Showing posts with label cats. Show all posts
Showing posts with label cats. Show all posts

April 19, 2021

Who Needs Bigfoot? We Have Mystery Beasts

 I know what they are, but where did they come from? 

First, an orange cat. He looks a lot like Charlie, a neighbor's cat who frequently visited people staying in the guest cabin in the early teens. Then he vanished, as semi-feral cats often do. But now there is another orange cat, presumably the source of cat tracks seen on snowy mornings.

Then this yellow dog has turned up a few times this spring on a scout camera near the house. We don't recognize him — and M. is the sort of person who walks a lot and knows the local dogs better than she knows their owners. But I can't believe he is living on his own.

Another camera, which was set to video, picked up some visiting black dogs — and then this, which definitely is not a dog.

That was on March 31st, between snowstorms. Obviously a pig. M reminded me that certain neighbors, who keep making inept experiments at homesteading, had two piglets last summer — once or twice they came visiting and then trotted home. 

One piglet was black, she said. I don't remember. But this one does not look like it's trotting home. In fact, it is moving in the opposite direction in a determined manner.

I have not picked it up again on a camera since then. Is it running free? Maybe there will be a good acorn crop this year, but not for six months, so root, hog, or die.

Just something else to watch out for. Like stray tortoises.

January 10, 2017

No Farms at Chaco Canyon, Off-Road Vehicles, Lynx Surprise

A "great kiva," restored but roofless, at Chaco Canyon
¶ All boats, snowmobiles, and ATV's in Colorado have to be state-registered. Proof of ownership is required, but the state is fairly flexible about documentation.

¶ Chaco Canyon in northwest New Mexico is the site of a collection of ancient "great houses," multi-room dwellings. They were not built simultaneously, and it is unclear how many people actually lived there. And apparently they did not grow their own food, so apparently it was backpacked in by the Anasazi equivalent of serfs.  Or maybe they were willing pilgrims.

¶ With typical feline nonchalance, a lynx surprises skiers at the Purgatory ski area in southwestern Colorado. 

UPDATE, Jauary 10, 2017: A sad ending to the lynx story.

May 20, 2014

Sheriff's Deputy Warns Cat Not to Shit in Neighbor's Yard

From the sheriff's blotter in the Cañon City Daily Record.

¶ Colo. 115, Brookside, report of over 30 goats in the road. Goats fled the scene before deputy arrived. 

¶ Colo. 115/Mackenzie, Cañon City, reporting party called to advise that a subject wearing a mask and dressed in black ran across the highway and into a building. Deputies checked the area with negative contact.  

(Always black in these reports. At least if "subject" wore orange, he might be a prison escapee. The only building there is the ruined Fawn Hollow Tavern, which was a "bucket of blood" roadhouse in the 1940s–1950s.)

¶ U.S. 50, Cañon City, reporting party requested assistance in retrieving her husband from his girlfriend's residence. Deputy advised the parties to work it out, as the husband wouldn't come out until the wife left the area.  

¶ 1500 block Chestnut, Cañon City, reporting party complained that the neighbor's cat had been leaving presents in her yard. Deputy said he would contact the neighbor and warn the cat.  

There was also an actual bank robbery where some 19-year-old robbed a bank in the town where he lived without even bothering to put on a mask. He was quickly caught.

March 22, 2013

Audobon Fires Conservation Writer over Cats

Steve Bodio has the details — go read them.
Audubon-the-mag has now achieved the remarkable feat of firing both the best nature editor of our time and our most independent conservation columnist. If you are so inclined, go to their website and tell them just how inconsequential and worthless they have become.
It's not like the Audobon Society is about protecting birds anymore?

At the birding blog 10,000 Birds: "National Audobon Society Caves to the Cat Crazies."

March 10, 2013

Because Nothing Says 'Colorado' . .

Tejon Street, downtown Colorado Springs
. . . like Smilodon.

If you like large, scary, extinct felids, they have been on a Homotherium kick at Querencia.

February 25, 2013

An Oversupply of Veterinarians — But Not Here

Just as law schools are cranking out more lawyers than the market can absorb, the same thing is happening with veterinarians, says the New York Times.
They don’t teach much at veterinary school about bears, particularly the figurative kind, although debt as large and scary as any grizzly shadows most vet school grads, usually for decades. Nor is there much in the curriculum about the prospects for graduates or the current state of the profession. Neither, say many professors and doctors, looks very promising. The problem is a boom in supply (that is, vets) and a decline in demand (namely, veterinary services). Class sizes have been rising at nearly every school, in some cases by as much as 20 percent in recent years. And the cost of vet school has far outpaced the rate of inflation. It has risen to a median of $63,000 a year for out-of-state tuition, fees and living expenses, according to the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, up 35 percent in the last decade. 
Reporter David Segal did not mention a recent case of a Georgia veterinarian who euthanized her dogs and herself — some people speculated that money troubles drove her to it.

As with law schools, however, vet schools are increasing:
Four more vet schools, both public and private, are either in the planning phases or under construction, one in New York, two in Arizona and one in Tennessee. If all are ultimately built, there will be thousands of additional D.V.M.’s on the market in coming years.
Not only an over-supply in vets, but fewer patients, particularly horses:
That belief has been tested. Not only are there fewer dogs — from 2006 to 2011, the number of dogs in the country dropped for the first time, albeit slightly, to 70 million from 72 million, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association Sourcebook survey — but the amount owners paid to vets fell, too. Owners reported they spent about $20 less a year in inflation-adjusted terms in that five-year span. 

The declines are more significant when it comes to cats. About 36.1 million households owned at least one cat in 2011, down 6 percent from 2006. During that period, the number of cat visits to the vet declined 13.5 percent. In the business, this is known as “the cat problem.” 

The horse market has suffered the most. Pet horses are expensive, and the market for them since the start of the recession has been crushed. Thoroughbred racing, meanwhile, has been hurt by the expansion of casinos, reducing the number of horses in need of veterinary care.
Considering that the nearest veterinary clinic to me is 25 miles away, I keep wondering why no one has opened a practice in Nearby Town, which is only 15 miles.  A ten-mile radius ought to offer a population of  . . . 6,000? Enough to support a vet who can do large/small animal work?  Or does no one want to be a generalist anymore?

December 28, 2012

A Veterinary Medicine "Bubble"?

Law professor and blogger Glen Reynolds often talks about the "bubble" in legal education—new law schools opening, older ones expanding, even as few graduates find jobs in their field but leave school with their JD and a huge load of debt.

Now he suggests that something similar is going on in veterinary medicine.

The vet clinic that we use most is basically a father-and-son (and for a time, daughter) operation — plus a revolving cast of new Colorado State University graduates, especially on the small-animal side.

You go and meet with "Dr. Susie" or "Dr. Kevin," and on the next visit, it's someone else.

Dog-blogger Patrick Burns often rants about vets up-selling additional tests and services just to pad the bottom line.

Maybe there is a connection. Too many vets, not enough clients? And are "Dr. Susie" and "Dr. Kevin" underemployed and carrying their own load of debt?

October 27, 2012

Under the Volcano (3): Random Fire Jottings

Residents arrive in a tour van to see ruins of their homes.
(Why I use the term "volcano.")

When M. and I went to Pueblo on a supply run, I had forgotten my cell phone, which is why I did not know about the fire until we started back and saw the big, horizontal smoke plume. At first I thought — hoped — it was a big grass fire out by Pueblo Reservoir. The first state patrolman who stopped us set me straight.

* * *
Stopped at the last of four roadblocks on Tuesday afternoon as we tried to get home, I talked with one of the local sheriff's deputies, who said something like, "Good luck with your house. I lost mine." And he clapped me on the shoulder and sent us through. Outwardly calm, doing his job.

* * *
Overheard at the one of the many folding tables in the firehouse: "Does anyone have, like, a team leader badge?"

* * *
From the latest update on InciWeb: "Incident Commander Jay Esperance expressed his gratitude for local firefighters and agencies saying, 'It's been an honor working with everyone.' "

It is nice to be recognized, no doubt as much for my folding-table hauling (facing the threat of arrest!) as for putting water on fire.

* * *
Listening to radio chatter, I decide that some sheriff's deputies take a positive pleasure in denying access to reporters, particularly TV reporters. (Someone from the local weekly, however, is escorted by the sheriff himself.)

TV people crack me up though: One reporter does a stand-up in front of a bare foundation. It is, however, the foundation of a roadside tavern that burned to the ground in 1948, if I have the date correct.

For print and television both, if you read the news release on InciWeb and then read or listen to the broadcast, you will see where almost every word comes from. One reporter at the Cañon City Daily Record seems to have no qualms about putting her byline on a news release without even making a telephone call or two to "put a new top on the story."

* * *
Some animals died in the fire. Some fended for themselves. On Thursday, when I was taping fliers to front doors, I came to one mobile home and found dry cat food scattered on the front steps. As I turned from the door, a tabby cat circled my feet, meeowing. "Sorry, kitty, the folks are not back yet — but they'll be here soon."

August 29, 2012

Giant Cats of England

Traditionally, August in the Northern Hemisphere news business was called the "silly season." Political conventions and hurricanes aside, it was a time for weird, fill-the-space news stories to be run, even in the more staid newspapers.

Like the idea that — absent larger predators — feral specimens of Felix catus (also known as Felix domesticus) are capable of growing to bobcat or small cougar size in England.

I am glad to see the Telegraph keeping up the traditions of print journalism.

August 09, 2012

Kitty is a Killer

And Kitty Cam can prove it.

Research from the University of Georgia:
Results indicate that a minority of roaming cats in Athens [Georgia]  (44%) hunt wildlife and that reptiles, mammals and invertebrates constitute the majority of suburban prey. Hunting cats captured an average of 2 items during seven days of roaming. Carolina anoles (small lizards) were the most common prey species followed by Woodland Voles (small mammals). Only one of the vertebrates captured was a non-native species (a House Mouse). Eighty-five percent of wildlife captures were witnessed during the warm season (March-November in the southern US). Cats roaming during warmer seasons were more likely to exhibit hunting behavior and the number of captures per hunting cat is expected to decrease with increasing cat age. Cat age, sex, and time spent outside did not significantly influence hunting behavior.
Patrick Burns has some comments.
If you have decided that your cat is entitled to behave like a wild animal, don't be surprised if  your cat's life ends like that of a wild animal -- dead from vehicle impact, bullet, trap, poison, or a mauling from a dog or coyote.
Somehow the cat issue ends up connected to the whole "free-range kid" movement too.
Um, there may be some differences between cats and children, at least with time.

March 22, 2012

Blog Stew with Poisoned Birdseed

Time to clear out the blog fridge ...

The Scotts Miracle-Gro company has confessed to selling birdseed—contaminated with an insecticide that is harmful to birds! (Way to grow your customer base!)
Scotts pled guilty this Tuesday to charges that the company illegally put insecticides in its “Morning Song” and “Country Pride” brands of bird seed. That’s right: The company knowingly coated products intended for birds to eat with substances toxic to birds and wildlife.
Morning Song birdseed mix probably has great shelf life, though.

A skeptical look at wind power from Europe.
Wind frequently does not blow when we need it. For example, as the BBC reported, the cold weather on Dec. 21, 2010, was typical of a prolonged cold front, with high-pressure areas and little wind. Whereas wind power, on average, supplies 5 percent of the UK’s electricity, its share fell to just 0.04 percent that day. With demand understandably peaking, other sources, such as coal and gas, had to fill the gap.
The author argues that published cost-per-kilowatt hour figures for renewable energy sources leave out the cost of conventional power plants that must take up the slack when the wind does not blow or the sun does not shine.

I did not know this—you can still be a Junior Forest Ranger. There is a website with activity booklets and info for parents, teachers, etc.

On one newspaper job, I used to take the weekly photo of an animal up for adoption at the local shelter. I learned a few tricks about making them look good in B&W photos, but I could have benefited from this site. It's all about taking good animal photos to help in the adoption process, and you can download a PDF of photography tips.

November 03, 2011

How the Humane Society of the US Does Not Help Animals

It's too busy managing its investments.

From the New York Post:
HSUS's advertisements employ the images of downtrodden dogs and cats to tug at the heart strings and wallets of America's pet lovers. But CCF's new analysis finds HSUS is a "Humane Society" in name only, sharing a meager $527,566, or 0.4 percent of its $120 million budget with sheltering organizations nationwide in 2010. In the same year, HSUS spent $47 million in fundraising-related costs (37 percent of its total budget) and put $32 million in hedge funds.
Yep. $32,000,000 in hedge funds. That's where your donation goes, if you are uninformed enough to give HSUS your hard-earned dollars.

September 04, 2011

Who Is Walking In 'Our' Creek?

It's not "our" creek in a real estate-ownership way, but it flows near our house. The real-estate market here is moribund, as in many places, and the house near which this part of the creek would flow—if it were flowing—has been vacant for nearly two years. So I posted a camera for three nights to see who was traveling up and down the dry stream bed.

The first visitor was a cat, maybe a neighbor's. It could also be a feral cat, although they don't last too long around here.

 Next came the animal you would expect to see, a raccoon.

In fact, there were two raccoons.

A black bear poked its head in front of the camera. I'll spare you the following bear-butt shot.

Finally, some juvenile hominids exploring new territory. They saw the camera, I know, but did not disturb it. Knowing their inquisitive nature, I think I will "rest" this spot for a while.

May 04, 2011

Blog Stew with Kittens

• Science writer Emily Anthes on how it is impossible to be logically consistent about animals—especially cats.

• There is lots of snow in northern Colorado. Coyote Gulch has the roundup. Not so much here. The southwest part of the state is doing OK.

• Federal district court awards damages in suit against US Forest Service over bear attack in Utah campground.

• Chad Love remembers a hard-ass Chesapeake Bay retriever. Chessies are not the smartest dogs, not the biggest, not the fastest, not the most glamorous—but they yield to none in terms of attitude and stubbornness. ("Fisher, no! I mean it! I'm talking to you, buster.")

March 17, 2011

The Way to Keep People from 'Owning' Animals . . .

. . . is to kill the animals.
Yes, it’s time for PETA’s annual filing of the statistics from their death factory, as required by Virginia law, which for reasons pretty much passing all understanding thinks it’s a “humane society,” even though they kill virtually every animal who comes in their doors, every year, year after year.

Their 2010 statistics are here (PDF), but to give you an idea, they took in 1,553 cats and killed 1,507 of them, and 792 dogs and killed 693 of them.
 Why do people still take People for the Exterminating of The Animals seriously?

(Hat tip: Heather Houlahan.)

February 26, 2011

'Cats Think You're Their Mother'

Science discovers . . . that cats bond more with women.
While cats have plenty of male admirers, and vice versa, this study and others reveal that women tend to interact with their cats — be they male or female felines — more than men do.
Having a mind stuffed with trivia, I thought of the 13th-century Ancrene Riwle, a handbook for anchoresses, an "anchoress"*  being a woman who voluntarily lived alone  in what amounted to a prison cell attached to a church, where she  spent her time in prayer.

The monk writing the rule book notes (updating the Middle English here), "Ye shall not possess any beast, my dear sisters, except only a cat."

This post's title comes from an observation by our friend Joyce, who went on to become a clinical psychologist: "A dog thinks you're another dog, but a cat thinks you're its mother."

*If male, an "anchorite," from a Greek work meaning to retire or withdraw.

June 14, 2006

Here, kitty, kitty

I realize that this news story comes from New Jersey, not my usual Colorado and New Mexico stomping grounds, but who can resist a headline like "Jack the cat chases black bear up tree"?

Especially when my Jack (dog) once did the same thing. It was a small bear.

April 20, 2006

Neutered wolf, transgendered cat

This week's Wet Mountain Tribune carries the news that Colorado Division of Wildlife officer Becky Manly finally caught up with and shot two wolf-hybrids that had been seen repeatedly around the north-central part of the county.

A friend had told me about them in March. It turned out that one was a neutered male. These were not wild wolves that had filtered down from Wyoming. They were most likely some idiot's "pets," turned loose to "fend for themselves."

It's calving time right now, and the two animals had been seen trying to teach themselves to hunt calves.

When M. and I first moved here, we were surprised at the number of dog skulls and in one or two cases, carcasses, that we found on the national forest. At first we thought that these were dogs from houses on our road, killed and dragged off by mountain lions or something.

In case, at least, I didn't recognize the dog--and I know all the dogs around here, better than I know some of the people.

So maybe some of these were the remains of "dumped" dogs as well. It's sad.

Cats can do better at fending for themselves. In the snowy spring of 1995, a long-haired black cat, shy and skittish, started hanging around the house. M. put a sleeping box and food in the garage for it. By the time the weather warmed, it would come in the house--but only if the front door were left open for a quick escape.

For some reason, we thought the cat was female and were calling her Fiona. We learned that she had been acquired by a rancher about two miles away as a barn cat, but she had walked off the job and survived for about three months in the woods on her own.

Eventually, we could handle her, and we took her to the vet for a medical exam and spaying. The vet tech's clippers revealed the truth: she was a he. (This was an embarrassing discovery for us, since we had had various cats before and thought we knew about cats.) So we named him Victor, retaining more or less the some combination of vowels.

Last Saturday, faced with a mounting series of medical problems, we decided to have him put down. When I had the grave ready, the dogs came and sniffed at him. They didn't seem to react much--they are dogs, and it's all about them--but in life, he and Shelby seemed to have a special bond. They even looked alike: both with long, silky black hair and a white blaze on the chest. And Shelby, too, was nearly feral when we got her.