Sunday, July 27, 2014

Feral Cat Statisitcs

How to deal with feral cats in your neighborhood is a very controversial issue. It often elicits fights amongst neighbors, because if affects the whole neighborhood. In fact, it affects a lot more than just your neighborhood, it's an ecological problem. It In this post, I am going to give you a few statistics and websites for educational purposes. I am an animal lover, I have two cats of my own. As a cat owner, I feel it is my responsibility to educate myself about how my actions as well as my pet's actions affect the environment and others. As a side note: This post mostly refers to cats in an urban setting. I realize that on a farm in the country, cats serve an entirely different purpose and some rules/ stats don't necessarily apply to all scenarios. 

Cat Stats: 

First, I need to clarify the difference between a feral, stray and free-roaming house cat. A feral cat is a wild cat. They are scared of humans. A stray is a cat that is not scared of humans, but is lost or has been abandoned. A free-roaming house cat is a cat that has a home, but it's humans let it go outside.
  •  Cats are very territorial and often live in colonies.
  • A cat can become pregnant at 5-months-old.
  • A pair of breeding feral cats and their offspring can produce 420, 000 kittens over a 7-year period. 75% of the feral kittens will die by 6-months of age.
  • Outdoor feral cats can transmit diseases to other wildlife as well as humans. These diseases include rabies, toxoplasmosis, fleas and other viral and parasitic diseases.
  • Deadly diseases that feral cats can transmit to your house cat are: Felin Leukemia Virus, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, Kidney Disease/ renal failure, Feline Panleukopenia (Feline Distemper) and Feline Rabies. To read a bit more in depth about these diseases, click here.
  • Each year 9-million dogs and cats are euthanized a year. Approximately 25,000 healthy, adoptable cats die in shelters each day. 
  • Cats kill wildlife at amazingly high rates. In a recent report, cats are the single greatest human linked threat to wildlife in the nation. They are killing machines. They can kill 1.3- 4 BILLION birds and 6.3-22.3 BILLION mammals ANNUALLY. Birds help pollinate plants, distribute plant seeds and control insect populations. They are a vital gear in our environmental machine.

So, what can you do?


  • If you have a house cat that is driving you crazy by constantly bolting out the door or yowling to be let out, there are ways to provide a more stimulating house through "Catification". You can also try a pheromone plug-in or leash walking (I know, it sounds kind of "Crazy Cat Lady-ish"). Please do not just let your cat roam the neighborhood. It is very unsafe. Your cat could get injured by another animal, vehicle, poisoned or bring the above diseases home.
  • For Feral cats, find out if your community has a Trap and Release program (TNR). These programs will humanely trap a feral cat, fix/ neuter it and then release it back into it's territory. This at lease will cut back on the amount of reproduction and overpopulation. TNR programs cost about $50/ cat as opposed to $100/ cat for euthanizing. If you are feeding a feral cat, please be responsible and have it spayed/ neutered.  

Extra Reading and Where I got my Info:

Friday, July 18, 2014

Minty Dog Treats

Last spring, I planted a few innocent mint plants in my garden in order to ward away pesky bugs that were eating my bean plants. Being a novice gardener, I did not realize how rapidly mint can spread. This year, I have enough mint to start my own mint farmer's market. I've become very innovative on different ways to use my mint.

Minty Dog Treats

  • 3 c. whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 c. beef broth (If you want to make your own broth you can follow these instructions, but substitute a meaty beef bone from your local butcher instead of chicken)
  • 1/3 c. unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c. powdered milk
  • 1/3 of a banana mashed
  • 2 Tbs. of minced fresh mint leaves
Preheat your oven to 350-degrees. Mix all the ingredients together. If the dough seems too sticky to roll out on your counter, add small amounts of flour to your dough until it is the right consistency. Then, simply roll out your dough and grab a cookie cutter! Cut out your favorite shapes and place them on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the treats in to cool while the oven cools. This will give you a crunchier treat.