Tuesday, December 30, 2014


After the chicken beheading two nights ago, I've been setting the live trap up at night but each night it was empty and still contained the chicken leg.

This morning I went out to chip ice and open the chicken door and almost forgot about the live trap until my flashlight beamed across it and I saw glowing eyes.  Whoo hoo!  Got 'em!

Except it was just OtherKitty (not to be confused with Outside Kitty or Evil Kitty).  Poor thing was scared to death and shaking.  When I came up to the cage, he didn't hiss or spit.  I did my best soothing "kitty-kitty-kitty" while I walked up.  He looked pretty healthy; fluffy & shiny coat, bright eyes, and had plenty meat on his bones.  For a moment I considered bringing it inside the garage and seeing if I could get a vet to check him out and get spayed/neutered, but I didn't want to have the poor thing go through any more trauma than it had just gone through.  And there was also the distant memory of me trying to get BarnKitty out of the trap and into a dog crate and almost having my face torn off by a very feral feline.  So I opted for safety for me and freedom (for now) for him and I opened the trap door.  He just buried himself in the opposite end of the trap so I just kept talking to him (or her, I couldn't tell because s/he was curled up in a ball so tight) and he finally ran out and across the yard.  I'll probably end up trying to coax him back to the porch with some canned cat food as to ease my self-imposed and unwarranted feelings of guilt.  Yes, I'm nuts.

When I came back inside and told Paul I caught OtherKitty, he asked if I thought it had been the one to kill the chicken.  I will readily acknowledge that I have an inherent bias against blaming my cats for just about anything, but I honestly didn't think he was the culprit.  Am I 100% sure?  Of course not.  But I figure he's not starving (did I mention that I've been feeding him?) and that MeowMix is a much easier meal to obtain than a crazed, flapping chicken.

But the chicken leg in the trap had been eaten while he was in there.  But since I don't provide in-flight movies I suppose there wasn't much else he had to do while being confined.  Hmmmm.

Even though we have conibear traps and snares, we've long since discontinued using them.  The conibear traps are great for putting right over groundhog holes and snares are very useful for catching raccoons in your attic (right, Dad??), but they are indiscriminate in their skull-crushing or neck-strangling.  In a survival situation they're the bee's knees, but at this point in time and in our current location, the chance of killing or mortally wounding something we don't want harmed is too great.  Live traps are pretty expensive; the large "Raccoon Model" I used last night will set you back close to fifty bucks, and we have two of them.  But their monetary cost has saved the lives of many animals and I feel better knowing that we aren't killing whatever just so happens to set off the trap.

We also stopped using poison bait for the mice / pack rats.  As much as I like the idea of those rodent bastards keeling over, I do not like the idea of their lifeless bodies being found and consumed by an animal that we don't want to keel over.  And although we haven't had poison bait on the homestead for years (and the neighbors don't use it either), I do have to wonder if Outside Kitty's near death experience and subsequent lifelong kidney problems was caused by eating a poisoned rodent.

So, is there a moral or point to this rambling story?  I guess that I'm just trying to say that if you can afford it, get yourself a live trap.  I'm pretty sure none of my readers actually enjoy killing animals at random and a Hav-a-Hart trap can save the lives of countless numbers of animals.  And if you're really nasty, you can release all those stray cats up at Pioneer Preppy's place.  I hear he's been working on a new building and doesn't have his quota of cats in there yet :)


  1. Hey now that's down right mean. If I catch anyone dropping more stray cats off up here I am gonna start shooting. We managed to find homes for seven this year I think and still ended up with a new one ourselves.

    I wouldn't worry about rat poison. Over the years they have really perfected it so it doesn't harm any other critters. It has mixed into it a regurgitate which causes other critters to vomit it back up but not the rodents because they cannot vomit. It also has a drug that induces rodents to go against their instinct of staying hidden and causes them to head for wide open spaces.

    It's that time of year again when the rodents invade. Even with all these cats I am still getting some damage from them in the barn on the grain sacks.

  2. We have, I think, three different sizes of the Hav-A-Hart traps and have caught enough "bad" critters to cover one side of the house. (Remember seeing those old pictures of a trapper's shack covered on the outside with the pelts of wolves, foxes, etc.?)

    There was a time when after catching a mouse or squirrel or chipmunk who was doing damage, we would take turns driving the captured culprit several miles from home and releasing them. Dumb? No, just soft-hearted (okay, dumb) at the time. We got over that. Now . . . don't ask.

  3. We spent the greater part of late summer and fall catching rats. Ranchers around us burn off their pastures and so they come to the residential areas. I was shocked to find out just how many we caught. Our Hav-A-Heart is sized just right to set down into an oval washtub, so drowning the rat inside was quick and humane. Then we throw the body out in the field behind us and something always comes along and takes it. One time the rat was gone and a dead possum had been left in it's place. We finally had to bury the dang possum! Heh! If I ever see ANYONE letting a critter out of THEIR trap anywhere near MY property they're going to hear it from me!

    I don't agree about the D-Con being safe for animals. My vet tells me it can cause retinal bleeding in cats. I wouldn't take the chance. And back when I was using D-Con, I did find the dead rats still on the property. I've always heard D-Con made them thirsty, and if they can get access to water they will stay around. Just my two cents.

  4. I also have and use a Hav-a-Hart trap. Works very well for opossum, cats, armadillo and raccoon's.

  5. And let's not forget the Chipmunkinator! I chalked up 18 catches in that baby. Only one was re-homed (my tenderhearted sister was there....) the others were not. A couple of years ago we had a rat infestation in our area - two mild winters in a row, not a problem this winter - and I ended up trapping 27 until I gave up and baited. But it was with trepidation. I have two large, a medium and one small Hav-no-Heart traps.

  6. The snareshop.com has a simple device that makes a five 5 gal bucket into live traps. Our vet had made one that he lends out to his customers. We made on, also, when it was the only thing that would trap a pesky skunk. We also put out instant potatoes for the pack rats and mice under the house. They eat it dry and then go look for water and drink their fill and the potatoes swell up and.....well you get the picture. That was is a cat eats one, they will not be poisoned or bleed to death like with Decon. That stuff will stay in the body of the rodent and cause bleeding in anything that eats it. That's what my vet says.