Wednesday, April 18, 2007

My Nemesis, My Charges

My nemesis.

Meet "The Wisp" a cat from across the street. He slips through his woods, crosses the only paved road near Pure Florida, and hunts on my land.

We don't get along.

When I set my HavaHart trap in the fenced in corral that hides my trash cans, I sometimes catch him.

Now, if he were feral ... if I truly knew that, he'd be at the pound by now. That's the nicest thing I would do for a feral cat, I have zero tolerance for them. (Calm down catophiles, I would never hurt a cat, but I would send them to their probable doom at the pound ... I'd send the delinquent owner who dropped them off too!)

The Wisp isn't feral, he belongs to someone in the woodsy neighborhood across the street. I'm sure they love him and he brings them great joy.

When he shows up in my live trap, I always give him a good bath with the hose before letting him go. He scampers off wet and muddy and I cross my fingers hoping that cats are smart enough to associate a place (mine) with discomfort (a bath) and thus avoid that place.

It doesn't seem to have any long term effect on The Wisp though.

I think what's wrong here is that I am using dog logic. A dog would say, "Man, that was unpleasant, I think I'll not go there again. Where's my ball?"

Cats appear to have short memories or maybe they secretly DO ENJOY cold hose baths ... hmmmmm .

My charges.
Whatever the case, The Wisp and I will continue our cold war until his owner restrains him (HA! ) or a log truck catches him crossing that street (no comment).
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26 comments:

pissed off patricia said...

When I looked at the blk cat it reminded me of the one I used to have, Mom Cat.

The "red bird"/cardinal brought to mind, Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings and Cross Creek.

mowgli said...

Ah, my possum-killing (wink, wink) dog could help you with that little challenge. We'll be right down.

Mark said...

Is The Wisp fixed? We have two and a half semi-feral cats at our house, plus our domesticated cat and an unfixed cat abandoned by a neighbor who moved away. (The half cat sleeps inside but is pretty skittish around people). We caught and had all three feral/half-feral cats fixed. The abandoned cat comes around occasionally to woo the fixed female cats and to pee on the house. The dog chases him when he sees him, and so do I, but he comes around anyway. So far the cats have killed (to my knowledge) only lizards and one bird. If I find they are routinely killing birds, there is going to be a serious discussion between me and the cats, probably when my wife is not home. Some may be invited to find other living arrangements.

Wayne said...

This ailurophile isn't going to disagree with you on any of that.

What I'd really like to do is to neuter their owners, but on most occasions have to settle for neutering the cat if it's been abandoned and if we make the difficult decision to allow it residence. Living out here at "the farm" we experience those oh-so-nice students driving out to "the country", especially at the end of spring semester, and dropping off their "not-now-so-cute" cats AND dogs that they acquired at the beginning of fall semester, because "they'll be just fine out in the country."

That's a different thing though, from owners who don't take charge of their pets. It's neutering for them.

Doug Taron said...

From the catophile perspective. I love cats and share my home with two of them. The closest that they get to an outdoor adventure is to be allowed out on the screened porch (which they love). I keep them inside because I love them, and also because of the environmental damage that feral (and non-feral) pets do across the country. We sometimes find feral cats at the prairie where I am steward. We have not yet succeeded in trapping one, though this is not for lack of trying. They will go straight to the pound, where I know what fate awaits them. I fell kind of like a wus about this, because I know that I couldn't put one down myself. So I'll be letting someone else do my dirty work.

roger said...

i have tried "avoidance therapy" with cats. they do seem immune to it.

threecollie said...

I don't think cats can learn negative things. Maybe their determination serves them well in some evolutionary sense, but I have never found any deterrent to keep them off the back porch or out of the garden or out from under the bird feeders.
They are smart enough to know if I come out the door they had better run for the barn, but that is as far as it goes.

robin andrea said...

I wish you knew which of your neighbors this cat belongs with. It's the kind of thing that makes for an unpleasant conversation, but one that is absolutely necessary. If this cat has a home, it needs to stay there, and it's the responsibility of the idiots to keep him there. He is a cute cat, though. Too bad his human companions don't love him enough to keep him indoors.

Nice cardinal. I'm glad you're looking out for him.

vicki said...

May I recommend you read "Y2Kat" a short, insightful and hysterically funny essay by Thomas Lynch who had a similar nemesis? The rest of the book, "Bodies In Motion and At Rest" is equally well written and well worth the read.

Fortunately, our only hunting cat is not into birds, perhaps because she was raised with an aviary full of finches. She's going to miss all the lizards, snakes and toads, though when we get back to Chicago.

You do understand that the more you hose that wisp of a witch, the more she will find ways to plague you? She's quite pretty, BTW. Looks clean, too.

swamp4me said...

Good luck with your cat problem. I have a feral cat lurking about at work and so far haven't been able to coax it into a live trap. I love cats but they are just too efficient at hunting to be let loose on wildlife.

Hal at Ranch Ramblins said...

At least he's a cute looking cat ;)

I'm having a little problem with a neighbor's animals also. If you get a chance, check out my post for today ...

http://www.mitzenmacher.net/blog/?p=759

Deb said...

I guess you could call me one of those catophiles. However, I agree that free roaming breeding cats are a problem. I didn't bring a cat to this property, and now I have more than I want courtesy of the neighbors across the road, and the cat I call Evil Calico. Luckily, efficient hunting is not in the feline gene pool here; these cats are lazy beggars always looking for a handout.

Cathy said...

Since the dogs died, the neighborhood cats are slowly reclaiming our backyard. I see red. I keep a stash of apples to pitch at them. But when I get up on a winter morning and see their paw prints in the dusting of snow - I know their owners have let them out at night to search my foundation evergreens for the birds that are trying to survive the cold. I see red.

SophieMae said...

Though I've not been commenting, I have been enjoying the daily read. Which is about all I've had time for lately.

It's raining here now... not a lot,. but a very pleasant change while it lasts. I was in GA on Saturday and stopped at a little spot on the Alapahoochee River where I spent a few minutes listening to a pair of oaks offering a love song for a pair of damselflies about to start a family.

I'm sure DS would have a few suggestions to rid your property of the evil Wisp. My brother had a foolproof method, but it might get you into trouble... if the cat ever did go home. 8-}

ImagineMel said...

I needn't speak.

pablo said...

Feral cats are blamed by hunters in my part of the world for the decline of the quail population. (I suspect it is more due to weather, but I digress.) I have never seen a feral cat in my woods, but then I haven't seen a quail either.

pablo
roundrockjournal.com

rcwbiologist said...

Are you sure that cat is not part of the natural fauna of the southeast? I can direct you to a person in South Carolina that has video of one of the elusive black panthers that roam this part of the country. It looks exactly like the one in your picture. I learned of this after she turned the video in to the park service in South Carolina as evidence of black panthers on her property.

Floridacracker said...

Pop,
It is a pretty cat.

Mowgli,
Good, cause my old dogs are not getting off the porch.

Mark,
I don't know if The Wisp is fixed or not. I only see him at a distance or in the trap, but when he's in the trap he's hunched up and not showing.

Wayne,
Agreed, the owners should feel some pain. Dropped off dogs always seem more pitiful, I think the cats outsurvive them when dropped out in the woods.

Doug,
You sound like a responsible cat owner. Good luck removing those feral cats. I'm surprised they are so hard to trap, this Wisp could be caught daily I think.

roger,
i agree wholeheartedly.

ThreeCollie,
They must be missing the "obedience" region of the brain.Either that or they think they are in charge.

Robin,
I feel for my cardinals because they spend so much time at cat level.
I agree, he's a pretty cat.

Vicki,
I'll have to read that. Your cat has been busy reducing the exotic brown anoles in your St. Pete home ... here I have to applaud the cat.
The Wisp should be clean by now...

Swampy,
Fried chicken scraps seem to work on the Wisp.

Hal,
I'm heading that way.

Deb,
Maybe that's the secret, get them fat and lazy so hunting becomes a fuzzy memory.

Cathy,
More power to your pitching.

Sophie,
I was wondering where you got off to. Remember how Pepe Le Pew used to fall in love with the black cat who got a white stripe painted on her back?
I have pictured it in my mind.
Rain here too!

Mel,
Cat got your tongue?
Sorry, I could not resist.

Pablo,
I wonder if the very doggy coyote should get more credit for that quail demise? I would think coyotes are tough on ground nesters and they certainly are expanding their range.

RCW,
LOL! Maybe I should videotape the Wisp.

misti said...

At least take them to the humane society and not "the pound", they'll have a chance there! My Samson was at the HS for two months before we got him. He wouldn't have lasted that long at the lb. :( That said, our cats are porch cats, though one doesn't get to go because he's too rowdy. We do have a neighborhood cat that has started coming round lately, but it could be because I am growing catnip. *hmmm*

Sandy said...

You need a cat-hating dog...that's the only thing that will keep 'the Wisk' away.

ImagineMel said...

that was FAR too easy...*major eye roll*

LauraHinNJ said...

How kind of you to give it the occasional bath! Har-har.

Rather than throwing apples like dear Cathy, I tend to fling shoes at the neighbor's cats; flip-flops in particular get a nice bounce that usually misses but serves to scare them away.

We often catch one in the Hav-ahart trap set out for the groundhog - I hadn't thought of hosing them down, great idea!

One year a neighbor's cat had kittens under our shed - I was so pissed to have to take them to the shelter and be treated like a criminal for it.

Deb said...

lauraH- That is precisely why I wouldn't take my excess cats to a shelter, even if we did have one nearby. I have this feeling they would resent my dumping animals on them, like it's my fault they showed up...

And FC, I didn't notice before how you caught that cardinal in the act of singing! His beak is open!

pablo said...

The woman who lives next door to me in suburbia traps local strays and takes them to the vet to be neutered. Then she releases them. They're not good for the wild bird population, of course, but it seems to check the spread, and it isn't as heartless and putting them to sleep.

pablo

Mark said...

There is actually an organization in my home town that does just that, Pablo. It's called the Sterile Feral.

Floridacracker said...

Misti,
I know this cat has a home so I won't take it anywhere, the Wisp isn't feral, just trespassing. I will just continue my gentle harassment.

Sandy,
They used to be that way, but now they like the porch too much.

Mel,
You just handed it to me :)

Laurahinnj,
Flinging flipflops at ferocious felines ... fantastic.

Deb,
He was singing away, but I just couldn't get him completely out of the twigs and Spanish Moss.

Pablo,
The only ones it's heartless to are the birds and wildlife that belong there. I can't tell you how much I disagree with that fuzzy logic.

Mark,
What a shame.