Your cat: Hunter and the hunted | AspenTimes.com

Your cat: Hunter and the hunted

Every animal lover gets that same sinking feeling when they see a poster for a missing cat hanging in their neighborhood. You can’t help but think the feline fell prey to (insert predator here).

Well, now there is a study that proves those suspicions are accurate. A scientific study called “Observations of Coyote-Cat Interactions” was recently published in the Journal of Wildlife Management. Researchers Shannon Grubbs of the University of Arizona and Paul Krausman of the University of Montana tracked 36 coyote-cat interactions. Unfortunately, 19 ended with Wily Coyote killing Sylvester the Cat. The researchers radio-collared and tracked eight coyotes in the Tucson, Ariz., area from November 2005 to February 2006.

“Most cats were killed in residential areas from (10 p.m. to 5 a.m.) during the pup-rearing season,” said the article in the Journal of Wildlife Management. Coyotes killed individually as well as in packs.

The grim results were shared in a recent press release by the American Bird Conservancy, an organization that fights for the benefit of our feathered friends. The conservancy uses the study results as proof that cat owners should keep their pets indoors – for the benefit of felines and feathered friends.

A friend of mine moved from a house up the Fryingpan Valley years ago. She was puzzled, then appalled when she moved a couch. Behind it was a stack of something she didn’t immediately recognize. Then she realized it was bird beaks – the leftovers from her cat’s successful hunts.

The American Bird Conservancy is particularly critical of “Trap, Neuter and Release” programs where feral and free-roaming cats have their kitty-making abilities removed, then get set free. The programs don’t do birds any good, the conservancy said, and it just creates “an-all-you-can-eat buffet” for coyotes.

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That is food for thought.

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