Now that I work from home, I can see that my dog, Penny, spends most of her days sleeping on the couch. Of course, she’s 12 years old, so that’s probably pretty typical. If you have a younger dog and want to get a good idea of how much exercise he or she is getting, […]
To die as a feral cat is to die so ignobly that your existence might as well have been nonexistence.
This feral cat fell to the motor car sometime earlier this summer. The maggots and carrion beetles made quick work of its flesh, and the sun pelting down upon the bones is bleaching them so white. All that remains of its tabby pelt is the hide on the face, which retains the striped markings of the generic wildcat in domestication.
We dream of cats now. The digital era has unleashed an epoch of cat worshiping not seen since the Egyptians. The urban and techy and prole youth are forced to forsake the noble dog for the ersatz carnivoran companion, and some do so willingly, because they like an animal with felid autonomy and wit, which a true dog person like me would never be able to appreciate.
But for every cat that is loved and coddled, at least one is out there trying to make a go of life as a wild animal. They are not so far removed from their Lybica wildcat ancestors to have lost their wild instincts and essence, and although we’ve certainly produced a few domestic strains that wouldn’t last five minutes in the wild, the vast majority of cats born into this world are still very much what their ancestors were.
And we can romanticize their wildness, their proclivities that allow such feral lives, but we cannot gloss over the fact that a domestic wildcat gone feral lives the life of a mesopredator. It is not the tiger of any urban jungle or farmstead. It is a predator that targets the small and the meek, for it is a small and meek predator.
Coyote jaws and speeding cars take out so many cats, as do the various communicable diseases that sweep through cat populations.
We love this animal, yet we allow so many of them to live such terror-filled and fleeting lives. We must surely be doing better by this species than we were several decades ago, but the vast throng of ferals living at the edges of our civilization are still with us.
And they will always be with us. So long as people let their queens roam and get bred in the great outdoors and so long as those same queens drop their kittens in the wild, never giving them a chance to become imprinted upon people, there will always be a supply to fill feral cat colonies.
And the cars and the coyotes and the feline leukemia and distemper will take out the excess.
And we’ll claim to love our cats and post beyond stupid memes about them online, and we’ll still cast a blind eye.
The crisis of cats is a big part of the pet overpopulation problem, such that it exists. Yes, I would totally agree that our frame about pet overpopulation has been misguided and stupid for quite a long time. I generally support the goals of the No Kill movement, but I think that those goals can be applied only to dogs.
Dogs don’t readily breed out in the wild, and no place has the same tolerance for big populations of free-roaming or feral dogs as currently exists for feral cats.
It is always said that cats are more popular than dogs, but this statement is misleading, at least as it applies to Americans. More homes in the US have dogs than have cats, which is a better metric of which animal is actually more popular. It’s just that there is a larger population of cats as a whole. If you like cats, you can keep scores of them, and no one will ever know. Dogs require some public display of their existence, and they are a lot more work than any cat.
So many cats are born feral and can never become socialized to humans, and the only hope for these cats is that they are part of one of those TNR programs. I remain hotly skeptical of TNR, simply because this problem is next to unsolvable, even with dedicated people trapping, vaccinating, and neutering thousands of ferals every year.
And I am leaving out the ecological aspect of what goes on with this most permissible and innocuous of mesopredator release.
This problem is usually trivialized with the wonderful fallacy of relative privation. Cats might kill billions of birds and small mammals, but cars and pollution and deforestation kill more. True, of course, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that cats still kill all those animals, and if we had more rational and humane policies towards these animals we claim to love, we would not become so defensive.
And the cars, at least, do take out quite a few cats, as the bones of this poor customer reveal to anyone with a bit of curiosity.
But the cars pass its bleaching bones and rarely cast a glance in his direction. For these are the bones of another feral cat that died so ignobly that he might as well have never been born. And so he is forgotten and the wheels keep turning.
And each night the wheels keep turning and taking out the surplus in this Malthusian world of the feral feline.
We’re so excited that we’re going to be launching a collection of USA-made dog toys on our PawZaar store later this month, starting with the Wild West Bone Dog Toy! This 8-inch plush toy…
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When it comes to grooming our dogs, we most often reach for the brush. But what about combs? Like brushes, different ones work best for different types of dog fur–and for different needs. While…
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Dogs: 1, Cats: 0 Have a great weekend! Until next time, Good day, and good dog!
As you read this post, I will be en route to California for my best friend’s memorial. I talked more about his passing here, and am so grateful for all of the messages you guys sent and for your kind words and good vibes. It’s not about me though – it’s about his wife, parents, and 2 year old daughter Mika who were left behind. I am really looking forward to making the journey and being with them and friends we call family, and celebrating the life and memory of a genuinely incredible person.
I wanted to share something I’ll be reading at his service, because I think it’s an important reminder for all of us. This particular quote struck me for two reasons. The first is that when I was living at a Tibetan Buddhist center in the early 2000s, Goki came to visit me from Colorado, where he was living at the time. The center was owned by the Dalai Lama’s family, and I lived in a house on the grounds. The Dalai Lama’s brother ran the center, but didn’t come out much. Goki happened to be standing in our driveway when he approached Goki. They ended up having a long conversation, and a strong connection was formed that Goki talked about often. The other reason I chose this was because I feel that of anyone I’ve even known, Goki found the true meaning of life, as is described here. He found happiness, and he spread happiness. Always.
We are visitors on this planet.
We are here for ninety
or one hundred years
at the very most.
During that period,
we must try to do
with our lives.
If you contribute
to other people’s happiness,
you will find the true goal,
the true meaning of life.
-His Holiness the Dalai Lama
I hope you can take this into your weekend, and focus on feeling happy, and contributing to other people’s happiness. This is what Goki did, and I am inspired to try harder to do the same.
Photo of Goki, his wife Marissa, and his daughter AnaMika by our friend Jami Matlock.
Fire is terrifying for any family, but especially for a farming family who must worry about all of their farm animals. The family at Challans Partners’ Longcroft Farm is grateful that a fire only wrecked machinery and a barn recently, instead of people, calves, or a pregnant cow. The reason the fire didn’t harm any people or animals on the farm in Derbyshire, England? A Springer Spaniel named Ted.
According to the Burton Mail, Ted jumped into action and alerted his family about the fire by loudly barking when the flames flared up from an electrical fault. It was around one in the morning when Ken Colwell, the farm secretary, heard Ted barking. Ken’s wife, Ruth, then spotted the flames and immediately called emergency services.
Ken praised the fire responders, saying “The firefighters were extremely professional….They were absolutely first class.” Because Ted made Ken and Ruth aware of the fire so quickly, the firefighters were able to protect two barns full of cows for the night, including calves and a pregnant cow. The wind that night was blowing the fire toward the barn where the calves had been resting. The fire was fully contained and out by shortly after four in the morning – barely three hours after Ted started barking the alarm.
Ken was grateful for his neighbors and told reporters, “I would also like to praise some of our neighbors who were actively on site offering assistance and support. We cannot thank them enough for their support.”
Ken’s partner at the farm is his brother in law, John Challans. Ken noted, “John and his wife Fiona, as well as Ruth, were mainly concerned about the animals….That is a huge testament to the good heart they have got and that is not to be underrated.”
We love that the Challans and Colwells were more concerned with their animals than with buildings or machinery. Halo’s mission is to not only make great cat food and dog food that pets love, but to change the way farm animals are raised for the better. We’re conscious about how we source our ingredients. We work for changes in pursuit of a notion of animal husbandry that challenges the old, one-way view of animal management where animals are solely for our benefit.
We believe that we all need to take care of each other – people, animals, and planet. Every animal in our lives, not just cats and dogs, carries a halo above it. That halo shines brightest when nurtured in a genuine, heartfelt, two-way, human-animal bond. It’s obvious from the priorities of the Challans and Colwells that their halos are shining brightly, just like that of their hero dog Ted. We hope Ted is getting lots of praise and healthy treats to reward his quick thinking and alert barking.
This final chapter of summertime is such a magical time of year. I really make a conscious attempt to soak up the last of the sunshine and longer days, veggies and herbs and flowers growing in my garden, ice cream dates with my little ones, and the effortless, laid back clothing I enjoy so much this time of year. I’ve mentioned this before, but as summer transitions into fall, I really look for clothing pieces that I can wear now and into the next season (and beyond). And that’s one (of many) reasons I love Gaia Conceptions so much. They offer hundreds of made-to-order styles crafted from eco-friendly fabrics that are made to wear year round. And each piece is made by hand in your size and color choice, right here in the USA.
Gaia has been a partner of Bubby and Bean for many years, and I’ve really gotten to know them and their gorgeous designs. And that is why I’m thrilled to announce that we are teaming up with them once again for a truly incredible giveaway! One lucky Bubby and Bean reader will receive a $ 150 gift card to spend in Gaia’s online shop, on anything your heart desires! Scroll down to enter…
Use the form below, and/or, because the main methods of entering this giveaway (worth the most points) involve Instagram, you can also enter directly on IG, right here. There are several options for extra entries as well.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
This giveaway will run through this Monday (August 13, 2018), and is open to Bubby and Bean readers worldwide. All entries from the Rafflecopter form above and Instagram will be combined. A winner will be randomly chosen via Random.org and announced here shortly after the end of the giveaway.
for an email with more information.
Thank you to Andrea and friends over at Gaia Conceptions for giving our readers the chance to win another gift card to their incredible shop. Good luck!