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Cat vs. Squirrels (OT?)

Posted by james_m_clark (My Page) on
Sat, Jul 25, 09 at 1:43

This story may not be about bird-watching, but most of us bird-watchers have seen cats and squirrels around our bird feeders at times. Also, I should give a warning: This story is not for the faint of heart.

Somebody told me a story about a cat that got into the habit of pestering some squirrels when they gathered under a bird feeder to eat the fallen seed. After a while the squirrels apparently decided that this was just too annoying, because one day they ambushed and ganged up on the cat and there was a big fight. The cat was never seen again after that. He figures that the cat was too humiliated to come back again.

I didn't tell him that I didn't agree with his conclusion of the story. I've seen cats fight and I've seen squirrels fight, and I don't think the story ended the way he guesses that it did. I figure that two pounds of cat for every pound of squirrel makes a fair fight.

Most cats have a thicker coat of fur than a squirrel's, so that's better defensively, but a squirrel has harder and stronger muscles -- that's why cats are wimpy tree-climbers compared to squirrels. And there's a difference in attitude: cats fight to win, but squirrels fight to the death. Squirrels don't fight often; the dominant ones usually just bully and chase the less dominant ones.

When cats fight, there's a lot of loud meowing. But if you ever hear squirrels fighting, that pitiful squealing of the loser will send chills down your spine. I figure that the squirrels killed the cat. Moreover, since squirrels are opportunistic meat-eaters, they probably ate the cat.

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: Cat vs. Squirrels (OT?)

I'm glad to have read Jim'a post; lately we have had lots of squirrels sitting under our feeder (and jumping onto it), and a new cat in the neighborhood sitting right under the feeder as well.

This wouldn't be such a big deal except that we have a Wheaten terrier, Neve, a lovely but slightly airheaded member of the family who considers herself the watchdog and will chase any animal she thinks shouldn't be there (but she loves people). Wheatens have strong farm-dog instincts to "take care of" any smaller varmints that are on the property. So now that the feeder is attracting not only birds but cats and squirrels, we are having to be
careful about letting Neve out the door.

A couple of weeks ago Neve caught a squirrel by the tail.
We were shocked that she was that quick (and, frankly, that smart). The squirrel escaped, and now, after reading Jim's post, am I ever glad! I think Neve might have gotten the worse end of it.

Also, lately we have had several beautiful bunnies spending their time in our yard (outside the dogs' fence) and we have been so thrilled to see them. They have gotten used to us and don't run away. But the other night we heard awful screams and feared that this new cat had caught one of our bunny friends. The screaming (or perhaps meowing) was awful. It was definitely not two cats fighting. But we looked out the window to see the cat walking up our street alone, as if he'd lost the fight.

Oh, the drama of wildlife here in the suburbs! I am glad to have read Jim's post; I will be extra careful before letting Neve out the door. I'm not sure Neve would survive a bunny or squirrel or cat fight!

RE: Cat vs. Squirrels (OT?)

AAAHH but I wittnessed a stray cat running off with a full grown squirrle, I will save you the horrors of the sight and sound of that. I chased the cat hoping it would drop the squirrel but it did not. She picked it out of about 6 squirrels under the feeder.I later found she had kittens. There are definatly some very unpleasnt sights and sounds out here with the wildlife in the woods too. I guess it is still better than human violence, sirens and gun shots.

RE: Cat vs. Squirrels (OT?)

I discourage both cats and squirrels from my property as both routinely kill nestlings and cats are the only species to shed the dangerous Toxoplasma gondii parasites in their feces, which stay alive for months.

As for worrying about your Soft-coated Wheaten Terrier, they may be airheads but they are lightning-fast vermin dispatchers. We hadn't had our rescue Wheaten more than two days when a huge, freshly-killed rat appeared in his yard, then another soon after. Once, some unwary birds tried to land in front of him in the pen while he was trotting beside me and his reaction was too fast to follow-it's a wonder the birds escaped (it was so dark, I just know they were sparrow-sized).

Rasty may look silly and fluffy but my other dogs know not to mess with him-even my huge, aggressive Chow/Australian Shepherd mix backs off and yields to Rasty if he is foolish enough to try to take something away from him. No one messes with him twice, yet the moment the other dogs back off, he's instantly back to his smiling, silly self.

I allow my Jack Russell patrol to patrol my yard when squirrels show up and there's no doubt that tiny dog could take one down. They were bred to fight badgers in their burrows and go to ground after fox, so squirrels are no problem.

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