Each week, farm educator Suko, a Dutchess County gal formerly of Brooklyn, brings you tales of rural life. This week: country cats and pest control.
Last summer, I adopted 2 kittens, Prudence & Sadie. (Dear Prudence and Sexy Sadie – they’re White Album cats).
My main motivation was mice control for the winter. Mice have plagued me since that first summer in 2006. I planned to use the humane mice traps, but after reading you had to check the traps every 2 hours so the mice don’t die of dehydration and then drive them five miles away so they can’t find their way back home, I resorted to snap-traps, and electronic sonic deterrents.
I never caught one in the snap-traps and watched a mouse walk right by me and the $40 electric deterrent. I admit I even turned to glue-traps, less toxic, but more cruel than poison.
Then last August, my sister-in-law showed me pictures of seven kittens needing homes. On Valentine’s Day, I awoke to a dead mouse left outside my bedroom door.
Since then I have watched them scuffle with mice, debating on whether or not I should intervene to save the mouse’s life, dropped one of the cats right next to a mouse in the basement to get it, and chucked a few dead mice into the backyard.
I’ve been dreading the day they bring me a bird. Birds are a relatively recent appreciation of life upstate. I don’t recall ever paying much attention to them growing up in the suburbs or living in brooklyn. I was amazed by the first male Red Wing Blackbird I saw, and still feel joy when they return every spring to nest near the blackberries.
I now keep binoculars and an Audubon guide near the kitchen window and after seeing Douglas Tallamy speak, I hope to eventually re-create a native landscape just to attract native insects and birds.
Last week, Prudence got her first bird. There was evidence of a struggle, and as usual she brought her victim to the bathroom.
I hate to admit, I’m a little bit proud of her.