While I generally try to reserve this space for discussions of what works, occasionally I find myself face to face with what doesn't. Like, for instance, my truly adorable adolescent cat, the Ace of Kittens, who has just this week discovered hunting in a very big way. At first it was just one little garden snake, but this week he brought me a bird two days in a row, which I believe to be the same fledgling robin -- rescued both times and placed back in a tree -- then a baby squirrel and, most recently, a bunny. As with all mighty cats, he brought his kill -- or attempted kill -- back to the den, a.k.a. my living room carpet at 6 in the morning.
I'll spare you the details, which included but were not limited to me in my p.j.s chasing the cat and the dog, who had joined in the hunt by this time, around my back yard at 6 in the morning, screaming "Drop it! Drop it! Drop the @#$#@ thing now!!!" Suffice to say, this was a lousy way to start a beautiful June morning and an even lousier way for the rabbit.
Two sets of conventional wisdom are at work in this situation. One is voiced by my friend Hank who says in his very nice farmer-y way, "Cats hunt. Deal with it." The other, from multiple friends, is some version of, "Cats don't hunt if you pull out their claws and keep them in the house, and you owe it to the wildlife to do that."
So ... I love Ace and simply won't declaw him and I also love wildlife and don't want him marauding on it. This is a dilemma, no matter how you slice it. I mention it here because I know from lots of reader mail that plenty of The Herb Companion's readers also love cats and critters.
What now presents itself is a potential solution. I have just asked for a sample of a product by Cat Goods, Inc, that I think might actually solve the problem. I never in my life thought I'd be considering what color bib would work with Ace's stripes, but ... I'm getting him a bib. You can check out the photos on Cat Goods' website. The bibs are just placed on the cat when s/he goes outside and are taken off when s/he comes back in. I will resist the urge -- maybe -- to write "Naughty Kitty, No BIRDS!" on it before I send him out.
Stay tuned, and I'll let you know how it works. I'll also try to take a photo of Ace in his new attire, but don't hold your breath. I bet we haven't SEEN illusive until we've seen a cat in a bib.
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