30 December 2015

Domestic Cats in Wildlands an Unwanted Scourge

Up on the ridge, a bit northeast of the bluebird shack, a black cat sat. It was very obvious from the north window because it was a black spot amidst the otherwise dull colors of the winter landscape. It was on the prowl in its inherent manner.

An obvious target would be birds, known to be a regular target as these predators forage anywhere.

The Dark-eyed Juncos at this place are kept busy all day as they forage for the necessities to survive, so when a fat domestic cat arrives during its stroll, it is a threat for these wildland residents.

It is a harsh time as seasonal birdlife strives to survive. Sources of food are limited by snow cover and an overall frozen land, with recent temperatures near 1o and wind chills even colder, down into the minus 100 degrees.

There is a chill on the land and a wandering cat from some house in the city is not a natural part of the seen.

The unwanted black animal, once seen, became the focus of an afternoon's attention. Once the overshoes were put on, a trudge outside was taken in its direction. After stepping off the front porch of the shack, a first fence of the corral was stepped over. A bit of a ways to the east, a gate was opened and after going through the chain maneuver, it was kept closed, though unlatched while going towards the feline target [later latched and anchored in the proper manner]. The black cat soon realized the intent of the incursion. It moved to the south, hesitated for a bit of time, but the human intruder continued walking in the same direction, and along with some known sounds cats don't like, the cat in the wilds ran to the south.

It was chased away, not because of any animosity regarding cats, but because any cat threatening birds will be dealt with in a manner that will disrupt their stalking.

When the errant black cat was once again obvious on a subsequent day, there on the ridge near the shack, the routine was similar. Get the boots on, cross the fence, etc. It was easier the second time as there were already footsteps to follow, amidst those of the bunnies and deer.

The unwelcome feline was further up the steep slope, so more steps had to be taken across the cold, snowy ground. The black critter actually thought it could hide beneath a pine. It was not there very long, once it realized that my destination was its location. It ran, once again to the south.

A wandering covey of quail were only a few yards away, as they moved about their territory of survival. The quail flew as the cat was chased away, running away to the southward, certainly towards its house along Lake Shore Drive, Valentine.

Wild birds do not have any such option, even on a night when the forecast low was 4o below zero.

Nearby beneath the slope, four horses watched in expectation, thinking that my outdoor dash might mean some would get some grain or hay. Sorry steeds, as that is your owner’s task. Though they stayed about the hay and where they have been fed grain, soon they wandered off into the bluffy grass and pines pasture. They would be excited while getting something later.

Cats chasing any types of birds are just not welcome, anywhere! Where was a wily coyote to deal with the feline? Or, perhaps, a strident hawk or big owl to take care of the domestic wanderer looking to kill avian kin.

The spot where the furry feline was seen is outside the city limits of Valentine. Since it is a rural place, firearms may be discharged, and a bow-and-arrow may be used, legally. The wild country adage of shoot, shovel, and shutup comes to mind for some reason? Perhaps an even better option would be a showdown between a domestic cat and a cougar!

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