Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cheap Killing Machines

I was never really a cat fan until we got one a while ago. I actually like them now - and especially because they have a function at the farm. A working animal if you like.

Last winter we had some rodent issues at my farm inside the barn, which we rehabbed into a pretty nice space. We did the trap thing and that certainly culled the herd but in the back of our heads we knew that the problems would be there every year. And it is sort of gross to think if you are sleeping out there that a mouse could be sh1tting in your bed.

When the warmer temps came the traps started to become empty as the mice headed outside to get food. We consulted an exterminator and he installed what I call "mouse hotels of death". They are bait stations about the size of a basketball that mice can go into but not exit - there is a small flip door that they can push open, but then they can't back out. We haven't had any luck with these yet but expect them to fill up when it gets cooler, especially after the first frost.

As a side note, exterminator would be a great career to go into - they are needed on practically every farm or rural property.

Inside the barn we have our domestic cat, Chester.

Chet is all luvvy duvvy and is really a people cat, domesticated to the core. He is a good hunter however as the wife has seen him take a mouse (and heard him consume it). So that covers the inside. Unfortunately, Chet isn't outside material.

But feral cats are.

We just acquired a male and female feral cat. We call them the tigers. They are a little bigger then these fellas as of right now and look like the one in the wiki linked above.

Here in Madison we have a feral cat humane society. I guess they take extra cats that farmers breed/find and try to adopt them out. They spay and neuter them as well as give them rabies shots and other stuff. The idea is to adopt them out to places that will give them a decent home and let them do their deal - which is killing.

These things are scary. They don't really want to be pet but they will let you. They have a look that is not the look that Chet gives you - they don't want to be loved and they don't want to love you. They just want to do their job. I like that as we won't get too emotionally attached to them if a fox or hawk gets one. They are cooped up in a 6' x 6' cage for the time being until they get a little larger, but the entertainment has already started - they got a mouse and a bird already while in the cage. Probably visitors to the cage trying to poach the cats food and/or water. Last mistake those two will ever make.

With two enormous piles of hay now just waiting for mice to bed down in them before winter, these killers will be welcome guests at my place, and I really like the fact that they are fixed so we won't have 10,000 of them within two years. Cost - $25 each.


Gerry from Valpo said...

I was going to make a wisecrack like "hey, nice looking pussy" but I won't.

Dan from Madison said...

It is certainly cheaper...

Mark said...

We have a 20lb Russian Blue that is a prolific mouser. I just love it when he ingests a mouse whole and then pukes it up inside the house...

Dan from Madison said...

We were pretty positive that Chet would vomit up his catch, but he held it down. I guess he chewed a bit more than yours.

Jonathan said...

I think the reason domestic cats are so small is that they would be dangerous to people if they were much bigger.