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Mollison's anti-cat discussion  RSS feed

 
Posts: 124
Location: Puget Sound
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paul wheaton wrote:This thread has taught me something I didn't know about Bill. Certainly some things worth considering.

I am a big fan of cats and am struggling with the idea of not having cats on a permaculture farm.



I vote you go ahead and keep a cat. For me, the benefits outweigh the negatives. For others it may vary.
 
gardener
Posts: 228
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I am a bit conflicted on this issue: we have cats (not by choice, but by lack of killing them). We don't see many mice about, but we do see evidence of a fair number of dead birds. Mainland Australia doesn't really have a lot of native predator species (besides snakes and birds of prey) so feral cats and dogs are a real problem for species that have not evolved with those sorts of predators around. At the risk of being presumptuous, I suspect that fact would have influenced Bill's thinking on this subject.

That being said, we don't have a lot of mice around our house. The mice would naturally be eaten by snakes and lizards, and most Australians would prefer not to have snakes near the house, so the cats probably offer us a level of safety.
Interestingly, cats only have one effective predator it seems: foxes (they eat the kittens). Foxes only have one predator too - humans.

Following on from the permaculture principals that too many of one thing indicates a deficiency of something else, our oversupply of cats and foxes is due to a deficiency of thinking by the bloody nineteenth century poms (English).
 
Posts: 1113
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
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Yet, birds are merely arial rodent equivalents in many cases. The key is balance. If you've got too many rodents, get cats. If you've got too many cats, swallow a dog. Er, I mean get foxes, coyotes, etc. They eat cats. Oh, great, now you're going to complain about predation of your sheep by coyotes. Okay, so now get wolves. They eat coyotes... Wolves are an apex predator. Humans just think they're higher.

 
Posts: 167
Location: MAINE
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yes and NO...our cat is a prolific hunter yet the mice are merely toys and few are eaten
although he sometimes munches just the heads... and leaves the rest.

They have their place because mice are horrible when it comes to seed robbing
especially when you have many flats popping plants everywhere.they eat 90%.

I don't and won't tolerate them harming our birds and a quick spray of the hose sends them
on their way and i don't let them ever use freshly loosed soil in the garden as a cat box.

there's absolutely nothing worse than enjoying your garden digging holes for stuff
and then unearthing some fresh tuna cat shit.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1940
Location: Toronto, Ontario
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First the joke: Sure there's a place for cats in permaculture. Just make sure you plant them near the center of the hugel bed .

But seriously, inside cats do wonders for areas you don't keep pigs or chickens (I hope). My last cat was a beautiful grey tabby who met an early end due to that chinese melamine fiasco. On one of his last days alive, still sick from tainted food and recovering from near death before a trip to the animal emerg, he killed a rat as long in the body as he was (big fucking rat). I loved my cat, but I wouldn't get one to keep inside all the time, and if I got one that had to stand up to outdoor nighttime predation, it would likely be one of those 22lb. Maine Coons. That's a big moggie!

I think, though, that except for exceptional situations, the cat is simply a feel-good companion (at its leisure) that kills household pests. For some, that isn't enough stacking of functions to support the food a cat will consume. They don't lay eggs, they don't make meat, and I guess you could try milking them, but wear gloves and body armour. With me, the jury's still out.

-CK
 
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It is understandable considering the damage done by cats to the environment that an Australian would have to say no to cats. Every geographical area has their own history with felines. Most of these nocturnal critters thrive because humans feed them and think they are cute. Here in Central Florida we have been blessed with the return of the coyote. It's cunning and nocturnal habits have helped bring down the feral cat population along with the overpopulation of raccoons and opossums. Bobcats and panthers are a normal part of the Florida wilderness. So there is a place for cats here. Just not so many. I would say that the fire ant has been far more destructive to native species than all of the history of felis domesticus.
 
Posts: 11
Location: Millinocket/St. Agatha, Maine
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Since this is my first post here, I'll introduce myself first. My name is Ken, and will be applying forest garden principles to a one hundred acre plot of woodland, swamp and agricultural land that I have in far northern Maine. Hence, my interest in this forum.

As for cats, I have four of them. Up until a few years ago, I had five but one died of cancer a couple of months before she would have turned twenty-four. My four cats include two of her kittens, from the same litter, who are now twenty-two years old, a twenty-one year old that I took in as a feral cat about eighteen years ago, after feeding her as a feral cat for the first few years of her life. Her mom and siblings were killed by dogs. Then, I have the formerly feral cat's daughter, who is eleven now. The two twins are part of a long line of cats that I have had, which included their mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, who appeared on my porch as a kitten more than a third of my life ago. I am sixty.

I am not currently living on our land up north, but at our house a few hours south of there, but still in Maine. Since I live in a small town at the end of the Appalachian Trail, my cats are allowed to go outdoors. I have a cat door that leads to a fire escape on the second floor, which gives them a vantage point of the backyard before venturing out. More often now that they have gotten older, they don't go far beyond the landing of the fire escape; but even when they did, they certainly didn't clear the neighborhood of birds and small wildlife. They are far more likely to bring a mouse of a bird in the house, unharmed, and release it.

As far as I know, one of my older cats has never in her life attempted to capture a bird or animal. Her sister ascribes to catch and release policies. I once watched her pounce on a bird, then lift her paws up and watch it fly away. The younger one has brought a couple of mice and a vole inside the house, but they didn't appear to have been harmed in any way. I free-feed premium cat food, so they never have any reason to be hungry.

It took the feral cat a few years to figure out that she didn't have to hunt for her meals and, at twenty-one, she still enjoys the hunt, although it's been years since I've seen her kill or eat anything that she catches. She's tiny, but she has brought a live bluejay in through the cat door, on the run, as another bluejay was attacking her. By the time I got upstairs, the bird was standing in the middle of the cat's water dish, unharmed. I caught it with a towel, brought it outside, and it flew away. She's brought in mice and moles, voles and other small creatures that I couldn't even identify. She has brought in snakes, and once she brought me a live bat, which was a pleasure indeed. She brought a baby snapping turtle in, and more frogs than I could count, some of them no doubt making multiple trips. Each time, she comes in her cat door, yelling so that everyone can she what she has accomplished. She seems to go way out of her way to avoid hurting them, although some of the frogs were limping a bit after the third or fourth trip.

To the question of whether cats have a place on earth, my answer is yes, they do. They have a place in my life and earth is where I live. On the other hand, I can appreciate the damage that a colony of feral cats might do, particularly if they needed to hunt in order to survive. Although my formerly feral cat was never wholly feral, since I have fed her since she was a very young kitten, she nevertheless takes great pleasure in the hunt. Like people, cats enjoy hunting; and, like people, they can do a significant amount of harm if unchecked.

However, I don't think it's true that a house cat is necessarily going to devastate wildlife in a neighborhood. I have lived here with my cats for twelve years now and our backyard is never lacking birds, rodents, and other little critters. Once I finish work on my cabin up north, we'll be spending much of our time there. Unless I can build an enclosed area for them there, I won't be allowing them outdoors; but not out of fear of what they might do to the wildlife, but in fear of what the wildlife might do to them. I know we have bears, because a few of them have showed up on my wildlife cameras, and who knows what else might come upon them in the woods. I am confident that my cats would not be the dominant species in the woodlands, and would rather they not become part of the food chain.
 
Posts: 96
Location: West Virginia/ Dominican Republic
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Years ago I had a two year old step son. We lived on a family owned farm for a few years. We had rabbits, chickens and our uncle had cows. We had a few watch dogs and of course cats. His mother was saying she did not have anything to cook for dinner. He went and got all the kittens and put them in a box and brought them to his mommy and said here is dinner.
His mommy said we don’t eat cats. He said the eggs come from chickens, meat from rabbits, and milk from cows and security from the dogs. She said yes. The why are we feeding these cats if we don’t get anything from them.
 
Walter Jeffries
Posts: 1113
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
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Nickolas Mcsweeney wrote:Hello everyone, i am new here but i am not new to permaculture. Bill Mollison states in a few of his permaculture books that there is no place in the permaculture system for cats(please correct me if you think i am wrong). so does anyone disagree with him on this?



I totally disagree. Cats are a valuable help on the farm. They are predators of vermin. This is why they were domesticated. Same for dogs, they're working partners on our farm who assist with guarding, herding and controlling pest populations.
 
Posts: 103
Location: NW Montana, Hardiness Zone 4b
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In my case -- a 6,400 sq. ft. enclosure in a mountain valley with zone 4 -- it's either trap and shoot the Columbia ground squirrels or discourage them with a cat or two. So, I'm going with the cats, maybe supplemented by some trapping/shooting outside the enclosure. Either way, the squirrels must go.
 
Posts: 5
Location: Knoxville TN
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As I see it, the biggest problem with cats is that they reproduce pretty prodigiously. I live in an urban environment and the feral cats are something of a neusance but I don't see many mice or rats which means I can keep my compost pile with impunity. If the cats are "fixed" (I prefer broken, but thats a different story) I think they do have a place.

When we lived in the country (rural East TN) we had lots of mice, voles, opossum and all manner of other creatures that can play havoc with crops and stored food. I was DEFINITELY thankful for the cats then.

In some way, I think the attitude toward cats (and sometimes dogs which are very useful in certain environments) is a lot like the attitude toward ornamental plants and invasive species. Bamboo is an "invasive" but it is also quite a useful building material. If you are homesteading and plan to stay and manage a stand of bamboo it is probably OK to keep a stand of it. Japanese maple aren't "useful" but they are beautiful and I think there is a place for beautiful organisms within reason (food for the soul). Dogs can protect your garden from rabbits and alert you to the presence of all sorts of unwelcomed guests (four leged AND two legged).

Its about context, management, careful integration and setting responsible limits.
 
Walter Jeffries
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Frank Callo wrote:As I see it, the biggest problem with cats is that they reproduce pretty prodigiously. I live in an urban environment and the feral cats are something of a neusance



This is a loss of balance of predators. We're out in the mountains. Coyote, fox, fisher, cougar, lynx, hawk, etc all have a taste for cats and will hunt them keeping the population down. Sounds like you need more predators in the city.
 
Frank Callo
Posts: 5
Location: Knoxville TN
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We could make a whole other thread out of the predator/prey imbalance.
 
Walter Jeffries
Posts: 1113
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
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Frank Callo wrote:We could make a whole other thread out of the predator/prey imbalance.



Another thread? Why? This seems to be the real issue.

One thing I find interesting is that the perception of the cats as being a problem is more of an urban thing. In real rural situations the cats have many predators so this creates balance. If anything, domestic cats are on the losing side of the equation and get wiped out by the local predators, at least in our climate. Winter is harsh.
 
Posts: 102
Location: Bay Area CA zone 9
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Cats have been the only method successful at repelling tree squirrels for us.

We had a feral cat living at our house for several years after moving in and had no problems with squirrels.

After the cat left to unknown places (we believe a neighbor started feeding it), the squirrels decimated our fruit trees and small vegetable garden.

Tried for 2 years to scare, trap, kill, poison, ... the squirrels away. We harvested NO fruit those years and the squirrels ate almost every small squash that started to grow.

Finally got 2 spaded outdoor cats from a shelter.

Now the squirrels stay away and we can eat our own fruit and vegetables. Yes they catch not many birds and many lizards which is unfortunate, but I do want a garden for humans, not squirrels.
 
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Bleh. Of course they have a place in permaculture...They make me happy. so there. lol.
 
steward
Posts: 979
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
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The one cat we have in among timber doesn't do much ecological damage. The manigordos (ocelot) in the forest developed a fondness for lamb though. And pumas like a full size sheep if they can get them.

The cute thing about ocelots is that if you end up with a kit, they will follow you around like a dog, a 30 lb one.

I think one can say that exotics that are aggressive breeders can be bad if you don't control them, whether they be plant or animal or insect.
 
Eric Markov
Posts: 102
Location: Bay Area CA zone 9
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For people with mice and rat problems:

Before we got cats, I used a couple RatZappers (infared triggered version). These work excellent, much better than regular spring traps.

A great advantage to a RatZapper over a cat, it that you get to use the rat's body as garden fertilizer. I'd always buried them near a vegetable plant or tree.

One of them would green up a tomato plant for a over a month. Now with cats I've unfortunately lost this source of free fertilizer.

 
Posts: 587
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Let 'em poop/pee in your garden....is great fertilizer!
 
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My place, here in North Otago, New Zealand, wou.d be overrun with rabbits and mice if it wasn't for my cats (three). It would be fine to be catless if our British ancestors had not brought in rabbits, stoats, ferrets etc. the animal wild life has been unbalanced since then. My cats do a good job. I do regret the birds they take but with the establishment of lots of trees and shrubs, the birds are well catered for too. I seem to have a kinda balance with animals on my farm. I am in the process of establishing Holistic Farming (mob grazing) with my farm animals. It will be interesting to observe the changes. Long grass does not suit rabbits so well as it remains wetter so they may move away from my place! Well, that's the theory anyway. Now that I have a Mareema dog I do not have the same problem with ferrets taking my hens.

So, I like cats, this place would not be the same without them.
 
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I could not disagree more - how he could think that any animal has no place in permaculture is beyond me - especially ones that have been with humans for as long as cats have been. We have 3 outdoor cats - with whose arrival all of the mouse shit all over our house disappeared, the vole holes in the garden disappeared, and the poisonous snakes basking in our yard disappeared. Instead, was well-fed, well-loved, reiki-master cats who pump out unconditional love and affection to us and are thankful for their little hunk of raw meat we give them each day to keep them on our homestead. Cats are ESSENTIAL to a permaculture scene!!!
 
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Cats absolutely have a place in my permaculture garden. In areas where they are not active I have had hundreds of row feet of squash and melon seed dug back up and eaten. It was most certainly not a germination issue either as there are often several patches of proper density and then nothing at all for huge distances. My nearest neighbor is five miles out, and the nearest town is 20 minutes away. The cats were already here when I got here.
 
Matt River
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Also, what exactly does keeping spayed or neutered animals have to do with feral cat populations?
 
pollinator
Posts: 1625
Location: La Palma (Canary island) Zone 11
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Everything that is said should precise if this is a general rule, or else, in what context it was said, or in what context it does not apply....

I even heard that cats and DOGS were not not "admitted" in permaculture....
Well, any pet.
It might be because you have to feed them, and usually buying the food.
Why don't we have more vegetarian animals as pets?

I have 4 cats because they were here.
They are afraid of rats...
(most cats here are, rats hunters are very rare and you need rat-dogs for these!)
Rats and mice were introduced in the islands...

My cats mainly hunt mice and lizards.
So, great!
 
Posts: 42
Location: SW Oregon Zone 8b
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I was told by an Intern from Norway, he heard on a radio new station that there was a Chef in Italy who served cats and they were good. I never thought about eating predators before. Has any one tried them? If not for personal use, they might make good dog food. I have a problem sometimes with ferals.
 
Xisca Nicolas
pollinator
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I would not kill cats, but I would put dead ones in the worm compost, same as I would put the dead hens, rats, lizards etc. Meat and bones are good in the compost.
 
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When I started my first garden after moving here, by next morning, the plants were all gone! The cotton tail bunny population was huge and the drought had been going on for several years.

Additionally, the mice were building nests on the air intake to my car's motor and the mechanics said that the material pulled into the motor would damage the motor.

Every morning I had to wipe down the kitchen counters littered with mice droppings.

I got a Siamese cat. Now the cotton tail bunny population has returned to the wild and stay out of my garden. I have not found a single mouse dropping since she came of age. There aren't any birds that really do much in the trees or ground. I have a huge population of barn swallows that return each spring and successfully double or triple the population returning to South America. If one of their babies falls out before I find it and return it to the nest, I am sure my cat eats it, because any time she walks around outside the flock of barn swallows dive bomb her until she runs for cover!

So cats are a necessity and don't damage the bird population in some areas!
 
Carol Grosser
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I forgot to mention that bobcats are numerous here and that before I got my cat, the rattlesnakes were everywhere with my dog warning me of them almost daily. I had snakes I never knew about including a black snake and a pure white snake, which I later learned ate the rattlesnakes. Now I haven't seen a rattlesnake for a year as there are no longer any snakes around. I have built lots of rock terraces for the garter snakes and the striped lizards. I have never seen my cat interested in the reptiles, but, sigh, my border collie thinks she is supposed to protect me from reptiles, which I am glad to have her think that when a rattlesnake is in the yard, but not when she is trying to get to the garter snake that lives in the garden or the stripped lizards everywhere.
 
Posts: 182
Location: CO; semi-arid: 10-12"; 6000 ft
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Up here in CO we also have an abundance of coyotes, so pet cats don't last very long. I hear what some of you are saying about natural predators, but I certainly don't want to encourage rattlesnakes, to help control the mice and voles that ruined half of my potato and carrot crops last year. I was very happy to let the neighbor's cat come in and do some hunting.

In my opinion, unless we are setting up or occupying a totally natural, low impact ecosystem, and not trying to grow food for humans as well as wild animals, it would be very difficult or impossible to manage our gardens in a way to allow for totally natural pest control. The Bullock brothers allowed their wetlands to do this, but they had other things they could eat instead of the cattails. Around here there is not much food growing, either domestic or wild, but with a little tweaking, there are things that could be planted or encouraged to grow.

Just by living where we do, and planting a garden, we have changed the natural system. Sure, if we manage to stay in a spot long enough, maybe the system will come back into balance in a large enough area, but not too likely in an urban or suburban yard or small homestead. As Toby Hemenway stated, (to paraphrase a bit) our yards are too small to provide enough cover and hunting ground, etc, for the natural ecosystem, but by growing some of our own food, we free up more of the "wide open spaces" that the wild system needs to sustain itself.

In New Mexico, there was a program to reintroduce wolves in the wilderness area, but the tract allotted was not large enough to provide all they needed, and they could run from one side to the other in 1 day. Also, the young wolves involved didn't know how to work as a pack, so would follow people riding horseback through the wilderness area, begging for food. Or they would "predate" on the livestock in the neighboring ranches.

To tell the truth, some things I have learned in recent years have convinced me that there is no truly "wild" place that hasn't been created or managed by humans at some point. Even the "wild prairie," the Amazon rain forests, and the Eastern Deciduous Forests became what they are because humans, at some time in history or pre-history, managed those areas to provide the food and habitat they needed and wanted.

I do want to try to work with natural systems as much as possible, but I don't want coyotes eating my chickens, or rattlesnakes hiding in the grass, etc, so I have to find some way to fill that spot in the ecosystem.
 
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Cats by themselves may not have an essential role in permaculture (except as a usurper of native predators) but that kind of misses the point. Humans don't fit into the natural ecology either, at least not since we were a very small population of hunter gatherers. One of permaculture's roles is to better fit us into a beneficial ecological balance - and by 'us' we really need to include the co-species that make up the 'human ecology' - the dogs and cats that evolved in concert with us and live with us in nearly every human culture. I suppose it is arguable that you could include vermin like rats, roaches and lice in the equation too - but I'd rather not.
 
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We have barn cats- but many permies do not agree with barns anyway, but as it is, we have an old barn that was here when we bought and barn fires are usually caused by rats chewing the wiring, so yeah we have cats. We have one the rat infestation thing before and I am not doing that again. The cats are wonderful and we love them.
They are locked in the barn at night, and get warm milk and care, because again, we love em. One has been eaten by coyotes so far. Very sad.

The trio of barn kittens are great at eating shrews and moles. And ground squirrels and mice, and snakes and birds. The bad thing is that maybe the coyotes would be filling up on all those ground squirrels and mice and moles and snakes if my cats were not. Then maybe the coyotes would not have turned to eating chickens if my cats had not already disrupted the natural food chain.
I still think fat chickens are an easier meal for wild animals than all the work of hunting up enough shrews to fill their bellies, and most wild animals will look for the most calories for the least risk to themselves.
You can not imagine the number of shrews and mice and ground sqirrels we find daily, the dogs wait a few yards off and watch the cats hunt, then rush up to help eat the catch- I am amazed we still have any vermin left, but it just keeps coming and coming.

Chicken feed sacks full of feed and chicken droppings and compost piles are not naturally there either- rats and mice are no fools
Now we have a big ole LGD and cats and we are hunky dory, so soiled or wasted feed, no chewed or damaged wires.

The other bad things about cats in the barn, is the risk of toxoplasmosis - and this could cause stillbirth (at least in goats it can, not sure about all stock) if the pregnant goat got this from eating something the cat soiled - knock on wood, our cats are good so far
 
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I think the main point is being missed. That is we no longer live in truely natural systems so the best we can do is managed ecosystems.
If we are creating permacultures like Bill talks about and I have listened to a number of his videos he created, this is a constructed ecosystem.
I had a lynx living on my property in Alaska. I also have limited amount of cats on my property now. The outside cat brings me a rodent every morning.
This fits in ok with my system. My cats are also trained to not hunt birds because we raise poultry. I have had wild cats and neighbor cats kill my animals in the past.
I have a large dog now for the raccoon, possum, foxes, etc and cats I do not own. He keeps these varmints at bay.
My ecosystem has to function within the constraints of the area I live in.
This area is in a unbalanced state due to farming practices, suburbs, etc. so I have to work to control different animals.
Some of this control is locking up and fencing my animals at night.
Some of this control is using a cat with chickens.
Some of this control is training a large dog.
I can not change all the constraints in my area. I can learn to live with some and find ways to limit the impact of others.
Even if I had hundreds of acres where I live I would still have to work with most of these constraints because it is not a closed system and there larger system is highly altered by a number of artifical practices like monoculture farming, suburbs with large lawns, etc.
 
Chris Kott
pollinator
Posts: 1940
Location: Toronto, Ontario
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Hi Alex. The closed system issue is a moot one; the earth is an open system, accepting useful radiation from the sun and bleeding waste heat into space. I feel it very important to make full and efficient use of in situ resources, but apart from stressing the importance of systems efficiency and sustainability, the insistence of some on "closed systems" means little because it's illusory. Food systems, by their very nature, necessitate the removal of food resources from the system in any case where the food isn't consumed on-site and the effluent recaptured by the system. But any money generated by the sale of food that is then spent on the maintenance and operation of the system (reinvestment) constitutes a return to the system. I think that effort should be made to source organic inputs as locally as possible, but what I disagree with, based on the observation of effects of outside systems, is the near-sacred status some place on self-containment, which I indicated I consider fallacious.
As to cats specifically, I can see Mr. Mollison's reasoning, especially considering that (properly trained) chickens provide many of the pest-ridding qualities of cats and turn those pests into food, which then become eggs or meat that we eat. I think that if one is prone to rodent infestation indoors, or somewhere chickens can't get them, based on first-hand observation, no human technique for combatting these can rival a good hunting cat.
I think the danger of cats is their capacity to survive without human intervention. They kill things we don't want killed, and so can be disruptive. I think it's just that we can't control cats once they leave our influence, and their natural tendencies destabilise wild and constructed systems alike.
I think a good terrier is a more stable solution to the problems keeping a cat solves, and because of their more human-oriented nature they fit better into human-designed systems.

-CK
 
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Brenda Groth wrote:love those upside down teases..of course this means I'm UPRIGHT..

I will admit my cats do eat a lot of birds..which I do frown upon..however..we still have lots of birds..

Actually do believe that my big cat would eat chickens if i had them, that is why I don't..he eats rabbits and anything smaller and when he was about 6 mo old he took down a fawn..or tried to..but we didn't let him keep the fawn. (he was just playing, he wouldn't have eaten it)



We have cats and chickens that free range... Our cats don't harm the chickens at all, they do however catch the occasional wild bird, much to their delight. If one of our cats gets too up close and personal with a chicken, they know they are likely going to get pecked in the face. They don't get too close very often!

Ann, Central Maine Highlands, the cool side of zone 5.
 
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We've had a feral cat living on our city property for the last couple of years. A year ago I noticed the sparrows were gone. Last summer I only saw 1 garter snake; before we'd see maybe 5 per year. Last summer we had a pheasant in the yard with babies. All but 1 baby disappeared. Then one evening we heard a prolonged crying and distress from the pheasant mother. We couldn't see what was happening, but it sounded the cat slowly killing the pheasant. Later we did see the mother pheasant, but not the baby.

What would you rather have: 1 cat or a yard full of birds and beneficial wildlife? Don't think you can have both.
 
Chris Kott
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I hear you Greg. Welcome, by the way. The only place I see for a cat (jokes aside) is inside the house. I have had two cats previously, and I don't think there's a better solution to a mouse problem in the house than a cat, except maybe for the little terrier mutt we have now. His parents are a Chihuahua/Min Pin and a Maltipoo, but the terrier takes center stage now that he's realised that mice are intruders and can be safely and easily killed (as long as he can catch them!). I can't have cats anymore, nor dogs with fur (the hypoallergenic ones with hair are okay), as I have allergies, and I wish the neighbourhood cats would do something about the squirrels and raccoons that eat my garden, but they are largely useless for that purpose, so why bother with them? I'm sure if you had extensive grain stores, a cat or cats in the storage barn would likely be fine, but why wouldn't you just use your chickens instead?

-CK
 
Greg Thomas
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Chirs, Thank you and I agree with you. In fairness to the cat, the past winter or 2 we have had no mice entering our basement when the weather turns cold, so I have to admit that the cat does a good job of mouse control.

I'm new to the concept of chickens controlling mice. I'll have to find out more about that.
 
Chris Kott
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It just occurred to me that there are no natural urban predators for squirrels and raccoons. I think I might start looking for that 22lb. Maine Coon and keep it as an outside cat. Just gotta make sure the enclosures are fort knox kinda secure.

-CK
 
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Hazel Reagan wrote:I was told by an Intern from Norway, he heard on a radio new station that there was a Chef in Italy who served cats and they were good. I never thought about eating predators before. Has any one tried them? If not for personal use, they might make good dog food. I have a problem sometimes with ferals.



Yeah! Cats are supposedly delicious. Have anyone here eaten a cat?

What do you guys think about it? Is it any different than say rabbit? Both are cute.

I have had this discussion before, and it seems to be an important issue that we don't eat predators. Do anyone feel strongly about this matter?
 
Chris Kott
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My guess would be that predators expend too much energy getting their food to have too high a feed to meat conversion ratio. Rabbits, on the other hand, have one of the highest.

Rabbits can be annoying when they scratch you, cat scratches might require stitches.

And the number one point against cats: the smell of male cat urine.

Why do we care so much, anyways? For me, cats are the pink flamingo lawn ornaments the client insists the designer use to "finish" the landscaping. I suppose you can have cats if you want to, and even call it permaculture (if you have the proper papers authorizing your perma-stamp), just like you can with bubblegum-on-a-stick. And everyone has a right to their own opinion, I suppose. But I don't see the point.

Cats have stress theraputic value for those feline inclined, but if you're eating the animal, I think you need to be pretty twisted to deliberately get close to it first. So if the amusement is in the observation, there are a variety of livestock better suited to comedy.

I think that if there were any good reasons to keep cats for meat, we would have seen a culture of cat-herders, or something in the archaeological records indicating the hunting of cats as anything more than to keep predators from getting their stock, the animals they had decided earlier were so good to eat that they domesticated them. Incidentally, there is archaeological evidence in Mexico, apparently, of the keeping of a chihuahua-like dog around 10,000 years ago, but as pigs are kept, to eat scraps and provide meat.

There is actually a saying about herding cats. My question is, why bother?

-CK
 
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Garden Myths: The Good, The Bad and The Unbelievable by Robert Kourik
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