Wild Times: How many is enough?

It was an amazing feat of nature that unfolded right before my eyes. It was one of those scenes that you wish you had a video camera in your hands at the time. Let me give a little background on the star of the show before I relay what I witnessed.

I have a cat on my homestead. I will stress the fact that there is only one cat on the place. This is definitely not a house cat, but the temperament of the feline is such that it would adapt to and love the house lifestyle easily. This cat is strictly an outdoor cat. The cat was acquired with one purpose in mind, just as all of the other cats we have had on the place.

The cat, who happens to be named Venus, has one job on the farm and that is to keep the rodent population in check. I have a phobia of rodents and thus, I need this cat to keep me safe. I take this cat to the local vet clinic for checkups and vaccinations yearly.

I feed this cat twice daily the prescribed amount to keep her healthy. A cat does not need to be hungry to be an effective hunter of rodents. I give the cat attention so that she feels like she is part of the family. During the cold winter months, I have an enclosed cage that the cat can stay warm in and not have to brave the elements. I like my cat! My cat likes me! It is a very good working relationship. This cat is a hunting machine like I have never had on the place before. I have witnessed her skill set countless times, and I can confidently say that it is pretty rare to see a rodent on the place.

The only downfall to this scenario is that, along with rodents, the cat also is a very efficient hunter of birds. I love my birds! Not too long ago I came around the corner of the house and there sitting about 10 feet away from one of the bird feeders was the cat. She was sitting motionless staring up into a bush that is near the feeder.

Sitting on a branch was a goldfinch. The bird was watching the cat, and the cat was watching the bird. I was watching both of them. The bird was about six feet off of the ground. The cat was about seven to eight feet from the bush. The bird flew off of the branch parallel to the ground. In a blink of an eye, the cat leapt from the ground and caught that goldfinch right out of midair and landed on her feet with the bird in her mouth. I almost fell over backwards. On one hand, I was not happy that she had just killed a songbird, but I had to marvel at the athletic display I had just witnessed. I was impressed!

I have read several articles on the devastation that cats wreak on bird populations. One of the articles stated that a normal cat will catch 45 to 50 birds a year. Now how they came to this conclusion, I have no idea but based on what I see my cat drag up and the remaining feathers that I discover every now and then I would say that this estimation is probably pretty close for my cat. I don’t help the situation by having bird feeders all over the place that bring the birds right into the cat’s living room.

It is a trade-off that I have to put up with if I don’t want the rodents to take over the farm. I don’t want to lose my birds and I need my rodents controlled, but I know that I don’t need more than one cat to handle my situation. Since I know how much havoc one hunting cat can create with the wildlife out here, I am content with and I know that one cat handle the situation.

You don’t need a dozen cats running wild on the farm to keep the farm safe and secure. If you have a herd of cats running wild on your ranch, you will undoubtedly do great damage to the bird population.

Cats are very efficient predators and from watching my leopard descendant in action I can say that one cat is enough! Find that right cat and have it spayed or neutered, and then get out of its way and let it do the job for you.

Tim Kellenberger61 Posts

Tim Kellenberger serves as Owner, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief for The Sabetha Herald since 2004. He specializes in sports reporting and column writing, as well as sports photography. Tim is a Grace University graduate with a dual degree in agricultural economics and human resource management. He lives in rural Sabetha with his wife and has four grown children and two grandchildren.

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