What does this mean to you and the animals within the township?
Seeing outdoor cats is commonplace in many neighborhoods throughout the township, especially this time of year. Many residents in the township have a problem with free-roaming cats that use their garden or children’s sandbox as a litter box, spray their homes, and dig up their vegetable gardens. There are many things that you can do as a home owner to discourage free-roaming cats from making your yard the hot new hangout on the block.
Any actions that you take, like trapping a cat or perhaps more permanent actions, without making a documented and significant effort to see if the free roaming cat is owned or feral could lead to winding up in court facing an outraged owner whose property you have technically stolen and perhaps even somehow caused to come to harm.
What attracts free-roaming cats to certain yards and not others?
Cats are attracted to yards that have a few things in common:
· Soft places to dig and go to the bathroom like sandboxes & tilled gardens
· Nice warm safe places to sun themselves like the hood of your car or blacktop of your driveway
· Easy food sources like trash cans or dumpsters that are not secured (remember, cat secure, not people secure) or a neighbor that puts out food for their cat which they let roam free
· Safe, dry hiding places like low-lying bushes, crawl spaces under porches and decks, and inside sheds
What can you do to discourage cats from straying into your yard?
There are simple yet effective measures you can take to keep free-roaming cats out of your yard:
· Secure trash cans and dumpsters so that they cannot be opened by cats or wildlife. Try weighting down the lid to the can or dumpster or tying it shut with a bungee cord.
· Trim low-lying bushes about 8 to 12 inches up off the ground to eliminate hiding spaces for the cats and wildlife.
· Spread pebbles or small stones over garden or path surfaces – avoid pebbles that are rounded as they make excellent surfaces for cats to sleep on as they are smooth and retain heat. A good rule of thumb is if you can easily walk over the stones in comfort, so can the cats.
· Small gauge chicken wire placed just below the surface of the garden or sandbox make digging uncomfortable and difficult. Be sure to lightly cover the wire so that it is a surprise to animal visitors to your garden.
· Set disposable pie tins or metal trays along ledges where the cats like to perch willed with small pebbles and / or water that will fall and make noise and / or get the cat wet when they make the jump for the perch. This approach is good for deck railings and the like.
· Loops of duct tape, sticky side out, stuck on the underside of a table cloth. Place the table cloth on top of flat surfaces where cats like to sleep. The table cloth will slide off the smooth surface the cast is trying to rest on and the sticky tape makes the area generally unpleasant. Depending on the area, you might need to weight the table cloth down to prevent it from blowing away.
· Install a motion activated sprinkler in your garden or other areas where the cats frequent. Or simply turn on the sprinklers during the times of the day when the cats are most likely to frequent your yard.
· Keep dollar store squirt bottles (or water guns if you have kids) handy to squirt any cat in your yard who you wish to discourage from returning. This method is very cost effective and can be very satisfying as well.
If these methods fail, you need to establish whether your new visitors are someone else’s pet or feral cats that live their entire lives outside. If your new visitors are someone’s pet, it might be something as simple as letting your neighbor know that their cat is visiting your yard and causing trouble.
are the “wild” offspring of un-neutered free roaming domestic house cats &
strays. They usually have little or no socialization to humans and are while
they are often nocturnal; they are most often noticed because of their seemingly
impolite behavior (spraying, nighttime mating and singing, and the strong smell
of urine from the intact males).
Stray cats, on the other hand, are companion cats that previously lived in human homes, but now are forced to live on the street. Why? Many people assume their animals will survive and simply “return to nature” when they move away and leave them behind. Despite what many believe, domestic animals do not automatically return to their "natural" instincts and cannot fend for themselves! Over generations of domestication, domestic house cats have lost the survival skills that their truly wild ancestors once had. Seeing Fluffy play with or “hunt” the occasional moths or house mice does not mean that they have the required skill set to survive without help in the wild.
How can you tell the difference if see cats roaming your yard?
It could be as simple as noticing a collar. Feral cats do not wear collars. However, it might not be that easy. According to the Humane Society of the United States, “A stray cat may approach you, but be skittish and avoid contact. When you put food down, he will likely eat it immediately. He is often vocal, disheveled, and appears at all hours.” (HSUS 2009) While he might be cautious at first, stray cats are more likely to ignore humans around him within a certain distance. Feral cats, on the other hand, are rather anti-social to humans and will often run as soon as they see the approach of humans, since they see humans as a danger to them and their colony. If you put out food for feral cats, they will likely only eat once humans have left the vicinity.
Vacationing With Your Pet
According to the American Animal Hospital Association, 53 percent of pet owners travel with their pets each year.
As the holidays approach, many pet owners have to decide what to do with their beloved furred family members while they are away for the holidays. While many opt to bring their pets along, there are many things to consider before packing your pet in the car & heading off for the holidays.
To Take or Not To Take The Pet. First, call ahead when you're planning your trip to see if your hotel allows pets & what types of accommodations you provide. While you’re on vacation, keep in mind that your pet shouldn't disturb anyone else who's also vacationing. Be sure that you have made arrangements for what to do with your pet while you are out at dinner or sightseeing around town. You don't want to ruin your entire trip by showing up with an animal, only to find out that it's not allowed.
If your dog is a barker, anti-social, or a poor traveler, a boarding kennel or in home pet sitting service may be best. If you choose to leave your pet at home or in a facility, you should always visit the facility & check licenses & references thoroughly before you place your pet in a boarding situation. Any reputable facility should be more than happy to give you a tour and answer every question that you have. If it smells bad or if any part of the facility isn’t bright & clean then it is no place for your pet.
Before The Trip.
If your pet is going to be traveling in the car it is good to get them used to this as soon as possible. This means starting them on short trips in the car, then increasing the time they spend in the car so they get used to it. Always end each mini-trip in the car on a positive note, even if your pet had some trouble on the ride, by running through one or two obedience commands that they know & then rewarding with a treat.
Several weeks before your trip, give your veterinarian a call to make sure your pets vaccinations are up to date. Many facilities won’t allow your pet to visit if your pet has received certain vaccinations, like Bordatella, too close to arriving at the facility. Also check the destination with your local vet, in case your pet needs extra vaccinations or protection against parasites, i.e. ticks or heartworm.
Let the Road Trip Begin! Now that you have all of the planning out of the way, your road trip can begin. There are a few things you need to keep in mind to keep your animal safe and comfortable while away:
- Click it or Tick IT! Is not just for the humans in the car. Unrestrained animals catapulting through the car towards the driver (or through the windshield) with sudden braking is a real danger despite for the pet as well as the human occupants of the car. In addition to colliding with the windshield, dogs traveling in the lap of the driver or front seat passenger can be crushed by an airbag deploying in a collision. Car harnesses are a great idea for pets of all sizes (and most vehicles) and are extremely safe.
- Animals left unattended in a vehicle can quickly die from exposure or heat exhaustion, depending on the temperature outside
- Allow you to leave your dog in your room or provide Doggie Day Care while you are out? Be sure to plan for what to do with your pet while out touring or sightseeing.
- Keep your dog leashed at all times so that they can’t run away and become lost in unfamiliar surroundings – remember that listening off leash at home is an entirely different matter in a dog’s mind then when they encounter new territory to explore…
- Ensure your pet has a collar and tag with your local address & phone numbers (in addition to any permanent microchips or ID tags) so that if the worst happens and your pet does get lost, you can be quickly reunited while on vacation.
Always call ahead to make sure pets are allowed where you're going. If they are, be sure to be courteous to those around you and respectful of any rules regarding animals. One bad apple can ruin it for everyone. L
Neglect and abandonment are the top reported form of animal cruelty in Pennsylvania this year, according to www.pet-abuse.com. Unfortunately, the public are becoming less and less willing to accept animal suffering.
Anyone convicted of abandoning or attempting to abandon any animal in Pennsylvania will pay a fine of not less than $300 and not more than $1,000. But if they suspect that the animal may temporarily be lost, please call the Lower Southampton Twp Police @ 215-357-1234. If the call is an animal emergency such as an animal bite or attack, please call 911.
Feral Cats in the Township
The LSACAB has been receiving calls about feral cats roaming our neighborhood. We are looking for information about feral cat colonies within the township (location, caretaker, TNR status) to determine whether or not a TNR program is needed within the township to aid the control of the feral cat population. Please email us if you have any information that will aid us in our data compilation.