Monday, August 10, 2015

First Do No Harm

While normally associated with the Hippocratic Oath, on our farm it's more of a general guide to life. I am not naive enough to think that cats don't kill things.  They do.  They're cats.  And in an odd conundrum, we mostly appreciate the "work" they do around the barn and house.  Betsy is a prolific hunter.  This morning she brought me a bat wing :-(.  

I'm not sure how she caught a bat.  Maybe it was ill and she did us all a favor.  I don't really think so. She is a (too) skilled birder and I wouldn't be surprised to hear that a bat was on her "life list". A bat is on my list of animals that must be protected and never injured.

We would never do anything drastic or something not in Betsy's best interest, but I am very sad about this and all the other bird kills, including a woodpecker that I still haven't forgiven her for.  I wish there was a way I could make her understand the "rules".  

She needs to be an inside cat somewhere.  Somewhere besides our open door farm.  She's a sweet, very affectionate cat.  She was a rescue so we don't know how old she is, but she's still fairly young.   She has perfect litter box manners and is current on all vet work.  She just kills too many birds. If anyone would be interested in adopting Betsy, please contact me by email.

:-(


18 comments:

  1. It's a difficult balance, I know. Our barn cat is also a skilled hunter and we love how the barn is rodent free. She also kills gophers (good girl) ...and birds. I don't like that she kills birds but they don't seem to be her preferred prey so we tolerate it -- keeping the barn vermin free is a very high priority.

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    1. Sadly, Betsy's preferred prey is birds.

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  2. I too have an accomplished hunter who's prey of choice is voles, thankfully. Occasionally he does catch a bird. Sadly the last one he caught was a yellow baby finch. Wince :(
    I've tried outfitting him with a breakaway collar equipped with a bell. He wasn't wearing it when he caught this last bird because he "loses" the collars. So I'm not sure if it is a deterrent or not. I have to be diligent in making sure he has his collar and sometimes it just doesn't happen. :-(

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    1. DJ,
      Can we borrow your cat? We have plenty of voles and a cat that is afraid of mice - she's useless. It's a good thing she's pretty:)

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  3. I tried the bell collars early on and she is a master at removing them. Wonder if they make a bell harness that she couldn't take off as easily. With extra bells too!

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    1. Oops, this was supposed to be a reply to DJ. Big fingers, little buttons... ;-).

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  4. I would absolutely offer to take Betsy, but I live in South Dakota, and you are in New England, aren't you? I have admired Betsy from the first time I saw her in a farmie photo when I discovered your blog (can't remember how that happened, but I'm an ardent fan!!)
    Good luck with your search for a good home for her.

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    1. I wish I was in NE. We are in Kentucky. Still quite a haul from SD :-/.

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  5. She only kills the dumb birds...genetic's in bird strains will be better because of her. Have you sen the window turned into a cat cage? Might be a solution for you. Cats like to think they are contributing to the household with all that fresh meat...cats are like that! We used to have cats...I like cats but not the hair:)

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  6. If you needed to find a home for Comby I would crawl through broken glass to get to him if need be. Well, that sounds a bit too dramatic, but my love for ginger kitties knows no bounds. . . . We currently have a kitty girl who had been returned to the shelter twice and was labeled "Not Adoptable". I adopted her because she needed a home more than any other kitty there. She still won't let me handle her, but it has only been 3 1/2 years. I guess she's still deciding whether or not to trust me!

    Good luck with Betsy. You are such a good mom to all animals. Everyone there at Equinox Farm is lucky indeed!

    Warm regards, Lisa in Oregon =^..^= (Head bunts and chin scratches to Comby please!)

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  7. Maybe you could take her to church on Sunday so everyone could see what a beauty she is. Might be some nice older folk who would enjoy her company indoors.

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  8. I had a Cornish Rex, Zoe (now across the Rainbow Bridge, alas) who had been bred by an indoor queen, and we kept her indoors. Nevertheless, her mum taught her how to hunt, and, more on point, how to kill (insects, I guess). When she was several years old, we remodeled our kitchen. A couple of mice must've sqeezed through the tiniest of openings (the contractor loved cats and took care none of our three pussums got out). One night, Zoe brought me three very tormented, half-dead mice into my home office.

    Among our current feline horde we now are owned by Luna, who must've been abandoned during the 2008 recession. She insisted on being an outdoor cat, having gotten used to the lifestyle - though she was happy to eat kibble (*lots* of kibble!) And take walks with us. When we lived in our old home(we're now moved, and she's with us), periodically she'd drag half a squirrel onto the back porch for me. Gratitude such as that I don't need. She now lives, mostly, in our townhouse back yard (this summer's heat convinced her of several days during which she wanted the Indoor Lifestyle), so perhaps the critters around here (I haven't seen squirrels, but there are birds, armadillo, Canada geese, while some rabbits have a den a half mile away) will be (mostly?) safe. (She is older and kibble-induced fatter too). Ugh- yesterday a neighbor killed a copperhead on the front porch of a vacant townhome next to his.

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  9. Well, I would bring her home in a NY minute, if I could get her from you to me. My cats are indoors only - for their own protection as well as for the protection of local bird life. So sorry about your bat...

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  10. Bloody Cats.........My studio is what I call The Killing Floor..........bird feathers, BABY bird feathers at that, mice parts, a small rabbit and damn it all to hell...........yesterday it was a squirrel....All of these make me sick but she is a CAT! A calico at that and had been abandoned at our church as a kitten. I don't know what to say.....but a harness with bells, hmm a belly dancing Betsy!
    Some people walk their cats so there must be harnesses, or a small dog one. Of course she would be thinking EVIL thoughts of you L(

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  11. Cats are cats. They are hunters and don't understand that they are allowed to hunt rodents but not birds. Don't try to put your values on them. Deal with it or don't have them around at all.

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  12. Yeah yeah yeah.......I KNOW this but but but.............

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  13. Oh geez. I'm so sorry. :( I love Betsy. But I hear you about the hunting -- our cats are indoors only. Unfortunately we have way too many already and we need some serious attrition before we have any more additions. There is a good indoor home for her out there. I'm sure. Don't you go to the Rhinebeck festival? Have far is it to Susan at eieiomg from there?

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  14. My kitty is too lazy to hunt these days, thank goodness. I'm lucky though that I have my very good ratters and mousers, my Labradors! No tormenting the poor little beasts either, they just eat them up! (Euwwwww!)

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