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Tigers & Primal Ranting, oh my!

Before I pass along the first reader-submitted Primal Rant of the new year, a short word on the tiger attack at the S.F. Zoo: And so the smear campaigning begins.

And now, back to our story:

Primal Rant: Don’t keep a cat if you’re going to neglect it!

PRIMAL RANT:

Dear Gary: my Rant begins with a story:

There’s an unneutered tomcat missing from my neighborhood, a friend of mine I call Freeloader (because he’s been in the habit of coming around looking for a bite to eat, and trained me to feed him). His people live across the street, but he’s an outside kitty, and prefers my dog-free backyard for hanging out in.

Several nights ago, just before we were to leave on a short vacation, I saw Freeloader come up to the food dish 3-legged, not putting any weight on one front paw. He’d probably been fighting. I immediately sent my husband to fetch the owner, who came quickly. Then it got surreal. Freeloader has never been particularly affectionate, but always tolerates a few scratches from me. He wouldn’t come near his own human, though, and disappeared into the darkness. Owner shrugged, said he’s always like that, and he’d keep an eye out for the cat.

In the couple of days since we’ve been home, there’s been no sign of Freeloader. I took that for a good sign, assuming his people had caught him and got him treated at the vet. But no, come to chat them up, they saw him only once, in their own yard, in the last several days. He’s certainly not hanging around my yard. In fact, he’s simply disappeared. Another cat has moved in and taken over Freeloader’s prime sunning spot.

What on earth goes on in the minds of these people?! How can you keep a cat, and then neglect and/or distress it so that you have less of a relationship with it than your neighbors do? How can you KNOW your cat is injured, and just blow it off? My husband rightly reminds me that I can’t care for every cat in the world, but I feel guilty having gone on vacation and left poor Freeloader in the incompetent care of his people.

All you people out there who can see the owner’s point of view: Please Don’t Keep A Cat! It needs a better human owner than you.
Karen Locke, Santa Clara, Calif.

Dear readers:
From time to time I’ll print someone’s “Primal Rant” here for your enlightenment. You can respond to these Rants and add your own comments by clicking on “leave a comment” below. If you’re really riled up about something relating to animals or the environment, send me your Primal Rant about it in an e-mail (put Primal Rant in the subject field) or letter.

E-mail me at gbogue@bayareanewsgroup.com

Letters can be mailed to: Gary Bogue, Pet & Wildlife Columnist, Contra Costa Times, P.O. Box 8099, Walnut Creek, CA 94596-8099.

The Primal Rants printed here don’t necessarily reflect my own thoughts about a particular subject … but they might. Rants that are submitted may or may not be used. That’s up to me. At least you’ll feel much better after you write them. /gary

Posted on Thursday, January 3rd, 2008
Under: Primal Rant, tiger attack | 8 Comments »

Primal Rant: How can you dump a faithful old pet & replace it with a new one?

PRIMAL RANT:

Dear Gary: It saddened me to see the news this morning. It seems that somewhere someone put a 5-year-old, 25 pound cat up for adoption. The reason they did this was because they just got a new cat or kitten and were afraid that their old cat would smash the new little guy.

How can any caring person get rid of a faithful old family pet just because they want a new one? Next they will be abandoning the kids for smarter or prettier ones.

Every time we have acquired a new little bundle of fur, we made sure that they had their own space and were introduced slowly to the rest of the family. Over the years with love and patience this has worked.

People like that should not have any pets. These trusting little guys give us love without question. You just don’t throw them out because you want a new model. I wonder how many “Christmas” gifts will be abandoned in the next few months?

Thanks for letting me air my frustrations. A very Happy Holiday to you and all of your family from our family and all of our furry children.
Gloria in cyberspace

Dear readers:
From time to time I’ll print someone’s “Primal Rant” here for your enlightenment. You can respond to these Rants and add your own comments by clicking on “leave a comment” below. If you’re really riled up about something relating to animals or the environment, send me your Primal Rant about it in an e-mail (put Primal Rant in the subject field) or letter.

E-mail me at gbogue@bayareanewsgroup.com

Letters can be mailed to: Gary Bogue, Pet & Wildlife Columnist, Contra Costa Times, P.O. Box 8099, Walnut Creek, CA 94596-8099.

Rants that are submitted may or may not be used. That’s up to me. (At least you’ll feel much better after you write them.) /Gary

Posted on Thursday, December 20th, 2007
Under: Cats, Primal Rant | No Comments »

Cats Cause “Silence of the Songbirds”

PRIMAL RANT:

Gary: I just borrowed the book, “Silence of the Songbirds,” (ref: pgs 173-176) by Bridget Stutchbury. I hope you have a chance to scan it.

Would you please do a column encouraging people with pet cats to keep them indoors? You know, I’m sure, that cats are a huge problem for birds nesting and birds that cannot fly well. To estimate the numbers of birds killed, homeowners in Michigan were asked to count up the dead animals their cats brought home.

On average, each cat killed about one bird a week and though this may not sound like much, the damage adds up because there are so many free-ranging cats hunting near homes and farms. The 600 cats in this study would have killed more than 6,000 birds during a typical 10-week breeding season alone.

In another study done in Wisconsin in the early 1990s, an estimated 8 million to 17 million birds a year in that state alone were killed by free-ranging cats in rural areas.

To quote from the book: “cats are only doing what comes naturally but their predation on birds is not a natural part of the ecosystem.”

Domestic cats were introduced to No. America when the Europeans arrived and only became popular in the late 1800s. The number of cats in the U.S. alone has doubled since the 1960s and now stands at well over 75 million. Even well-fed cats kill birds. The author stresses that cats kept indoors are less likely to contract deadly diseases and will live an average longer life.

These facts, along with the greedy developers who are rapidly decimating all the habitats where birds have shelter and forage for food, cause me to encourage people to try to keep their feline friends from further decreasing bird numbers. And, after all, birds are not predators, as are cats.
Ms. Beth Pforr, Brentwood, CA

Dear readers:
From time to time I’ll print someone’s “Primal Rant” here for your enlightenment. You can respond to these Rants and add your own comments by clicking on “leave a comment” below. If you’re really riled up about something relating to animals or the environment, send me your Primal Rant about it in an e-mail (put Primal Rant in the subject field) or letter.

E-mail me at gbogue@bayareanewsgroup.com

Send your letters to: Gary Bogue, Pet & Wildlife Columnist, Contra Costa Times, P.O. Box 8099, Walnut Creek, CA 94596-8099.

Rants that are submitted may or may not be used. That’s up to me. (At least you’ll feel much better after you write them.) /Gary

Posted on Wednesday, December 5th, 2007
Under: Primal Rant | No Comments »

Irresponsible dog owners break oil spill rules

Here’s a Primal Rant about a few dog owners who are breaking some important rules at the Point Isabel Dog Park in Richmond.

Dear Gary:
We don’t have a dog, but we like to walk in and near the Point Isabel Dog Park in Richmond. It’s fun to watch the dogs play, and see birds in the nearby marsh, and the views of the Bay are spectacular.

Due to the oil spill, there are hazmat teams working on the shoreline every day. There are signs everywhere warning people not to come into contact with the water, and yellow “caution” tape strung between the signs all along the shore. It is our impression that the warning signs also apply to dogs, and that the idea is for owners to keep their dogs under voice control at all times, or, failing that, on a leash, to keep them away from possible contact with toxic sludge.

However, as we walk along the path, there are abundant wet dog tracks and evidence of places where dogs have shaken water off. Clearly there are many dog owners who cannot (or will not) keep their dogs out of the Bay during the oil spill cleanup.

What strikes me as odd about this is that the Point Isabel Dog Owners Association presents itself as being concerned about the herbicides used by the East Bay Regional Park District to control weeds. How can they worry about that when black goo washes up on the shoreline rocks with every high tide and gets on their pets’ paws?

Point Isabel is a self-policed dog park and its rules seem very reasonable to me. Most of the dog owners are very responsible, although we have seen more than a few who get distracted and don’t even notice that their dog has pooped. Today we saw a man with two dogs off-leash in a protected marsh area which was clearly marked with signs saying that dogs must be on leash at all times and stay on trails.

I’m finding it increasingly stressful to observe human disregard for reasonable rules, as I don’t feel that I am in a position to “correct” the dog owners, although I do yell at bicyclists, who are not supposed to ride through the designated dog park area. It only takes a few people to ruin everything for everyone.

As a suggestion for your readers, they might try keeping their dog on leash when first arriving at a dog park, until it poops; then let it off leash.

Thanks for letting me sound off.
B., El Cerrito

Dear readers:
From time to time I’ll print someone’s “Primal Rant” here for your enlightenment. You can respond to these Rants by adding your own comments on same below. Primal Rants can be sent to me at gbogue@bayareanewsgroup.com. Please put “Primal Rant” in the Subject field. They may or may not be used. That’s for me to decide.

The Primal Rants printed here don’t always reflect my own thoughts about a particular subject … but they might. /Gary

Posted on Monday, December 3rd, 2007
Under: Primal Rant | 2 Comments »