Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday News: Ditch Tiger Hunting

This blog post is not fur kids or sensitive aminals and adults. Skip it if you don't wants to be sad.

Srsly. Also I iz being uncharacteristically political today.

(EDIT DEC 1: Droopy, who disappeared after gunfire the day before this post, is back! She was living in the woods by a neighbor's house. Mayday has been gone 3 weeks. It's been our experience we probably won't see her again.)

It's hunting season in South Dakota. Hoomans can get a license to hunt deer and pheasant and cats here. This iz why I learned to walk on a leash.

They iz supposed to hunt only feral cats to control their population. The problem iz that it is legal to hunt from a car or truck, as long as it is somewhat away from a residence. In the city, feral cats usually live near dumpsterz, and dumpsterz iz too close to residences to hunt there, but in the country feral cats rarely follow the roads because they iz scared of hoomans and cars. So what they end up hunting iz "ditch tigers".

Farms and ranches have to have cats working fur them to control the inevitable rodent population attracted to their produce or feed. Queen cats teach their kittens frum the first day which sounds and smells are dangerous, then they teach them hao to hunt. There iz no better mouse trap on the planet than a cat. Farmers try to keep kittens around that are fast, smart, short-haired and dark or orange furred, who aren't allergic to tick treatments and who have no other genetic traits that will make them targets fur predators. They need to be friendly enough to be handled fur vaccinations and sumtimez to get Afrin fur respiratory infections. Tom cat spray helps warn predators away from litters of kittens. It's a delicate balance and a hard life fur a cat but far from hao hard a life feral cats have.

Most farmers consider it cruel to take a shelter cat and drop it off outside with no experience. It's like dropping off a 4-year-old hooman child in the middle of a city where they don't speak the language. Without a coat or money. So they breed their own cat staff.

Without cats on a farm, sometimes feral cats will domesticate themselves, but more often skunks move in. That only has to happen once before you make sure you get some cats from another farm. Srsly.

On to mai point. Many of the people hunting cats come in from out of state and shoot ditch tigers because they think it's funny. The problem iz that ditch tigerz are usually farm cats. (I would like to point out that most hunters from South Dakota seem to think hunting cats is either not very sporting or completely abhorrent. This iz an agricultural area and no one likes to lose a good cat even if they don't view us as pets.)

They are not allowed to shoot cats with collars, but collars attract the attention of hawks, owls, foxes and coyotes. Farmers have to decide whether their cats have moar to fear from the wilderness or man.

So anyway, there has been no sign of foxes or hawks here lately, but there has been lots of gunshots and we is not far from the city (relatively) and only 3 miles from a paved road and Mayday and Droopy, both fond of hunting in the ditches where the ground squirrels live, are missing since we heard the shots. And it's November. It is possible they are gone fur good. Lazarus's father wuz shot in the face last year but he survived. Somehao.

Writing letterz to the South Dakota government may be the first thing you think of, but it's not the best idea. They don't have a viable alternative fur cat hunting licenses right nao. What they will want befoar they consider removing the cat hunting option is an alternative that works.

The best thing in mai opinion is to help The Alliance for Contraception in Cats and Dogs develop their contraceptive shot.

This will allow inexpensive Catch-Neuter-Release near the dumpsterz in the towns and cities where population control is most needed while allowing farmerz to keep their feline workers safe while they are doing their jobs. I purrsonally believe non-surgical sterilization is the future of pet population control and hope to see it purrfected in mai lifetime. It would save so many kitties and puppies from starvation and euthanasia in shelterz and in feral colonies.

I also believe legislators in South Dakota and other places with population control problemz will listen when this alternative is presented. It is a clean, elegant and inarguable solution for all concerned.