Problem solving

Let’s say you’ve been keeping cats for a while, and you’ve been feeding them outside in the yard. Every time the bowl gets low, someone pours in more cat food.

One day you notice that you’ve been going through multiple bags of cat food per day. Then you look outside and notice that there are entirely too many stray cats in the yard. You’ve successfully deduced that the stray cats coming in your yard from all over the neighborhood are eating all of the extra cat food you’ve been buying. Now how do you solve this problem? Do you:

a) Keep putting cat food in the yard. Round up as many stray cats as you can find and drop them off next door. Repeat as necessary.

b) Keep putting cat food in the yard. Build a large wall around your property to keep the stray cats out.

c) Keep putting cat food in the yard. Patrol the perimeter of your property with a gun to keep the stray cats out.

d) Keep putting cat food in the yard. Adopt the stray cats that are currently in your yard, but this is it! After this you aren’t taking in any more, and that’s final. Repeat as necessary.

e) Stop putting cat food in the yard. Feed your cats and only your cats in a place where the strays can’t get access to the food.

Let’s say you go with (e).

Result? There’s fewer cats in the yard, and the ones that do show up aren’t eating any of your cat food. You’re buying significantly less cat food than before. There’s also a distinct shortage of mice on the premises. Life is good.

Of course if this decision is made by committee, especially if that committee features heavy representation from the ones that originally advocated adopting several cats and feeding them outside, this solution might meet with some resistance…

12 thoughts on “Problem solving”

  1. The problem with keeping cats in your yard is that they don’t stay in your yard and wander into someone else’s yard. Now this would be okay as long that someone else is not me. It is not that I don’t like cats–they are fine as long as they are in someone elses yard. But I don’t like the smell they leave when they use my rose beds for a litter box. I used to just run them off. But now I keep a couple of live traps and when I catch them I know longer call the owners to come get them..I call the country animal control folks and they charge the owners about a hundred bucks if they want the cats back. The solution is simple–just keep the cats at home.

    A few years ago my shotgun was the answer but now adays the country frowns on that–not for killing the cats but for illegal discharge of firearms and/or hunting without a license.

  2. Your argument makes a great deal of sense when one keeps cats as pets. And when one looks at this question in the light shed by Ginny’s post which contrasts the hard life with the soft life, one realizes cats who are kept as pets are kept alive only as long as they bring pleasure to the keeper. When there are too many of them, steps are taken to thin the population keeping only the prettiest and most pleasing. Cats who live the soft life have no control over their fate. Cats borne to the hard life have learned to live without free hand outs.

    Cats who live the hard life, cats which are self-sufficient, cats which make a solid contribution to the lives of the humans with whom they live and work are not pets but co-workers in building a better future. Perhaps we assume, based on the behavior of our domestic shorthaired cats that do no work and simply sit around and breed, eat and complain that all cats are the same. But cats that come from hard environments – the eastern Birmans who guarded temples, the Egyptian Maus who became Gods, the great Northern longhairs who help the Norsemen survive the hard artic winters, the Havana Browns – these are cats which are not pets but partners to people who need their helping paws in their businesses. There are cats which are free loaders and there are cats which are workers. All too often the freeloaders are born in comfort in our own backyard while the workers are born in hardship across the river.

  3. What would I do about a surplus of stray cats? Turn the hose on any cat which enters my yard uninvited.

    The grass gets watered, beloved pets get to go home and little girls or crazy old women don’t have to deal with the grief of a disappeared pet, and the unwanted cats themselves soon learn that a watery horror will rain down upon their heads if they dare to step paw inside my domain.

    Make an experience too uncomfortable and most creatures will stop doing it.

    It is possible that they are too dim to figure it our. (They are cats, after all.) Then I break out the Webley air pistol and the plastic trash bags, but only after repeated soakings.


  4. You decide to ration the amount of cat food available to all the cats,thereby turning the original cats and the strays against each other.

    While the cats fight it out on the yard, you stand on the roof,yelling at your neighbors for failing to fix the problem.

    Makes perfect sense,no?

  5. While the cats fight it out on the yard, you stand on the roof,yelling at your neighbors for failing to fix the problem.

    Makes perfect sense,no?

    Even if it doesn’t work it would be a sight worth seeing.


  6. There’s a few more options you could consider:

    f) Institute a “temporary guest cat” program. Stray cats get to stay for a limited amount of time and then have to go back where they came from. Any stray cats you see overstaying their welcome get picked up and dropped off next door.

    g) Demand that your neighbor build a large wall to keep his cats in. Never mind that you made disparaging comments about the guy down the street that built a large wall to keep all his cats in up until about 15 years ago.

    While we’re talking about actual cats here, there really were guard cats? How big were they?

  7. Birmans weigh less than 100 lbs and are smaller than a German Sheppard. They bond with one person and are extremely territorial. They are utterly silent, have a very low, rumbling growl, very large paws, and are beautiful and deeply religious. 6000 Birmans would do a better job of patrolling the Mexican border than 6000 national guard troops.

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