enforce contracts, and it's entirely possible the cat was adopted from a kill shelter or from one of those "free to a good home" ads which translates to, "Get this unwanted animal out of my sight, I don't care what you do with it and I never want to hear about it again;" if either of those are the case, then I suggest you follow the excellent advice of the previous posters: print out the educational information from Cats Indoors! (that's the best source of info about indoor cats you'll find in one place) and take that to the neighbor first. If that doesn't work, then tell her that you'll be taking the cat to the pound the next time it sets foot on your property. If she cares about the cat at all, then maybe after she pays a few fines for reclaiming her cat she'll start thinking more about keeping it inside. I love cats (I just adopted another one two days ago, who will be inside only just like my other cat) but I have no tolerance for people like that woman who just don't care about the cat or the wildlife. I can't believe the number of people who are surprised when their "beloved" cats get killed by cars, dogs, poisons (often from ingesting some unfortunate wild animal they killed that had itself ingested poison not long before the cat got it), or other outside dangers. Then the idiots get another cat and let it stay outside all the time! Some people are just too stupid and/or ignorant to have pets.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2005 at 10:04PM
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Maggie_J(z5 Ontario)

I feel for your distress at the cat's killing, although I agree that it is the owner's fault and not the cat's. My suggestion is that you provide a habitat for your chippies that wiill give them a better chance of evading cats. (I just love the little striped critters too!)

Try building a length of stone wall - without mortar. The spaces in between the rocks give chippies terrific bolt holes and they can use the top of the wall as a lookout. Keep a few piles of brush - tree branches etc. - aboput the place. Again, the chipmunks will have one more place to dive into when the cat is on the prowl. Stacked firewood is equally effective. If you feed your chipmunks, please locate their handouts near - preferably on top of - one of these handy retreats!

There are also those gizmos that are controlled by a motion sensor and will give the cat a good soaking... unless he is very slow, the cat will figure out that there are better hangouts than your yard.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2005 at 10:18PM
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paisley_tx(z7b TX)

Sorry, but I didn't read all of the replies and you've probably gotten some good advice already, but wanted to chime in as well.

Does your area have leash laws, for cats? If so, then you can probably go to the local humane shelter and check out a trap. Set it up with something yummy (fish) and hopefully you'll catch it. Take it to the shelter and turn it in. The owners will then have to pay for them to get their cat back and they won't know who did it because of privacy rules (unless of course they see you doing it or something). It might make them realize that people don't appreciate the situation they're imposing on others, plus they're breaking the law.

I'd of course only do this after you've talked to your neighbors first to see if that would help the situation.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2005 at 2:35AM
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rembetika(austin, TX)

you could always get a dog, that doesn't bother wildlife, but hates cats >;)

    Bookmark   August 14, 2005 at 4:39PM
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FurryCritterFan(5a WI)

vonyon, deefar, jillmcm, sarahbn; Your posts and logical messages inspire me too. I know I've forgotten everyones names who care about wildlife and take responsibility for their animals.
Vonyon, I'll keep on with my unpaid job w/encouragement like that!!

The Juvey chipmunk, submission no. 1292, is being picked up from the wildlife center tonite, by my hubby, so we can release the little one in our yard. If it wasn't thankfully raining at the moment, I'd be outside creating some new safety havens and rock walls.

Please only get a dog if you plan to keep that companion pet for its lifetime. Are knowledgeable on how much maintenance, vet care, time (are you allergic to pet hair?), quality food, toys, bedding, behavior traits, that animal will need. Not just to chase trespassing cats! Though I think that's an awesome idea. I see dogs come into the shelter on a regular basis, unwanted by owners or found as strays. Back they go to the med room for injection. Or if lucky, picked up by a rescue group. Too many pets, NOT ENOUGH wonderful homes.

Rembetika, i figure you're probably kidding by that squirrely gremlin emoticon. Yet as a humane society volunteer, just had to mention my points. It amazes me the amount of (insert-your-adjective) irresponsible people that exist.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 12:08PM
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mowmowgreen(z7 GA)

Personally, I don't care for chipmunks. I used to find them cute and sweet looking, just like most people do who just have 1 or 2 scampering around their yard, but I have a ton of them, and my yard is a bird haven, not a chipmunk haven. As such, the cuteness has quickly worn off.

When I started landscaping my yard for birds 2 years ago, setting up several feeders, fresh water, houses, and nesting material, squirrels were my main nemesis. I would put seeds out, and squirrels would flock to the yard.

I live in a 35-year-old subdivision with a thick marshy area just beyond my backyard. There are a few whitetail deer remaining back there, a roaming red fox, many raccoons, and a ton of squirrels. The chipmunks, now that they've gotten hipped to my backyard buffet, are worse than the squirrels.

I feed my birds from hoppers, on the ground and on platforms. I also offer woodpecker bars and suet. The squirrels, while having the capacity to get into any of the feed varieties, will only eat for a little while if I don't catch him. They'll then move on and give the birds their rightful place.

Chipmunks, on the other hand, are like vaccum cleaners. They wait until I come out in the morning to fill the feeders, jump on one of the ground spots (chasing away any birds that are there), stuff their checks, run back home, dump the seeds, come right back, hoard more seeds, run back home and repeat this. I used to try to exercise patience with them, thinking they may make 1 or 2 trips back to the nest and then be satisfied. Nope. They'll hoard the seed unitil there is nothing left at that particular site. They'll then move on to where they see birds are feeding, chase them away and suck up all those seeds. They'll do this until all the seeds are off the ground. They then start looking for ways to get up on the platform feeders, and will even crawl up to the woodpecker bars for the nuts. Even my red bellies, who hold dominance over the yard (aside from the barred owls and red-shouldered hawks that drop in for true stature), will yield to this lowly ground dweller. They just aren't satisfied, or intimidated, those daggum chipmunks.

As far as your neighbor's cat, well, I would simply buy an air BB gun and shoot the sucker. You don't have to kill it. You don't "have" to. I've had a few cats stalking around my birds. I pump it up 2 times, just enough for a sting, and PIYONG! Might have to pop him a second time, maybe a third, but I bet you won't see that same cat around again.

Cats might not think like people, but they do understand pain. Those stupid chipmunks and squirrels, however, will return no matter how many times I shoot them. Unless they make it to the compost pile, after which they return in a form I can finally use.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 6:53PM
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jillmcm(z6 PA)

Mowmowgreen, I am appalled at your post. The squirrels and the chipmunks are behaving in completely predictable ways as their nature dictates - they're noshing away at the banquet you have provided, just as they would take advantage of any food source they came across. If you don't want them to feed in your yard, PUT AWAY YOUR FEEDERS. As everyone who feeds birds knows, there's no such thing as feeder that only feeds birds! The squirrels and chipmunks CANNOT change their behavior. YOU can. Either put some effort into rodent proofing your feeders - baffles work wonders! - or stop feeding. Killing chippies and squirrels because you can't be bothered to outwit them is just plain wrong.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 7:08PM
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mowmowgreen(z7 GA)

Jill, you make the mistake of thinking that people can simply change their behavior at will. Some behavior can be changed, I'll admit, but a lot is simply too deeply rooted. I won't pretend to be a lover of all creatures. I'm not. When I see my backyard over-run with 25 squirrels at one time while birds, some of which have flown as far away as Alaska, are sitting on the sidelines waiting for a turn at the table, I can't help but make a choice. I wish I were a better, more giving person, but the truth is that I'm simply not. I don't have that much love to give. If I tried, I would just do a mediocre job, like so much of today's society. I would be a Jack-Of-All-Trades (mow your lawn, clean your gutters, tile your kitchen, change your car's oil). I do a few things, passionately, and well. If it means sending a few "rodents" through the compost pile and subsequently onto the milkweed to feed the monarchs and have a little space of song and dance without a bunch of tree rats trying to steal the show, hey, that's what I'll do.

In the meantime, I'll kneel among the sweet shrub and ask God for His forgiveness. He knows we can't recreate Eden. Nor does He expect us to.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2005 at 10:55PM
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cindy6806(z7 DE)

mowmowgreen, take care on what you say.. you may come back as one of those so called "Rodents" Mother nature has a purpose for each and every creature that lives among us, and as the saying goes.. Don't mess with Mother Nature. She cares about all her creatures and is not selective like you, and there are some things that YOU cannot control.. and if you have hawks AND OWLS, your problem should not be that bad.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 1:39AM
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mowmowgreen(z7 GA)

Funny thing, the hawks and the owls never bother them. They seem content eating the frogs and toads that are very plentiful. Every now and then, a Coopers hawk comes by. He has a taste for mourning doves.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 7:44AM
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Mowmowgreen: I have to agree with the others........we humans have a funny way of thinking that things belong to us exclusively. "Your" yard belongs to all. You have no control over who eats, but you do have control over whether you feed them or not. You are providing a steady source of food for ALL of them and a place where they will come to feel a tiny bit safer than they ought to. The predators will also take notice and make it their banquet table. What will you do then? In the process of feeding the birds, you are simply increasing the chipmunk numbers by providing a haven for them. You have to look at the bigger picture. Birds are no more valuable than any other creature just because they give you more pleasure. They are simply a different cog in the wheel. Feeding any wild animal has its drawbacks which you are now aware of. My suggestion to you echoes Jill's. Grow natural foods for your birds and get rid of the feeders. This will create a balance in your yard which you will be far more satisfied with and so will the critters. The solution is in the problem.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 10:29AM
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And taking it one step further, I occasionally prey on the destructive squirrels and bird-killing kitty-cats. I too am one of the cogs in the wheel.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2005 at 1:47PM
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I was also a huge bird feeder and grew a large number of chipmunks.
Mostly I just changed my feeder set up so the chipmunks couldn't get to the food. Its really not that hard and not to do so is really damn inflexible.
mowmowgreen - you may not have a problem sending rodents to their death but I know people who hate birds and think them very dirty. Should one move next to you and start killing all the birds you attract - then what? Or perhaps a nasty little bully boy with a bb gun. As long as he's only killing birds in his yard then what? They have a right to be just as inflexible as you. Would you keep drawing in birds for them to kill?
I had so many chipmunks that the neighbors, knowing that I loved wildlife hired a licensed exterminator to set rat traps for them. Nothing I could do about that or their clearing out a lot of bushes and shrubs that wildlife lived in.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2005 at 1:06PM
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I'm new to this forum and love the discussions. I'm so sad to see the subject matter here. As the owner of a pet sitting business especially for cats, and a volunteeer with a rescue shelter for cats, I know alot about their behavior and instincts. It's true, they have a need to hunt and pounce, even when hunger is not a factor. It's what they were born to do. Our philosphy at the shelter is that cats were born with claws and should keep them unless all other options have failed, that they are to be kept indoors, or managed when out (mine has a leash and harness) and that they should be considered lifetime pets when adopted. We spay and neuter each one we rescue, and educate and encourage others to do the same. The wild cat overpopulation problem coupled with irresponsible pet owners who let theirs roam create the problems featured in this discussion as well as ill will toward cats in general.
I would encourage everyone who has a problem with roaming cats who kill their wildlife (and resultingly decrease what food there is for other carnivorous wildlife) spread the word, educate, and trap and surrender when necessary. Find a shelter with a similar philosophy to our own where the cat will be adopted out to responsible people.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2005 at 12:29PM
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I'd just like to add that people really shouldn't suggest getting a dog as some sort of critter control.
Anyone who gets a dog should only get a dog (or any pet) only if they really want one and will make the committment to have it as a companion animal for life.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2005 at 4:19PM
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I see a lot of different appraoches here...I ask if I may introduce some areas where all could agree:

1) don;t fight nature, work with her. There will always be critters, feed them separately, and they will stay away from your won;t overpopulate them, because nature's other predators will harvest them.
2) Anyding done should not be cruel, and should take all considerations. As to the neighbors cat, (And I am a cat lover and breeder, and require that they be kept INDOORS). a nice collar with a bell may level the playing field.
3) As someone else suggested, a nice garden hose is a fair way, some people can even do motion sensitive sprinklers...cats can learn new behaviors...and will tire of your yard...also.

4) SHooting any animal. BB's or otherwise, is cruel. HOw wouyld you like it? Trap and remove, call in someone, but to simply shoot them allows them to suffer pain, infection. Common sense over frustration makes a mile of progress for everyone. Always put yourself in the other's shoes. When we garden, we should attract nature, but not meddle in her ways. A wanton kitty cat is meddling, chipmunks eating feeder food is no different that the birds. You can't choose your visitors and still have a peaceful soul

    Bookmark   September 17, 2005 at 2:16PM
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I think the problem is that the person with the cat just doesn't care about you or the chipmunks. So you have to develop your own solution.

This issue comes up quite a bit. One solution I liked that was offered previously was to feed the neighbor's cat to the point where it gets so fat that it is no longer nimble enough to catch a chipmunk.


    Bookmark   October 6, 2005 at 12:51PM
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deefar(zone 5 NY)

3x this week we had a dead squirrel in our garage. I am getting so sick of this. Everyday there is something dead from the cats. I don't even own a cat and I have to clean up after those pesky thing. I think DH is going to start eliminating them one by one. Something has to be done about this. I drove past that farm today and saw 3 pregnant cats out by the road. 3 more litters to add to the problem we have with cats.


    Bookmark   October 7, 2005 at 5:59PM
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rembetika(austin, TX)

tommysmommy, nice idea in theory, but most shelters are overwhelmingly full of cats, including feral cats... and many are put down every day. so what makes you think all the cats that someone traps & takes to the pound are going to be adopted? ..and even the ones that are, are often brought back or let loose again after the owner loses interest or moves away... this is not an easy problem to solve.
i am not a fan of the "feral cat colony" thing either.... as wild cats may not breed but they're still going to kill birds and other small animals that we might not want them to kill.... AND they're going to come piss & poo on your lawn & in your flowerbeds, your porch, in your barn, etc. etc...

if someone has a major problem with this out in the country, i can see why shooting them quickly is a better solution that putting through the terror of being caught, handled, put in a cage at the pound where they will be terrified-- only for someone to drag them kicking & screaming to dr. death's office, where they will be injected or gassed. of course, someone would have to be a good shot and not miss. people forget, that in the old days this was the euthanasia method of choice.

which is more cruel, in all honesty??

    Bookmark   November 8, 2005 at 8:53PM
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deefar(zone 5 NY)

My Dh is considered a sharp shooter. He shot a cat running and got it right through the heart. He won't take the shot unless he knows he can get them in one shot. He's not trigger happy and doesn't want the animal to suffer. I think its more cruel to let the sick ones live. They will die a long painful death. Dh just helps with their suffering. I know this method maybe offensive to some people, but to my husband and I it is more cruel to let them suffer.


    Bookmark   November 9, 2005 at 6:54PM
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Way to go pussycat.

I can see we have a large number of cat-haters here.

The cat was only doing what nature put in his hunt.
We've got quite a few cats around us and one dominant son of a gun who likes to grapple with other cats.

My sister-in-law has a cat....a rescued feline from somebody who mistreated it. S I L, who couldn't see a cat in the house with her furniture....but de-clawed his front two, and now he makes it his life's work to hunt out squirrels......and dine on them. Sometimes he brings them home.

Hubby, a firefighter, often tells about the station cat. He'd catch a mouse, bring it to the kitchen floor with everybody in attendance, and play with it....knocking it about, and finally tiring of the game, toss it in the air, catch it and eat it.....right there.

The hit of the crowd.

Cats are a free spirit, nobody should be allowed to pen in a cat, he should go where he wants, when he wants.

And no, I don't own a cat....I own two dogs.
Meow! And I cuss the darn cat that comes and sits on the lawn in front of our living room window and makes my two go bananas. I hate that.......
But I still say......leave them be.

The poets will be writing prose about cats for the next million years.
Tiger, tiger, burning bright

Be it always in his future.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2005 at 5:40PM
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garden4wildlife(z8 GA)

And that is exactly why we have such a huge environmental crisis and so many millions of suffering outdoor cats. Idiots who leave their DECLAWED cats outdoors (actually, idiot isn't a strong enough word for people like that); all the ignorant people who think cats belong outside; all the ignorant people who think cats are supposed to be killing all the native wildlife; all the stupid people who don't even notice all the diseases and parasites their outside cats constantly suffer from; all the callous people who think it's "natural" when their outdoor cats get hit by cars, poisoned by eating poisoned rodents, mauled by dogs, or any number of definitely unnatural, horribly painful deaths; all the said callous people who then go get another cat to replace the one that just died, to chuck outdoors and forget about like the last one.

Cats are not native to this continent. They are not supposed to be here in our ecosystems. Cats are supposed to be in our houses, if anywhere on this continent, and nowhere else. Most people have accepted that dogs shouldn't be allowed to run around loose, although that was common practice not terribly long ago. Why is it ok for cats?

    Bookmark   November 17, 2005 at 6:09PM
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"Cats are not native to this continent.' Well, not the domesticated house cat, but certainly many other kinds of cats are. And what about horses and cattle? Should we just ship the horses back to Spain, or keep them in the barn?

    Bookmark   November 18, 2005 at 1:52PM
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garden4wildlife(z8 GA)

I was of course talking about the domesticated housecat, Felis domesticus (syn. F. cattus, F. felis, and others). I know there are cats native to this continent, and most of those cats have had their ranges and population numbers significantly reduced by human activities. Those same native cats, everything from ocelots to mountain lions and the critically endangered subspecies, the Florida panther (Felis concolor coryi) are put into even more danger by the domestic cats people let roam free. Not only do the domestic cats compete fiercely with native cats (and other native predators) by dramatically decreasing populations of all sorts of small prey species, domestic cats carry a slew of diseases that are communicable to native cats and which have been confirmed in native cats. A Florida panther was confirmed to have feline distemper, a disease introduced by feral cat populations, and it is suspected that Florida panthers have also gotten other immunosuppressive diseases from domestic cats allowed to roam outside. Native cats have also gotten feline distemper from domestic cats. These are just three diseases that have been confirmed; there are probably many other diseases and parasites that domestic cats continually spread in native cat populations. And that's just the tiniest tip of the iceberg when it comes to zoonotic diseases and parasites outdoor cats carry in huge numbers (it's important to note that strictly indoor cats very rarely have these parasites or diseases). Outdoor cats amount to a growing health crisis for many types of wildlife, other domestic animals, and humans.

To answer your questions, do outside horses kill tens of millions of native birds, not to mention untold millions of other small native animals, every year? Are there tens of millions of horses invading every habitat niche on this continent? If they do and they are, then yes, horses should stay in the barns - just like cats should stay inside since they are undeniably killing hundreds of millions (and that, by the way, is a conservative estimate) of native wildlife in every land habitat on this continent every year, pushing some species already struggling from other environmental pressures of human making literally to the brink of extinction.

    Bookmark   November 18, 2005 at 6:08PM
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Some non-native species certainly do less damage than others. This is true of plants as well as animals. For example, snakehead fish, bittersweet, loosestrife, phragmites. On the other hand, many food crops are certainly manageable, so the idea that horses and cows should be sent back doesn't make sense. I agree with you gardens.

As for the idea that cats have a free spirit, I really don't understand that argument. Domestic cats take a huge toll on wildlife. How about less popular non-native wildlife who exact a huge toll on natives like snakehead fish. I suppose someone might consider them free spirited, but is that a good reason to let them swim in our waterways? Catsshould be kept inside. In addition, why should all of the neighbors be subjected to the likes of someone else's pets?

    Bookmark   November 28, 2005 at 4:00PM
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Most of us aren't native either. The real damage to nature is that there are so many of us, way too many. Focus on all the other bogus stuff if you want....

    Bookmark   December 10, 2005 at 4:28AM
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Union: Are you advocating the age old argument that when you can do nothing, you don't do anything? Having too many humans isn't something anyone can do anything about. On the other hand, bogus or not, cats can be kept in the house, invasive plants can be pulled. Let's talk things that we can do something about. If people lived by and encouraged the large number of humans to do their part in attempting to impact the environment even a tiny bit less, the result of us humans on this planet would make less of a dent. One thing for sure is that doing nothing isn't going to help.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2005 at 10:58AM
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I have a serious hunter-cat who, even though he has a bell on his collar, can catch a blue-jay. However, I evened the score by creating chipmunk habitats that he can't get into. Brush piles, 2-4 logs laid in little piles at the edge of the woods - not even noticeable, larger rocks piled near the brush piles and near the bird feeders. The chipmunk population has come right back and is busily digging holes in my raised beds and through root systems of the newly planted flowering trees I put in this fall. Frankly they are a nuisance and can be very destructive so I was ok with him reducing the population a little. They have burrowed all around a stone retaining wall and it is toppling in areas. Its dangerous for the kids to walk near it now and will have to be re-set.

The ones that make me feel bad are the star-nosed moles. They really don't have a chance. For those that would have me keep this cat in - not a chance. He would get out any way he could, he is just an outdoor cat.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2005 at 11:18PM
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led_zep_rules(5 WI)

Haven't seen this mentioned yet, but in WI the hunters voted this year to allow shooting cats in our state. It relates to outdoor cats killing so many songbirds and so on. However, the powers that be did not change the law to accomodate this. I thought the idea was sort of mean (I am a cat lover), but hubby the serious birder was all for it. There are a couple cats that prowl our 5 acres all the time, and our rabbit and rodent population is WAY down this year. We have a lot of birds, but would probably have more without these cats. I don't know if they are wild or pets.

We want to get chickens, our family used to raise them uncaged, but these days they would all just get eaten by the local cats and dogs. You are supposed to keep your pet on your own property, but that just doesn't happen, especially with cats.

I hate to think you would kill your neighbor's pet before you talk to them about it several times. Trapping and taking to a shelter pretty much amounts to killing it in most places. The bell idea is the best one I have seen here.

About varmints eating bird food, that is never a problem for us. We 'feed' birds by providing a birdbath, habitat, and plants with edible seeds and things. I think that is a more natural way to do it anyway. We travel sometimes, so the only way to keep them having the food sources all the time is if it doesn't really depend on human intervention.


    Bookmark   December 12, 2005 at 1:54AM
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garden4wildlife(z8 GA)

alyrics, all cats can be trained to be indoor cats. Even a feral cat that has lived its entire life outdoors can become a happy indoor cat that never leaves the comfort and safety of a house again (and I know of plenty of examples of this exact scenario first hand - it's not that uncommon or difficult). The key here is, how much effort the owner is willing to put into making the cat stay indoors, and even more so, how much effort the owner is willing to put into making the cat WANT to stay indoors. I'm attaching a link with lots of tips about how to transition an outdoor cat to being an indoor cat and how to make it happy and content being inside 24/7. The link is PDF, so you need Acrobat Reader to view it. One of my own cats used to be an outdoor cat, but he has been inside since I got him 3 years ago. He used to escape a lot at first, but he tries to escape less and less often as time has gone by. Every now and then he still attempts it and once every several months he may actually succeed in slipping out the door if somebody is careless. But as I said, he tries to get out far less often than he used to and he also does not try as much to get out. He has another cat to play with inside, windows to look out of, plenty of toys to "hunt" and a variety of scratching locations, places he can lay in the sun inside, and live plants to play in and graze on. All the fun of the outdoors without the dangers to him or to wildlife. During the first few months of him being inside, keeping a squirt bottle filled with water next to all doors that led outside helped us to deter him from escaping. We would get the bottle in hand before opening the door, and if he tried to run through, he would get squirted. He has now learned exactly how close he's allowed to get to a door before we reach for one of those water bottles, and he does not cross that point. Likewise, keeping a bottle just outside of the doors that lead inside your house is a good idea, so you can have that in hand when you open a door to go inside in case your cat is standing there waiting to run when the door opens. A squirt bottle is one of the most effective training tools you can use in teaching your cat not to dart through open doors, and it doesn't hurt the cat at all - cats just really dislike it and quickly learn what they have to do to avoid it.

Marcia, bells don't work to stop or even reduce cat predation. Most cats learn in a matter of days or even hours how to walk without making the bell jingle. Plus, a lot of animals that cats prey on either don't associate a bell with danger (and why would they? they have no reason to associate that particular sound with danger unless they've already been attacked by a cat, and very, very few cat attack victims survive to remember it) or they have no way to escape anyway (such as baby birds or rabbits still in a nest). So even if the bell is jingling it won't do any good. I agree that taking cats to a shelter is most likely a death sentence for them, but leaving cats outside is very likely a much more gruesome, painful death sentence for the cats, not to mention a death sentence for all the small animals a cat will kill before it gets hit by a car or poisoned or shot or mauled by a dog. The problem of outside cats has no good solution. There are not enough places to provide housing for all of them, but they can't be allowed to continue growing in numbers or to continue decimating the populations of wild animals that are already rapidly shrinking in most places due to other environmental pressures.

    Bookmark   December 12, 2005 at 8:47PM
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keilamarie(z5 Mass)

As westender mentioned I use my dog too. I had to train him to chase the stray cats because we have a cat of our own and he was taught to be gentle to our cat. I just get all worked up at the door saying gonna get him? Wanna get him? You'll get a treat...Get that cat...then as I open the door I say go go go! He learned quick that when he successfully chases the cat out of the yard, or up a tree, lol...he gets a treat. Now he knows exactly what to do and why. My dog is a lab whippet mix and will just stare are a bunny, not too interested in any thing other than what a treat can bring. Being part whippet he is SUPER fast so it took about three times and that cat has not come back...yippie!

I love dogs :) I also love my cat who is an indoor cat he loves to watch the birds too, lol.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2005 at 11:44AM
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If the neighbor's cat is killing things and leaving them on your porch, put them on their porch. Or better yet, let them ripen in the sun for a while then put them outside their windows and doors where they won't find them right away. If that doesn't work, do it with the cat!!!

    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 9:59PM
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I'm sorry for sounding cruel, I love cats, I really do but I'd lend you my saint bernard for a few minutes and the problem would be solved (he also likes to play with things a lot, he thinks he's a hound, go figure... but cats are his favorit game for some reason) I'd like to see the woman's face when she saw him happily troting with her limp kitten damp in drool in his mouth. Nasty image isn't it? why should the limp chipmunk be any less nasty in the cat's mouth?

anyway, being realistic, spend some money on a trap and send him to the shelter as someone already said here. it's the better socially acceptable measure.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 9:34AM
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haringfan(zone 5, MI)

Wow, this is a touchy subject and everyone has opinions. So here is mine. I agree with what so many others have said. Trap the cat and send it to a shelter. For better or worse we live in a society where property rights are supreme. You have a right to your yard, and your neighbor's cat doesn't. Like many others, I pity the cat and abhor the owner, but the solution isn't for you and your son to tolerate your neighbor's callousness. If you feel feint at heart to do it, remember that the cat could also inect your son with many things it might be carrying if your son starts playing with it.

Another justification for trapping the cat is that the cat problems in the US will not abate until people take positive action. No tolerance for this sort of thing is what will eventually solve this problem. Start now, take control.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2007 at 11:43AM
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Irresponsible cat owners who allow there cats to roam unsupervised,do not care about the health and safety there cat causes within communitys, You can talk to neighbors and till you are blue in the face it don't matter,This is also what makes them irresponsibile individuals. They cant take the crying of there cats so they give in and let it roam placing the cat in jeopardy,since they don't care about neglecting there cat they sure wont care about you talking to them,therefore people are forced to take matters into there own hands.Cat deterrents do not work.Fencing does not 100 percent work either,they will still roam around it and find a way to get in eventually, The only thing that works is trapping them.Domesticated cats are not native to north America, therefore cats unbalance our eco system,killing billions of small mammals yearly as well as killing hundreds of millions of law protected songbirds yearly, owls and hawks are natural predators to rodents.Domesticated cats kill for sport, torture what they catch and sometimes walking away from it while it's suffering.It is in the best interest of everyone involved for health and safety issues that cats are kept supervised on your own property,keep it in the house where it belongs, and where it is also safe.Everytime you allow your cats to roam you are neglectful and irresponsibile and your neighbors have 0 tolerance for it,you then become a burden to society.Take responsibility for your cat if love and care for it period.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2010 at 2:47PM
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Why dig up old posts rather than just start a new thread for your rant? This is always a hot topic that the harm done by free roaming cats must be balanced with the good that they do by ridding neighborhoods of various rodents and in some areas providing food for the resident wildlife so that the big cats, cyotes and wolves will not feed on fido or any other food source such as humans.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2010 at 12:47AM
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I would leave an anonymous note on the neighbor's door warning them that if they don't keep their cat in their home I will trap it and take it to the shelter. If the person doesn't care enough about their cat to keep it inside, they shouldn't be surprised if it disappears.
I feel that cats do much more harm than good to the native ecosystem. I also feel that it is not humane to the cats to put them at risk of being killed by cars or coyotes (and coyotes are now very prevalent even in urban areas). I have read that studies have shown that doing things like putting bells on a cat's collar doesn't help the birds because the birds don't realize that a bell means danger.
I have two cats of my own, but I keep them inside. They're happy and safe inside.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 11:55PM
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Min3 South S.F. Bay CA

many pet cats have been disappearing in my neighborhood lately and also a pet 'lap chicken.' (:

i'm trying to convince my closest neighbor to keep her 3 cats inside all the time but she insists that its "not fair to do that to them!" whatever wild animal that is eating pet cats is sticking around here because the pickings are so good and i figure that natural selection will eventually change the balance; the predator will go somewhere else when the neighborhood supply of "beloved' pets runs out.

how can people be so stupid?! min

    Bookmark   July 19, 2010 at 4:08PM
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I would have done gotten rid of the cat! I dont care wether the lady knows it or not!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2010 at 12:12PM
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prairiemoon2 z6 MA

Well, I'm going to jump in here at the risk of life and limb apparently. I can't tell you how my stomach has turned reading this thread. It is actually a shock to hear the opinions expressed here. The world is changing in ways that I don't recognize. I grew up in a time when all pets roamed freely. Cats and dogs. There was no such thing as a leash law. No one ever heard of an 'indoor' cat. And no one would ever think of 'trapping' a neighbor's pet.

I don't think people created any animal did they? Not a cat, dog, chipmunk or bird, etc. They exist on the earth. All of them. Why do some of you support the rights of some animals, like chipmunks, to roam the earth freely but not a cat? It seems like pure hypocrisy. I'm trying to imagine what reason you can use to try to justify this position. I assume it is because you don't want to see creatures killed, which is virtuous. But to me, it is very unrealistic. In the animal world, the natural world, of 'wild' life, there is killing and death. Do I like it? No. Do I understand why it has to be that way? No, I don't. But it does exist, always has and always will. Animals have to eat to live. Animals can't garden and become vegetarians. Why don't they all eat sunflower seeds? I don't know. I didn't make the rules. I suppose you don't like to accept that. You want to 'create' some kind of Eden, where all creatures are safe. I understand the urge, but the logic cannot escape anyone, that it's not possible to create such a world.

Since you didn't create the existing 'wild' world, you don't really understand it. You don't know why cats kill chipmunks etc. So when you decide that you are going to 'fix' the situation, you are doing so without understanding of what you are changing and what impact it will have.

You also are attempting to take away the right of a cat to exist outside of an 'unnatural' man made environment. Inside, cut off from the outside entirely. Some people might find this solution acceptable, but I believe there might be a few people who don't agree. What really astounds me, is that some of you won't accept the rights of others to disagree with you. You are bound and determined to take matters into your own hands and actually go so far as to 'trap' a person's pet. Angry at the neighbor and the cat. Not even caring evidently that the person whose cat you have trapped is stressed to find their cat missing and not know where it is.

You think you are absolutely in the right, but maybe you are not. Maybe YOU are in the wrong? As things stand now, who has the answer? No one does. We all have our opinions and our viewpoints. The world is impacted by humans in negative ways because it doesn't always occur to them that they need to understand the environment they live in just for one reason. But also because they still have to figure out how to live whether they understand it or not, it is often in conflict with what they need. Just like cats and chipmunks, we have to live on the earth in environments that don't provide for our needs by wishing. We need food and shelter and clothing too, and that's just the basics. So, I feel sorry for people, trying to figure it all out and survive from day to day, let alone find happiness. I feel bad for people in general and the struggle that living is more of the time then it should be.

I feel bad for chipmunks that get eaten by a cat, or cats that get eaten by a coyote and yes, I might think that if I love my cat, it might be worthwhile too keep the cat in the house for it's own protection, but that's me. I can also see where another cat owner, might feel comfortable to allow a cat access to the outdoors and the risks that go with it. After all, as people, we risk life and limb every time we go out the door and no one tells us we should stay in the house permanently. So, if a cat owner decides to do that, I don't immediately label them as 'irresponsible' because their viewpoint is different then mine. Maybe they are responsible in every other aspect of their pet's care.

And so you get all the cats to stay indoors and an owl comes along and swoops up the chipmunk anyway. *sigh* So you put all the cat owners on the hot seat and the cats on the chopping block, now what are you going to do, start a ban on owls?

Meanwhile, you may be starting a war, with what I view as more insensitivity and out and out hostility to people and cats than you would ever stand for toward your chipmunks, etc. It sounds like an 'I want what I want, period' mentality to me.

I am not a cat owner, or a dog owner. I care about the natural world. I wish there were better solutions. It would at least be reassuring to think that people were making an attempt to care about other people at least as much as the wild life.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 7:44PM
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That was an entirely unnecessary post that has been covered by both sides. There is no new info whatsoever. I suggest that you read the entire thread before you post.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2010 at 10:53PM
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buckstarchaser(5 MI)

I really wish I knew what kind of animal is stalking your neighborhood. Stories like that and the one about the 'sounds like a woman screaming in the night' bird/frog mystery are as spooky as ghost stories.

As far as the topic of rampaging cats goes I do have some opinions though they are pretty loose and subject to change. The house I'm about to move away from has one of the largest yards in this town. The back yard is huge and surrounded by a 6' tall, no gaps, wooden privacy fence. I intended to get some nice quiet hens to build the fertility in this back yard and then make a glorious food garden. When a stray cat started killing off my chickens for entertainment I first tried to trap the cat with some nice juicy (store bought) chicken breasts. The cat must have had plenty of food from somewhere else because it ignored the food and kept right on ripping my chickens into pieces and leaving them. So... I bought a BB gun and a security camera (man also has the instinct to hunt and protect). Of course as soon as I opened the sliding door the cat ran away. It immediately learned not to come during the daytime and my camera didn't work in the dark. I gave up on trying to shoot at it, mostly because it's a very bad idea to shoot even a BB gun in a town. The problem was serious to me but silly compared to going to jail for a ricochet. The cat changed its behavior and started dragging the chickens up over the fence and into the neighbors lawn. It wasn't long after that that I got a letter from the town stating that chickens are now forbidden. Since then I've seen that cat's color pattern on several juvenile cats (it's actually a very attractive cat with black brown and white) and as I sit on the front porch at night small packs of dogs will wander past me. Some of the dogs even have collars.

What is nature but natural selection? Haven't we effectively selected cats and dogs to be our city wildlife? I consider a pet to be part of the ecosystem because eventually people will turn them loose into the ecosystem (as they now are) where they will grow in population and become the dominant species. I really don't like that situation and don't want to live around people that could let that happen.

I have chosen to move to a house on 10 acres. State law protects my right to raise any farm animal and to shoot nuisance animals if my land is over 5 acres. I am part of the ecosystem and I select my chickens to not be chewed up for the entertainment of cats. They will be inside of a chain-link fence this time so a cat can't claw its way up. I will leave alone a stray that does not harm my flock but god help the one that does.

Now I know many people will not see my side of it and that's ok. I won't tell you what to do with your pet but if it kills my chickens then it is now my pet. Really though, I am so opposed to participating in these kind of neighbor conflicts that that is why I've gotten such a large property. Even all of the borders of the property have 50-100 feet of trees so there should never be any conflicts like 'you poisoned my bush that grew on the property line' and stuff.

There are many houses and land for sale way out in the country and they are not priced all that bad compared to the in-town houses. Just think of the peace you can have if you currently suffer from neighbor trouble.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 11:16AM
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I sincerely doubt if you saw a cat kill your chickens. Eat them yes, kill no. Living in the country you should put an alarm on your chicken house. When I used to live on a farm racoons and possums would always break into the chicken house at least once a winter. Of course the topper was the screech owl that stuck his claws in a hen that was roosting in a tree and could not get them unstuck. With his body as cushion she probably would have lived except she broke her leg. Yes we had roast chicken and buried the owl. Now days it is more apt to be a coyote or bobcat but I would suggest you learn to recognize by the remains what has killed something. As a starter owls tend to go for the chest cavity where possums eat the guts first. Racoons seem to like to eat the head then start at the butt and eat toward the head.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 8:41PM
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buckstarchaser(5 MI)

Could you give me a description of an alarm that would announce a predator to a chicken house but not be triggered by the chickens? If I know anything about it I can build it as electronics was my major in college.

As a matter of fact I did not see the cat pounce on a chicken but it was there several times when I went out to check on them and found a dead one. When I opened the door it would race up the fence in the same spot each time. Later, the chickens found in the neighbors yard were just over the fence in the same spot. Of the chicken parts I did find there would sometimes be a piece unaccounted for but for the most part all of the chicken would be there, just in pieces.

Had I been able to see the cat distracted with chicken for more than a moment after I opened the door I wouldn't have given up so quickly on the BB gun.

To give a little more description on these chickens, my first batch was buff orphingtons. They were ripped apart one per day without fail until they got too big I guess. I ended up with 3 of them out of 25 making it to adulthood and I built a better pen and bought a set of cornish x rock chicks. The predation restarted on them, one per day. The cat was generally at the scene of the crime though I never saw it in the act. I kept the grass a bit long so that the chickens could graze so even though the cat would flee from the area where a corps was discovered I didn't see it with a face full of chick.

I am generally awake late at night and have never heard an owl around here (I haven't moved to that rural property, that will be next week). I won't shoot an owl though. They are indigenous to the area and are generally protected species. They belong there and I understand them taking what they need to survive. Feral pets and pests that are killing my flock and are marked as ok to cull by the Department of Natural Resources will not be tolerated though.

I do intend to build a full chicken house with an automatic door that closes at sundown this time though. That should reduce the potential to loose my birds. I will have to figure out how to train them to use it though as the one I made for this suburban house they didn't use and just huddled by my door as if to say 'let us in, there's a cat out here'.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2010 at 10:31PM
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There are several types of alarms that you could use. Any type that sounds a bell or busser when the circuit is broken. Attach to all doors and windows. Most wildlife will do their attempts at night other than snakes which can go through very small holes. In most cases the snakes will be after the eggs rather than the chickens. I have seen one black snake attempting to swallow a full grown hen so some do have delusions of grandeur. The best alarm is actually guinea fowl and geese. They will sound off when anything alarms them.

As far as getting the chickens to roost in the hen house if you sprinkle feed on the floor of the house just before you are ready to close it most of the chickens will be too busy to notice what you are doing. The quinea's will roost in any tree that is near by. A hen trying to set on a bunch of eggs will try to hide.

I hope you are aware that chickens are cannibals and if you see any signs of damage to combs or necks you should try to separate the damaged ones. All chickens have a pecking order than the lowest ones will receive the most damage. Many times if you add a protein source to the feed it will stop but not aways.

Good luck with your chickens. I keep hoping that the city here will allow chickens in neighborhoods. At my old house one of the neighbors was blind and had a rooster that she used as an alarm clock. Was sad when she died and the birds were removed.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 12:44PM
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buckstarchaser(5 MI)

Ok, I see now. Since the automatic door system I was looking at used a chain and gravity to move the door, a smart animal could work it back up in its track. A reed switch and magnet would work fine there. The rest of the house I am planning on building pretty tight except for closing vents since Michigan winters can be pretty chilly.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2010 at 6:10PM
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Although winters can be chilly summers can be very hot in a closed building even at night. Unless you allow for some ventilation the ammonia can build up enough that the air will become toxic to the chickens. Try and find an drawing or picture of an old, before 1950's chicken house. I can't sleep this evening so will see what I can find. At one time you could tell what the farm buildings were for by their design. If you were raising chickens of eggs the outside look would be different than if you were raising chickens to eat.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 2:30AM
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buckstarchaser(5 MI)

I linked a video of a guy that has a chicken coop that I would really like to copy. The only things I think I would change are probably adding a way to close most of the top ventilation in the winter and maybe add a closeable low ventilation to get some airflow. His way of keeping the ammonia down is by building the coop to be easily cleaned and I have about 5 acres of woods that will probably have plenty of fallen branches and leaves to run through the chipper shredder for bedding.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2010 at 1:09PM
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I feel for you. I have the same experience. I also work very hard to create a refuge for wildlife and one of my neighbors lets their cat(s) room and so do the nearby neighbors so it's often that I see a cat on my property at night and a wild animal corpse the next day. The days also leave their fecal matter all over.

I would call animal control and tell them that you found a "feral" cat. Or trap it yourself and turn it in to animal control as a "feral". After it gets trapped, and returned to your neighbor, and hopefully your neighbors have to pay for this service, maybe they'll think twice before letting it outside again.

It's considered rude for dog owners to let dogs wander around on other people's property but a lot of people don't seem to feel the same way when it comes to cats apparently. I, however, think it's rude and your neighbor needs to stop putting their property (which is what a pet is considered under law) on your property. Maybe you could also look into trespassing laws and this may be covered. Or at least call your county animal control and ask for their opinion and if anything can be done. Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 10:58AM
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And I totally agree with what Jeans says, "Hmm, more than that. Wildlife should be able to enjoy their lives without domestic animals getting into the hunting business. I believe in the food chain for wildlife, but domestic cats eat store bought food. If the cat needs to play, 'dear neighbor' should get it some cat toys, and keep it inside!!)."

It's so true. Yes, part of wildlife is predation but those are native predators. Wildlife has not had time to co-evolve with the domestic cat invader, therefore, it's not a natural or fair match. They are an invasive and alien species and people are incredibly irresponsible to unleash them on the wildlife like this. And I don't care what anyone says, a cat can live inside if the owner can be bothered to make the indoors agreeable to the cat. If they want to take it outside, get it a leash or build an escape proof enclosure.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 11:05AM
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My problem is my neighbor's wildlife refuge. Since he moved in 4 years ago, I spend my time trapping the chipmunks that are all over the place, and wanting to live under my house. I relocate them constantly (moving them far away to a country woods) and in no time, some new chirpy little family is trying to move back in. They are destructive to my property and she is over there practically running a chipmunk factory. I think they are the cutest little things but I kinda like my house and it's foundation.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 6:06PM
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Never mind, the original post was from 2005.

    Bookmark   January 26, 2012 at 6:21PM
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I wish the neighbors cat would come and take care of the chipmunks in my yard! They are getting into our crawl spaces, causing structural damage, going to cost us a ton of money. When we first moved here, I thought they were adorable, until they started getting into our house. I do not wish to kill them, just deter them from my house. I have tried every humane solution suggested, we have buttoned up every exterior entry point, they are still finding their way in!! My cat has started peeing on a towel in front of her box to mark her territory, because she can hear them in the wall. I am going to try placing that towel outside near where we think they might be getting in to see if it works. There is a reason that there is no law protecting these pesky varmints!

    Bookmark   October 26, 2014 at 12:17PM
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