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Thread: Shelter Cats

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    Registered User JPritch's Avatar
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    Default Shelter Cats

    My Dad and I were debating the merits of this a few weeks ago. You've seen the billboards for adopting a "Barn Cat". What about the AT Clubs adopting and placing "Shelter Cats" to control the mouse population. Would this work?

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    Registered User BuckeyeBill's Avatar
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    I don't believe it would, as the adopted cat is use to having someone feed it on a regular basis. If placed at the shelter, it would be awhile before feral instincts kick in and it started feeding on shelter mice. In doing so, I feel it would be cruel and inhuman. Mice at shelters are just like snakes on the trail, it's all part of the adventure.
    Blackheart

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    The other option is snakes. Edward Abbey detailed his use of this technique in his book Desert Solitaire
    Springer to Katahdin: 1991-2018

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    It is animal cruelty pure and simple. There is no regular food source, there is no medical care, there are animals that would see the cat as a food source, and the winters are brutal for a domestic animal. Please do not do this.

  5. #5

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    Don't be fooled by full shelters you see during the spring thruhiker season. Many of these shelters are unoccupied for much of the rest of the year.

  6. #6

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    Despite the long lifespan of a housecat, most people don't realize that outdoor cats or 'barn cats' have an average lifespan of only 1 to 3 years. Its a hard life.

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    Wanna-be hiker trash
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bronk View Post
    Despite the long lifespan of a housecat, most people don't realize that outdoor cats or 'barn cats' have an average lifespan of only 1 to 3 years. Its a hard life.
    I can confirm this. I've seen a few make it eight or ten years, but most of them disappear before the three year mark.

    Based on my experience with my friend's farm, I would venture to guess that the local coyotes would make quick work of any shelter cats.
    Colorless green ideas sleep furiously.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JPritch View Post
    My Dad and I were debating the merits of this a few weeks ago. You've seen the billboards for adopting a "Barn Cat". What about the AT Clubs adopting and placing "Shelter Cats" to control the mouse population. Would this work?
    No shelter would allow you to adopt an animal with the intent of abandoning it. Most shelters go out of their way to rehabilitate ferile cats, and wouldn't appreciate your adding more to the mix. Try to appreciate the cruelty of what you're suggesting; cat's are not as without-need as many believe. Shelter cats have already been abandoned once and homes, not additional abandonment, is being sought for them through shelters.
    ...the maddest of all is to see life as it is, and not as it should be. Cervantes

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    Registered User Tennessee Viking's Avatar
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    Plus would you want cat piss smelling up the shelter.
    ''Tennessee Viking'
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  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tennessee Viking View Post
    Plus would you want cat piss smelling up the shelter.
    Even cats can get used to the smell of hikers.....
    ...the maddest of all is to see life as it is, and not as it should be. Cervantes

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    Right - I've smelled some sleeping bags I wouldn't sit on, much less sleep in!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JPritch View Post
    My Dad and I were debating the merits of this a few weeks ago. You've seen the billboards for adopting a "Barn Cat". What about the AT Clubs adopting and placing "Shelter Cats" to control the mouse population. Would this work?
    The problem is that they wouldn't only eat shelter mice. Anything small would be fair game, and the wildlife in the area would be effected.
    Time is but the stream I go afishin' in.
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  13. #13

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    They have them in Europe in places where the weather is milder and people pack in food to see the cats through the down cycle. On the AT the mice are seasonal, the winters are rough, and I can't see dedication to packing in food.

    Otherwise there would already be wild cats living there. Heck. My neighborhood has bob cats that keep the rabbits down.

  14. #14

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    Also see initiatives like this one:

    https://www.google.com/amp/www.nbcdf...html%3Famp%3Dy

    but it is not a fire and forget approach.

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    Registered User BuckeyeBill's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Teacher & Snacktime View Post
    No shelter would allow you to adopt an animal with the intent of abandoning it. Most shelters go out of their way to rehabilitate ferile cats, and wouldn't appreciate your adding more to the mix. Try to appreciate the cruelty of what you're suggesting; cat's are not as without-need as many believe. Shelter cats have already been abandoned once and homes, not additional abandonment, is being sought for them through shelters.
    When I lived in NYC, my wife and I went to the Humane Society to adopt a dog. We were looking for a certain dog we had seen on line, but fell for another one. After filling out a stack of paperwork, they needed to see our latest bank statement. I asked why, and they said so we know you can afford to care for the dog. I asked if a balance statement from an ATM would work, which worked for them. Both of us ran our businesses and our balance was higher than most. Once they saw it they told us how much Henry would cost us which we gladly paid. Made the wife happy and I was happy for both my wife and the dog.
    Blackheart

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sarcasm the elf View Post
    I can confirm this. I've seen a few make it eight or ten years, but most of them disappear before the three year mark.

    Based on my experience with my friend's farm, I would venture to guess that the local coyotes would make quick work of any shelter cats.
    We rescued an abandoned, and abused, 3 year-old cat after it had gone feral. It took a trip to the vet, a few weeks of TLC and good food, (including LOTS of tuna fish ) before it started to trust us, but she came around and become the friendliest pet, (reflecting her new name: "Happy" ), that we ever had. She was 23 years-old when she died.
    "Adam & Eve are the first two persons who failed to read the Apple Permissions & Exclusions."

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    Registered User KDogg's Avatar
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    I'm sure the mountain lions would like this idea....

    That said, even barn cats get fed every day. While they did take care of business quite well, they didn't live what they caught. They also didn't discriminate between mice or birds. In the woods I'm sure there are many birds, chipmunks, snakes, etc. that would suffer. Definitely not LNT.

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    I'd rather the mice.

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    Registered User The Old Chief's Avatar
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    There was a cat that lived at Iron Mtn Shelter South of Damascus back in 2005. Probably lived a short life. There are plenty of snakes around shelters in the Sumertime after the crowd has passed thru. Mannasas Gap Shelter used to have a lot of snakes all the time even during hiker season.

  20. #20

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    For this to work, you would need to permanently move in with the cat to feed, protect, and care for it.

    Other than that, these four things are likely if a cat is abandoned at a random place, in decreasing order of likelihood:

    (1) The cat will immediately run off, just as you would, since a trailside shelter means nothing to it.

    (2) In short order the cat will be eaten by stray dogs, coyotes, bobcats or something else that actually does live there and knows the rules.

    (3) The cat will starve from lack of food. Even if it stays, and culls the existing mice, what then? If you think that foraging for food is easy, then try it for a year, without clothes, tools, training, or support.

    (4) The cat will eventually (within hours, days, or weeks) die of exposure.

    Also, you will likely be eligible for criminal prosecution under animal cruelty laws. Since you have put your thoughts in writing, in public, and are a registered user of this forum, law enforcement would be able to track you down and use your post as evidence at your trial.

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