Those of you who know me well know that I am cat-crazy. Love ‘em, just as many baby boomers do—other cat people. I’d have a ranch or shelter (with plenty of qualified staff and 24/7 care) if the stars aligned correctly. I am particularly partial to the three little darlings who share my life, throw up on my floor and yes, have been known to choose carpet over a litter box.
Meet, in order of appearance below:
- Audet, the most amazing creature I’ve ever met, who came to me by way of Cairo, Egypt. And I’m so glad.
- Tigerman, a Morris-like orange tabby who loves to kiss me. (Hey, someone loves to kiss me!)
- BUZY, a cat I found in NZ who needed ear surgery, then underwent three separate tooth surgeries and a bladder surgery. She can chase a ball, though!
Cats out and about
Because coyotes run just a hundred feet behind my door here, my cats never go outside, not even for a peek. A coyote will wait—and wait—and then…I can’t bear to think of the possibilities.
Needless to say, all of us here were chagrined to read data from of the University of Georgia that divulges exactly what cats are up to when they’re getting’ down with Nature outside. The research team used Kitty Cams on 60 kitties to investigate the activities of urban free-roaming cats in Athens, Ga. from Nov. 2010 through Oct. 2011. Goals included wildlife conservation and improving the health and well-being of pet cats. Cameras, the team said, were lightweight, waterproof units with LED lights to record activity at night. They were mounted on a break-away collar and outfitted with a radio-tracking device.
Somebody’s watchin’ you, cats
Among the results from 37 hours of footage per roaming kitty:
- Surprising: Cats adopting a second set of owners: “Four of our project kitties were recorded entering another household for food and/or affection!”
- Seems 30 percent of these nomads kill prey when they get a chance, and not just birds, which comprised 12 percent. Bird people are not happy about this, but an answer is the CatBib that stops the behavior as it hangs over the chest. I’m not kitting!
- Cats also snagged lizards, chipmunks, voles, frogs, snakes and insects.
- They killed 2.1 animals per week.
Tsk, tsk: Cats take risks
Now here’s the kitty clincher—most common risk factors for suburban free-roaming cats:
- crossing roads: 45 percent. Why does the kitty cross the road?
- encountering strange cats: 25 percent. No cat is an island.
- eating and drinking substances away from home: 25 percent. I wonder what the legal drinking age is for cats?
- exploring storm drain systems: 20 percent. Not a good idea when it rains, for cats aren’t great swimmers.
- entering crawlspaces where they could become trapped: 20 percent. This one makes me shiver.
And we knew this was coming: Male cats were more likely to engage in risky behavior than female cats and fewer risk behaviors were witnessed from older feline individuals. Sometimes the species aren’t really so different, are they? Wonder if those older felines know they’re boomer cats?