Saturday, August 9, 2008

"My Cat Catches Bats..."

What does one say to a neighbor who tells you that?

I was chatting with a neighbor, an older man, who had commented on the joy he found in watching at least 50 hummingbirds at my feeders. He thought it was great that I fed them, said he used to but gave up when doing so attracted bears.

When the topic leaned to the problems of bird-feeding, I started on the whole cat-as-predator thing; that domestic and feral cats could be the single most responsible problem for our disappearing birds...songbird and otherwise. I figured he’d seen me walk across my yard with a trap while he was working on the roof of his barn just behind my place; but I was reluctant to mention it.

“Yeah, he said…she doesn’t eat ‘em; just brings them home and leaves them on the step. Just about every night…one bat,” he seemed to say proudly.

I asked him to keep his cat in at night, but he told me no, he didn’t like cats in the house. I carefully injected that some cat had had a litter of kittens in my woodpile and I was out to catch them. I left it at that…but he told me his son used to just shoot squirrels with a BB gun. Well, until the game warden came by complaining about somebody who brought in a squirrel that had ten BBs in it. I told him I wasn’t a good enough shot to go shooting things; especially with some guy working in his yard right across the way! He just laughed and said I couldn’t be that bad… but never asked what I plan to do with cats I catch.

I like cats, I’ve had cats, but if ever I get another cat, I will be a responsible cat owner and keep the cat indoors. They don’t belong loose.

I like bats, too…and with the White Nose Syndrome going on; it seems that they, too, are catching it bad both left and right. If you need to get rid of bats, there is a humane way to do it! I wouldn't want them in my house, either; but considering the diseases brought by mosquitoes (West Nile is a piece o'cake) and knowing each bat eats at least half it's weight in bugs per night...I like the idea that they are around here.

And please, just keep your cats indoors. It's safer for the cats, too.


lkw said...

Geez, his cats must be some pretty good hunters to nab bats, but what an unfortunate thing.

In rural areas, I think it's really hard to convince people that cats should be indoors, unfortunately.

It's certainly not much on the radar around here.

It's great that he enjoys your hummingbirds, though. I'm so envious of all of the species that you have!

Beverly said...

I dunno, check this out:

"Domestic cats have become adept at catching bats due to the close proximities of roosts to human habitations. Many predators take advantage of the high concentrations of bats in roosts." found here

It sounds fairly common to me...and it makes sense. Unfortunately this really nice man (yes, he's very nice) has that neat, old barn sometimes in the background of my pictures. I regularly see bats fly around here...I bet some roost in his barn.

Don't get me started about how some rural folks think... I just read a local blog where some woman had a pit-bull she couldn't control (he bit people); but she loved him so she drove him out to the forest and turned him loose. She felt that was the best thing.

Gawd... people!!!

Okay, I'll stop. My neighbor is a sweet ol' guy...he probably thinks I'm nuts for having five hummingbird feeders and a dog that would make at least 30 of his. LOL

Hey, at least he's saving that barn! I love that part!!!

lkw said...

Yikes, I hadn't heard that (isn't the Animal Diversity Web site amazing?)

I don't think our neighbor's outdoor cats manage it (having easier prey with chipmunks, sigh), and our bat roosts are way up in nearby trees.

And I do empathize about the eccentricities of rural people, too. 'City' people have their own oddities, after all! But we all could learn A LOT more about ecology and wildlife, that's for sure.