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Cats Are Serial Killers
May 29, 2007 2:28 PM   Subscribe

In just a year his bodycount has risen to 32. Jeff kills in Shadow Hills, California. He hunts them, disembowels them, decapitates and dines on them. Each killing is meticulously photographed and posted for your viewing pleasure. The site is not for the squeamish. via
posted by Sully (100 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hey, the coyotes in Shadow Hills would do the same to Jeff if they caught him. It's a canine-eat-feline world, man.
posted by infinitewindow at 2:38 PM on May 29, 2007


Really clear close-ups. Jeff's owner must have a nice camera.
posted by adamms222 at 2:45 PM on May 29, 2007


...feeds on life feeds on life feeds on life feeds on life...
posted by BeerFilter at 2:49 PM on May 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Doesn't this cat know that killing animals is wrong? PETA should give him a good talking to about respect for nature. Somewhere, a Hollywood starlet is crying.
posted by acetonic at 2:49 PM on May 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


Like Ogrish for cats. Or for people who miss Ogrish.
posted by showmethecalvino at 2:52 PM on May 29, 2007


LOL CATIANS—BELIEF ALL THEY HV 2 DO IS PREY!
posted by rob511 at 2:52 PM on May 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


Awesome, a feral cat destroying the native bird population (/end troll).
posted by chrisbucks at 2:53 PM on May 29, 2007


You still don't get it, do you? He'll find her. That's what he does. That's all he does! You can't stop him. He'll wade through you, reach down her throat, and pull her f#*ing heart out.
posted by psmealey at 2:53 PM on May 29, 2007


I CAN HAS MOUSEBURGER?

O HAI
I KILLED YOU A BIRD
BUT I EATED IT
posted by fandango_matt at 2:54 PM on May 29, 2007 [14 favorites]




What a delightful website. I was all set to have to slog through some some second-rate Nugent who wanted to brag about his hunting prowess. This is so much better. Well played!
posted by felix betachat at 2:55 PM on May 29, 2007


I wanted to look but got webwashed. I get the gist, though.

Our cat brings us twigs from the walnut tree, and small crabapples. Not really sure what the hell is wrong with her, but I prefer it to porch offerings of half-dead wildlife.
posted by peep at 3:03 PM on May 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


I am duly impressed by the rabbits. Those are not an easy catch for most cats.
posted by kyrademon at 3:06 PM on May 29, 2007


Fantastic post! Thanks.
posted by CKZ at 3:07 PM on May 29, 2007


Dude, this is awesome. Check out the rabbit on November 20, 2006. Third picture down, you can see it was a pregnant rabbit, with a little rabbit fetus left intact amongst the guts. COOL!
posted by po at 3:07 PM on May 29, 2007


I found the captions more amusing than anticipated.
posted by GuyZero at 3:08 PM on May 29, 2007


I like it, thanks Sully.
It reminds to indoor cat's owners what a killer we harbor in our midst. What a thrill! :-)

I also like the FAQ:
Q) What is the point of this site? Why would you put these pictures online?
A) We had this huge cat that kept bringing his catches to our back door all the time. Weird events warranting documentation, in our opinion, for ourselves and a few associates. With zero effort on our part, it became a bit popular.
Metafilter: Weird events warranting documentation.
posted by bru at 3:09 PM on May 29, 2007


Obligatory Kit Smart reference:

For tenthly he goes in quest of food.
For having consider'd God and himself he will consider his neighbour.
For if he meets another cat he will kiss her in kindness.
For when he takes his prey he plays with it to give it a chance.
For one mouse in seven escapes by his dallying.
For when his day's work is done his business more properly begins.
For he keeps the Lord's watch in the night against the adversary.
For he counteracts the powers of darkness by his electrical skin and glaring eyes.
For he counteracts the Devil, who is death, by brisking about the life.
For in his morning orisons he loves the sun and the sun loves him.
For he is of the tribe of Tiger.


— "For I Will Consider My Cat Jeoffry" (excerpt, Jubilate Agno)
posted by Haruspex at 3:12 PM on May 29, 2007 [4 favorites]


Yeah, "my" feral cats are quite the predators. Apparently, no canned food can beat the taste of chipmunk head. The heads are, from looking at the remains, the best part.

I keep thinking that I should put up some bushes around this tree stump they like so much, then a birdbath and a high-speed camera rigged to a motion detector, just so I can watch them shoot out, like furry missiles, towards the various vermin. Thus far, they have taken out the vole/mole (what were those burrowing rodents, anyway?) population and the angry bluejays.

You'd be surprised by cats killing rabbits. I've seen a three-legged cat kill one before.
posted by adipocere at 3:12 PM on May 29, 2007


Meandering from the topic, but, why do people always say things to their pets twice?

"Does he love his nummy din-dins? Yeeeees, does he love his nummy din-dins?"

Drives me nuts. The cat didn't respond orally the first time because he DOESN'T SPEAK HUMAN, you moran.

Would someone mind fetching me my blood pressure medication now?
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:17 PM on May 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


That's a pretty good-sized cat: The tape measure photo in the gallery suggests that he's not a lot under 1 m long.
posted by pax digita at 3:19 PM on May 29, 2007


Why is this site so appealing? And your FPP is so clever.

High five!
posted by serazin at 3:21 PM on May 29, 2007


BB is just seeing this? Wow.

I saw this site last year sometime and am amused to see that he kept up with it.

Jeff is a really pretty cat, despite being a homicidal maniac. :)
posted by drstein at 3:21 PM on May 29, 2007


...feeds on life feeds on life feeds on life feeds on life...

For us, it is the harvest. For them it is a holocaust. Damnit, let the rabbits wear their glasses. Can I get an amen?
posted by Dark Messiah at 3:26 PM on May 29, 2007 [4 favorites]


32 in a year isn't very much. Our family cat Rex used to bring my mother a gift every few days. Usually it was a rodent of some kind, a shrew or a mouse or a gopher, but he got birds, too. A lot of the time they were still alive; the first few times that happened it freaked my mom out completely.

She finally figured out that he wanted to be praised; she'd do so, and then he'd take it away and eat it.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 3:27 PM on May 29, 2007


Doesn't this cat know that killing animals is wrong? PETA should give him a good talking to about respect for nature. Somewhere, a Hollywood starlet is crying.
posted by acetonic at 2:49 PM


Well, you see, cats only murder other small critters because they've been taught to do so by humans. I don't have a TV in my house, and my kitty -- Mr. Moonchild -- lives quite comfortably on a diet of tofu and wheatgrass.

Now, the MEM (Meat Eating Media) will try to tell you that cat's have "evolved" to be carnivores, even going so far as to be unable to synthesize Taurine^, but these are obviously lies spread by the Meat-Eating-Military-Industrial-Corpratist-Frankenfood-Alliance.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to have Mr. Moonchild fitted for contact lenses.
posted by Avenger at 3:30 PM on May 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm impressed by the cat's ability to remove perfectly intact intestines from the rest of the body with near-surgical precision. Is this common among cats who hunt?
posted by H-Bar at 3:35 PM on May 29, 2007


My cats all enjoy catching treats outdoors and bringing them indoors to show off to me. Yuck! Keep it outside!

This weekend, I was treated to a small gopher in my kitchen. Last summer I had a garter snake dropped off in my living room (I figured it was some sort of viral advertising for Snakes on a Plane).
posted by porn in the woods at 3:43 PM on May 29, 2007


I'd heard it said that cats have to be taught to hunt by their mothers or they will lose the art. Then we got a cat named Adam who was rejected by a Manx cattery because he had a tail.

That kitteh had spent the first year of his life indoors and the first time he ventured out he appeared to frightened of the sky. He hugged the wall of the porch.

Six months later he was killing and eating pheasants. (and mice, robins, jays, wittle baby bunnies, frogs, moles......)

Once I found the head of a rabbit perched upright in the middle of the deck, pondering infinity.
posted by longsleeves at 3:50 PM on May 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


Ho, ho, ha ha! Whoa, I just can't get enough photos of some schmuck encouraging a feral cat to destroy local wildlife. *whiping tears from eyes* Man...maybe next time you can show how feeding and housing the cat on this guy's propery led to his kids getting some weird kitty disease. That'd be a hoot!
posted by Muddler at 4:13 PM on May 29, 2007


tiny, tiny entrails...


I didn't want to look, but I did, and I'm glad.
posted by sarahmelah at 4:19 PM on May 29, 2007


Jesus.
posted by Scoo at 4:21 PM on May 29, 2007


Rabbits are delicious!
posted by Many bubbles at 4:25 PM on May 29, 2007


If your cat was big enough, it would eat you.
posted by carsonb at 4:33 PM on May 29, 2007


Access Denied (content_filter_denied)

Your request was denied because of its content categorization: "Gruesome Content"

For assistance, email IT Support Desk



Now IT are taunting me...
posted by patricio at 4:33 PM on May 29, 2007


IM IN YUR R1BC4G3 34T1NG YUR H34RT. LOL THIS, MF.
posted by Toekneesan at 4:35 PM on May 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


Nah, that decapitated bunny isn't dead. It's sleeping. Right? Riiiight?

Or perhaps it's pining for the fjords. Beautiful plumage on that rabbit.
posted by miss lynnster at 4:44 PM on May 29, 2007


The next time I find a dying robin in my yard that some irresponsible motherfucker's CAT killed because the irrresponsible motherfucker thinks that CATS should be allowed to roam around the neighbourhood, I am going to kill that fucking CAT and the irresponsible motherfucking cunt who owns it.

This shit pisses me off. It REALLY pisses me off. I love cats. I hate to see them out on the block killing birds.

Mice are okay. But there are probably plenty in your garage or crawlspace that fluffy can kill.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 4:45 PM on May 29, 2007


I know it isn't popular to stick up for predators, but really, it's a conversation. Cats don't only kill birds and we all benefit from their reductions in the mouse and rat populations. We've seen in deer populations that when you remove a predator, you harm the organisms it hunts. The same can be said of the animals cats hunt. I know each death may not seem like a benefit to the species, but it does shape the organism and that environment, and that is a significant process.

Not all cats should be spayed/neutered kept indoors and declawed. Some cats work for a living.
posted by Toekneesan at 4:57 PM on May 29, 2007 [2 favorites]


I just had to make sure the link didn't say "who Jeff killed"
posted by niles at 5:02 PM on May 29, 2007


I wouldn't let the guy into my house, but he looks plenty happy to stay outside.

I had a cat once who was semi-feral. I could deal with the "presents," but I couldn't handle his farts. Jesus H. Christ.
posted by bardic at 5:03 PM on May 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Or perhaps it's pining for the fjords. Beautiful plumage on that rabbit.

Sorry, this was an ex-bunny.

Should have said earlier: great FPP! Bookmarked.

(upon preview, concerned about own relishing of carnage and suffering in animal kindom, said kingdom including self. ah, well.)
posted by longsleeves at 5:04 PM on May 29, 2007


I have a cat that likes to use the bathtub as his personal Colliseum for his epic battles with mice.
posted by clearly at 5:06 PM on May 29, 2007


The next time I find a dying robin in my yard that some irresponsible motherfucker's CAT killed because the irrresponsible motherfucker thinks that CATS should be allowed to roam around the neighbourhood, I am going to kill that fucking CAT and the irresponsible motherfucking cunt who owns it.

But wouldja...kinda...bat 'em around a bit before actually doing them in?
posted by LionIndex at 5:07 PM on May 29, 2007 [4 favorites]


Nah man, you won't piss off mefites by threatening to kill a cat.

De-claw the fucker, however, and matthowie will banninate you.
posted by bardic at 5:08 PM on May 29, 2007


Jesus, the anti-cat brigade is on double-crazy watch this week.
posted by KingoftheWhales at 5:11 PM on May 29, 2007


I'd heard it said that cats have to be taught to hunt by their mothers or they will lose the art.

They know how to hunt instinctively. What they need to be taught by their mothers is how to do the kill.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:22 PM on May 29, 2007


I hate to see them out on the block killing birds.

Mice are okay.


The obvious solution is to sit the CAT down and have a nice, long heart-to-heart talk. I'm sure they'll see things from your point of view and learn the difference between prey that flies and prey that scurries.
posted by Cyrano at 5:23 PM on May 29, 2007


infinitewindow: Hey, the coyotes in Shadow Hills would do the same to Jeff if they caught him. It's a canine-eat-feline world, man.

I live just up Foothill from Jeff's hunting grounds and I swear a couple of weeks ago I saw a bobcat perched on the hillside, just across from the feed store.

It didn't have his coloration, otherwise I'd've thought I was seeing Jeff in action.
posted by retronic at 5:28 PM on May 29, 2007


For a second, I thought it would be some deranged cannibal named Jeff taking photos of unlucky hikers who wandered onto his property.
posted by Xere at 5:34 PM on May 29, 2007


Adam actually killed quite competently.
posted by longsleeves at 5:38 PM on May 29, 2007


Cats kill things. I get it.

What I wanna know is what poor neighbor is having to scoop Jeff's poop outta his flower bed?
posted by konolia at 5:40 PM on May 29, 2007


Cats are responsible for the Song Bird Holocaust. Soon most song birds that once flourished in US cities will be pretty much extinct. Domestic cats in the huge numbers we keep them are indeed bad for the environment. But so are people. I'm for a reduction in both.
posted by tkchrist at 5:43 PM on May 29, 2007


I have been wondering why my cat doesn't kill more things. Every once in a while he'll bring me a gecko or moth, but never anything much bigger. I found him when he was 8 weeks old, so I don't know if his mother had much of a chance to teach him. For the last few days, though, a mockingbird in our backyard has been swooping down trying to scare him off, but he just sits there and watches it or cleans himself. He has ample opportunity to kill it, but seems disinterested. Anyone have any idea why? ¯\(°_o)/¯
posted by p3on at 5:49 PM on May 29, 2007


I was all set to have to slog through some some second-rate Nugent who wanted to brag about his hunting prowess. This is so much better much less interesting. /troll
posted by mrgrimm at 5:50 PM on May 29, 2007


When a cat brings you something they killed, it's a great honor. It means they like you.
posted by mike3k at 6:04 PM on May 29, 2007


Cats are responsible for the Song Bird Holocaust.

Yes, what with all those tiny, tiny ovens they're building on the outskirts of town, the ones the locals claim to know nothing about.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 6:04 PM on May 29, 2007 [4 favorites]


posted by tkchrist Cats are responsible for the Song Bird Holocaust. Soon most song birds that once flourished in US cities will be pretty much extinct.

Clearly, the solution lies in genetically breeding Singing Cats.
posted by fandango_matt at 6:08 PM on May 29, 2007 [5 favorites]


H-Bar, I think that the intestine removal is common. I've seen this phenomenon in my own home, after one of my cats (not feral, indoor only, spayed/neutered, not declawed, leavemealoneMeFicatpatrol!) has come across an unfortunate mouse. I presume that some parts of the prey just aren't tasty, so certain organs get removed and left alone.

I once found the remains of a mouse under my dining room table. It was a gruesome scene, but I'm glad the cat got the mouse when it did, because the mouse contained other, smaller mice.
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:13 PM on May 29, 2007


West Nile Virus is killing birds in North America this year.
posted by longsleeves at 6:25 PM on May 29, 2007


Also, the sound of cats singing is not pleasant. I don't see how selective breeding could start to help.
posted by longsleeves at 6:27 PM on May 29, 2007


I am duly impressed by the rabbits.

Our cat Mr. Peabody killed a rabbit almost as big as he was a few years back. It must have been a hell of a battle, because he just stayed inside and laid around for three days afterwards.
posted by Mr_Zero at 6:29 PM on May 29, 2007


this was an amusing letter:

Subject: no subject
From: Linsey
Date: Fri, Aug 25, 2006 7:24 am
To: staff@whatjeffkilled.com

Dear Staff,

My entire family and all of my friends love this website. Jeff is a part of our lives and we commonly find ourselves in situations where we have to ask, “What would Jeff do?” Our family cat is constantly reminded of his inadequacies when we ask him, “Why can’t you be more like Jeff?” While we are a little disappointed that Jeff has been inactive for one month today, we were wondering if we couldn’t have some more pictures, or at least a small update to make the kill free days go by a little easier?

Thank you,
Linsey
New Orleans, LA



i love the What Would Jeff Do...
posted by mary8nne at 6:30 PM on May 29, 2007


I had a cat once who was semi-feral. I could deal with the "presents," but I couldn't handle his farts. Jesus H. Christ.

We have adopted several feral cats. They all had terrible gas at first. I think it has to do with them suddenly changing their diet to cat food.
posted by Mr_Zero at 6:49 PM on May 29, 2007


All you speciesist fuckers that want to project your own morals onto cats need to go jump in a lake. Cats aren't here for your amusement, they are efficient deadly predators honed by countless years of evolution. To keep them enclosed is to deny them their birthright, and is the most cruel thing you could do to your cat.

I'm only being partially sarcastic. Sure, cats have been domesticated for thousands of years, but right under those thousands of years are millions of years as a murderous wild beast.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:50 PM on May 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


People who are all OH MY GOD I'll kill the cat that destroyed that innocent little songbird clearly haven't been around birds much.

Birds are even less nice.
posted by furiousthought at 6:52 PM on May 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


All you speciesist fuckers that want to project your own morals onto cats need to go jump in a lake. Cats aren't here for your amusement, they are efficient deadly predators honed by countless years of evolution. To keep them enclosed is to deny them their birthright, and is the most cruel thing you could do to your cat

My current indoor cat Juicyface the drools-when-he's-happy indoor half-siamese clueless sweet blue-eyed cat would not last a week outdoors.

Turn-ons: marked-down deli meat ends, those birds he sees through the windows, praise.

Turn-offs: imagined and/or percieved slights.

I really must stop posting about cats now.
posted by longsleeves at 7:10 PM on May 29, 2007


The small predator in my home is limited to killing bugs. And small plastic objects. Right now, she is winning the battle against a ferocious pink marker.

Sometimes, when she doesn't earn her keep by killing the bugs, my husband will take her and kill the bugs with her paws.

Clearly, since the cat hasn't yet killed him in her sleep, she is far too tolerant.... or merely still in the plotting phases of her devilish plan.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 7:32 PM on May 29, 2007


To keep them enclosed is to deny them their birthright, and is the most cruel thing you could do to your cat.

Surely slowly burning them alive one little bit at a time and forcing them to watch an endless stream of Carrot Top videos and keeping them inside would more cruel than just keeping them inside.

Sure, cats have been domesticated for thousands of years, but right under those thousands of years are millions of years as a murderous wild beast.

This is why feral cats are vermin and should be humanely killed.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:42 PM on May 29, 2007


... some second-rate Nugent ...

...his kids getting some weird kitty disease. That'd be a hoot!

Well the first time that I got it
I was just 10 years old
I got it from some kitty next door
Well I went and seen the doctor
And he gave me the cure
I think I got it some more
posted by swell at 7:54 PM on May 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'd like to see him kill a half gallon of antifreeze.

I... loathe... cats.
posted by kid ichorous at 8:05 PM on May 29, 2007


Aslan has made me recant my last post.
posted by kid ichorous at 8:08 PM on May 29, 2007


Great post! Thanks.

I have a formerly-feral tom who adopted us a few years ago. He's now tame enough to sleep indoors sometimes. He eats cat food, but he still hunts, catches, and eats voles, squirrels, and rabbits. He always leaves the intestines (my guess is they taste like shit), but unlike Jeff he eats the heads. It's so cool to watch him tugging at a carcase: he looks just like a lion on TV eating a zebra. We have to get him wormed three or four times a year.

You cat haters should check out the psychopaths FPP: cats are obviously psychopathic, with the killing and manipulation and lack of remorse, etc.
posted by RussHy at 8:15 PM on May 29, 2007


Across the highway from my parents' house is a dugout that is often frequented by ducks and geese. One summer my cat Spinky broke the neck of a duck and dragged the poor bastard 100+ feet over to my folks' where she presented this mostly paralyzed mallard to her litter. Daunted by the size of this prize and being slightly inbred as all good farmcats are, the kittens were didn't really know what to do, despite prodding from their understandable exhausted mother. The confused incompetence of the kittens, their mother's obvious impatience and embarrassment, and my pity for the duck, who, despite his plight, still smiled in that plucky ducky way inherent to all creatures with bills, made the whole situation very uncomfortable for all involved - well, except for the duck, who was far past feeling uncomfortable.

So I shot the duck, dug a hole in the ditch, and gave him a decent burial.
Spinky was not impressed.

Spinky'd kick Jeff's ass. Hell, she probably would've kicked mine, if I hadn't been carrying a gun.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:23 PM on May 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Off topic, but what kind of a name for a cat is "Jeff"? It's a cat, not your kid. Sometimes when I'm out walking I have to supress laughter when I'll see some single person walking his/her dog and call out to it "Katie" or some such thoroughly human name.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:42 PM on May 29, 2007


Could Jeff's owner be in the grip of The Puppet Masters?
posted by Araucaria at 8:50 PM on May 29, 2007


Yes, what with all those tiny, tiny ovens they're building on the outskirts of town, the ones the locals claim to know nothing about.

They're not purring, they're drilling.
posted by holgate at 8:53 PM on May 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


Miss Kitty is well-fed but she has a taste for rabbit. She always brings them home to one of the porches. I can count her kills on two hands. Did you know that rabbits scream? I have rescued more than a few by hearing their screams and interrupting my kitty's bloodlust by chucking her in the house pre-kill.

However, there are two deceased rabbit tales I must share:

1) Finding a mutilated rabbit carcass on my Welcome mat on February 14 with the heart removed and lying apart from the dead body. I like to think of that as my bloody valentine from my rescued cat. (Do not laugh!)

2) The carcass I found dead on the porch completely intact, including the rabbit ears, except for the face being completely chewed off. It was not a holiday so I do not recall the date.
posted by maggieb at 9:01 PM on May 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


My cat (Porkchop) could take Jeff out in a minute.
posted by tiger yang at 9:16 PM on May 29, 2007


Did you know that rabbits scream?

I was with a friend while he was rabbit hunting one day when he shot one and I heard my first rabbit scream. Freaked me the hell out. IIRC, it was a lot like a child screaming.

Off topic, but what kind of a name for a cat is ‘Jeff’? It's a cat, not your kid. Sometimes when I'm out walking I have to suppress laughter when I'll see some single person walking his/her dog and call out to it ‘Katie’ or some such thoroughly human name.

This seems strange to me. Where is the rule that says that animals must have obviously non-human names?
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:42 PM on May 29, 2007


Jeff's a wicked name for a cat. I had a cat named Kevin once. It throws people for a loop when people ask "Hey, what's your cat's name?"
posted by sharpener at 10:15 PM on May 29, 2007


Mami Kitty is my mother's semi-feral cat. My folks have four acres and she is the predator extraordinare, who retires nightly to the machine shed. This semester she's brought me: three pinks, a lizard, a vole, a mouse (with the blood drained from its punctured skull for my convenience) and two fledglings.

I am convinced that cats bring their humans their kills because they think we eat poorly... either that or they're double agents trying to warn us about the fate that awaits us when they eventually grow opposable thumbs.
posted by luminous phenomena at 10:25 PM on May 29, 2007


Cats bring their prey to their humans because of the previously mentioned mother-kitten process of learning to kill. Initially, the mother cat will bring still-living prey to the kittens and will kill the prey in front of them. Then she will allow the kittens to "play" with the prey and she will eventually kill it. Later, the kittens will bring prey back to the, um, "den" and the same sort of thing will happen. Eventually the kittens become competent at killing their prey independently of their mother.

Domestic cats are sort of in a state of suspended development. Genetically in their domestication they've been infantalized to some extent. But, developmentally, this is even more true with domesticated cats in a human household. The human is the "mother cat". For the same reasons that adult domestic cats meow like all kittens do, but adult feral cats do not, adult domestic cats often bring living and dead prey to their "mother" human.

I suppose that if you want to play along—when the prey is still living–you could pick it up by its head in your teeth and give it a violent shake to snap its neck.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 10:34 PM on May 29, 2007 [4 favorites]


My dearest Melon somehow caught a birdie and ate most of it (head included-- brains have taurine in them and kittehs need taurine). He then proceeded to wake us at 5 AM all excited, nearly jumping out of his furry little pants with glee. He had gotten his own breakfast, see.

What makes this any different than the stories from above? We live on the second floor of our apartment complex. There are no ledges. There was a hole in one screen, in an inconvenient location, and it was about 1 1/2 inches wide. Melon has not been outdoors since he was 5 months old (he is 3). Melon is also 15 pounds. We, to this day, have no idea how he got the birdie in the house to eat it on the couch.

Additionally, a few weeks ago, Melon was agitated and wanted under the covers. Sometimes he does this because he wants to snuggle. Sometimes he has hidden a puff under there. This time, however, he had trapped a mouse. Said mouse was huddled up under the comforter, against my husband's side, unharmed.

And luminous phenomena, check out the pictures of Melon. He has opposable thumbs. That is how he picks up his puffs.
posted by oflinkey at 10:35 PM on May 29, 2007


My cats name is Doobles.

He's 10 kilos and leaves me mouse heads.
posted by stonesy at 10:50 PM on May 29, 2007


When we first moved into our current house, our two cats were apparently the only working cats around, because squirrels and rabbits just stood there and got annihilated. It was a massacre.

Three years later I watched a big red-tailed hawk plunge out the sky into the front yard, intending to convert a squirrel to a meal. It was attempting to pick the exact spot the squirrel would be as it raced back to it's tree in terror, when the squirrel turned and ran away from the tree, and under my truck 20 feet away.

That hawk stood in my yard for a good 30 seconds, obviously cursing the irrationality of tasty tree rats. I could almost hear him muttering. He had no idea why what had happened happened.

I, of course, knew exactly what had happened; we have bred super squirrels and long legged rabbits, wily, tricksy, and speedy. The cats haven't caught anything of significance for a few years due to the hyper-actualization of prey.

And you should have seen how confused the cats were when wild turkeys started hanging around town for a year. Those birds absolutely harassed the cats within an inch of their lives. Kind of like that old Jeckyl-Hyde Tweety bird episode come to life. Cats get highly offended when you fall down laughing at them.
posted by dglynn at 11:21 PM on May 29, 2007 [1 favorite]


A few years ago I watched an episode of Nature (I think), that followed an English researcher as he tried to estimate the number of wildlife killed by domestic cats in the UK every year. He reached the estimate by taking a sample area (I believe it was a mid-sized English village), and having local cat owners cooperate by reporting any kills made by their cats. And the cat owners were cooperative indeed, going as far as storing the remains of their cats' victims in their freezers and turning them over to the researcher. The results were pretty amazing; he estimated that tens of millions of wild animals such as birds and rodents are killed by domestic cats each year, and although in some cases this may be beneficial--keeping the rodent/pest population in check--it's generally very harmful to the local fauna as several million small mammals and native birds (some of which are endangered) are destroyed by cats each and every year.

So I think if your sweet little Fluffy is a natural born killer and routinely brings home his kills, it would be responsible to try to convert him into a solely indoor cat. It's good for the neighborhood critters, and it's healthier for your cat (an indoor/outdoor cat has an average life expectancy of ten years, versus fifteen years for an indoor cat). My fifteen pound Himalayan is a big sweet softy, but he absolutely loves chomping down on any unfortunate insects or arachnids that make the mistake of entering our home, and one of his favorite things is to watch the squirrels and waterfowl that live in our complex through the windows. There's no mistaking his body language: "Just crack the sliding glass door and give me five minutes out there with them. Please, daddy!" I can imagine the carnage on my patio if I were to let him out.
posted by Devils Slide at 1:21 AM on May 30, 2007


It is here I must confess: we walk our cats on leads.
It gets them out, they walk about,
and if one crunches something we know just on what it feeds.
(Nothing bigger than a beetle bleeds.)
posted by pracowity at 3:00 AM on May 30, 2007


The results were pretty amazing; he estimated that tens of millions of wild animals such as birds and rodents are killed by domestic cats each year, and although in some cases this may be beneficial--keeping the rodent/pest population in check--it's generally very harmful to the local fauna as several million small mammals and native birds (some of which are endangered) are destroyed by cats each and every year.

Are you sure there's a problem here? Before the advent of Homo sap., those millions of wild animals were being killed by foxes, stoats, and other small native predators. Human habitation cuts down on these, but introduces the cat. Maybe the result balances out? If there were no outside cats, the result would probably be a population explosion of birds, rodents, and lagomorphs, ultimately limited only by starvation and disease. This would definitely not be good for humans, and arguably not for the wee critters.

Right now, there's a herd of 18+ deer in the woods behind my house in suburban SE Pennsylvania, because previous generations of humans killed off all the wolves and pumas. I can't plant anything in my garden that isn't actually poisonous without the deer chomping it to the ground. Half a million deer are hit by cars years, resulting a hundred human deaths. In my area, Lyme disease is rampant. I've pulled two ticks off myself so far this season, including one Ixodes scapularis.

I'd really like to teach my cats to hunt deer, but so far they've resisted. Won't sing, either.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 3:10 AM on May 30, 2007


Good post and good discussion. One of the things that attracts me to cats as a pet is the clarity of connection in mannerisms, behaviours and instincts shared with cats of all sizes.
posted by michswiss at 5:03 AM on May 30, 2007


Jeff is a handsome fellow and I love this website--very dry dark humor.
posted by Mavri at 8:48 AM on May 30, 2007


the result would probably be a population explosion of birds, rodents, and lagomorphs, ultimately limited only by starvation and disease

You would be incorrect. We have introduced a predator in areas where such a predator never existed or never existed in such massive numbers.

Let's remember if cats were all feral they would not survive at near the numbers humans keep them. We protect these predators and keep them removed from natural selection. Domestic cats also kill the small predators (like hawks and owls) that keep smaller mammals in check. When you combine this slaughter with habitat loss you see native bird populations near extinction.

One solution I have read is that cats can be bred to lose the more overt desire to hunt flying prey and still retain the predator reflex for rodents. Supposedly.
posted by tkchrist at 10:33 AM on May 30, 2007


Deciding what animals get to roam free in populated areas hasn't got much to do with environmentalism, unless you're naive enough to think that concentrations of humans and wild fauna can function intact side-by-side. Stable environmentalism has to focus on habitat loss – you have to set aside sanctuaries. The native fauna are going to get distorted in any kind of populated environment.

Certainly in communities where there are endangered species at risk I would support keeping pets inside.

But this is just pitting animal lover type A vs. animal lover type B (or to be less generous, people who are seeking some kind of environmental indie cred for their suburban communities) and I'd argue that fostering a generalized love of animals does environmentalism a lot more good than this homeowner's association kind of crap.
posted by furiousthought at 12:09 PM on May 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


Aku has only caught a single mouse. He killed it, then layed it out neatly on the carpet, with its legs tucked under. I'm pretty sure he licked it clean, and smoothed the mouse's fur into place. Then he sat next to it and yodeled until we came to see his kill.

We've got a very polite, civilized killer.
posted by Eddie Mars at 1:00 PM on May 30, 2007


My cat Spike was orphaned when he was 2 weeks old (well, who knows where his mother went, but some asshat locked him and his brother in a box in an apartment building basement). Bottle-baby cat, one year later, caught and killed the heck out of a mouse that got into our house on Easter despite never having been taught to hunt.

Instinct is an amazing thing.

I don't think our younger cat Giles would be quite as willing, though. He was feral, born in a woodpile and immediately rescued, but he is -- if you'll pardon the joke -- a scaredy cat.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 1:10 PM on May 30, 2007


Then he sat next to it and yodeled until we came to see his kill. We've got a very polite, civilized killer.

Sure he's not just Swiss? or Gwen Stefani?
posted by bitter-girl.com at 1:19 PM on May 30, 2007


I suppose he could be Swiss, we adopted him when he was very young, so he wouldn't have an accent. He hates ska though, so I don't think it's Gwen in drag.

A chipmunk got in our house once. I tried to trap it in a bucket, and somehow ended up herding it into our bedroom. No problem, I thought, and quickly sealed the space under the door. Then I tossed Aku into the room and waited to hear the sounds of battle.

Half an hour later I opened the door to see my cat sound asleep sprawled out on his back. The chipmunk was happily chewing on some paper a few feet away.
posted by Eddie Mars at 1:35 PM on May 30, 2007 [2 favorites]


One solution I have read is that cats can be bred to lose the more overt desire to hunt flying prey...

An easier solution would be cats that can't breed -- if you want to buy a cat, you have to buy a sterile cat or pay a very high license fee for an unsterilized cat. That would make most cats fatter and lazier (less likely to catch prey) and would cut down on the feral cat population.
posted by pracowity at 12:39 AM on May 31, 2007


Domestic cats that kill local outdoors are an environmental disaster. If the cat is only killing rodents within your house, fair enough. Semi-feral and feral cats are moreso.

From Australia:

'There is clear evidence that feral cats have had a heavy impact on island fauna. On Macquarie Island, for example, feral cats caused the extinction of a subspecies of the red-fronted parakeet. On the mainland, they have probably contributed to the extinction of many small to medium sized mammals and ground-nesting birds in the arid zone, and seriously affected bilby, mala and numbat populations. In some instances, feral cats have directly threatened the success of recovery programs for endangered species.'
posted by asok at 4:17 AM on May 31, 2007



Deciding what animals get to roam free in populated areas hasn't got much to do with environmentalism


This comment and argument makes no sense. In fact I nominate it as the worst argument ever. IE:

We should let cows roam free then? Or dogs?

We decide what animals roam free all the time. And the issue is the impact DOMESTIC animals have and domestic are purely under our control. Measures to control them are not only the most efficient way to tackle thier impact on the environment but it is our obligation since we create and nurture them.

Stable environmentalism has to focus on habitat loss – you have to set aside sanctuaries. The native fauna are going to get distorted in any kind of populated environment.

Domestic cats devastate wildlife.

Forcing what few wild song birds are left into a preserve? How the fuck we gonna do that - they are migratory and have nesting grounds that are used for thousands of generations whether there is a city there or not.

And birds THRIVE in cities where domestic cats are under control.
posted by tkchrist at 1:59 PM on May 31, 2007


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