I am very concerned about a recent attack on our family kitty, Frankie. He is a neutered male but still likes to pursue his nocturnal prowling. He does not venture far from home, as far as I am aware. He recently suffered quite a serious injury on his hindquarters at the base of his tail.
I was thinking coyotes, but I have not heard of any sightings in our neighbourhood. My backyard trail camera shows regular visits from skunks, raccoons and possums, but it typically also shows Frankie as just a casual observer. I don’t think that any of these critters are vicious enough to be the perpetrators.
I am also not aware of any vicious dogs in my neighbourhood. All of my neighbours are quite responsible dog owners. Maybe you can share some wisdom and experience on what may have transpired.
By the way, Frankie is now doing fine.
Steve Rathjen, Campbell, California
Dear Steve: I’m glad to know that Frankie survived his misadventure.
I don’t like climbing on my soap box, but I can’t let this moment pass without reminding folks that it’s a dangerous world out there for our pets. Cats are always at risk when they’re out and about, even in their own yards and even in the daytime. Things are worse at night when most of the bigger predators are out.
The prime candidates are coyotes, bobcats and great horned owls. When cats are outdoors, these predators don’t see them as someone’s pet. They are just seen as prey.
Raccoons can kill or injure cats, although they aren’t hunting them in the same way a coyote would. Raccoons don’t see the cat as a possible meal, but if the raccoon thought the cat was after its food or offspring or if the cat acted aggressively towards the raccoon, a fight would ensue, and raccoons are capable of inflicting serious injury or even killing the cat.
Foxes also will go after small cats or kittens.
While you don’t think Frankie leaves the yard or wanders very far, cats often do just that. There’s a chance he could have dropped into a neighbour’s backyard or one several blocks away and encountered a dog that, despite its loving, friendly nature, could have seen Frankie as an interloper.
The point I’m trying to make is that there are so many possibilities, and all of them are potentially fatal. The location of the wound indicates that he very narrowly escaped his attacker this time. He might not be as lucky if there’s a next time. Keeping him indoors will be safer for him.
Dear Joan: Why do hummingbirds fight over their food in hummingbird feeders? Are they just mating? The hummingbirds like to fight over one specific flower on the hummingbird feeder.
Melvin Brown, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Dear Melvin: Hummingbirds can be territorial and guarded over food sources. I’m not sure why they favour one flower on your feeder, but it could be that it’s the one that gives them the best access to the nectar.
If you haven’t, you should disassemble the feeder and clean it well. Putting up more feeders can also reduce the tension among hummers and let them know there is plenty of food to go around. – Tribune News Service/Mercury News/Joan Morris