The Pet Poisoner Next Door

“I want to know the best way to kill next door neighbors  cat, with out them suspecting anything. Its her closest pet and I need it to be gone. It kills bird and it comes in my back yard. Is there any way to poision it or dart it?

I copied the question above (typos and all) from a 2002 message thread on the revenge-obsessed website Bombshock titled “How to Kill a Cat.” You may wonder what brought me to this decade old discussion of killing small animals.  Why I’d want to be there at all. And why I continued perusing it through responses that ranged from the  practical – Antifreeze. Mix it with meat – to the rather, um, hostile -  The very best way is to give me your address. I can come to your house, and cut your fucking nuts off. Then, I will feed them to the cat & maybe it will choke and back to  – sugar and bleach, stirred into milk - the practical again.

I was looking for an answer to something that had been bothering, okay, haunting me for months: why do so many people poison their neighbor’s pets? Why? Why? “They’re very unhappy people,” my husband replied when I first raised the issue at home. “They’re assholes,” said my son. To tell you the truth, these both seemed like pretty charitable answers to me.  And I might have let it go at that if I hadn’t read another news article on the subject on the very next day, and the next, and the next again.

The problem, my problem in this case, is that I run daily Google alerts for poisoning events, a habit I developed while working my recent book, The Poisoner’s Handbook. I usually laugh when I tell people about it; yeah, I say, maybe it makes me sound a little twisted. But I sift through the alerts  for interesting stories and for patterns, repeated poisonous events. And over the last year, I started to develop an uneasy awareness that hardly a week passed without a pet poisoning story.  Hardly a day, in fact. Last year, I tallied up more than almost 300 stories (171 concerning dogs, 123 about cats). I briefly cited both that pattern and my reluctance to write about it in a post this fall called The Poisoner’s Calendar, which I mostly focused on the simpler subject of carbon monoxide.

But this year, the first dog poisoning story came on January 2, from a small town in western Canada.  It was followed on Saturday by a query to Canada’s Calgary Herald, a letter titled “What Kind of Twisted Person Would Poison a Dog?” Since this was pretty much my ongoing question, I hoped it would tell me. But the author had not answer. She was writing because her dogs had also been poisoned with strychnine and one was in critical condition: We also cannot imagine why anyone would want to put the dogs through so much suffering; it is a terrible thing to see.

So the stories nagged me, they bugged me, and the question kept following me.

Why do we do this? Why? My personal archive of news stories represents, I know, just a sliver of the whole sorry picture.  I’ve looked for a really solid statistical analysis but with mixed success, finding mostly a patchwork of information. The website Pet-Abuse.com, maintains a “cruelty database” which, as of today, lists 351 criminal pet poisoning cases, the most recent being a dog poisoning case from November and a cat poisoning case in October, both from Florida.

Neither turned up in my alerts, which tells me that this also under-represents the numbers. Of course, one of the problems – and, frankly, poisoners count on this – is that animals can encounter toxic substances on their own, making it sometimes difficult to determine a criminal case.  A cat poisoning story (antifreeze) that posted January 1, from Nailsea, England, is a good example of this, the grief, the  uncertainty and the suspicion of strangers and of neighbors.

“I’m thinking of writing a piece about pet poisoning,” I say to a forensic detective I know in my hometown of Madison, Wisconsin. She answers: “Have you looked up Myrtle Maly’s case from 2005, Spaight St.? Check her out on CCAP.”

If you don’t know it, CCAP is shorthand for a very useful website, more formally known as the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access Program, which provides a public record of criminal and civil cases in the state. You can search it by name, date, location and case number. When I type in Myrtle Maly, Dane County, I find this, which tells me that Ms. Maly was found guilty of two misdemeanor cases of intentionally poisoning an animal.

Further research tells me that in June 2005, she killed two of her neighbor’s cats by mixing the rodent poison, d-Con, into a can of cat food and dolloping it out in the yard. In case you wondered, d-Con’s active ingredient is brodifacoum, a notably lethal anticoagulant, sometimes referred to as a “superwarfarin.” Maly, who was then 76, ended up as a case study in The Smoking Gun, largely because she was so unremorseful: ‘When I find these little feathers, I’ve had it. I love animals, but he drove me to it,’ she told a detective. ‘I have a good feeling because the birds are happy now.

There’s no doubt that cats pose a terrible problem for wild birds. A study of the gray catbird in Washington D.C. found that domestic cats were the number one cause of bird mortality in the area. It’s a situation that can, and does, put bird and cat lovers at extreme odds.

Granted some of these conflicts involve feral cats, such as the most recent high profile case, again from the D.C. area. A National Zoo employee was caught on surveillance video poisoning food left out for cats living near a city park. The accused, Nico Dauphine, was a zoo researcher with a doctorate in bird conservation and had published articles on the threat posed by urban cats. She received a one-year suspended sentence, 120 hours of community service, and a court order to stay away from cats.  Dauphine also lost her job, which the judge noted in handing down the sentence. The Washington Humane Society which investigated the poisonings and which took the uncompromising position that even stray cats deserve a poison free life issued a terse statement after the conviction: “We are delighted that justice was served today.”

But most people aren’t attempting to protect other animals when they poison. There’s a winding path of other justifications and excuses.  In December, a woman in Washington state poisoned her neighbors’ cats (boric acid) because they kept getting too close to her car. Last month also, a Kansas man pleaded guilty to killing kittens, living in a shop near his rental, with antifreeze because they were messy.  In October, a Tampa, Florida man poisoned six cats – putting out bowls of antifreeze-laced milk – because he said they’d gotten into his strawberry plants. In case you’re wondering, antifreeze contains the compound ethylene glycol, notable for its sweet taste and tendency to form razor-sharp crystals in the kidneys.

Police investigating the poisoning of seven cats near Worcester, England, said neighbors had been reportedly unhappy with the owner allowing her animals to get into rubbish bins. In the case of dogs, the usual justification is that they’re noisy. They bark; they don’t shut up.  When two Virginia dogs died after someone tossed antifreeze-laced cheese cubes into their yard, neighbors both expressed shock and commented on how noisy the dogs had been.  It’s the first answer I get when I ask friends and acquaintances why someone would do this – oh, well, you know, if the dog was really noisy… So I also asked a couple of friends who write books for pet owners, full of affection for animals and ideas about how to care for them.  “I’m thinking about writing a story about pet poisoning.” Oh, yes, they both said. We hear about it all the time, and one added:  I’ve often wondered about that. If I were you, I’d interview a psychiatrist. My guesses are that either they hate the neighbors, hate animals. or are somehow jealous. I just don’t know.

Because for most of us, this just doesn’t make sense, the idea that someone in the family next door is stirring poison into a lethal meal for your animals.  We can’t imagine being the family in Colorado who settled in with their two dogs, “our children” they said, only to have them both killed by a neighbor,  charged in December with feeding the animals strychnine-laced meatballs. Strychnine, in case you wonder, is a poison that directly targets the nervous system, causing such violent convulsions that exhaustion is considered a contributing factor in death.

So consider this headline: “Someone is poisoning dogs in Green Country neighborhood”  from Tulsa, Oklahoma in December, the story telling of someone putting out strychnine-laced meat, poisoning ten dogs, killing seven. “This headline from California: “Three Dogs Poisoned in Encino; One Dead”, in which police warn residents to keep a close watch on their pets. Or  this story from Lebanon, Pennsylvania in October of two dogs dead from meat mixed with rat poison: Absolutely, the sergeant said when asked if the act appeared deliberate. Someone placed it out there where they knew the dogs would be.

This is the pattern that haunts me the most, the someone sneaking through the night, the person who kills in a kind of game. There are plenty of studies to show that animal abusers – your neighborhood pet poisoners, say – find it easy enough to turn their attention, their anger, their unhappiness to their human neighbors as well. We might even ask ourselves whether tougher laws regarding animal abuse might end up protecting people better as well. A recent case in Houston, Texas, clearly involved harming animals – one dog poisoned, another shot, a horse slashed to death – to terrorize their human owners. If [the suspect] would do this to all these animals, we don’t know what they would do to people, said the investigating officer.

But most pet poisoners, I think, stop before they cross that line. You’ll remember that Myrtle Maly, who poisoned her neighbor’s cats, blamed the neighbor for letting the animals outside. He drove me to it, she said, and she meant killing the cats only. And it’s the only that I want to emphasize here, because I believe that underlies all of this. There are, as you see, countless individual reasons for pet poisoning, countless justification. And yes, I still agree that we can sum up many of these people as very unhappy assholes.

But we should also acknowledge the bigger point. It’s a hallmark, a measure of our civilized species that we care for, protect, domesticate, shelter members of other species. More than that, we love them, we consider them members of our family, as I do with our joyful Laborador, Bongo,  as this wonderful piece by the wonderful science writer John Rennie illustrates so eloquently. But we’re also careless with them – Bongo is a rescue dog, found abandoned in downtown Milwaukee. There’s that only a dog, only a cat, only a lesser species mentality and it’s that, I think, is the fundamental why of this tale, the  tacit permission to those of us who think it’s all right to poison away an annoying neighboring animal. When we truly respect life on this planet,  in as Charles Darwin once said, all its “endless forms, most beautiful” then, indeed, we may attain that ever elusive goal, of being a fully civilized species.

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158 Responses to The Pet Poisoner Next Door

  1. Esteban says:

    I think you miss the obvious. Pets (or feral cats) are poisoned because they are bothering someone, and they don’t want to confront a neighbor directly. They can be rid of the problem and maintain neighborly relations. I’ve been lucky, my neighbor’s cats stay on their property. I should not have to accept the presence of someone else’s domestic animal on my own property. Whether it’s protecting wildlife or keeping toxoplasma laden feces out of my garden, I have the right to protect my property. Hell, even cat prints on my car if I cared about my car that much (I don’t). Why are we considered the bad guys simply because we want some say over which DOMESTIC animals are allowed on our land? Now, I do not condone poisoning. My county (thankfully) still protects property rights by providing a trapping service for any unwanted dog or cat that is on my property. If it’s a pet, the pet-owner can go retrieve it. If it’s not it is adopted or euthanized. I’m perfectly fine with that. A cat removed from the environment kills no more wild animals. It’s death stops the continuing and unnecessary deaths of other animals. Cats are NOT part of nature and it is not ‘natural’ for them to kill mockingbirds. (it’s even a sin in some parts of the south ;-)

  2. I have two small dogs. They bark – a lot. I do what I can to mitigate it and am VERY apologetic to my neighbors who have, presumably, been gracious and accepting of the fact that dogs bark. However, the frequency of this really scares me. As you pointed out, there are a million justifications and those, coupled with a perception of the animals as “lesser” beings, makes killing someone’s pet acceptable. Losing my dogs will be (when they die of old age, I hope) like losing children and the idea that they might be taken from me by some vindictive, selfish neighbor is frightening. Thanks for adding to my neurosis ;) and for bringing the issue to light.

  3. Karen says:

    People created cats and cows and dogs and chickens in their present forms to fill their needs, and maybe because of that, people think they have the right to kill such animals. The excuse that cats aren’t part of nature sidesteps the fact that cats are living creatures with the desire not to die in convulsions with bloody foam coming out both ends because a neighbor thinks they might have pooped on his lawn.

  4. Tobi-Dawne says:

    Years ago, when my family raised Bull Mastiffs, we had one of our puppies poisoned shortly after placing it with a lovely family. This was a young puppy, cute, adorable, never met a stranger… loved everyone. Yet this family had a neighbour who claimed to have acted out of fear. This neighbour threw poisoned meat over the fence for this beautiful, sweet baby. I’ll never understand the mind that thinks killing a puppy is an okay thing to do.

  5. Cade DeBois (@lifepostepic) says:

    Re: cats and birds. Yeah, letting cats roam freely is a threat to wildlife as well as to the cat. This is why I advise people to either keep their cats indoors or invest in a safe, secure “catio” (or otherwise cat-proof your backyard–birds will learn to avoid cat-occupied yards, provided you’re not leaving birdfood out for them). But leaving out poison in your yard is insanely irresponsible. Anything can eat it–even birds. A number of bird species–grackles, starlings, crows, etc.–will eat catfood. This was a problem I had when caring of a feral cat colony–birds will by far the worst, and most efficient, thieves of catfood.

    Likewise, anything else could eat it: dogs, other wildlife like opossums, raccoons, coyotes, weasels, various rodents and god forbid, small children. Some poison can also contaminate the soil, which then puts non-catfood-eating animals, like birds hunting for seeds and insects, or even children playing in the dirt, at risk. Given the gravity of consequences, such actions are a felony is some areas–it should be a felony everywhere.

  6. Jane Doe says:

    @Esteban. You do NOT kill animals (even those who come onto your property) because you are supposed to be civilized. There is ‘killing’ (which happens and also happens to be the way we get meat to our table) and then there is torturous poisoning. You are not harming your neighbor, you are ruthlessly torturing an animal. Is that clear? Or would you like to see the difference as performed on a human? Why do we use lethal injection instead of slow suffocating or poising for people?

    I think the reason that people use sickening methods (including putting ground up glass in meat–in the case of my mother’s farm dog when she was a child) can be explained by the concepts of “psychological distance” or “objectifying.”

    If I can categorize an animal as “a nuisance” or a “rodent” etc., then I can justify a lot of inhumane actions. The more unlike “us” we feel another living being is, the more we are capable of…well, just about anything.

    I train dogs for a living. Sometimes I have to prove to an owner that their dog is, in fact, super intelligent…usually more intelligent than the owner…to change the way they relate to (and treat) their pet. When they see their dog suddenly think and learn, recognize objects, make intelligent decisions, it usually spins them on their ass.

    And I feel justified in speaking this way for two reasons. 1) I have a degree in the field of human relationships. 2) I used to be a person who treated animals very inconsistently. It was the way I was raised. It was familiar to me to ruthlessly punish even our own pets because I wasn’t even sure they felt pain (or at least pain in the way we feel it). Can you imagine? It turns my stomach to think of it now. It was generational ignorance.

    Happily for all of us now (except when I am horrified by ongoing stories of abuse), I have dedicated my life to educating people like myself and my family of origin.

  7. Jane Doe says:

    I think I just talked myself into a box. Lethal injection to a person IS also suffocating and poisoning, but of the choices of how to end a being’s life are complicated. Hopefully, if we feel that we MUST kill, it is done as humanely and quickly as possible.

    I, for example, am capable of being seduced into thinking that it would be justifiable to hold someone’s head under water who has just poisoned animals….especially if I thought I were strong enough. See there? I was able to shift seeing a person as a human with inalienable rights to conceiving of them as a monster who deserves everything they get. Problem with that is…I would have to include myself in the category of monster. I have poisoned rats. Rats are intelligent and even capable of laughter. Did anyone realize that? They giggle. It’s been scientifically proven.

    I still kill rats. I use an electrified rat zapper that kills instantly. Not thrilled to feel the need to do that, but it has come to a matter of me vs. them. We cannot co-exist safely in my home. I feel neither satisfaction or joy in doing the job. If these were my neighbor’s pets, I would tell them directly what the problem is. I would probably set out traps to catch them humanely and return them. I would not return their dead pets to them. If it continued, I would take their trapped pets to the Humane Society. There are alternative ways of handling problems that create better human beings.

    I hope my own brother is reading and you want to know why? His ability to carry out brutality in the name of function spills over to his attitude about people. He is able to categorize some people as being more deserving than others. He hopes that unemployment will continue to rise so that he can pay less for products and homes. Why? Because he was frugal with his money and has plenty of it now.

    He thinks the rest of us deserve what we are getting and he finds it amusing. The only way to effectively reach my brother is in a non-confrontational way. He becomes even more committed to his philosophy when people get angry with him. This has given me first-hand experience when it comes to influencing people. The only thing that really works with him is to find a way to make him cry…to make things personal for him. I’m happy to say that he no longer shocks his small dog with a shock collar. (He used to think this was funny.)

    He no longer tries to hit my dog (my dog retrieved his hat for him and also demonstrated advanced scenting skills, even when my brother tried to fool my dog).

    Sadly, the only other times I have seen change are when Karma happens. And, it happens. It’s not polite to laugh and point out the irony at those times. If handled well, it becomes a learning opportunity.

  8. Pete says:

    A question for Deborah:

    How is poisoning in pets usually determined if there’s no physical evidence? Are the symptoms of poisoning by common agents so obvious that veterinarians can make that call fairly easily, or do they routinely check for poisoning in young animals that die for no apparent reason?

  9. Esteban says:

    I’m sure you noted the part where I said “Now, I do not condone poisoning.”

    Because I don’t. I don’t even poison the rats that sometimes get under my house. I use snap traps. Norway rats are exotic pests and their humane elimination is sometimes necessary. I had pet rats in college yet I still make a distinction. I am directly responsible (no matter how removed) for the deaths of chickens, cows, pigs, and fish. I believe their production and slaughter should be done without pain. I also am directly responsible for the death of cats I trap and bring to the local shelter. I want their deaths to be humane which is why I will continue to campaign AGAINST the TNR movement. We cannot accept feral cats in the environment simply because we don’t have the balls to take responsibility for their humane deaths. Leaving them (or worse) re-abandoning them outside is cruel and will lead to their premature death….albeit by cars, coyotes, disease, parasites, etc (as horrible a death as poisoning)….also know as ‘attrition’ by TNR advocates.

  10. Andrew R. says:

    “I think you miss the obvious. Pets (or feral cats) are poisoned because they are bothering someone, and they don’t want to confront a neighbor directly”

    What specifically does this mean? Are you saying (as I think you are) that the aggrieved neighbor does not want to confront the pet owner? Or do you mean (as your grammar suggests) that the pets themselves are afraid of confrontation? In any event, it is of course true that one has the right to protect their property but we must keep in mind exactly WHAT one is protecting against. The idle cat that wanders about ones backyard is an entirely different item from an armed drug addict looking for cash. By the logic of your argument do I then have the right to leave out a box of poison candy for the kids that run through my backyard? Perhaps I can now take pot-shots at them with my air rifle: after all I simply must defend my property.

    If one were to shoot the home-invading drug addict it may be seen as an act of self defense. However to kill a wandering cat (by poisoning) requires malice aforethought, the kind that places people who do it in the same class as Jeffrey Dahmer (who also started out killing small pets).

    Furthermore cats are a part of nature, they had no choice in the matter, so I wouldn’t blame them. Specifically they’re taxonomic name is Felis catus and in a shocking coincidence they are also mammals just like us–and even more shocking they even share a certain amount of DNA with us as well (gasp!). They have evolved predatory instincts over millions of years which accounts for them preying on small birds and rodents–you know things they can catch and eat. These aspects are all %100 natural. There is no sin involved in anything other than humans making the free decisions to murder defenseless life forms NOT for food mind you, but out of mere annoyance.

  11. Robert Goldberg says:

    I wonder if you’ve considered the potential damage of such detailed, varied instruction on toxic agents that can be used to poison animals. Yes, I know it’s probably all available online, but still. This is a virtual animal poisoner’s lexicon of possibilities. Despite your high-minded tone, you’ve done no service here. I’d rather see potential solutions: how to recognize poisoned “bait,” what legal recourse in a community might look like, anything more closely resembling a solution than a mere dissertation on wrongdoing with methodology attached.

  12. Robert Goldberg says:

    Well said but specious. The onus is not on the cat, but on the irresponsible, so-called pet owner who can’t be bothered taking care of his pet and not inflicting his choice of companion on others. I don’t know why people have cats and let them run loose. They (Felis domesticus, by the way) are part of nature no longer, though they retain their hunting instinct. They have been subsumed into a culture full of cars, sadistic neighbors with poison, other creatures who have plenty of natural predators. People who choose to care for animals owe proper care to those animals. Letting a cat run loose and inflict unnecessary damage on the environment, including decimating songbirds and urinating on and scratching up people’s cars, should be regarded as negligence.

  13. selina says:

    I will not condone deliberately killing someone’s pet which is controlled, cared for and kept on the owner’s property, and I do not condone inhumane poisoning methods.

    However – this article very much underemphasises that urban roaming cats are a considerable pest, and doesn’t address the irresponsible pet ownership that drives others to secretly kill instead of having to confront the owners. I have confronted owners about problem cats and yes, I find they are completely unsympathetic to my concerns for our backyard and bushland birds and lizards.

    The results are in, cats incur a heavy predation on native animals in Australia and in New Zealand. A simple google scholar search will bring up publications on the issue. They’re not native to Australia and NZ, and even a seemingly harmless, overfed domestic moggie will incur a heavy toll on remnant bushland critters. A quick vox pop among wildlife enthusiasts will find immense dissatification with how pet owners control their roaming cats.

    There are also nuisance issues with roaming cats,and disease issues, such as toxoplasmosis.

    The roaming cat issue is now addressed with local cat laws in parts of Australia.
    http://dlg.wa.gov.au/Content/Legislation/ProposedCatAct.aspx

    Hopefully this act will be a wake-up call that people have to take responsibility for their pets and keep their pets from both harming and out of harms way (outside suburbia ia a hazardous place).

  14. Esteban says:

    Sorry for the bad grammar. I’m trying to explain the ‘why’ involved in poisoning and I thought I was clear in my opposition to it. People (who poison) do not feel comfortable in confronting an irresponsible neighbor who allows their domestic animal to roam on the land of another. So, they take what they consider the easy way out. They do not distinguish between rats (which are legally poisoned) and cats or dogs for that matter. I advocate talking to the neighbor and if they will not control their pet, to safely trap the offending cat and take it to a shelter. The neighbor (if they care) will retrieve it and maybe learn their lesson. There are cat enclosures if someone feels they MUST let their cat out. I see absolutely nothing ‘immoral’ about doing this. I have a right to keep domestic animals out of my yard. Are you saying that cats are wildlife now? They are not. They did not evolve with North American wildlife. A simple ‘non-lethal’ bite from a cat will kill a bird because of the bacteria present in a cat’s mouth. Evolving together would have made birds immune to such bacteria.

  15. Laura Dodd says:

    Then perhaps, rather than criticizing this article for what it doesn’t contain, you could write your own that would cover the subject as thoroughly as you could ever want.

  16. Laura Dodd says:

    Excellent food for thought, Deborah, and (as shown by all the responses so far) an excellent jumping off point for related discussion.

    I appreciate knowing about the many popular poisons used to kill pets. It may help me recognize signs of poisoning if ever I see them (knock wood I don’t). It may also help others eliminate from or better control some of those substances in their pest control repertoire.

    As to your original question of why people poison other people’s pets, you’ve hit the major points. There’s frustration with an animal’s behavior, reluctance to confront a neighbor, and “dehumanizing” the animal so that one can rationalize killing it. Some level of insanity (psychopathy, sociopathy, “antiempathy” perhaps?) seems to contribute. There have been times when a neighbor’s incessantly barking dog has driven me to fantasies of killing it for some peace and quiet. However, I know that it’s not the dog’s fault that it’s probably lonely & bored, that it’s possibly neurotic, and that it hasn’t been well-trained. And the neighbors are usually nice enough that I don’t fantasize long about killing them instead. So I buck up and knock on their door. This usually helps decrease the barking to a degree. I get a bonus by feeling good about myself for being so brave and diplomatic. I usually wind up helping myself (and other neighbors) by training the dog to be quiet when told.

    As to roaming and marauding cats, I don’t mind so much, even being a bird lover. My garden is a cat magnet because of many cozy places to spend their day. Having the best cat habitat in the neighborhood also keeps my own cats from roaming far. It’s also good bird habitat, with a variety of trees and shrubs, and feeders. I really don’t find that many carcasses or feathers, as the birds are usually quicker than the cats. Over the years I’ve noticed an increase in visiting bird numbers and species rather than a decrease. I’ve considered stringing belled tripwires around feeding areas if ever the bird carnage got worse. If I wanted to completely eliminate the possibility of cats killing birds on my property, I suppose I could stop feeding the birds and hack down all my landscaping. Habitat destruction – now that’s the best method to keep those birds out of harm’s way.

    Yes, I get frustrated with finding cat feces in (especially) my veggie garden. But worse yet are the piles of raccoon feces. From what I hear, theirs contains pathogens even worse than cats’. But I simply patrol the garden and pick it all up. I also keep experimenting with ways to keep certain spots less accessible or attractive as relief stations.

  17. Esteban says:

    This http://www.catgoods.com/ seems to be the only product on the market that actually works. Cats are steath hunters and bye the time the bell rings, the bird is in the cat’s mouth. While it’s great to provide habitat, if you allow your cat to roam you may be creating a habitat sink. Birds are drawn to it, but their offspring never make it out alive. Now I know not all cats kill, but if yours does and you refuse to keep them indoors (or an outdoor enclosure) please consider a cat bibb.

  18. Laura Dodd says:

    As to the belled trip wires, I was thinking of something that would not only ring, but trip up the cat to slow them down. The bells were considered as an extra touch. I’m just thinking of possibilities that would work for any cat in the garden, not just my own. So far, I haven’t seen that much evidence of the cats getting birds, even from where I can easily watch the activities.

    I actually see a lot of bird families in my garden, as the parents continue to show their young the ropes well past fledging and even into winter.

  19. Sea Green says:

    The “study” you said “found that domestic cats were the number one cause of bird mortality in the area”, found no such results. I must assume you did not read it. The data was severely manipulated to blame cats. Please read it for yourself. There were 6 supposedly fledgling deaths attributed to cats and then 3 more were put in the cat column even though they had no idea what killed the birds. The three bird deaths they attribute to cats, were more descriptive of death by owls. Ask, ornithologist, Dr. David Bird. Did you know one authors, Peter Marra, is(was) a colleague of, Nico Dauphine, at the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Research. She was working at the Smithsonian with Peter Marra at the time she attempted to poison cats.

    If all the feral cats were removed (destroyed) and all domestic cats kept indoors, bird numbers would continue to decline because of human caused habitat destruction. Advocating human birth control would make more of an impact, but that is a very unpopular topic.

  20. Esteban says:

    Sea Green, what are you saying? That because deaths by cats are minimal we shouldn’t bother to slow them down? We shouldn’t be concerned that free-roaming cats deposit disease-laden feces in our gardens? We shouldn’t care about the increasing stories of feral cat bites? We shouldn’t care that coyotes are moving into urban areas to prey on free-ranging cats? Do you not think that one can simultaneously try to minimize damage from cats, collisions AND human overpopulation and resource exploitation?

  21. Deborah Blum says:

    No argument from me, Sea Green, about human habitat destruction but regarding the effect of cats on bird populations, the D.C. study was only one of many. A few years ago, The New York Times did a terrific story on both the evidence and the conflict centering around a Texas bird watcher who was prosecuting for shooting feral cats.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/02/magazine/02cats-v–birds-t.html?pagewanted=all

  22. Deborah Blum says:

    Thanks so much for this thoughtful comment, Laura. You do a great job here for pulling together what I think are many of the key issues. And I agree with you that we’d see fewer pet poisoners if more people did buck up and actually talk to their neighbors. We don’t have cats at this time but when we did, we lived for a number of years next to a woman who was just terrified of them. She told us and we took care to keep them inside and away from her. Of course, she didn’t visit much. But there was no problem between us.

  23. Deborah Blum says:

    Of course, Robert, this is a blog about chemistry and culture. My purpose in describing the poisons and their painful mechanisms is to warn people away from them. These are not nice compounds and we should be very honest about their effects. And I agree with Laura – the story that you suggest, although not mine, would be an excellent piece in a pet or consumer publication.

  24. Sea Green is exactly right about the gray catbird study. The authors attribute those three additional kills to cats because, they note, “we are unaware of any other native or non-native predator that regularly decapitates birds while leaving the body uneaten” (Balogh, Ryder, & Marra, 2011).

    Actually, it’s widely known that such predatory behavior is not at all uncommon with owls, grackles, jays, magpies, and even raccoons (Tabor, 1991; Leyhausen, 1979; Fitzgerald & Turner, 2000; Turner & Meister, 1988). But even if the paper’s authors are correct about the three additional kills, the title of “primary predators of young catbirds” goes not to the cats, but to the “unknown predators” (with 14 kills). Seven kills, by the way, were attributed to rats or chipmunks (Balogh et al., 2011).

    But Peter Marra and his colleagues don’t stop there—they go on to suggest that predation levels may outstrip reproduction rates at the study sites, based on 42 total mortalities over a single breeding season. This is a bit like making conclusions about climate change on the basis of a single season’s weather.

    Which brings me back to your earlier point: There’s no doubt that cats pose a terrible problem for wild birds. In fact, there’s plenty of doubt. You just have to look beyond the press releases and sound bites.

    Aggregate predation figures, such as those routinely used by the American Bird Conservancy, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and others (including Nico Dauphine), can typically be traced to small—often flawed—studies, the results of which are subsequently extrapolated from one habitat to another, conflating island populations (where the presence of cats can have dire consequences) and those on continents, combining common and rare bird species, and so forth.

    It’s an interesting twist on science, actually: instead of striving for increased certainty, the goal is to create an enormous—but essentially meaningless—“estimate.” In other words, this isn’t about science, but about marketing and politics. Such figures are routinely sold to a mainstream media and public generally unfamiliar with the larger context.

    Something else to keep in mind: predators—cats included—tend to prey on the young, the old, the weak and unhealthy. Indeed, at least two research studies have investigated this phenomenon in great detail. In one, researchers comparing the fat reserves of birds killed by cats to those of birds killed through non-predatory events (e.g., collisions with windows or cars) found that “mean fat scores evident in the cat-killed birds… were sufficiently low that these individuals were likely to have had poor long-term survival prospects” (Baker, Molony, Stone, Cuthill, & Harris, 2008).

    In another study, researchers found that songbirds killed by cats tend to have smaller spleens than those killed through non-predatory events, leading them to conclude that “avian prey often have a poor health status” (Møller & Erritzøe, 2000). As the UK’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds notes: “It is likely that most of the birds killed by cats would have died anyway from other causes before the next breeding season, so cats are unlikely to have a major impact on populations” (RSPB, 2011).

    All of which raises serious doubt about the implied connections—both direct and indirect—between predation by cats and population impacts. Indeed, there is plenty of scientific evidence to suggest that such a connection is relatively rare and highly context-specific.

    Peter J. Wolf
    http://www.voxfelina.com

    Literature Cited

    Baker, P. J., Molony, S. E., Stone, E., Cuthill, I. C., & Harris, S. (2008). Cats about town: Is predation by free-ranging pet cats Felis catus likely to affect urban bird populations? Ibis, 150, 86–99.
    Balogh, A., Ryder, T., & Marra, P. (2011). Population demography of Gray Catbirds in the suburban matrix: sources, sinks and domestic cats. Journal of Ornithology, 1-10.
    Fitzgerald, B. M., & Turner, D. C. (2000). Hunting Behaviour of domestic cats and their impact on prey populations. In D. C. Turner & P. P. G. Bateson (Eds.), The Domestic Cat: The biology of its behaviour (2nd ed., pp. 151–175). Cambridge, U.K.; New York: Cambridge University Press.
    Leyhausen, P. (1979). Cat behavior: The predatory and social behavior of domestic and wild cats. New York: Garland STPM Press.
    Møller, A. P., & Erritzøe, J. (2000). Predation against birds with low immunocompetence. Oecologia, 122(4), 500–504.
    n.a. (2011). Are cats causing bird declines? [Electronic Version]. Retrieved October 26, 2011, from http://www.rspb.org.uk/advice/gardening/unwantedvisitors/cats/birddeclines.aspx
    Tabor, R. (1991). Cats—The Rise of the Cat. London: BBC Books.
    Turner, D. C., & Meister, O. (1988). Hunting Behaviour of the Domestic Cat. In D. C. Turner & P. P. G. Bateson (Eds.), The Domestic Cat: The Biology of Its Behaviour (pp. 222). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  25. I agree. Too often, the issue of property rights gets thrown around by people willing to harm, or advocating the harm of, companion animals and/or wildlife. Frankly, I find this to be more of a red herring than anything else.

    What ever happened to my right to expect my neighbors to be civil (and theirs to expect the same of me, of course)?

  26. Laura Dodd says:

    I think that Sea Green was simply pointing out that a study that many people cite may be flawed. The “Cats as Bird Enemy Number One” argument does seem extreme and erroneous. I don’t think Sea Green is advocating letting cats go bird-crazy until humans learn to control their own population. They just seem to be inserting some perspective into the bird decline question.

  27. Y T K says:

    THIS IS A FELONY!! Killing a cat — domestic (housepet) or feral IS A FELONY!!!!!!
    Trap Neuter Return is the best way to manage feral cats– AND HUMANS WHO DUMP THEIR CATS are the MAIN REASON WHY there are Feral Cats!!
    PS — the “CAT” that kills the most birds is the CATerpillar Bulldozer that knocks down whole forests and displaces birds and wildlife — Lawn Chemicals also kill MILLIONS of birds as well.

  28. Esteban says:

    Peter, way to cherry-pick. From Baker et al “Across species, cat-killed birds were in significantly poorer condition than those killed following collisions; this is consistent with the notion that cat predation represents a compensatory rather than additive form of mortality. Interpretation of these results is, however, complicated by patterns of body mass regulation in passerines. The predation rates estimated in this study would suggest that cats were likely to have been a major cause of mortality for some species of birds. The effect of cat predation in urban landscapes therefore warrants further investigation. ”

    Peter, are you saying that no one should try to minimize cat predation on native wildlife, if it involves the removal of a non-native animal from the environment? It is all about the cats isn’t it? It’s immoral to remove them, but it’s not immoral to re-abandon them to a certainly LESS humane death sweetly called ‘attrition’ by TNR folks, but called ripped about by coyotes or squashed by car by realists.

  29. Karen says:

    Nothing “drives others to secretly kill” if the killers are not crazy. Deliberately killing someone else’s pet because you can’t bring yourself to knock on your neighbor’s door is In.Sane. Justifying it with environmental concerns is disingenuous. Your car is more of an environmental threat than my hypothetical cat would be. Your habit of eating meat is more of an environmental threat. One cat crapping in your garden isn’t as much of a contamination threat as the dozen or so raccoons, possums, woodchucks, and rats depositing their dinners there. If pet poisoners (or shooters, or other killers) cared about the environment, they’d reconsider their own lifestyle. But it’s their lifestyle they care about.

  30. Tressa says:

    It always amazes me how violent and angry bird enthusiasts are when it comes to cats. Cats are not the number one cause of birds deaths. Numerous studies including those at Queensland University say that they account for about 10% of bird deaths. This is called nature. A walloping 80% is due to humans in a wide range of causes from destroying their habitats to using harmful chemicals and pollution. I can guarantee you that the feral cats in the neighborhood kill far fewer birds than the redneck kids with the BB guns. So stop blaming cats for doing what nature programed them to do ad blame people for their narcissistic need to destroy nature. National Audubon also blames “urban sprawl” for the loss of a profound number of birds.

    Still don’t think people are to blame? Here’s another study. Cats vs. glass windows, cars and trucks, power lines, agriculture, land development, logging and strip mining, oil and gas, hunting, etc. Do the math.
    http://www.currykerlinger.com/birds.htm

  31. Andrew R. says:

    My apologies. The way in which your original post was worded led me to believe that you supported the killing of animals in this matter. Mea Culpa. However as to the matter of cats being part of nature: I think the confusion is stemming from the philosophical usage of “nature” versus the scientific one. True cats are not part of what most ecologists would call wild life but then again humans (typically) no longer live amongst the trees or in primitive villages either. In order to be part of nature one need not be classed as “wild-life” rather one need only to exist in our universe. We are all biologically linked and also all a part of nature despite high technology and “civilization.” My original comment assumed that you were making the case that humans and cats have somehow transcended nature and thus justifies humans killing them. Again my apologies for the misunderstanding.

  32. Pingback: Pet Poisoners, a postscript | Speakeasy Science

  33. Andrew R. says:

    The argument would indeed be specious if it were not served up with a dash of sarcasm; as the image of a cat talking with a human should lead one to conclude as such. I pointed it out as a matter of how the original comment was worded.

    As to the second matter: how precisely do you conclude that cats are part of “nature no longer”? True most domestic cats do not appear on Animal Planet very often but this in no way diminishes their place on the taxonomic tree of life.

    From the rest of your commentary I think we both agree on the fact that owners should take more responsibility for their pets and annoyed neighbors should think twice before committing pet murder.

  34. Woodsman says:

    The general rule-of-thumb in the USA is that if your land is in an area zoned for agricultural or livestock use then it is perfectly legal to destroy any animal, someone’s pet or not, that is threatening the health, well-being, and safety of your own animals or family. The only animals exempt from you taking immediate action, legally, are those listed on endangered or threatened species lists, and any bird species under protection of MBTA (the Migratory Bird Treaty Act). Even then variances can be given should there be sufficient problem but this requires further study by authorities. Since cats are listed in the top 100 WORST invasive-species of the world in the “Global Invasive Species Database”, this means they have no protection whatsoever from being shot on sight. And in fact, if your area enforces and obeys invasive-species laws — as they should — then it is against the law to NOT destroy any cat on sight, someone’s pet or not. It is your civic and moral responsibility to destroy any invasive-species that is found away from safe confinement and roaming freely in a non-native habitat.

    A cat-owner that releases their cat in an area zoned for any form of livestock or agricultural use has no legal grounds to sue anyone if their cat is shot. Even if the shooter walks up to the door of the ex-cat-owner and hands their dead cat back to them, saying, “I shot your cat, here it is! Better luck next time!” Though local law-enforcement frowns on this because the criminally-irresponsible ex-cat-owner will just raise a stink with law-enforcement, wasting their time when they have more important things to do than explain to and coddle an idiot. Hence the popular “SSS Cat Management Program” (Shoot, Shovel, & Shut-Up) method to save your gendarmes the further hassle by the ex-cat-owning trouble-makers.

    In fact, here’s a publication from a study done by the University of Nebraska on the best ways to HUMANELY deal with a feral-cat problem wherever you live. This documentation INCLUDES the best firearms, ammo, and air-rifles required to HUMANELY destroy cats. http://deenawinter.files.wordpress.com/2010/12/ec1781.pdf

    Besides, what difference does it make if the cat gets shot or ran over by a car, attacked by another cat or animal, drowned, or poisoned by plants animals or chemicals? The result is the same. The cause is the same — the fault of the criminally irresponsible pet-owner that let that invasive-species pet roam free. It only means they really didn’t care about that cat at all so nobody else should either.

    When flying over the USA on a clear day, look down. Then you’ll see that vast coast-to-coast patchwork-quilt of farms and ranches where it’s perfectly legal to destroy every last cat.

    You might also like to know …

    Those who advocate for cats as rodent-control on farms and ranches have already doomed them to being destroyed by drowning or shooting when it becomes a financial liability more than any asset. Ranchers and farmers worldwide are fully aware that cats’ Toxoplasma gondii parasite can cause the very same birth defects (hydrocephaly and microcephaly), still-births, and miscarriages in their livestock and important wildlife as it can in pregnant women. This is why any cats are ROUTINELY destroyed around gestating livestock and wildlife-management areas in the most efficient, humane, and least-expensive method available. Common rural practice everywhere. The risk of financial loss from dead livestock and important native wildlife from an invasive-species cat is far too great to do otherwise.

    The next time they bite into that whole-grain veggie-muffin or McBurger, they just need to envision biting down on a shot-dead or drowned kitten or cat. For that’s precisely how that food supply got to their mouths — whether they want to face up to it or not. It’s not going to change reality no matter how much they twist their mind away from the truth of their world.

    If you want to blame someone for the drowning and shooting of cats, you need to prosecute yourself — every time you eat.

  35. Woodsman says:

    Killing a cat is not a felony, in fact it’s not even illegal in most places. IN FACT, according to ALL invasive-species laws it is illegal to NOT kill any cat that is found away from safe and supervised confinement.

  36. Woodsman says:

    Well said. They also all seem to turn a blind-eye to all the animals that are killed to feed their cats. As well as all the animals that their cats torture to death by ripping their skins off of them while alive, or disemboweling them while alive. For their cats to just use them for a slowly dying and agonizingly dying twitching “play toy” for their cats. Not even using it for food. No different than if they bought canaries and hamsters at a pet store then threw them at those cats to watch them shred them apart for their entertainment and amusement. They don’t even consider all the native wildlife that starves to death because their cats destroyed those animals’ ONLY food source as well. TNR Advocates’ cruelty to all animals, even their own cats, knows no bounds.

  37. Woodsman says:

    What’s your information on using Tylenol on cats? I’ve heard that this is a much more species-specific poison and won’t go on to harm further valuable native wildlife.

  38. Woodsman says:

    Whatever happened to everyone else’s right for you to learn how to respect your neighbor by keeping your PIECE-OF-SH**, DEADLY-DISEASE SPREADING, WLDLIFE-DESTROYING, INVASIVE-SPECIES, WASTE-OF-FLESH CAT ON YOUR OWN PROPERTY?

  39. Woodsman says:

    Cats are an invasive species. Bred by man for man’s purposes through selective-breeding, a form of genetic engineering. They are NOT an indigenous species ANYWHERE on the planet today and have NO PLACE in nature. A cat killing ANY wildlife is no more natural than if someone raised piranha for pets and dumped a tank of them in your bath with you in it, or releasing them in your favorite swimming areas, or in all your neighbors’ backyard pools. Piranha as pets deserve the same freedoms and protections as cats, don’t they? They too serve a purpose in the ecosystem, right? In fact, this would be even more natural than putting cats everywhere–the piranha haven’t been genetically engineered through selective breeding to make them unique from all other fishes in nature.

    Cats in the TOP 100 WORST Invasive-Species:
    Global Invasive-Species Database: http://www.issg.org/database/species/ecology.asp?si=24&fr=1&sts=sss

    Cats are NOT exempt from invasive-species laws. If your area obeys invasive-species laws (as they should), It is against the law to not destroy them on-sight whenever found away from safe confinement. It is your civic and moral responsibility to destroy any invasive-species when found in a non-native habitat. This includes cats. Much to the dismay of all criminally irresponsible and psychotic cat-lovers who are desperately trying to raise them to some absurd level of “Community Cats”. If they do that then just raise Community Pet Piranha and release them in all your lakes and pools, or Community Pet Black-Mambas and release them in all your backyards and parks, then claim the exact same protections for them as cat-advocates want for their invasive-species cats. It’d only be fair!

    Cats have no more right to be out in the natural world than some genetically engineered insect that, if released out into nature, would destroy all wildlife. Just as cats do.

    Perhaps cat-owners should learn the distinction between being a responsible pet-owner and a criminally irresponsible one. If not, too bad. The rest of the world is not their pet’s baby-sitter. A highly destructive INVASIVE-SPECIES pet at that. That’s THEIR job to keep them from harm lest they be held criminally responsible for animal-abandonment, animal-neglect, animal-endangerment, animal-cruelty, and invasive-species laws.

  40. Woodsman says:

    If cats provided meat for dinner tables or fibers for the textile industry, or any other REQUIRED need of humans, AND were kept in confined pens or in controlled grazing areas and NOT allowed to destroy all native wildlife (cats having the largest prey-base of any predator on earth, destroying not only all the NATIVE prey but all the NATIVE predators that those animals depend on), then perhaps they would be allowed as a RANCHED animal. Where they can EASILY BE DESTROYED IF NEEDED just like any other livestock that is found to harbor some new disease. Or like minks are kept confined in cages so they can be skinned for their furs. Or gutted and dressed for the “feline” section of your local butcher’s shelves. Right alongside the poultry, pork, and beef sections.

    UNTIL THAT TIME, and failing that, THESE HIGHLY DESTRUCTIVE DEADLY-DISEASE-SPREADING INVASIVE-SPECIES MUST BE DESTROYED ON-SIGHT IF FOUND ROAMING FREELY IN NATURE.

  41. Deborah Blum says:

    Good question about Tylenol. It’s actually on my short list for a subject I’d like to write about in terms of general toxicity.

  42. Deborah Blum says:

    If you read the post to the end, I think you’ll get a pretty good sense of where I’m going from. Agree absolutely that we are biologically linked and as I say, in the conclusion, our own species needs to learn greater respect for others. Also wrote a postscript to this post today that is less measured, which is the tone I wanted in the original piece, and more angry.

  43. Deborah Blum says:

    That’s a good question, Pete. Some of the initial diagnosis is based on symptoms – the severe convulsions, say, caused by strychnine. Secondary work would be in blood analysis or necropsy. Antifreeze/ethylene glycol is very well known to veterinarians because of accidental poisonings, for instance when a radiator leaks on the garage floor and pets lick up the liquid because it’s so sweet. If the animal dies in that case, a necropsy will find very characteristic formation of crystals in the kidneys and other organs. The poisons I cited in the blog are very well known and very well studied.

  44. BlahBlahBlah says:

    Humans are the #1 most invasive species, 7 billion and counting. Sorry I don’t have time to blather on and on with all my proof and justification.

  45. Woodsman says:

    I find this post hilariously funny — and sad — and so full of holes in the story that it can only be made-up.

    For starters, why are your cats’ lives more important than those birds’ lives? If someone came and ripped one of your cats to shreds like your cats have done to the birds you’d be all over the net about it. How many birds are YOU going to kill by letting your cats attack them before YOU have killed too many birds? Their deaths are YOUR fault you know, not your cats’.

    Another … in an effort to try to replenish the native wildlife in my woods, that was annihilated by feral-cats over the years, I started out by feeding the few remaining raccoons, fox, and other assorted species that were lucky enough to survive the devastation to the food chain by cats. All started by one raccoon who was so starving to death that she couldn’t even make milk for her pups. Risking everything and dragging her two last surviving pups to my very door IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DAY. Thanks to her, I finally got population numbers back up again after she alerted me to how bad it had become from cats literally sterilizing the native food-sources from my land. But during this time, I counted as many as 60 raccoons, opossum, fox, and other animals in my yard some nights in the wildlife feeding area. I literally would have to carefully step over them so as not to step on one of the offspring (which the mothers would even let me play with). Feeding these animals daily for YEARS. Guess how many raccoon feces I have found by my house to this very day? NONE. And we’re talking wall-to-wall raccoons here. And still NO FECES BY THE HOUSE.

    I’ve remarked to my friends on how clean they are. Cleaner than the dogs I used to keep. If ONLY the dogs I used to have (strays, abandoned, and abused that used to find me for help) were more respectful of property and be as clean I might consider getting more dogs today. But not after I have now witnessed how respectful and clean the local wildlife are.

    Tell some more wild tales and psychotic justifications on why you let cats kill wildlife. I’m sure all the usual urban morons who swallow your lines of bull will all fall for it.

    Are you even aware that the Toxoplasma gondii in those cats’ feces will even cause miscarriages, still-births, and other birth-defects in wildlife too? Just like it does to a human fetus, it does the same to most any mammal on earth. Are you even aware that cats are causing this to happen in seals, rare otters, and dolphins in all coastal areas from run-off carrying cat-feces? You have NO IDEA just how much devastation to the world and all its life that your cats are causing, do you. _YOU_ ARE CAUSING THOSE DEATHS. YOU need to be locked up in prison — FOR LIFE.

  46. Woodsman says:

    So by your reasoning, we should do absolutely nothing about cats destroying all the wildlife on earth until you get yourself sterilized. Do I have that right? And even after that, we still shouldn’t stop those cats from destroying every ecosystem that they are found in. Right?

    If ONLY there was a legal cure for “stupid”.

  47. Woodsman says:

    Homo sapiens is NOT an invasive species ANYWHERE, you freakishly stupid MORON. Since humans have the genetic code to give them the capability to travel/migrate to ANY part of the globe, this means they are native to any area they can travel to on their own. Just like birds that have this capability and can travel to different continents and islands. Those that have the flight-range required to do so are NATIVE to those areas that they are capable of traveling to ON THEIR OWN.

    (And for the love of all that’s good in the world, PLEASE don’t display your further ignorance and stupidity by trying to claim that Europeans, Native Americans, and Asians are different “species”. That’s usually your next huge omelet-on-the-face move that you astoundingly ignorant fools make.)

    Whereas, an animal genetically engineered through selective breeding, such as CATS, are NOT AN INDIGENOUS SPECIES ANYWHERE. They are no more natural to any native environment than some genetically engineered insect that was invented in some lab, that once released out into nature will destroy all native wildlife, JUST AS CATS DO.

    If you phenomenally stupid cretins are going to use ecology, biology, speciation, and genetics in your arguments, the very LEAST that you could do is have a base comprehension of what you are talking about. Don’t you think?

    No. And that’s the problem with terminally ignorant MORONS like you, you CAN’T think.

    There’s just no legal cure for “stupid”.

  48. Another Karen says:

    Deborah, thanks for mentioning your postscript (http://blogs.plos.org/speakeasyscience/2012/01/10/pet-poisoners-a-postscript/). It’s beautifully put. When I read it, I thought of all the people in this comment thread spinning their justifications for use of — as you remind us — the coward’s weapon. Shame on them.

  49. Fred G. says:

    The spouse and I spent a decade and thousands of dollars creating a bird sanctuary in our suburban back yard… Humming birds, barn swallows, cardinals, gold finches… The neighbors loved it.

    The new guy across the street lets his cat out. Birds were gone within a couple of months. Although it’s illegal to let your cat out, cops won’t do anything about it…

  50. Casey Anderson says:

    Part of pet ownership is being responsible for our pets’ interactions with others. Out of love for my dog and respect for my neighbors, I never allow my dog off my property unleashed. Unfortunately, I seem to be a rarity.

    Living in a very rural area the past 17 years, I’ve seen pet dogs kill lambs, calves and kid goats for nothing more than the pleasure of killing–the prey is never consumed. Domesticated dogs can have strong hunting instincts just as cats, and dogs do far more damage when allowed to roam.

    In one instance, three dogs were shot in short order by the livestock owner, my neighbor, after two warnings following previous livestock deaths failed to convince the dogs’ owner to control the dogs. Once the dogs were dead the dog owner tried and failed to file charges against my neighbor. I had seen the dogs running across my property covered in blood, and my neighbor shot them in the field with the livestock, yet the dog owner insisted that his dogs weren’t responsible, they were only “doing what they were born to do.”

    I know that my dog, a Siberian, has a very strong prey drive. As her owner I am responsible for ensuring that she NEVER has even the opportunity to kill livestock or others’ pets (cats and rabbits are particularly tempting for Siberians.) I knew that before I got her and I have to be responsible for containing her at all times. It’s just common sense.

    The feral dog population has been more of a concern here than feral cats. A pack of feral dogs attempted to attack my young daughter many years ago. She climbed to the top of her swingset screaming as I loaded the gun. Within a year there were no more feral dogs in this area, having been shot or chased away from inhabited areas. People continually dump unwanted dogs, puppies, cats and kittens in our area and while it’s never fun to shoot them, no one wants to risk rabies (a real problem in this area) while trying to trap them.

    We also have a very high feral cat population that loves to hunt my chickens–which are kept in a secured coop with a small outdoor run. The cats are descendents of cats dumped off by irresponsible people who think it perfectly logical to force domesticated animals to learn to fend for themselves. While the cats have done a great job of controlling the field mouse population, the cats are preyed upon by feral dogs and even red tail hawks (I’ve seen a hawk with a small cat, it wasn’t pretty.) All in all, the cat numbers haven’t gotten out of hand yet.

    The general rule in these parts is that an owner has one chance to control their animal(s). Dogs get out of fences, we all know that, and no one wants to kill a dog unnecessarily. When the warning fails the dog is fair game the next time the dog is caught harassing livestock, children, etc.

    One advantage of rural living is that my neighbors aren’t close enough to be bothered by my dog’s occasional barking. My dog is indoors and if outside, on a leash, primarily due to fear of theft (another real problem for owners of purebred dogs in this area) and concern for her health (wild animals and domesticated dogs/cats carry nasty diseases, parasites, etc.)

    If I were forced into city living again, I would continue to have my dog indoors at all times for all the current reasons she lives inside, with the addition of unknown people doing unknown things to my dog.

    Other than rat poisoning, I’ve been tempted to resort to poison only once, to control oppossums that somehow–still don’t know how–managed to get into my chicken coop and decapitate most of my birds. I decided against it because I didn’t want any other animal to get into the poison. Shooting a feral dog or oppossum or cat attacking livestock is one thing. Condemning a dog or cat or other animal to slow, painful internal hemorhaging is quite another. I couldn’t live with myself were that to happen.

    Rats and mice, on the other hand, are killed any way possible–it may be illogical but it is what it is.

  51. Laura Dodd says:

    It’s interesting that you would opine that I should be locked up for life for the killing of a few birds per year by my cat. Yet in another comment to YTK, you point out (correctly) that killing cats is not a felony. Is letting a cat kill a bird a felony to justify my lifetime imprisonment? I wonder at your reasoning, if reason is really in play. Are you developing a rationale for poisoning cats – and perhaps people who don’t live life that way you think they should?

    Your words make it sound as though cats are consciously depositing toxoplasmotic feces across the Earth in order to wipe out every other species. Just think what they could do if they only had opposable thumbs. Consider what they did to the American camel, passenger pigeon, moa and so many other species with only their claws and feces.

    You also make it sound as though cats are the only species that kills other animals. There is no kibble in nature, and the raccoons, fox, and opossums in your woodlands also kill. I doubt it’s any prettier than what cats do. Although they may not defecate in your yard, I’m certain that your woodland creatures are doing it somewhere. Of course they wouldn’t leave their feces in the yard, with all that food you’ve so “naturally” left lying around for them.

    You also perpetuate the opinion that cats only kill for sport, leaving bird carcasses strewn across the land. The “toying with their prey” that so many people are distressed about is part of their hunting instinct. It is useful in protecting them from getting bitten by prey such as rats. Other species (e.g. wolves and sharks) do similar things for varied reasons. One reason some cats do not eat their prey is that they don’t know there’s anything tasty on the inside. Once they are shown, or discover this by accident, they tend to do a good job of devouring their kill. Unless I catch my cat in the act, the only way I know she’s gotten a bird is by finding the feet and primary feathers.

    As a side thought, I wonder how much habitat your woodland home destroyed so you could live in nature and imagine yourself a wildlife biologist who _knows_ that all those wild animals are starving because of cats. Of course they are coming to your house to eat – easy pickings are what you’re offering them. I hope you have your rabies vaccinations, because playing with wild animals will likely get you bitten eventually.

    No, I don’t like that my cat kills birds, as much as you might think I’m cheering her on. I accept that a merlin and a sharp-shinned hawk visit my garden, and carry off a songbird with far more regularity than the neighborhood cats do. I accept that a phoebe eats a number of my honeybees. If I moved to live near the woods, I would not try to eradicate the mountain lion or fox that killed my cat. I am not going to hate or poison them for doing what comes naturally.

    I might have a grudge against humans because 7 billion of them are actively and willfully destroying so much of the Earth’s ecosystem. However, I’m not going to hate or try killing them because they don’t have the wit or the will to stop. Sadly, it seems to be part of their nature. I’m not even going to try killing (or wish death or misfortune upon) those who disagree with me, no matter how emotional and irrational they get. However, if some nut job starts poisoning the neighborhood animals, or threatens me, you can be certain that I would look for full legal recourse.

  52. finette says:

    …Yikes.

  53. CatDestroyer says:

    I hate cats, I always have. I’m not sure why, cats just bug the crap out of me. In college I started putting notches on the running board of my truck every time I ran one over. Sorry I’m not an uneducated backwater hick either. I hold a BS and MS in EE from Texas A&M. I even have several patents and inventions to my name that, chances are, you may recognize.
    My now teenage daughter was 7 years old before she became aware that these vermin were called cats, the only thing she had ever heard me call them was “Speed Bumps”, or “Hood Ornaments”…depending on how they landed after being run down by yours truly while wearing a wild maniacal grin on my face.
    Oh and the bird-watcher mentioned by one of the respondents here…I remember that case well, it was in Galveston (I live in Houston), the guy was railroaded by a bunch of PETA nuts. I recall donating money for his defense fund.
    At any rate if you want to keep cats off your property I highly recommend getting a beagle. Start with a puppy so you can train him to be quite. Once you have trained them not to wake up neighbors ten blocks away, beagles are the best natural-born cat haters in the world. I saw a big tom cat make the mistake of coming into our yard once. I was working on my under grad from A&M during this time. I had what I thought was the meekest and most humble animal in the world as a pet, my beagle Elvis. When the cat sauntered into the yard Elvis jumped up and ran to him like they were long lost friends. The cat didn’t have a chance, even though he was pretty big. Elvis grabbed him by the neck and killed the cat just like that, no hesitation and hardly any effort. When I tried to take the carcass away from him, Elvis even growled at me…he’d never done that before. He was so intent on the kill that he forgot, for a brief moment who the alpha dog was in this family. However, after a quick swat on the nose, Elvis regained his station and I took the cat and put him in a trash can…someone else’s trash can, down the street, since we only had trash service once a week. I didn’t want the foul beast stinking up my yard.
    The next day a ten year old girl and her mom were walking through the neighborhood looking for their lost cat. They showed me and Elvis a picture of the forlorn pest. We recognized him right away. I was nice enough not to tell them where to find the carcass…and Elvis…well, he could only manage a look of great sadness on his face and with just the hint of a gleam of being cheated in his eyes.

    I any case I hate the little bastards and would be willing to donate to any fund setup to support their demise.

  54. Buster Schenck says:

    No dog has the right to ruin a human being’s life by incessant barking. If there was more social or legal pressure available to prevent these sorts of situations, tormented people would not be driven to such extremes. It would also help if the dog owners weren’t such self-righteous, inconsiderate jerks. There’s an easy way to prevent some desperate soul from poisoning your dog – shut it up. But I have never known a single dog owner who would lift a finger to control his “pet”, even when his wolf-like beast was dashing straight toward our two-year-old daughter on the beach.

  55. Woodsman says:

    There’s so much misinformation, side-stepping red-herring bullsh** in your comment that NONE of it is worth addressing.

  56. Woodsman says:

    Well said. This is why feral dog-packs are actually a rarity in rural areas. It is mandatory by law in nearly every, if not every, state of the USA to shoot any dog on sight that is seen harassing wildlife. And a property owner has EVERY RIGHT to destroy ANY animal that is threatening the well-being, safety, and health of their own family and animals. (Minus those on endangered or threatened species lists or under protection of MBTA (Migratory Bird Treaty Act), though variances can still be given should there be sufficient problem, but this requires further study by authorities.) This is why feral dog-packs are a rarity in most rural areas. They are SHOT before things get that bad. Unfortunately, people moving to the country aren’t aware of this so they refuse to do their civic and moral duty by destroying that dog or cat that is harming other animals. I keep a paintball-gun loaded with red-pellets for any stray dogs. Stings enough to teach a teachable dog, and leaves a nice signal on their coat. The first time they get the paintball gun. If that doesn’t teach the owner and alert them to what could have really happened to their dog, then out comes the rifle next time. Cats aren’t so easily forgiven, because from past experience I know that warning a cat-owner does no good. So out comes the rifle on the first sighting of a cat instead of the paintball-gun. People in rural areas who actually care about their animals keep them confined, or they lose them — permanently . You can tell who actually loves their animals, those animals are still alive. It’s the law of the land.

  57. Laura Dodd says:

    I am reminded of the old SNL days of Jane Curtin and Dan Ackroyd doing Point-Counterpoint. Jane would begin with some position piece with some rational argument or other. Dan would take counterpoint, saying “Jane you ignorant slut”, and then continue to name-call rather than deliver a well-thought out argument.

    In this case (and too many other cases in public discourse), it would be almost funny, except that the Ackroyd character truly lives.

    You do no favors to your position, no matter how many valid points you may have, by name-calling and cursing. It’s simply verbal violence, and violence has been said to be the last resort of the incompetent.

  58. Deborah Blum says:

    Folks, I’ve really enjoyed and admired much about the discussion going on here – some really smart, really thoughtful points. But I have taken a few comments down recently, especially those that seem to include instructions for killing animals that the writer doesn’t like. This is actually the first time I’ve stepped in as moderator in the comment section since I started this blog and I’m hoping not to do it again. Thanks.

  59. Deborah Blum says:

    Agreed, Laura. I’ve just written a comment making a similar point and I’ve also (at least for now) removed several comments which I thought crossed the line.

  60. Laura Dodd says:

    It’s sad that you harbor such a violent hatred of an animal, and that you have probably instilled that same hatred in your daughter. I don’t know why you think that it is acceptable to boast in detail of your cruel misdeeds on a blog that is decrying such horrible behavior. It doesn’t sound like you were being “nice enough” to not tell the girl and her mother about their slaughtered cat. It sounds like you were behaving cowardly.

    With any luck, you have been telling the truth about yourself. Perhaps someone in the Houston area will read this and recognize a Texas A&M graduate in EE with patents and inventions to his/her name who drives a truck with notches in his running board, has a teenaged daughter, and owns a beagle named Elvis. If so, one can hope that this person will notify the authorities.

  61. Robert Goldberg says:

    The argument that “cats are natural predators” is used irresponsibly to justify bad, or non-existent pet care. As such, appealing to the fact that they are natural beings purposefully avoids the issue. It is an argument that is “merely true” but irrelevant in the context of this discussion. I do beg pardon for missing the sarcasm in your toxipaedia, but expect that someone who seeks to poison an animal and gleans the necessary data from yur article might be unconcerned with the tone of delivery.

  62. CatDestroyer says:

    Heh heh, I enjoyed your reaction Laura. But please, what would the authorities have to do with me? If I see a cat in the road, that’s the cat’s problem. I will surely not try to miss him. And having a wonderfully giddy feeling in my chest for having dispatched the vile beast to cat hell is certainly no crime. Maybe you would like to have Elvis arrested? However I’m sad to report he died many years ago. But he was a great dog and a good friend. He also killed more cats then I was able to run down in our time together (even with my leaving tuna in the road), a fact I’m sure he was quite proud of.
    Let me ask you a question. Do you cry when you step on a bug? Do you employee an exterminator to cleanse your house of pest? Do you wear leather shoes? In this day and age it’s hard not to live off the death of some animal. But take heart, that’s the way it should be. Animals are a resource for humans to exploit just like water, oil, gold, the rain forest or anything else on the Earth. It’s not my fault that cats are so worthless that the only service they can provide is my entertainment when I run one down in my truck. There’s nothing quite like the wild and heady feeling I get because some cat just ricocheted off my front bumper. Well gotta go open a can of tuna now. Be good, and remember…if you see a cat in the road, just tighten your grip on the steering wheel and let em have it! Happy Driving!

  63. Woodsman says:

    What do you do if you’ve repeatedly knocked on your neighbor’s door for FIFTEEN YEARS and still they would do nothing about spreading their diseased invasive-species vermin everywhere? What then? Trying to be “kind” about this ecological disaster is what caused it. The time for being “kind” is over. I’ll never go through that true insanity again. (Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result is insanity. SHOOTING every last cat finally changed things. That’s the sign of sanity.)

    Perhaps you should consider the price of your own civilization in this regard as well.

    If you advocate for cats as rodent-control on farms and ranches you’ve already doomed them to being destroyed by drowning or shooting when it becomes a financial liability more than any asset. Ranchers and farmers worldwide are fully aware that cats’ Toxoplasma gondii parasite can cause the very same birth defects (hydrocephaly and microcephaly), still-births, and miscarriages in their livestock and important wildlife as it can in pregnant women. This is why any cats are ROUTINELY destroyed around gestating livestock and wildlife-management areas in the most efficient, humane, and least-expensive method available. Common rural practice everywhere. The risk of financial loss from dead livestock and important native wildlife from an invasive-species cat is far too great to do otherwise.

    The next time you bite into that whole-grain veggie-muffin or McBurger, you need to just envision biting down on a shot-dead or drowned kitten or cat. For that’s precisely how that food supply got to your mouth — whether you want to face up to it or not. It’s not going to change reality no matter how much you twist your mind away from the truth of your world.

    If you want to blame someone for the drowning and shooting of cats, you need to prosecute yourself — every time you eat.

  64. Woodsman says:

    May you hit as many as possible. Good luck! It is your kind that may save civilization from dying under a mountain of cannibalistic cats one day. It’s all that will be left after they’ve destroyed the whole food-chain for all life on this planet, and ultimately, all of humanity.

    Note: Ancient Egypt only had a population of 100,000 to 150,000 people. But they found 300,000 mummified cats. Do you suppose there’s a clue in there of what stretched their finite resources and health to the brink of collapse? Naw, couldn’t be that! Could it? :-)

  65. Woodsman says:

    (Moral of that story: Blind-worship of anything will ultimately cause your own demise.)

  66. Woodsman says:

    I’ll address but one (maybe 2) of your side-stepping red-herring bullsh** assumptions. Partly my fault for not having included a lengthy timeline of how the native wildlife restoration project of mine took place. It wasn’t until after about 11 years was I seeing populations as high as I mentioned. The first 1 to 6 years I was lucky if I even saw 3 or 4 native animals in my yard each night. They just didn’t exist in the whole area. To which, now that I have destroyed all the cats that have destroyed their food sources, as well as an extensive project of raising native mice and voles to re-release back on the land to help them even further … am now, for the last 2 years, slowly weening them off of my dependency. They were all using my place as an emergency station. One of the few places where they could bring their offspring every spring to summer to get a much needed whelping-season boost-up to get through the rest of the year. (A special diet I formulated replete with vitamins and all required nutrients but one that would also not be found at any other human habitation so they wouldn’t be drawn to nor stay near other human habitation. If I was going to help them, I needed to ensure all of them and their offspring would be healthy and strong and not subject themselves to further danger.)

    Most of their habitat and food sources were destroyed by farmers and their cats. I could at least do something about the cats. Some of the older individuals still visit for a day or two each spring to come show me their new offspring. Some even taking a much needed snooze belly-up in my yard alongside me while I watch over their little monsters, playing with them (yes, they trust me that much). And yes, I’ve learned to recognize some by familiar car, hunting, or animal-fight scars left behind. One animal in particular that I named Bobby (no tail) was so funny this year, because I hadn’t seen her in over 2 years. She ran up to me like a long-lost puppy, wagging her tail-less end. Stayed for a week, then left again.

    Knowing what I do about the nature of nature, ecology, biology, and the behavior of wildlife itself, you have no idea how easy is to laugh at your blatant ignorance in these matters.

    You might also like to know you have a better chance of catching rabies from even a vaccinated cat that has just tore apart some rabid bat in your backyard, and then came in to lick your face with a mouthful or claws full of fresh rabies virus, than you do most wildlife. A small animal dying of rabies is the perfect play-toy for any cats that are allowed outdoors. YOU FOOL.

  67. Andrew R. says:

    It’s interesting how people make the law out to be what they think it ought to be rather than what it is.

    Case in point…

    “And in fact, if your area enforces and obeys invasive-species laws — as they should — then it is against the law to NOT destroy any cat on sight, someone’s pet or not.”

    Exactly what “invasive species” laws do you refer to? And just how is it you think they apply to the country as a whole? Under our system of dual federalism in the United States, each state retains sovereignty over the “health and safety” of its citizens and is not subject to any federal regulations on those matters unless they intersect within a treaty or other such law of the land. This ISSG list you keep referencing was put together by a council from the United Nations and carries with it no force of law.

    Furthermore citizens are rarely ever obligated by law to DO anything and are only usually barred from certain actions. Some exceptions involve things like “Duty to Rescue” but this kind of duty is hard to define and thus is not easily codified into law.

    I would certainly be surprised if you knew of some law codified a “Duty to Kill” an animal “on sight” as you say. If such laws do exist, so be it, but they certainly are not universal. Each state may make its own animal laws as it sees fit. Texas may not have a problem with you blasting fluffy off your ranch but I’m pretty sure there would be some stiff fines to pay if you used you Ruger Mini-14 on the neighbors cat in residential San Francisco. In that the only legitimate point you make is one of zoning. But your flaw of logic is thinking that the laws of the Armpit-USA somehow apply to the whole nation…they don’t.

    If you doubt this fact I invite you to look here…
    http://www.llrx.com/features/catlaw.htm

    And I invite you to read this ISSG list your so fond of a little more closely as it lists dogs as an “invasive species” as well.
    http://www.issg.org/database/species/ecology.asp?si=146&fr=1&sts=sss&lang=EN

  68. Woodsman says:

    It is mandatory in nearly every, if not every, state of the USA to shoot ANY dog on sight that is seen harassing wildlife. And yes, dogs are also an invasive species — aside the fact that it is not only legal but it is illegal to NOT destroy them when found harassing wildlife. (Do you even know what an invasive-species is? I highly doubt you know even that much.)

    The “general rule” I refer to is that if your area allows you to defend yourself from an any animal that is threatening the well-being, safety, or health of ANY animal or human, and as long as it is not listed on any endangered, threatened, or MBTA species lists, then it is PERFECTLY LEGAL to do so in your area.

    Cats are on NO SUCH LIST ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD. Ergo, shooting cats is perfectly legal EVERYWHERE IN THE USA. Check the laws in even the most densely of populated cities.

    YOU STILL HAVE THAT RIGHT TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM ANY ANIMAL THAT IS THREATENING THE HEALTH, WELL-BEING OR SAFETY OF YOUR OWN ANIMALS OR FAMILY BY DESTROYING THAT ANIMAL ON-SITE. AND *NOBODY* CAN TAKE THAT RIGHT FROM YOU.

  69. Woodsman says:

    For an example of how invasive-species laws are properly followed and enforced: It is highly illegal for a person to transport an African Cichlid fish species to just the other side the road if you catch one in the canals of the Everglades when fishing. THEY MUST BE DESTROYED ON-SITE. Yet Cichlids are often kept as pets, that’s how they wrongly got into the canals to begin with. There are hefty fines in place for anyone found transporting these invasive-species alive if caught in the wild. (Interestingly, these Cichlids are FAR FAR LESS damaging to the environment and all other native wildlife than ANY cat.)

    All of this much to the dismay of criminally irresponsible and psychotic cat-lovers who are desperately trying to raise these invasive-species cats to some absurd level of “Community Cats”. If they do that then just raise “Community Pet Piranha” and release them in all your lakes and pools, or “Community Pet Black-Mambas” and release them in all your backyards and parks, then claim the exact same protections for them as cat-advocates want for their invasive-species cats. It’d only be fair! Are you starting to see just how absurd and ludicrous these cat-advocates are yet?

  70. Andrew R. says:

    It’s quite clear from your posts that you are unaware of what “invasive species” are and seem also to believe that the law means whatever you want it to mean. Did you READ my last post? Did you look at any of the links I provided on the legality of killing animals? I’m providing you with sources from 3rd parties that PROVE that you’re wrong in your claim.

    Here is the cat one again…

    http://www.llrx.com/features/catlaw.htm

    But wait there’s more; New York has some pretty stiff penalties for what people do with their OWN cats let alone feral cats…

    http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/explainer/2010/08/here_kitty_kitty_kitty.html

    And that’s not all; here is an excerpt from NOLO.com (a high reputation legal advice website)…

    “Most statutes do not allow a farmer to shoot dogs that are merely running loose (at large). A North Dakota rancher, who shot a neighbor’s greyhound after it ran through his cattle herd without particularly disturbing the cattle, was not protected by the state statute, which allows killing a dog only if it is “worrying” livestock. The rancher had to pay $300 to the dog’s owner. ”

    http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/free-books/dog-book/chapter9-2.html

    I invite you to actually READ that last one as it covers all of your so called arguments in legal detail…something your arguments are lacking.

    America is not just one big ranch where twisted people can shoot animals without reasonable cause. Let me be exceptionally clear on this point…I agree the law protects a citizens right to defend their life and/or livestock from attack by animals…BUT… if a dog/cat happens into your backyard, is not clearly threatening others or you, and you decide to shoot it, then depending on the state you live in you could be into serious fines, damages, and/or jail time. Don’t believe me? Great. Try taking pot shots at loose dogs/cats in a metro area and see just how the cops respond. The whole point of the main article on the blog was discussing the twisted and turgid people who poison pets, NOT the legality of shooting animals which present as an exigent threat. That much was never really in dispute. But you seem to be convinced without citing so much as a statute or case law that somehow citizens generally (e.g. nationally) have some kind of legal obligation to shoot dogs/cats that present as a eminent threat. They don’t. You keep citing this invasive species list that you seem to think is some kind of national standard that all states adhere to. Well sorry bud, it isn’t and they don’t. All of which I explained in my last post. The legal concept of “Duty to Rescue” is one that is very hard to define and most states have not written it into their code. But to help make things even more clear, here is a hypothetical…

    Say that I live in a “right to carry” state, I have a weapon on my person, and I’m in a metro area, and I notice a dog that is attacking someone, then I rush over to help pry the dog off the person, and then restrain or otherwise control the dog. Now, perhaps the victim sustains fatal injuries, or perhaps the victim gets some kind of infection, or any other such thing is irrelevant. I had no “legal” obligation to have shot the dog. There may not have been any penalties if I had done so, but there exists NO LEGAL OBLIGATION to do so.

    Stop conflating local ranch & farm ordinances with some kind of “national law” that you seem to have just made up all on your own. Such a law or “general rule” as you put it simply does not exist. Still don’t believe me? Great, go have a pow-wow with your attorney and see what he/she tells you about your version of law.

  71. Selina says:

    Karen, try and not make assumptions and throw in strawman arguments. Objective, calm consideration is required. The issue is roaming pets which have a quantifiable effect on wildlife in NZ and Australia and compounding upon other stressors like fragmentation and clearing. You will find a very polarised community in regards to what is responsible pet ownership and the ‘rights of a cat to roam’. You will find wildlife enthusiasts not swayed by your argument or higher moral stance because they have personal, hands-on experience of the consequences of roaming cats.

    And so you have an impass. Some sane people will poison roaming animals. Try and get a psychiatric assessment on them if you have an alternate hypothesis. And there are irresponsible owners will not control their pets nor come to the table for discussion. And there are urban populations of abandoned feral or semi-wild cats.

    And so laws have been introduced to address this larger issue. The fact that laws had to be introduced suggests that there is a subset of sane and frustrated people who have been previously had no control and who demanded legal recourse.

    Calling them all ‘crazy hypocrites’ doesn’t open options for discussion, analysis and finding a solution.

  72. Kaviani says:

    This may be the completely wrong forum for this question, but since it was touched upon…how is it that cats are attracted to something “sweet” (antifreeze) when they have no “sweet” receptors? Do they perceive it as salty or otherwise compelling, like catnip?

    I’ve yet to get a straight answer on this. I suspect not all cats are sweet-blind, but I’m not a feline zoologist.

  73. CatDestroyer says:

    That’s a great question to which I would add another: Why are cats so attracted to the bumper of my truck? It could be an iron deficiency, since I do have a large custom made iron bumper on the the front of my F-250. I’t unreal, I’m driving along listening to the Bee Gees and here comes some dumb cat galluping straight for the bumper. I just can’t tell you how many times this has happened. But please don’t worry, I’m able to clean the bumper with a garden hose when I get home so there is never any damage.
    I’d sure like to know if anyone has any ideas…

  74. Woodsman says:

    Too funny. For all that you just posted, not ONE OF THEM refutes ANYTHING I said.

    LOL

  75. Woodsman says:

    They seem to have a great affinity for lead too. And loud popping noises. I can’t figure it out either. I can be aiming at a practice target to the west of the house, and some damn cat east of the house will jump in front of that target just to catch the lead! Oddest thing you’ll ever see! Silly cats.

  76. WoodsmanNeedsHelp says:

    Guys — check the Internet for posts by “woodsman”. He has been doing this crap for months, finding any discussion on feral cat issues be they local papers (urban or rural), Internet forums and even legal sites. He always cuts and pastes his key “arguments” and then descends into increasingly vile personal abuse and frankly creepy descriptions of killing cats. He never actually engages local conditions, logical arguments, personal anecdotes or objective evidence raised by other posters. At first I thought he was a troll doing it for sick fun, but the volume and intensity of his rants indicate something else the Internet tends to give a platform to: functioning paranoid schizophrenics. Pity him, ignore him and hope like hell his cat killing is in his mind (and if not, hope he stops at cats). A sad case.

    CatDestroyer, on the other hand, is a garden variety troll. Nothing like Internet annonimity to bring out the dark side in people who can’t take satisfaction in ordinary life.

    Interesting discussion from everyone else.

  77. CatDestroyer says:

    Garden variety?? Troll?? How dare you! I’m just trying to make a contribution to the discussion. I’m not flicking hateful names out at people. But when you value a the life (over your fellow man) of a small useless brain-dead animal, whose sole purpose in life seems to be hunching over on the carpet and taking a large steaming dump that smells something akin to your breath…well, it’s kinda hard to have an intelligent conversation. Now retract your claws, take a tic-tac and let me do my job!
    Woodsman…have your ever noticed a cat will scream like a little girl when you run them over?

  78. Woodsman says:

    You can look at it this way …. it took me 2 hunting seasons to get rid of every last stray cat on my land, feral, pet, it mattered not. This was done through relentless vigilance and accuracy. I realized that the ONLY way to prevent this from ever happening again was to apply the very same techniques now to those that had caused this local ecological disaster in the first place. To stop them, for myself and everyone else that has been tormented in life by people just like these mindless TNR advocates. I’m not going away until every last person that advocates the release of invasive-species cats has been stopped from practicing their criminally-irresponsible behavior. You can count on that.

  79. Woodsman says:

    Oh, and that too is a common copy&paste for psychotic cat-lover TROLLS like you. I find that more than one mouse-click is more time and energy than anyone should ever expend on a waste-of-flesh cat-lover.

  80. Woodsman says:

    (Yup! That one ^ too! LOL)

  81. Woodsman says:

    Oh, I forgot to mention something important to everyone. This PedroLoco of Fux Felina actually advocates for ALL INVASIVE SPECIES TAKING OVER ALL NATIVE WILDLIFE AND HABITATS ON ALL CONTINENTS.

    Don’t believe me? Just ask this insane fool about that. She even has it posted on her blogs if you search hard enough.

    This is why she is now popularly known as PedroLoco everywhere. (And yes, it is a “she”, with a severe case of penis-envy.)

  82. Memoryhouse says:

    It’s may be useless to point out the obvious to fellow readers, due to the fact that it’s exquisitely obvious, but you’re not simply delusional but quite possibly criminally insane.

    Likewise, it’s probably useless to point out to you, as well, since your inability to think critically or modify your beliefs when presented proof you are in error indicate you lack the intellectual capacity to untangle yourself from your own delusional beliefs. Almost without a doubt, you’ll assume I’m just being mean-spirited and insulting when the fact is I am truly concerned. I sincerely urge you to seek help. Whatever mental problem you are suffering from is serious. Please don’t wait.

  83. Dave D says:

    I’ve never heard a cat scream. But to be perfectly honest, considering how cats cruelly torture and destroy all other animals by ripping the skins off of live animals or disemboweling them for slowly dying and twitching cats’ play-toys (not even using them for food), I’m not sure why cats should be given the privilege of a humane death either. I’ve been drawn to many animal screams in my woods to find their cats shredding another animal to death; which I had to then quickly put that animal out of its misery, torment, and suffering caused by that cat. Lucky for those I found so fast from their screams. Other wildlife that I’d find days later had died a slow and agonizing death from wounds after being shredded by their cats. I guess I’m just more humane than all cat-lovers and their cats, that’s why their cats get shot and die instantly on my land instead of equitably and justifiably tortured to death. If cat-advocates want REAL justice for their cats then any cat found outdoors would have to be cruelly tortured to death the same way their cats cruelly torture all other animals — something that I couldn’t do. Maybe that’s why TNR-advocates don’t mind that their cats slowly suffer to death by means of “attrition” — by disease, attacks, exposure, starvation, road-kill, etc., on ad-infinauseum. They have absolutely no problems in torturing animals. They’re just like their cats.

  84. Rosalind says:

    I breed pedigree cats. Right now I have 6 adult cats and 5 kittens. None of my cats get to stray outside at any time. The studs live in outdoor kennel-and run-arrangements. The queens and kittens live indoors 24/7. As a result, all my cats are safe from poisoning, car accidents, being savaged by dogs, being shot, getting in fights with other cats, catching lungworms, catching fleas, getting ringworm, etc etc etc. I am also secure in the knowledge that my cats are not out killing birds, crapping in other peoples’ gardens, or any other offensive conduct. Maintaining litter boxes (two indoors, one for each of the studs) is a very small price to pay. I have zero sympathy for people whose cats get poisoned, just as I have zero sympathy for people whose cats get run over, shot, or afflicted with transmissible diseases or cat-bite abscesses. Published peer-reviewed studies exist that show that indoor cats typically live at least twice as long as outdoor cats. The bottom line, to me, is that if you really love your cat you keep it indoors. The people who poison cats are not as crazy as the people who claim to love their cats yet let them go outside.

  85. Anonymous says:

    Some pet owners can be as much assholes as pet poisoners themselves, by letting dogs run loose in the neighborhood, endangering everyone else. After all, you can’t be expected let alone obligated to be able to read an animal’s mind.

    Then, you get idiot dog owners who think you ARE obligated to be able to read a dog’s mind and get indignant when you can’t. Now you get counties cutting budgets, and now you have people forced to put up with barking and roaming dogs with no legal recourse. Who is going to confront a neighbor who is enough of an asshole to create the problem? While not an excuse, that situation does explain the incidence of the crimes with poisons.

    I moved from a dog-allowed apartment building because of dog owners who are stupider than their animals. And it was most of them. I live in a neighborhood that is blissfully free of stray dogs – thanks to the presence of dog-eating ethnic neighborhood a mile away. I guess “they” also take care of barkers too. (and no, I won’t divulge the ethnic group)

  86. MAZE says:

    I trapped my neighbors cat and killed it quickly because it was trying to kill my kitten who would come in with huge deep scratches and missing fur. I contacted my neighbor and informed him of what his cat was doing and he shrugged it off. I am not remorseful.

  87. Elizabeth says:

    When my father fell I’ll a year ago I kill my neighbors dog with an arrow that killed it quickly because a person that just came out of having major heart surgery an then an additional quadruple bypass needs their sleep. Sleep was hard to get with that dog around.

  88. kate says:

    YOu are full of it. Any healthy person who comes in contact with cat feces will not..NOT become infected with the toxoplasmosis bacteria or become sick with it.
    It is not your right nor anyone else’s right to harm, maim or kill another person’s animal whether it be a cat or dog. Would you kill there kid, too? I have to say I have had more damage done to my property by the 2-legged creature than even the coyotes where I live or any…ANY animal I can think of.
    Humans are angry, unreasonable predators of people’s pets..and cats don’t know boundaries..that’s what makes them cats. It’s too bad the rats that really need exterminating are usually of your species.
    I happen to love & work with all animals from birds to mice…from dogs & cats..to rabbits. I am not a bleeding heart liberal…I am a conservative who think people like you are a blight. It’s okay to kill but not be a grown up mature person who might actually grow a brain and work things through legally & less harmful and hurtful.
    Right now I am working with two young girls (ages 6 & 9) who are dealing with a trama perpetuated on them via a piece of garbage neighbor who enticed their cats into a trap and killed them. He will, by the time I’m through with him, be paying penalties and doing jail time. Count on it. If I could send him and his ilk to hell right now…I would … the hell you think a cat brings to your precious yard is NOTHING like the hell you and your’s put on someone who loves their pet who…by virtue of being a cat…roams..there are ways to deter a cat..too bad, we can’t deter you like you would your neighbor’s beloved pet.
    Shame on you…shame on all of you who would even think this rotted, sordid deal. You will get your’s whether here or later…and people like me who work tirelessly to get laws changed or charges pressed…you will be caught just by your arrogant hatred alone.

  89. Animal Lover Wants to Murder a Cat says:

    Listen, I am 50, I just buried my most beloved cat Mr. Smoke 2 yrs. ago, before him his brother, 4 years ago. Mr. Smoke was 23 and I had him since he fit in the palm of my hand. I have two female cats. All were indoor cats. I also have a bird, 21 years now. I feed the wild birds and spent two years building a special frog pond to attract and I did, northern leopard frogs in Pa, wich are under distress. I solved snake eating frog issues by relocating snakes and putting up a snae guard around pond. Last years 13 frogs went down to winter over, of them four were tiny weeny things that were bred and born in my pond. The cat next door killed all but one. For months now I been battleling this cat, I built an outer fence around the inner fence. I had three new frogs show up (only 1 was left uneaten from the orginal 13) So there were four. One was a huge northern L. looked ancient. The friggin cat got in the smallest opening as I do not want to imprison the frogs, but really, this was a tiny hole he got in. I have went to the owner and they refuse to keep “Taz” in, as “he pisses all over and he is an outdoor cat.” I was bitten trying to get the cat out of the pond. Now, I want to kill the cat as he is ruining everything I moved to a wooded area to enjoy. The other night I heard a baby screaming, I thouhgt, I went out in the night and there was a baby bunny with its leg ripped off Tas runnig off when he saw me, right in my garden. he killed all of the finches that fledged from my bird box. Yes, there are reasons to kill. To me this car is like a crazed murder and I am death row. I called the local magistrate, he said unless the cat is harming people on my property there is little he can do. I await you reply because the cats life depends on whether someone tells me HOW TO STOP HIM

  90. Whatever says:

    Get a life

  91. Emmett Hoops says:

    You miss the point entirely. Cats, as we know domestic cats, are NOT a part of the North American ecosystem. They have no natural predators; they are protected. Yet the birds they kill have no protection, but ARE a natural part of the ecosystem.

    The scales are grossly imbalanced in favor of the species that does not belong in your backyard attacking North American birds.

  92. Rachel says:

    As I wait to hear if our cat will survive being poisoned and watch her in pain- I cringe at two people on here. CatDestroyer- you exhibit clinical signs of a sociopath. Esteban – who could be so narcissist to believe its their job to intervene upon a natural ecosystem? Really- you want someone serving you up some antifreeze in your water or steak an attempt to protect lakes or cows? There isn’t some special rule that says everything else should follow natural order but feel free to kill a cat so they don’t kill a bird. Think about the logic you’re applying here.

  93. Rachel says:

    Emmet – birds have the advantage of being able to fly to escape a situation as protection, as well as move to heights and places predatory animals are incapable of reaching. They also possess the ability to turn their heads backward to see behind them. Cats in our environment have predators such as coyotes, hawks,wolves,bobcats, fox and bears in certain areas. Many times raccoons also finish them off with their claws. It is not as if they are strictly protected and untouchable.

  94. Emmett Hoops says:

    Rachel,

    I would love to see comparative statistics on cats vs. birds and all predators vs. cats.

    The results, I’m sure, would be rather as lopsided as one claiming World War 2 was like unto a gang murder. No, sorry, the argument does not wash. The cat next door — the orange cat, not to be confused with the grey cat, who lives on the other side of us (I am cursed!) can jump so damn high I have had to put the bird feeder up to an altitude that makes my nose bleed. Well, not really, but you get the idea.

    I have purchased a Hav A Hart cat trap. If any blasted cat comes on to my property, I want it to enjoy a can of sardines on the house! I’ll provide free transportation to the Humane Society shelter, too. And no, I am not going to tell my stupid frigging neighbors unless they ask (and they won’t.)

  95. Rachel says:

    Speakeasy- Awesome! Great news- you can read about that here. http://www.abcbirds.org/abcprograms/policy/cats/materials/predation.pdf

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  98. Animallover says:

    To the remark about invasive species, you have been answered that humans are the most invasive species on earth at 7 billion. People are upset about birds dying. What about the birds that fly into our windows and die? Or is that okay because we need windows? What’s worse, a cat doing what comes natural by killing a bird, or a rat, or a bird slamming into a window? With the cat, it’s the natural order of things as opposed to the window.

    Now let’s look at the rodents. If you live anywhere near canals, rivers, or just in a filthy neighborhood, you will want those cats around to take care of the rodents who might otherwise take up residence in or around your house.

    Feral cats, I believe, should at least be spayed and neutered and put back onto the streets. There is nothing more heartbreaking than to see a cat run over by a car, but at least they had a life before that instead of being injected with something to kill it off. There are many cats in my neighborhood, strays, but no one wants to get rid of them because there is a canal and they’d prefer the cats digging through the garbage instead of the rats.

    Poisoning is never an option. It’s ruthless as well as lazy. A car is a thing. Your garden, while important, might have other animals stealing from it, too. Property is stuff, not life. Every species has a reason and even if you find it to be a nuisance to have stray/neighbor cats around, they more than likely help you with other nuisances so you might want to give them a hug instead of crying about them.

  99. Clint says:

    Thanks for the read Mrs. Enabler, now I’m off to kill all the neighborhood cats…

  100. Rochelle says:

    My neighbors have been killing my cats for years. It is a felony in my state punishable up to 4 years in prison. I have not been able to catch them but I am close as ever today. Please suggest what poison we might search for. My cats kidneys, liver and stomach contents are at the toxocology lab for diagnosis. The tests are very costly and we are seeking ways determine what poison was used in a cost effective manner. Evidently the cat was held until it was hungry enough to eat. It was then fed a meal of dry catfood which had not had time to digest before death. The autopsy showed no evidence of any reason at all for the young, healthy, cat to have died. The cat was then returned to my yard 7 days post mortem. Can you suggest what poison might have acted so quickly, and not left any clues? I desperately appreciate any information you have that might help. Thank you.

  101. me says:

    How about you feed your self the poison and see what kills you faster. You sick ass!

  102. Rochelle says:

    I am sorry, Me. I truly do not understand your response. There are a thousand different poisons out there. I cannot afford to test for each one. I need to be selective about which poisons the lab searches for. What are you talking about???

  103. Nobody says:

    You really have missed the point.

    Two months ago, my wife and I moved into a home that has neighbors on both sides and behind. Neighbor on the left has at least three cats. They use our yard for a litterbox, constantly. No attempt to cover it up, and today they crapped on our deck and one of the chairs on the deck. Outside is the constant, almost overpowering, smell of cat waste. It doesn’t wash off during rains, and scooping it up always leaves some crap and all the urine. It stinks. It is a health hazard.

    We’ve tried all the methods we can find on the web to discourage cats from pooping in our yard, and none work. Have we thought of killing them? Sure. But our next step is with the city health department; they’re coming out next week to see for themselves if it is a health hazard. If so, they’ll try to take care of the problem. If not, we go to a lawyer. If that doesn’t work, I’ll kill the cats.

  104. Rochelle says:

    I just have a sneaky feeling that the Woodsman is a Republican. Same kind of lack of logic and reasoning.

  105. jack says:

    Dog or cat that does not shut the fuck up needs to die, if your dog or cat is loud and disturbing the peace I will kill it I don’t care how much you love it it is a problem in the neighbourhood I have to work every day of the week if dog or cat disturbs my sleep it will reduce my attitude and productivity at work therefore it must die. So please make sure to buy quiet animals or don’t love them if they are loud because it will be Killed soon. It should be illegal for animals to disturb the peace just as it is for Humans.

  106. Anon says:

    I agree with you, I think it is the “only a lesser species” mentality that underlies most animal poisonings. But where do you draw the line? If it’s not okay to poison pets, is it okay to poison strays? If not strays, what about vermin? If not vermin, how about insects and spiders? No? What about bacteria, they’re living organisms as well? Should I stop washing myself and killing billions of micro-organisms in the process?

    What I’m getting at is: where the line is drawn is rather arbitrary, and it is drawn not so much on the basis of rational morality, but more likely on the “rule of cute”. Puppies and kitties and bunnies are cute = don’t hurt them. They appeal to the same nurturing instincts that stop most parents from killing their very messy, very noisy, very inconvenient children (look up oxytocin). On the other hand, vermin and pests and bugs and germs are all perceived as vile and repulsive = kill with extreme prejudice. People who poison pets aren’t qualitatively different from anyone who’d never even imagine themselves doing such a “horrible” thing. Instead, pet poisoners are just quantitatively different; they simply drawn the line a little higher up the food chain. If you’re someone who’s ever set a mouse trap, sprayed for insects, had your house treated for termites or even just washed your hands, then you have the same “disrespect” for other species as a pet poisoner.

    In short, the only reason that incidents of pet poisonings garner any more attention than hand washing is that someone actually cares about the pets in question; no one cares about bacteria. Why? There’s no logical reason, only an arbitrary line in the sand.

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  108. Nestor says:

    I’m a physics undergraduate… try proving a mathematical theorem or solve a complicated physics problem when the neighbor’s dog is barking like crazy all day long!!! The neighbors are so stupid and primitive-minded (I know them) I wouldn’t even think to “reason” with them. Sadly, I’m gonna have to poison the dog. I know the dog isn’t guilty but fuck it, I deserve my peace of mind.

    And I may add to this, that I think only very primitive-minded people would want pets. I mean, grow up! Animals are not toys, you idiots. Animals are not there so that you feel cozy when you hug them. When did you ask the animal if it wanted to be a prisoner at your home? If you did, and the animal said yes, then you’re batshit crazy for thinking animals talk; if it said no, then you are an enslaver – and batshit crazy. You can’t say “you love animals” when you put a leash on them, confine them to X squared feet when their nature is to roam freely, passivate its natural, killing instincts, and the sickest of all: putting a tag price on their necks, “How much for this cute little dog?”. How respectful and coherent of an animal lover!

  109. Tiffany says:

    It’s not even that complicated. Ethylene glycol has a very distinct sweet smell and can be smelled on the breath or inside the mouth of an animal that has consumed it.

  110. How these Poisoner are works for pets? Can you explain more about this?

  111. missjanenc says:

    Rochelle, put down the crack pipe. If you’re worried about your cats being poisoned, it’s a lot cheaper to keep them inside than pay for post-mortem toxicoligy testing.

    Even more asinine is your comment about Republicans. I’m one and have been working with feral cats since 1999 and have trapped, neutered and returned over 600 on that time.

    As far as the birds go, I maintain several feral colonies, including one in my yard, and I have a couple of bird feeders. I have seen more birds attacked by hawks or snakes than the cats. At some of my feeding locations the cardinals, who love cat food, will swoop down when they hear the car approach to eat as much cat chow as they can before the cats show up and there have never been any little red feathers left behind.

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  113. Birdman says:

    I’ m a breeder of Australian and exotic finches.
    I live in the sub-urban realms of a relatively isolated city of Australia.
    I am licenced by the appropriate Government Department to pursue my hobby and am regulated as to the security of the broodstock I hold. I have an intelligent dog, and my children have grown up and left home.
    You see, I have neighbours East and West of my meagre 770m2 sub -urban rural Australian town block who own cats——I know they have them,but they are not a problem for me because my East and West nieghbours take responsibility for their
    pets. They keep them on their property, and as such take an interest in their animals where abouts and interests. Bit like I do with my birds.
    My neighbour across the road moves 18 mths ago,and brings a cat with no restriants-sure, I’d reckon they “love” their pet, but that seems to be the extent that a cats a cat, its fed, so off it goes.
    The odd visit occours,now and then, over time, but I can live with that.
    Now its taken a liking to whats in my back -yard, and probably lots of other yards, as it wanders wherever it likes over its familiar and ever growing range, and at times takes it pleasure out in harrassing my birds in my yard ,secure and no threat to anyone or the environment, at 10.AM or 3.pm or 2AM.,whenever it likes.
    Most people have little idea of the potential, and, often, colateral consequences of the casual “have a pet” attitude to animal husbandry.
    In my position,I have to draw a line between the lesser of two evils- Do I let the cat kill more birds, or do I kill one cat, cause the birds cant, and I’m their keeper.
    So I have to remove the cat from the situation. There is no point in approaching its owners. Given thier behavior re “responsible pet ownership”,and a turn up and let the cat out, and leave it out if we’re away, modus opperandi, it wont change overnight. Niether will their cats.
    As I cannot discharge a firearm in a built up area,poisioning,trapping and drowning are my only recourse. I wont enjoy it; its hard on the cat: not to is to condem many more lives to a distressing fate
    If you take on the responsibility of animal husbandry, you have to deal with the consequences of where ever that choice may take you, be it good, or bad in your little head.

    Anyway, this is justmy contribution to the thinking

  114. missjanenc says:

    Birdman, your approach to dealing with your cat problem is sickening. The cat is doing what cats have done for eternity. It’s what they are. I suppose a bird killed by a snake or other predatory bird is a better death?

    If the stupid owners won’t keep their cat in their yard, then call your local animal control agency. Additionally, there are other ways to deal with this problem. For example, there is a lawn sprinkler available that is equipped with an adjustable motion detector. If a cat, dog or other critter comes into the yard they end up getting fired upon by a sudden jet of water. After a few encounters the cat will not want another H20 attack.

    I hope you will reconsider your approach. Poisoning is a horrible death and the cat shouldn’t suffer because of stupid owners.

  115. Bree says:

    While I am sympathetic to those that have had to deal with the over population of cats, especially feral cats, I will NEVER understand how people can be so cruel as to think themselves justified in poisoning any animal. At one time, our neighbors on both sides of us and even behind us were constantly feeding and watering all of the stray cats in our neighborhood. The cats sprayed everywhere, tore up our potted plants, tormented our dogs, and even passed on some of their infections to my cat, Raya–but still we didn’t poison them. Instead we tried educating our neighbors about the free and low cost spay/neutering programs our City offered. We also shared the heartbreaking statistics on how many cats (and dogs) that were euthanized every year because our shelter did not have the means to care for all of them. It helped some, but eventually so many of the cats became ill and born with severe deformities (probably due to interbreeding), we had no choice but to start trapping and taking them to the local humane society to be humanely euthanized. We felt terrible, but to give you an idea of just how big a problem we were having, I will admit to having trapped 20 cats in one afternoon. My point is that there are better ways to address the problem of stray/feral cats or dogs. People that intentionally poison animals must be mentally ill and it scares me to think what else they might be capable of.

  116. Linda says:

    MY HUSBAND STEP MUM HATE HIM SO MUCH
    My man died 6 weeks ago after 12 month illness where he required increasing amounts of oxygen. I was told 6 months previously that he was about to die and we moved heaven and earth to get him home from hospital. My wonderful strong man carried on for 6 months despite what everyone said. I stopped work and we spent nights and days together mostly with me watching him almost suffocate to death every day. one day in September when there was no one else around I lay down beside him and fell asleep, when I woke up he had gone. I never believe that my husband death was natural..cos i know those that did not want his progress, every night and day i always cry i fill like killing my self because things where hard on my side, my husband family throw us out of the house me and my children where on the street begging for food and water..cos no money any more. one of my friend that i have not see for a very long time saw my on a street and she called my name, when i turn i was an old friend of mine, i explain every thing that happen she gave us accommodation and told me my husband death was not natural she told me i should not worry she is going to help me, will contact Dr Opingo who salve family problems i explain every thing about my husband to him and he said he will help me know about the death of my husband i was very happy that very day…cos i no something was behind my husband death and i see who is going to help me out, Dr ask me to send my husband picture, surname, and his name i did every thing immediately. After Dr Opingo have use the information i send him, two weeks later my husband step mum confess that she was the one that kill my husband through sickness…i am so happy i am free because the family believe that i kill my husband to take over the properties. thank you once again HELEN my best friend for introducing me to Dr Opingo you can contact his email if you still need his help alterofcandletemple@gmail.com

  117. Fed up says:

    Congratulations on being a responsible pet owner there should be more like you out there but unfortunately you are 1 in a million. After saying that ,
    I have read a lot of the crap on this site and I can tell you know that I too am guilty of hating cats and it stems from years of an irresponsible cat owner who owns 4 cats (2 to many for the local laws where I live) that constantly lets them roam and crap all over my nicely cut grass and the neighbors lawns as well.

    I have approached the owner just for her to roll her eyes and slam the door I have contacted the local council just for them to contact her and believe her lies that she doesn’t own the cats yet these same cats continue to come from inside her yard and house (they know they are her cats causing the problems they have admitted it yet she still has the cats years later).

    So I called the rspca due to the irresponsibility of the owner for them to tell me they are far to busy to do anything about it so i contact the wildlife foundation and many of the likes just for them to tell me that as the owner she has a responsibility to look after her cats yet after all these people have contacted her she still allows her cats to dump and kill all over our neighborhood.

    This person has actually gone as far as to try and poison my next door neighbors dog AFTER she stole his kitten. My question is thus what the hell can anyone do when you have arrogant irresponsible people like this that obviously have no consideration at all, now I look like the whinger because of this dumbass and she gets away with it why because she is over middle aged with a bad attitude.

    The cat traps don’t work because her cats wont go near them not to mention the thieving pricks who steal the traps to then sell for their own profit. If they have a right to sue those who take their cats does that mean we on the receiving end have a right to sue for the out of pocket expense that we have to endure over the years from these assholes and what about the mental anguish that’s caused from the repeated acts of these runabout pests?

    Have all you cat owners who let your pest roam free thought about the fact that YOU own the animal therefore it is your responsibility to look after them or risk the brunt of someone who is fed up with YOUR cat crapping on their lawn and killing the wildlife on their property as well.

    I am not saying it is right to inhumanely treat animals nor am I saying that all pet owners are the same my point is that if you let your animal out or feed the strays to bring them in the the deaths of these animals are on your hands and therefore have no right to whinge and bitch when your pet moggy disappears.

  118. Mr MAD says:

    What Birdman said above:
    “If you take on the responsibility of animal husbandry, you have to deal with the consequences of where ever that choice may take you, be it good, or bad in your little head” quite sums it all up.
    I’d like to add one point:
    “Respect and you will be respected”
    By doing that, chances are nearly 100% that one will never see their pets poisoned. Keep your dogs quiet, with no nuisance barking (like in http://www.anilak.com/barking-dogs/) specially at odd ours, that no one will have desperate thoughts about doing any harm to any animal. However, when those owners leave their beasts to bark, defecate, roam-free, attack, and even kill, well, they can be sure that someone else will.
    Just be a decent person, you irresponsible dog-owners. It doesn’t take a lot.

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  121. KHALIIL says:

    Reasons I would poison my neighbour’s (also my brother) pitbulls:-
    I was viciously attacked by four of them without provocation.
    The one I inflicted most injuries on in the attack was patched up by a veterinarian who insisted it could be saved.
    Scars on arms, torso & legs, those on my arms still numb with partial numbness extending to my wrists almost three years later.
    Buried many pet cats murdered by his pitbulls before & after my attack.
    Never received compensation for anything & likely never will.
    His dogs continue to find new ways of escaping his yard to run freely in mine.

    I don’t want laws to stop them, I just want something (poison) that dogs will eat but cats will not.

  122. Birdman says:

    “his dogs” and “many cats” sums up this problem–to many people with mutiple cats and dogs. Wake up you lot–Have a dog–enjoy it, live with it, look after it, and it will reward you! Have a cat,enjoy it,live with it,look after it, and it will reward you!
    Understand your pet for what it is–a socialized being with strong instincts,sort of almost like what we once used to be.

    A dog–train and restrain; a cat–deter and contain, and cat owners must concetrate on the contain element, as when your domestic cat is uncontained, it retorts to its instinctive responces in responce to its exposure to stimuli–ie the outside world, it finds when unrestrained and there is ing at-you cant change survival instints overnight
    Responible dog owners should also restain and limit thier pets ranging-”bad and dangerous dogs” have many rules and regulation around thier ownership, restaint, and breeding:a well trained, breed appropriate to environmental situation pet dog is unlikley to be a threat to anyone, even if it wanders across the road.

    But the cat, once “out”, resorts to form, and crossing the street is enough to do it. THAT is they way they’re wired. ITS thier INSTINCT.

    So when the local “pet” domestic cats come round at night( never get any dogs? Guess they’re restrained) over the fence and past any barrier, and torrment the native and exotic finches I maintain and contain in my back yard aviaries, in the dark, so they fly and die thru exposure and impact damage,then damn them, Ill poison and kill.

    Fight fire with fire

  123. missjanenc says:

    Yep, Birdman…kill the cat for what you say it’s wired to do. You know, there is a sprinkler you can get that has a motion sensor on it, so when any critter comes into your yard it gets blasted by a shot of water, but I suppose you and those of your ilk derive much more satisfaction from inflicting a slow and horrible death.

  124. KHALIIL says:

    “His dogs” have killed my “many cats” in my yard over a period of years. My cats have never been a problem, they have a large yard to roam in & are well cared for.
    My brother is a dog breeder/trainer & has never been a problem until he got pitbulls.
    Most people I know or heard of seem to loose all intelligence when the get a pitbull, less secure accommodations, more attacks, more legal infractions,…

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  128. missjanenc says:

    You like it when people share ideas about killing animals??

  129. c says:

    you’re an awful person

  130. Steven Kovar says:

    umm… get a fence?

  131. missjanenc says:

    Instead of getting pissed off about cats doing what they’re wired to do, there is a simple solution: a product called the Scarecrow Sprinkler. It’s a rainbird-type sprinkler you atrach to a hose, stick in the ground and turn on the hose. There is an adjustable motion detector device attached to the sprinkler that will fire a jet of water at the offending critter once it is within range. This offers a simple, humane solution to keep unwanted trespassers out of your yard.

  132. Lisa says:

    Maybe the negligent cat owner can reimburse all the neighbors for this expense.

  133. missjanenc says:

    Well if the cat owners weren’t negiligent, there would be no need for the sprinklers, would there? Perhaps you find poisoning preferable to non-lethal alternatives.

  134. (I recognize I’m about to further support Mike’s argument with information that Mike’s previously provided, thereby technically bringing nothing new to the table but) it’s been well documented by Mike that the Big 12 has been burnt multiple times by a championship game when a team with National Championship aspirations has been upset in a conference title game. The fact that they would add one when as of now they’re under no obligation to, simply doesn’t make sense.
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  135. jim says:

    I think it’s perfectly reasonable to kill a cat that is permitted by its owners to freely roam about the neighborhood. House cats are a non-native predator that wreaks havoc on local ecosystems by killing birds, bunnies, frogs, etc. The worst thing about it is that all the while the cat can return to its house whenever it wants for a nice meal and some fresh water, so it isn’t even taking part in the noble kill-or-starve pact that governs the life of a wild predator. If you want to let your cat roam around to “enact it’s nature” then you aren’t entitled to be upset when it’s killed by something else, person or animal.

  136. missjanenc says:

    Jim, how wonderful you decide what lives or dies. And if you want to get really technical, the white man is a non-native species that wreaks havoc on the local ecosystem (Amazon forest, anyone?) that not only kills “birds, bunnies, frogs, etc.” but has caused the extinction of entire species.

  137. I think one could make a case either way. I seem to recall that when the Big 10 finished their season before Thanksgiving, they had teams that would steadily move up the polls as other teams played a game the next week, then the conf championships would knock a few others down a peg. Say, a team would be at 6 or 7, then find themselves in the top 3-4 by the time everyone else beat up on one another. A downside was that by the time the bowls came around, they had not played for 50 days, but they cashed the check nonetheless.

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  140. The reluctant cat lady says:

    I bought a house that had a yard full of feral cats and kittens. I have never owned an animal as an adult and I thought, fine, I’ll bring the cute little kittens to the shelter, they’ll be adopted into loving homes, everyone is happy. Well, no shelter would take them because all the shelters are bursting at the seams. I was referred to a person who did TNR (Trap/Neuter/Release) and I opted for that. I’ve had the same clan for almost 10 years, but in the last month 2 have died and 2 have gone missing. I suspect that someone is deliberately poisoning animals. My cats stay mostly in my yard but occassionally they do wander. Only one of the group was any good at catching birds. The rest may try, but they aren’t any good at it. I think it a myth that every feral cat is a bird killer. They all may try, but very few are any good at it. More likely they’ll go after snakes, like the pygmy rattlesnake one of them caught in my yard.

    In any event, I called my local Animal Control office regarding my suspicions about a cat poisoner and the officer told me it could have been coyotes and/or they can’t do anything without proof. To me it is a rather disturbing and drastic step to put out poison and I think they (authorities) should take it more seriously. Poison is indiscriminate and can and will poison other animals or kids or whatnot. I can understand that some people don’t like cats. I wasn’t a particular fan, but I think they deserve to live out their lives in peace. The fact there are so many feral cats is a human problem caused by people dumping or abandoning their animals and not getting them fixed. I don’t understand the psychology of someone who would deliberately poison an animal. To me it is just unthinkable.

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  143. Pingback: The Pet Poisoner Next Door | Speakeasy Science | Tangible Aftertaste

  144. Bill Hill says:

    I am not a mean person but I am terminally ill and can to a degree the frustration of “cat killers”. I have a dog who is my only company and due to the irresponsible acts of neighbors cannot even let my dog out into the yard because of the at least 50 to 100 feral cats who have taken over the entire neighborhood and unfortunately there are no laws pertaining to the cats and no one to do anything about them. I have called every possible source and can get no results. The Humane Society expects me to buy traps and deliver the cats for which there is also a fee. I should not have to take my dog out on a leash in my own yard with my health problems and low income. There should be laws covering cats! I just had to pay $78.00 for my dogs shots and meds and if she gets out and is running loose I will get a $300.00 fine! the same should go for cats. If I am offending any of you cat lovers GOOD! I’m sure you wouldn’t care for me letting my dog come crap in your yard and on your porch.

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  146. Notamurderouspieceofshit says:

    Ignorance is a much bigger problem than cats being cats. Not a part of nature?! Human beings are the only creatures that have a sense of reasoning. ALL OTHER CREATURES ON EARTH ACT ON INSTINCT. They aren’t picking on you or being spiteful, or doing what they are taught. On the otherhand, hate breeds hate and ignorance is hereditary when it comes to people. I feel sorry your family and future(God help us) descendants. You sir, are an ignorant, selfish coward. How about talking to the owners as an options? How about animal control – you know, the government employees whose job it is to mediate these types of situations?
    Your parents obviously taught you nothing of value, whether it be grammar, people skills or compassion. It’s sad that a 10 lb mammal could be killed because your parents were too stupid to abort you. I know a Neanderthal like yourself wouldn’t equate the killing of pets to murdering a person, but if I was your neighbor and you did something to MY CAT – I would break yourfucking neck. At least you wouldn’t suffer. Nor would I lose any sleep over it. It would be the humane thing to do for mankind.

  147. Birdman says:

    Why do you cat lovers go straight for the juggular. Guess your a bit like your pets; all purring and fluffy and warm,but “click” hunters, attackers, killers (you suggested abortion), guiltless. I say your gutless and irresponsible, releasing things forien into the environment that you cant control, that when given the opportuinity , simply follow thier instincts.

    And when the likes of your cat wander, over roofs, over fences, any where they bloody like, and cause grief to the threatened and endangered avian species I am helping to maintain in this world, then , yes your right. Poisioning is not fair: guess its .22 shorts in the rifle, and quietly put a bullet in the back of its head.

    That better hey, The American Way?

    P.S. Hope my grammer is acceptable, and I wish your decsendants well–they’re wont be many for long.

    Birdman

  148. Birdman says:

    Another viscious, nasty, threating, but otherwise completely normal and educated working for good,
    CAT APPOLIGIST.

    And if you dont like this, then dont compare me to an “enticer”; and i think 6 and 9 year olds looking after thier cats, may have something to do with thier nieghbours response to thier uninvited visits

  149. missjanenc says:

    Dear Turdman, not only is your grammar unacceptable, but neither is your spelling and your point of view. Two words: Scarecrow Sprinkler. Or are you too cheap?

  150. Notamurderouspieceofshit says:

    Missjanenc,

    While I agree with your assessment of the birdman being a turd, your criticism of his grammar is hypocritical at best. True, his spelling is atrocious. However, you should have stated, “…neither are your spelling and viewpoints. “

  151. missjanenc says:

    Murderous, I didn’t nitpick your post even though it was imperfect. I merely attributed your errors to thumb-typing on a small keyboard.

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  154. pjds0317 says:

    Before replying to your comments, I would like you to know, my grammar and spelling have nothing to do with my opinion on this subject. Who are you to determine what is acceptable? I do not smoke crack, nor do I think it is appropriate to imply that someone lacks intelligence, because they do not agree with your opinion.
    “Rochelle, put down the crack pipe. If you’re worried about your cats being poisoned, it’s a lot cheaper to keep them inside than pay for post-mortem toxicoligy (toxicology) report.” Oops!!
    “As far as the birds go, I maintain several feral colonies, (What do you mean by ‘feral colonies? Do you maintain domesticated colonies?) including one in my yard, and I have a couple of bird feeders. I have seen more birds attacked by hawks or snakes than the cats. (Not sure where you live, I have never in over 30 years, witnessed a hawk or snake attacking my birds.) At some of my feeding locations the cardinals, who love cat food, will swoop down when they hear the car approach to eat as much cat chow as they can before the cats show up and there have never been any little red feathers left behind.” (Why would there be cats and cat food at your feeding station? I have never seen a Cardinal pass up black oilers for anything, at my ‘feeding stations’. Sorry, I do not believe you. When cars approach here, birds fly away. Why do you feed your cats outside?)
    “Yep, Birdman…kill the cat for what you say it’s wired to do. You know, there is a sprinkler you can get that has a motion sensor on it, so when any critter comes into your yard it gets blasted by a shot of water, but I suppose you and those of your ilk derive much more satisfaction from inflicting a slow and horrible death.” Before I moved into this apartment complex with no outside water source, I used the Scarecrow Sprinkler. The sprinkler activated when I walked out my front door and when Cardinals came to my feeder. Doesn’t seem to work in small yards.
    “Instead of getting pissed off about cats doing what they’re wired to do, there is a simple solution: a product called the Scarecrow Sprinkler. It’s a rainbird-type sprinkler you atrach (attach, oops! This is almost unacceptable!) to a hose, stick in the ground and turn on the hose. There is an adjustable motion detector device attached to the sprinkler that will fire a jet of water at the offending critter once it is within range. This offers a simple, humane solution to keep unwanted trespassers out of your yard.
    Dear Turdman, not only is your grammar unacceptable, but neither is your spelling and your point of view. Two words: Scarecrow Sprinkler. Or are you too cheap? (Three words Narcissistic Personality Disorder, characterized by unwarranted feelings of self-importance. They have a sense of entitlement and demonstrate grandiosity in their beliefs and behavior. They have a strong need for admiration, but lack feelings of empathy for others.)
    You are clueless!!!!

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  157. pjds0317 says:

    wow, no comment?

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