My Kitty and Wildlife

by Deb D’Andrea 4TheLuvOfDogz

The domestic cat is one of the most efficient hunters and can have an amazing impact on wildlife, especially mammals, birds and even butterflies.  Research has shown that cats set free into the wild can kill upwards of 600 birds per year and over a thousand small mammals.  Even a well fed cat will aim to kill as many as they can, potentially playing with their catch for some time before killing it.  When a cat is kept inside for part of the day, the number of birds and mammals killed is greatly reduced.

When I was a kid, my cat Whiskers was an avid hunter.  She would always leave a morsel for my parents and I to find at the base of the steps as a way to say Thank you for letting her outside.  Of all the times she was outside, she always left something for us, and I often wondered just how many creatures fell victim to her prowess.

Cats who venture outside are more likely to get fleas, ticks and have a higher probability of contracting a number of diseases.  They are more likely to get hit by a car or become the hunted versus the hunter as they are easy prey for mountain lions, fox and coyotes.  An outdoor cat life expectancy is on average less than five years; an indoor cat can live to be seventeen or more.  I have met several twenty year old indoor cats!

There are common diseases that a cat can be vaccinated against, like rabies, feline panleukopenia (distemper), feline respiratory disease, feline leukemia, feline infectious peritonitis and feline immunodeficiency virus.  Rabies is a viral disease affecting all warm-blooded mammals including cats, dogs, wildlife and humans; and is usually transmitted via a bite wound.  The other diseases listed here are cat specific and as far as my research showed, do not jump from one mammal to another or from cat to human or dog.

To keep your indoor cat entertained, there are several things you can do.  Cats enjoy climbing, with a cat tree being a great way to provide them a view of the outdoors and an ability to climb to various levels.  A cat perch in the sun provides them a lovely way to sunbathe and you can add a bit of entertainment by placing a bird feeder outside within view.   My cat Whiskers used to love sitting in an empty bag with a hole cut out of a corner where her and I would play games with her paw coming out to catch the toy.  Hours of entertainment for the price of a cat toy and paper bag!

Till next time…Deb D’Andrea, founder of 4TheLuvOfDogz, provides mobile Canine Massage, Canine Agility and Petz Nanny Services. Her home-made dog treats are sold at local stores, and 4TheLuvOfDogz K9Birthday Cakes are available direct. Deb Petz Nanny’s for dogs, cats, birds, fish, horses, etc. Contact Deb at 720-675-7078 or info@4theluvofdogz.com. Online: www.4theluvofdogz.com

Deb D'Andrea

Deb D’Andrea, columnist for The Mountain Ear, and founder of 4TheLuvOfDogz & the Caribou Dog Ranch is recognized by the State of Colorado as a Certified Canine Massage Therapist and visits your home or Vet to work with your dog. Canine Agility may be offered at the Caribou Dog Ranch in 2018 if there is interest. Deb currently has limited availability for new Petz Nanny Clients; and she bakes up fresh dog treats & doggy birthday cakes per order. For information contact Deb at 720-675-7078 or email: info@4theluvofdogz.com.