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A question of balance


SpoonfulOSugar

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I am an animal lover.  I make no bones about that.

For 20 or so years, I have been a believer in "indoor cats" only.  I know the stats on their health, I know it's good for birds, I understand the value.

And then along came Fluffy Butt who, before she came to us, survived a harsh winter outdoors.  I don't know her whole story, but I know she is a tough little girl.  And she LOVES the outdoors.  I started letting her out for brief periods under supervision this winter - and she is a totally different cat outdoors.  She runs, she climbs trees, she talks - it is a visible difference.

So - I've relaxed my stance and all four cats are now indoor-outdoor to some extent.  (They all come in at night.  Two like outdoors better and two like indoors better.)

Which brings me to today.  I heard FB calling, and rushed out to find that she had a baby bird.  It's been windy, and I truly believe the bird fell from its nest.  I was able to take the bird, bring it in, start triage, call the rehab - and then she had a second bird.  I was unable to help that bird.  I tracked FB back (yes, she went back yet again) and found the nest (empty) and an eggshell underneath.

Even if I had made the cats stay inside, the hatchling MIGHT have died from exposure - or from the three (that I know of) other cats that regularly frequent our yard.

'Tis a conundrum.  How do I do what is best and fair for both birds and cats?  I cannot and will not train the basic nature out of them.

And so I am sad.  And wishing I were rich enough to build a cat play pen.  But even that would disrupt our bird life . . . . 

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WhatWouldJohnCrichtonDo?

Posted

I knew one cat owner who splurged on a nice cat play pen. It had easy access through a cat door and shelves on different levels for perching. It just isn't a possibility for most of us, but it's a nice dream, isn't it? 

I'm sorry you're caught in a hard place between your pet animal love and your wild animal love. 

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SpoonfulOSugar

Posted

I've looked at a beautiful cat pen for our house.  I even know where I would put it.  Unfortunately, I don't have that kind of play money . . . seems new tires for the vehicle and a new lawn mower are more important.  *sigh*

The really sad part is that building the cat enclosure would change the wild bird pattern, too.  The nest was very close to our south windows (which is where I would put the cat quarters) . . . but we would never have found it/noticed it if not for the disaster.

The little nestling is doing well at the rehab.  *whew*  It was VERY small.

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Grimalkin

Posted

     when you say you supervised Miss Fluffubutt outside what do you mean? I worry my cats would bolt if I let them out. I have put lots of bird feeders so my cats can watch the birds and grow grass in plastic tubs for my cats to sit in and nibble on. They love sitting by open windows and state outside all day. I feel a bit bad for them.

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SpoonfulOSugar

Posted

16 hours ago, Grimalkin said:

     when you say you supervised Miss Fluffubutt outside what do you mean? I worry my cats would bolt if I let them out. I have put lots of bird feeders so my cats can watch the birds and grow grass in plastic tubs for my cats to sit in and nibble on. They love sitting by open windows and state outside all day. I feel a bit bad for them.

At first, I tried to check on her every 15 minutes or so and only let her out for an hour or two at a time.  I honestly was more concerned about the danger to her from the world, and not her danger to creatures, but she has proven to be wily and quick to hunt.  I don't go now for longer than an hour or so without checking on them.

All of the cats I worry about (we live too close to a major street) and I work a lot to try to get them to come in when I call.  (Treats help some.)  I'm happier when I am out and can see them (more in a new blog post shortly) but I've relaxed a smidge on keeping them right in my sight.  Protective cat mama that I am - I would love for them to be always safe . . . .

Fluffy LOVES her hoomans to be outside.  Nothing seems to make her happier - she'll escort me all over the yard.

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