If you should ever find yourself in my neighborhood, and were to walk up to my door, I have to warn you: the welcome mat is splattered with blood stains. I didn’t do it! No Jehovah’s Witnesses are missing from the region! (They never come to my door anymore, anyway.)
We got an unpleasant surprise this morning in that the nest of baby bunnies outside our door was raided, probably by one of the local cats, and the whole family was butchered and laid out on our doorstep. And these bunnies were at that cute stage with fur and big eyes…or at least, they would have been cute if they’d all had heads and their viscera wasn’t splayed out everywhere and they weren’t lying cold and limp in a pool of blood.
I do have to wonder why, though, whenever there’s a scattering of corpses around the house, my family looks to me and expects me to do the clean up.
“…probably by one of the local cats…”
Yeah. Right. Sure.
Your evil household of god-haters probably murdered those precious creations for some kind of devil worship. Cats indeed.
Dinner is served!
Those cats are just showing you how much they love you. It’s their way of saying “I welcome our squiddy overlords. Please eat this before me.”
Brownian, OM says
Because you’re a scientist, and science leads to killing people?
PZ Myers says
Or at least efficient ways of disposing of the remains.
Get back to us when for the second year in a row you are removing decking boards from the back porch to remove a decomposing and quite ripe opossum. Been there. Done that. Have the t-shirt!
Those poor bunnies.
In a somewhat related note – old hunting licenses from the 1950’s in the south had a clause about it practically being the hunter’s duty to shoot cats.
Sven DiMilo says
Ah, Rockwellian small-town life, red in tooth and claw.
That is just what cats do.
I have had several cats and live in a rural area teeming with voles, rabbits, birds, and other small furry litte varmints. They really do like to leave you “presents”.
Now as far as cleaning up the mess, that is what you train the kids for along with lawn care and vehicle maintenance. If you haven’t taken the time to train them up for these tasks, then you are allowing them to miss some of the best parts of life (grin). If you don’t have any kids etc, then try to borrow or lease some from the neighbors.
“The cat that is kissing you lovingly, has just devoured
a rabbit and has left the entrails under the bed.”
andy o says
Is there a reason why cats do that, though? (Not EAT, but lay the corpses in doorsteps.) The same happened to me, I got home one time and there was the half-eaten corpse of a pigeon on my doormat.
That’s nothing. My dog drags home various deer parts all winter long. My job is to take them away from her and toss them into the garden, which is surrounded by a six-foot fence; a fence that was, ironically, built to keep the deer out.
She dragged home a deer head once. A fresh one. They’re heavy when full.
Buzz Buzz says
“I do have to wonder why, though, whenever there’s a scattering of corpses around the house, my family looks to me and expects me to do the clean up.”
…You’ve had corpses scattered around often?
C Barr says
Yeah, at work, because I wasn’t the squeamish one, I became the designated mouse trap emptier. I really didn’t appreciate the role. Wish everybody else would have just grown up a little bit and taken care of their own s…t. But choose your battles carefully.
Wet Mogwai says
Be glad you are the one to clean up the pile of mangled corpses. As the biologist, you should be happy to get to examine the internal workings of a species that isn’t your specialty. If this were a pile of squid, you wouldn’t be likely to learn anything, besides the surprising fact that piles of dead squid can be found in Minnesota.
#9 – Andy
Is there a reason why cats do that, though? (Not EAT, but lay the corpses in doorsteps.)
It is just the cat’s way of making sure you get a piece of the action. Little “Love Droppings”.
I just went through something similar, but not quite as grisly. It was probably the local cats who killed a pair of baby squirrels in my front yard. I found their bodies among the rose bushes. Although I like cats, they are killers and that’s the sort of thing they do. I realize that squirrels are just rodents with a better PR agency than mice and rats, but it still made me really sad to find the baby squirrels.
No doubt I can blame nature (“red in tooth and claw”) and the evil godless Darwin for the slaughter, but perhaps I should pray about it first. Yeah, that’ll do a lot.
Glen Davidson says
Now if the cats would just hunt the Jehovah’s Witnesses….
Granted, the mess would be awful.
But you know, it would at least show that there is a God.
you haven’t been blacking out and coming round with the Origin of Species in your hands, vague memories of evilutionist-style, lower species-whupping at the back of your mind?
You should start your own version of the classic http://www.whatjeffkilled.com
This is why people shouldn’t have cats.
Dale Austin says
You got lucky, the dismembered remains were outside your house.
see: http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mrwizard/family/rodentkill.html for the alternative
We had a cat and I remember the first thing he ever killed and dragged home was a pigeon. He was barely out of kittenhood so the pigeon was at least half as big as he was.
We were all very impressed and gave him extra treats for his bravery. That’s why cats do this, they are showing off their hunting prowess.
Jorg Willekens says
Beware! It’s a Voodoo priest putting a curse on you!
Kate H says
Yeh, my cat does that to except she’ll take one bite out of whatever it is that she’s killed and then promptly be sick. So I get the fun of cleaning up not just the corpses but a steaming pile of cat vomit.
Dennis N says
A skilled predator, the cat is known to hunt over 1,000 species for food.
Sven DiMilo says
If you give a shit about wildlife, keep ’em indoors and don’t subsidize ferals. (I have 2. Love ’em. They stay indoors.)
God, how I hate these godless heathens going after all of our uptight Christian beliefs. You’ve killed the Easter Bunny, and, like any other librul athiest, you place the blame on the kittens. What next…dredle smashing???
Dead animals are only the beginning! (Done the dead seagull, the dead skunk . . . I had a big cat.)
Why do I have to unclog the toilet? De-hair the drain? I don’t shed like a yak. Take the car for repairs? I’m a middle school math teacher. What do I know of anti-lock brakes?
Our dog is a veritable Goddess of Death when it comes to bunnies, there to wreak horrible bloody bunny vengeance on the unfortunate creatures who find their way into our back yard. One time my wife saw her demolish a bunny nest, in the process throwing up a baby bunny and gulping it down whole like a Tic-Tac.
andy o – I wish I knew that too. Since they can’t tell us why they do that of course there’s no way of knowing for sure, but my favorite of the explanations that I’ve heard is that they’re trying to show us how to hunt. As in “look, stupid human, this is how it’s done”.
And I agree that older kids are a good resource when it comes to cute animal corpse cleanup.
Rev. BigDumbChimp says
No doubt godless Atheists cats you converted.
Wait a minute. Has anyone seen Chip and Dale lately? Chip! Dale! Come on everyone — help me look!
Ahem! Chip and Dale were chipmunks, not squirrels.
The cat I grew up with was more of a catch-and-release type. At 3 in the morning, you’d hear this weird, muffled, desperate meowing, so you’d open the door and she’d release whatever it was she had caught (a mouse, grasshopper or a baby bird, most of the time) in the house. 90% of the time, whatever she had caught would be in excellent health.
It wasn’t very funny… The mice and the grasshoppers, I was okay with, but these damned cats are really harming the bird population. If I knew then what I know now, we’d never have let her outside.
Hey, has anyone heard about this 9 year old in Greece who had absorbed her own twin… Inside her stomach?
Luckily, the 9 year old has fully recovered. I’m sure some fundy somewhere will take this as a sign that the Rapture is near, though.
“The hounds are all fagged out from yesterday’s Jehovah’s Witnesses, and we don’t want blood all over the lawn again!” — Sir Henry at Rawlinson End
Kevin Anthoney says
Nothing. That’s why you have to take the car for repairs ;-)
I used to have the bunny clean-up job as a kid, when we had an indoor/outdoor cat. I’d hear the rabbit’s howling at night-yeesh, what an awful sound–an the next day would scour the yard looking for remains. If it was during the day, I was sometimes able to save the babies. We nursed several litters and released them back to nature.
My one outdoor cat now doesn’t bring many gifts. A rare bird now and then. But one of my indoor cats is always hunting. And I can tell when she’s been successful from the distinctive mewling she sounds from wherever she is in the house. She calls out to me with her mouth full of sock, slipper, (drinking straws are a favorite, as my grandkids play with them and leave them hidden under chairs and such). She plops her catch down in front of me and I dutifully praise her and tell her what a good hunter she is. She’ll even “fetch” with those toy mice you buy at the store.
Indoor cats are very cool.
Outdoor cats are fair game.
True Bob says
Twice, my family has prevailed (against my better judgement) and “saved” two victims of our little “death on four legs”. Both times they were robins, and both times, they were already mortally wounded. So we saved them from a quick death so they could die quietly.
Usually its voles from Ipo*. She places them just outside the door to the deck, where my wife can step barefoot. Nothing like fresh kill underfoot for that squicky feel.
*ironically, this means “sweetheart” in Hawaiian – she’s anything but sweet.
Andreas Johansson says
Unfair! Our cats never gave me any dead baby bunnies.
(Dead mice, voles, bats, and birds, OTOH …)
Eximious Jones says
I will no longer complain about the giant spiders I have lately been forced to kill in my bathroom. I will, however, continue to freak out over indoor banana slugs.
My sister (who has 2 cats) was once sweeping some leaves out of her kitchen. They’d blown in from the porch again but, this time, she noticed something different about two of them. Upon closer inspection, she discovered they were dried bunny ears. Her cats are very efficient killing machines.
I vote for cats as the perpetrators. They love catching something, making amusement of it, and then mauling it mercilessly for food. A cat with claws is nothing but a wee lion when smaller life forms are about.
Quiet Desperation says
That mess sounds like more than a cat. I have no idea where you are, but do you have coyotes in the area? Maybe foxes?
My sister and brother in live in an area of Southern California *far* from any wild areas, and they have gotten warnings from the city to keep pets in at night due to coyotes. They come down the flood control channels from the less urban areas, and since they are protected, no one can do anything.
Channeling Anya/Anyanka: But they were bunnies! Clearly they were massacred by a rival demon gang.
We had a stray cat that took up residence in the warm crawlspaces under our house and eventually became a pet. Brought home all KINDS of animals–quite the huntress. Usually it was mice and chipmunks, but occasionally squirrels, baby rabbits, and even a bat once. She would bring each carcass to the doorstep and meow quite loudly (and proudly) until a person came to see what she had caught.
But whether for good or ill, she never actually left the carcass at the doorstep. No, she was of the “waste not, want not” mindset, and insisted on eating everything she had killed, with the exception of certain innards. If you tried to take the dead mouse or chipmunk away, she’d snatch it up before you’d get there with a dustpan. Not sure if it ended up being more or less traumatic for my family having to clean up piles of entrails daily, rather than the entire mouse bodies they came from.
Sven’s right, though. Indoors is best, if possible. But I think that sometimes, a cat who has long lived outdoors (and on his or her own) cannot be retrained as an indoor-only cat. Ours couldn’t.
Ever wonder how cats actually catch birds? I had a “mighty hunter” cat, and twice I got to watch how she did it.
1) Birds feeding on the lawn. Cat crouches in stalking mode. Cat rushes towards birds. Birds take off in the air. Cat leaps four feet straight up and *bats a bird right out of the air, stunning it*. Stunned bird drops to the ground. Cat lands neatly on her feet, trots over to incapacitated bird, eats.
2) We have a five-foot-high hedge. Cat is standing about three feet from the hedge, ears pricked forward, watching intently. I hear a bird rustle inside the hedge. Cat suddenly makes a leap directly onto the hedge. Cat reaches paw inside the hedge, snags bird (which, of course, cannot fly), drags it up to her mouth. Cat drops from hedge to lawn, crouches down to eat.
I would have found it hard to believe either of those scenarios if I hadn’t seen them myself.
The cats are warning you, time to pay your protection money, in Tuna!
It was science that showed the importance of hand-washing after handling corpses. Modern medical experiments require the safe, clean disposal of huge numbers of cute furry corpses. (Huge in abosolute terms – not huge relative to the number of experiments done or the results achieved. By the way, a cat could NEVER get an experiment past an IRB.)
I bet they were pre-cambrian rabbits too!
Sven DiMilo says
You’re misinformed. Status on coyotes in California (from here):
Dr Benway says
For the sake of the migratory songbirds, whose numbers have been steadily dropping, best to keep cats indoors.
I’ve heard a couple of stories over the last couple of years on NPR about the destruction wreaked by outdoor cats on bird populations.
Here’s an interesting link on this problem:
The idea of a cat-bib to prevent predation seems a little far-fetched to me. Overfeeding one’s cat, on the other hand, seems to do the trick, if my observation of neighborhood outdoor cats tells me anything. A couple of them have become too large for serious hunting anymore (on the downside, they are probably not particularly healthy cats for this).
The cats are probably showing you homage. If they see you cleaning it up, they may leave a bigger present next time…
Anyone who has seen the creation myth in the first five minutes of “Watership Down” knows that rabbits are just fulfilling their place in the Divine Order by allowing themselves to be slaughtered by cats. Amen.
Love to eat them mousies
Mousies what I love to eat.
Bite they little heads off
Nibble on they tiny feet.
Set to music
One of my two cats specialized in bringing home snakes.
Ranging in size from 6″ to ~2′. All gartar snakes, all perfectly alive, and all survived since I’d put a box over them until the cats lost interest and went elsewhere. (I like to believe they viewed the snake as a some sort of self-propelled shoelace cat toy.)
Their other great joy was leaving pieces of large brown field crickets all over the basement.
Given their upbringing all their hunting skills were self-taught. They got pretty good after a while, with the occasional mistep such as trying to chase turkeys one day.
They’ve shifted totally indoors now with age and a change of venue from suburbs of Pittsburgh to the center of Philadelphia. The days of volleymouse in the snow are past.
I used to practice veterinary emergencies in a semi-rural locale. Every spring there would be at least one tender hearted person who would bring in a baby bunny which had been half skinned. I tried to save a couple. Never worked. My technician had an appropriate saying:
“baby bunny = natures Big Mac”
Yeah, But! Why would the neighborhood cat’s be paying homage to you? Is there something going on in that neighborhood you’re not telling us?
While living in downtown San Francisco with Maguro Quat, my nut-house cat (the moral equivalent of a junk-yard dog), it was not unusual to find a dead mouse carefully displayed in front of her food bowel for me to admire. More troublesome were the live birds she would catch & release in the apartment (she had been declawed before someone abandoned her near the Psych hospital I worked at).
Later on, when we moved to Kenwood & into a 4 human, 6 cat, 1 dog, 1 parrot & 2 duck household, the hunting duties were taken up by CTHULU . . . The Devourer of Voles, who often left little trails of headless pocket gophers & moles along the entry sidewalk.
For a couple of years, my family lived on the edge of Redlands, California. Our house was L-shaped, with no door between the two wings; we had to walk along the patio from our bedrooms to the kitchen / living room.
My bedroom door was the closest to the inside corner of the house. For whatever arcane feline reason, our cats left their kills right outside it. We called the slab of concrete at my doorstep “the Slaughter Stone”. At least a couple of mornings a week I would wake up, dress, and be greeted (on my way to the kitchen and breakfast) by fresh offerings of various types. Usually rats, young possums, rabbits and the like, in assorted stages of dismemberment.
I liked cats then and still do. But they are killers, as many here have acknowledged. And they definitely enjoy it, too. It would be my guess that predators that derive pleasure from “playing” with prey do so because it rewards them teaching themselves and their young?
Kurt, “with the occasional mistep such as trying to chase turkeys one day.”
Please, do explain.
My dog torments, chases, teases, and eventually devours ice cubes, a clear sign of a designer…
Hank Fox says
Are you sure it was cats? And not, say, a nice creationist or some similar loon?
If it happens again, contact the police.
Re: Julialink “I used to practice veterinary emergencies in a semi-rural locale.”
I was visiting the local vet in a small town in California some years back, and in the waiting room was a small boy who’d brought in his pet rat. Apparently the rat had a tumor, and the boy had brought it back hoping the treatment from a previous visit had helped. The vet walked out into the waiting room to take a look, but 10 seconds after he picked it up to examine it, the receptionist called out a question to him from her desk. The guy was known to be tone-deaf to how much people loved their pets, but he set a new record when he called back to her in a distracted voice: “I’ll be right with you after I kill this rat.”
Somnolent Aphid says
>>my family looks to me and expects me to do the clean up
Mine always does too. What evolutionary purpose could that possibly serve?
i have anecdotal evidence to support this. a neighbor’s cat was the terror of all, leaving several wiggling “presents” on the doorstep daily. well, one weekend my neighbor went hunting and returned with a deer. after hanging and curing the deer outside his door, the cat *never* left another wiggler: she realized that us hairless apes can bring down prey she could only dream of
A friend once told me that he didn’t understand Darwin’s preoccupation with the cruelty of nature, as if it was a non-issue not worth considering. I was dumbfounded by his narrow-mindedness. That friend later turned out to be an obsessive closet Catholic. Go figure.
His eye is on the sparrow, … but not the rabbits.
Well, I just realized I must chip in with the “household pet vs nature” anecdote.
Our chocolate labrador, Cosinus, once tried to “play” with a cormorant he found asleep on a river’s beach. The bird tried to get away by sprinting (more like flopping, but anyway…) for the river. Cosinus, being a labrador, didn’t even slow down getting in the water. The bird turned around to asses the situation only to be confronted by a big wet schnoz literaly in it’s tailfeathers. It dove, came back, dog still there. Rinse, lather, repeat, 2-3 times until it got fed up. Our dog now sports a nice scar on its nose and the bird was able to make a properly dignified escape.
Hank Fox @ 62, your story really pisses me off. I had a pet rat who had a stroke, and years later I still remember how nice everyone was at the vet’s office, even the people in the waiting room that had “real” animals like cats and dogs. Even though it just was a rodent in a shoebox, it was still my pet and I was sad that it had to suffer and die, and it meant a lot that people were sympathetic.
Re. cats, keeping them indoors doesn’t necessarily stem the blood tide. There’s an apocalypse in my basement, all kinds of vermin, and my two cats consider it their own hellish toybox.
They open the door (I have no idea how they do that), find the very best snake, bring the snake upstairs to the living room, smack it around until they get bored, kill it without eating a single bite, and leave it on Daddy’s chair so that when he comes home from work, he can see what they did all day. Thanks, thoughtful kitties!
My husband hates snakes more than Indiana Jones does, so I’m always on call for snake cleanup duties. Fortunately, snakes don’t seem to be very juicy.
Here in Toronto, the local humane society will not let you have a cat if you plan to let it outdoors.
I watched a documentary (The Secret Life of Cats?) that stated that the domestic cat was the most prolific hunter on the planet. Why? They hunt for fun, not food! Also interesting, cats saliva is poisonous to small animals. One bite…slow agonizing death for poor little critter/varmint. The documentary featured a vet who specialized in treating victims of cat bites (varmints, not people!).
I believe the saying goes, “Tigers are the largest cats, but cats are the littlest tigers.”
Keep your damn cats indoors. Most wildlife is suffering enough from habitat loss, pollution and climate change, the last thing they need is your vanity pets killing them for enjoyment.
edit: They hunt, not only for food, but for fun.
Sven DiMilo says
(and/or congratulations on your escape, if applicable.)
Well, it could be worse. It could be a horse’s head.
Ugly In Pink says
CA Supreme court just came out in favor of gay marriage! Wooo!
…I’m sorry PZ. I found that funny. Very very very funny.
I’m sorry, cute bunnies! I’m sorry!!!
Blake Stacey says
#40, I’m with you on the slugs! My mostly-indoor cat likes to hang out on the patio, just watching the birds and fantasizing. He doesn’t even try to catch anything, but he does have very long fur. Whenever he comes back inside in the evening, I have to do a tummy inspection. Half the time he’s picked up slugs in his fur and doesn’t even notice. After finding slugs in various places in the house, I finally caught on!
OK… cats chasing turkeys.
1. Background. I used to live just outside of Pittsburgh with a house where the backyard went about 20′ and then down a *steep* slope into a fairly deep gully. By the early 2000s the gully was home to a flock of turkeys in addition to the other resident wildlife (deer, raccoons, fox, snakes, plus a myriad of rodents and other birds.)
The turkey flock (or part of it) would often go through yards in the early evening. Watched a dozen go up my driveway once, and have pictures of one scratching under my bird feeder as well.
One day I went to let the two cats out the front door. Apparently two turkeys were in the front yard at the time. As I openned the front door they started walking out of the yard headed uphill.
The cats went out the doors, saw BIRDS, and basically started running across the yard at the turkeys. The turkeys started walking a bit faster as they cleared the yard into the street, but otherwise did not act alarmed.
The cats got to the edge of the yard and checked up at that point. Not sure if it was the street, or that they realize that these were BIG birds and not going to be an easy job to tackle.
So they didn’t quite make it to turkey-bird contact. Closest to that I’ve seen was another cat in the neighborhood down in the gully go through said flock while running away from me.
I’d turned up looking for one of my cats after hearing a cat fight start up. (I have half-Siamese cats, so they’re easy to identify.) Went into the gully and found my cat cornered into a culvert by the other cat. Cats took off in different directions the moment I turned up.
Suddenly I heard a “burble burble” downslope and saw a turkey hop/fly about 8′ up into a tree. Repeated 5-6 more times as the cat went through there and the turkeys in turn got out of the way.
Off Topic, but California overturns gay marriage ban!!!
I’m just waiting for the Kool Kultural Konservative’s heads to explode.
Don’t automatically blame the cats. Dogs do this too. There was an incident outside of town where a couple dogs slipped out of their yard and went roaming. Roamed into a neighbor’s yard where he had a rabbit hutch. They tore it open and scattered bunny bits all over. They didn’t eat any part of the rabbits, just tore them to pieces and had a jolly old time doing, right up until animal control came along and hauled them off. I think the dogs in question were either goldens or labs.
Not saying that cats aren’t death on small animals, but fido can be just as guilty.
Can I borrow your cats? Damn rabbits killed off off my raspberries. Living in town, more direct forms of population control are frowned upon by the local constabulary.
Ah yes, feline Love Offerings. Recognize them for what they are, and it makes the clean-up a little less bitter.
Back in my teen years, our family had a cat who was an amazing hunter, despite being only slightly sharper than a sack of hammers.
I remember one time she left us an Offering of a fully grown hummingbird. We were, all at once, tremendously pissed, and extremely impressed.
I’d love to be able to hear/understand/see the cats’ thought process as they realize that the birds are bigger then them!
Robster, FCD says
I think the saying is, “Cats hunt more than they catch, catch more than they kill, kill more than they eat.”
My in laws had a cat that would sit in their back yard and wait for a bird to fly overhead. In a split second, it would leap four or five feet into the air, snatch the bird out of the air, and that would be that. Later in the day, an offering of a beak and feet would be left on the back porch.
Said hunter also caught a few bunnies in his time, sometimes bringing them into their house (waiting for an open door and rushing past the slow humans), not quite dead.
I could care less than the rabbits, they breed like … oh wait, I can’t remember the rest of that one, but the birds typically only have one or two sets of chicks a year.
He eventually became an indoors only cat as his FLV progressed, and was only interested in sitting on laps and getting a scratch behind the ears.
Keep ’em indoors, for the birds and for their own health, and if you are adopted by a feral or stray, get them fixed.
I do have to wonder why, though, whenever there’s a scattering of corpses around the house, my family looks to me and expects me to do the clean up.
Because equality is a canard. Women want equality, but they still want chivalry, someone to pick up the tab, someone to take out the garbage, someone to mow the lawn, and someone to pick up the rabbit guts. They want to have their cake and eat it too.
No, I’m not bitter. :)
Brownian, OM says
Tut, tut. What are a few birds and squirrels, when cats make interstellar space travel possible?
All the anti-religion comments. Some people really have an ax to grind, eh? No doubt a purely science blog entry (with no mention of religion at all) would net more of the same … alas, those types of posts are few and far between around here any longer.
I agree with the above commentators; allowing one’s pet to massacre the local wildlife isn’t cool or funny.
Brownian, OM says
What are you talking about, TomJoe?
Glen Davidson says
Yes, but presumably your cats won’t harm the environment indoors.
The problem is not that rabbits and mice are killed outdoors by cats. Generally rabbits and house mice end up being killed by something, even if it’s cars or poison (you know, Malthus, Darwin, that whole bit), and most areas have at least enough of those animals, if not more than enough (which would not be true of every mouse and rabbit species). It’s that birds (who also end up being killed–but we want them to reproduce for several years before they are killed) are decimated by cats. Not a problem when it’s house sparrows and starlings, but a serious problem when it’s bluebirds and tanagers.
PETA would probably be concerned by killings indoors and out. Environmentalists are worried about outdoor cats simply because they are efficient predators of diminishing populations of songbirds, along with some other animals.
(and/or congratulations on your escape, if applicable.)”
Why, thank you, Sven. At the time, I loved it. My sister and I had gopher and king snakes as pets, went on long rambles in the hills behind our house.
I have many fond memories of Redlands, but admit that 1)I was a kid, and 2)it’s been 40+ years since I was near the place.
Well, I was about to eat lunch…
Were they Precambrian bunnies?
It would appear that the Seed sites are no longer connecting to RSS feeds.
I haven’t recieved any feeds in 3 days.
Kurt @ 55: I’m familiar with the snake problem. When I was a kid, our cat would snag garter snakes from the neighbor’s outdoor snake pen (don’t ask) and sneak them into the house alive. I always enjoyed trying to guess which piece of furniture had a snake hiding under it. My mom didn’t enjoy it so much.
That kind of thing is pretty common around here considering we own 10 acres of orchard that is home to everything from wild rabbits to raccoons to possums to coyotes and some bigger predators that come down from the hills on occasion. Finding bloody remains isn’t much of a surprise.
Add to that the fact that there’s this stupid bird that’s been building her nest on our porch for the past 7-8 years and who, without fail, can’t handle getting into the nest without knocking one or two baby birds to their death on the concrete below at least once a season…
Add to that the fact that our big Akita is extremely protective of his territory and anything that comes into the back yard is fair game, including the aforementioned possums, birds, stray cats… all of which I have to clean up…
Consider yourself lucky, PZ.
Around here we have a problem with cats too. However, these cats are on average 100 pounds and have canines (felines?) measured in inches.
They treat all the fenced yards in the area like a pantry.
One of the greatest threats to society is the predator agenda. Before Darwin’s satanic theory, acceptance of predators and their “lifestyle” was never an issue because everyone knew it is a deviant form of unnatural and immoral behavior. Most cat owners are righteously shocked and disgusted to first learn of their pet’s orientation, but under the influence of predator advocates who sanction and legitimize this abnormal behavior, and silence and expel those who consider predation a moral issue, they come to “accept” and “embrace” their cat’s “alternative lifestyle.” The truth is, predatory desires and acts are both sinful, regardless of any “evilution”. The Bible teaches us that the genetic code itself is poisoned by sin. If cat owners defend their pet’s sinful lifestyle as an inborn or genetic characteristic, there is no answer or hope. If, however, we admit to what it really is – a struggle with sinful desires and behavior – then through Scripture we are given ways to overcome it. (Ramblings 24:7)
Tofu Kitty provides a number of programs, ranging from 14 days to 20 weeks, and many testimonials of successful de-programming of the predation lifestyle. One program graduate, Fluffy, admits to many encounters with both mice and bunnies, but through Tofu Kitties he has regained his true nature as it was before the fall, when death and killing were unknown, and the lion lay down with the lamb (Blatherations 2:69). Your cat may be born that way, but need not be doomed to live that way. Help fight this Satanic agenda which threatens to undermine religious principles, decency and the family, by letting Tofu Kitty help your pet to renounce immoral behavior and regain her Edenic nature. Include a check.
A couple of stories and an observation:
My cats dearly loved to bring cicadas into the house to play with. Cicadas are DEAFENING when they go off in the house.
A friend’s cat teaching her anatolian puppy (yes, still a puppy at that size!) to hunt, using cicadas. Priceless.
Finally, #42, they can’t do anything about those coyotes not because they’re protected, but that hunting, trapping and setting out poison is illegal in an urban neighborhood like that. This is a GOOD thing. You don’t want things like the explosive cyanide traps used to control predators laying around where kids will find them…
Yep, Buttered Cat space ship with Tomato Sauce drive.
Irene Delse says
Delurking here ;-)
PZ said: “I do have to wonder why, though, whenever there’s a scattering of corpses around the house, my family looks to me and expects me to do the clean up.”
It could be worse. You could have to finish killing maimed little rabbits because the idiot cat is young and hasn’t still mastered the art of the lethal bite. I used to have a cat who obviously liked to pounce on everything that moved and was marginally smaller than himself, but then he would take fright when the injured and frantic bird or rat or lizard tried to escape, madly flailing and crying. And this would often happen when the stupid cat had brought the critter home, of course. So we had confused cat looking at me all “mommy, how do I kill it?” while the little beastie stumbled and leaked blood and intestines on the floor. At least, it wasn’t carpeted floor… But it was my parents’ house, and they were tolerant of the cat, but not thrilled. Especially for the sake of my little sister, who was a small and easily upset girl at the time. So I used to quietly gather the not dead enough mousie or birdie and go kill them outside. Brr.
I have a transparent bird feeder attached to the outside of a window just above where my cat likes to sleep (inside on the sofa). The cat has hours of enjoyment stalking these birds, crouching down in the sofa cushions and then lunging at the feeder. The birds get startled and I get nose prints on the window. Other than that there is no harm done, at least now that the cat has figured out not to smash his whole head into the window.
Interestingly, the squirrels and doves have figured this out and no longer run away when lunged at from behind the glass. The finches, et al still startle though.
Those cats are probably Creationists.
My indoor) cat has recently discovered my birdfeeder-outside-the-window as well. It is decidedly entertaining to watch a fifteen year old, half toothless cat whose favorite pasttime is sleeping 20+ hours a day, and who has never killed a bird or rodent in her life, “stalking” grackles and mourning doves from the windowsill. I don’t think she has that whole concept of silence down, however, as she can’t seem to contain her excitement and keeps making little “MRR! MRR!” noises as she stalks.
The birds aren’t impressed. They don’t even pause in their eating.
Have to add my bit about the efficient killer known as my cat, Samantha. What made Sammy’s hunts impressive was that she was on the smallish side, looked more like a kitten than a cat, and that she was declawed.
I called our porch Place de la Concorde and the cat La Guillotine, because all of her kills were beheaded. Every single one. Every day, she left a prize of some kind for us: birds, mice, bats, squirrels, bunnies, chipmunks, gophers, and the all-time jaw-dropper: a prairie dog, which was definitely bigger, but also apparently dumber. One time, the only thing left of a mouse was a tail, the skin of the back of the legs, and a dangling bit of entrails. For some reason, that was the grossest kill she did. Anyway, the carnage never ended. I still don’t know how she killed them all, when she had no freakin’ claws! And what did she do with the dang heads???
I had another cat prior to that who kept bugging me one night while I was watching a movie in the dark. He would yowl, head-butt my arm, I’d pet him in that distracted, “yeah yeah, I love you too” way. Then the movie was over, I got up, and there, on the floor by my feet, was a row of about 10 corpses: crickets, grasshoppers, and a mouse (legs still kicking, but clearly dying). Since then, I’ve at least taken a glance when a cat deigns to interact with me.
I have two cats now, and they’re both indoor cats only. The local car traffic is just too high to let them out, for one thing. For another, the local no-kill shelter where we got one of them has an indoor-only policy for adoption, which was cool, but they also exposed us to something we hadn’t known about: our kitty is black, and people just about hunt black cats to torture or kill them, especially around Halloween. The shelter was having a 2-for-1 special on kitties when we were in the market for a new pet one November, and all of the candidates were black, since the shelter had to hold all of them back to keep the poor things from being harmed. Even if you don’t like cats, it’s outrageous that people torture and kill them over superstitious bullshit.
Oh, and PZ–you get to clean them up because, hey, not only are you a guy (some cultural indoctrination tenets are taking longer to overcome), but also you’re probably more accustomed to dealing with dead animals. I had cleanup duty with La Guillotine because I had grown up on a farm and dead animals were no big deal to me. So even though I’m the chick, I had to dispose of the bunnies, the birds, the squirrels, the bats and the the frickin’ prairiie dog. The only ones I wouldn’t touch were mice/rats. Snakes, bats, worms, lizards, most bugs and creepy-crawlies (except roaches and flies)–I can handle those, but I’m all girl when a mouse is around. Know that woman in the cartoon dancing in her high heels and shrieking on the table? That’s me, even over some mouse who’s the size of my thumb. I don’t think they’re cute. I want them D-E-A-D.
Faithful Reader says
Yes, please let your cats hunt indoors but not out. Songbirds have enough stacked against them with wild predators, pollution, tall buildings, windmills, habitat destruction, etc. etc. etc. without permitting another widespread predator. And roaming cats suffer predation and disease risk as well.
There are a couple of cats at the stable where I board my horse, but they tend to keep the mice from zipping across your toes in the stalls.
I have a beagle/retriever mix who is a major bug dog. Stalks them outside, particularly crickets, and is most useful for indoor crawly things if you screech, “Daisy! Bug!” anywhere in the house.
The alleged killing of black cats around Halloween time is very much exaggerated. Although people can and do, unfortunately, obtain animals simply to harm or kill them, the practice is not as widespread or as ritualized as many people believe, and it is certainly not limited to a certain color of animal or a certain time of year. When it does happen, it can often be chalked up to a disturbed kid, as opposed to a purposeful ritual.
There are, however, many good and solid reasons to keep your cats indoors–namely, as some others have been posting here, the fact this will help to save songbird populations from that particular predatory pressure (say that three times fast!). Cats are an introduced species, after all, and the local birds are often not adapted to handle them.
More info on black cat killings around Halloween:
My semi large dog likes to lick the house rabbit we have (and gets licked in return by the rabbit), but she goes berserk whenever a fly is in the house. She tracks the fly and chases it until she snaps it in her mouth and kills it. After that, she just eats it in one gulp.
What happens next? She swallows an old lady?
Blue Mako says
Wow Orac, your dog’s a dead ringer for mine.
Amusingly, my dog also loves to hunt small animals (mostly chipmunks) and has even killed a couple of them…
Brain Hertz says
Luckily, my neighborhood has a population of coyotes.
Hence, not so many cats.
Greatly improves the variety of other species, especially birds…
Beth B. says
Despite having multiple cats, we’ve never achieved a multi-corpse tableau at our house. They tend to string out the carnage. Lucky you!
Whatever you do, don’t shout at the cats involved.
When I was a kid, I had a cat who loved killing things. This wasn’t usually a problem, as she usually ate them. One day she did something to annoy my sister, causing my sister to shout at the cat. Bad idea. For the next month or so, the cat would leave the rear half of a large rat under my sister’s bed at least once a day. This usually led to more screaming at the cat.
Ted C says
If you have a cat door, they will bring the kill into the house and lay it at your feet. I’m speaking from experience here.
I know the generic/third-person “you” in English trips me up from time to time, but just to make sure …
At least three commenters have rather angrily said something along the lines of “Keep your bloody cats indoors!”
PZed specifically said “local cats”, not that they were his.
This, idly, can’t make my blood boil. Cats in Australia bother me, yes, but I’m pretty sure that modern farming, traffic and pesticides kill off more wildlife than cats (feel free to set me straight).
We had a lab-cross once that just wouldn’t leave our pet rabbits alone. She killed most of them, so in the end the last rabbit became a house pet. Oodles of fun to see her fight the cats over their food and win. Even when they were fed fish. Ferocious little critter.
This is why I’m the mean lady who chases cats off her property. I don’t mind the native predators–coyotes, hawks, roadrunners–but I don’t appreciate someone else’s pet coming onto my property and slaughtering the birds, lizards and other small critters.
Plus, in the past, I’ve had cat-killing greyhounds (current greyhound can’t even be bothered chasing rabbits) and cleaning up dead cats is worst than dealing with a dead bunnies.
Fortunately, by and large, cats are like Happy Meals for the coyotes, so I don’t see that many outdoor cats. Not for long anyway.
Cute little bunny rabbits?
Why, that sounds like great food for a cuddly reptile!
(At least, that was the fate of the rabbits that invaded my grandmother’s garden.)
“Nature red in tooth and claw” …
This gruesome find should be considered a blessing (not a religious one).
The cat must love the bearded one, to offer him a gift of its catch. Has he been leaving cream out for the violent feline?
I work in pest control (sorry, habitat management) and death is just another phase of life for we exterminators. Hoo-ray for the cat! Lets hope next time it takes out a nest of rats or vipers.
This is why people shouldn’t have cats.
Posted by: Joe
No, this is why people should not let cats outdoors. I have five, and the only one who goes out, goes out on a leash, supervised.
Far too many people who can’t handle responsibility get a cat and then kick it outdoors because they don’t want to deal with a pet/scoop a litter pan. Where I live, dog owners are fined $250 if they don’t pick up Poochie’s poop.
Cats are essentially invasive wildlife — non-native predators — and a disaster from an ecological standpoint if let loose. They are a major predator of songbirds. Neighborhood cats who come in my yard are escorted out immediately I see them.
However, a surprising number of predators can coexist in suburban habitats. We have sharp-shinned and Cooper’s hawks who regularly dismember birds in a corner of the yard. I witnessed a crow peck out the eyes of a baby squirrel and then fly away with the carcass. We rescued a stray cat when a fox popped out of a hedge during a nighttime feeding. Coworkers have seen coyotes (eastern). We’ve also seen possums, raccoons, and skunks in our yard at night — and we live in an urban area of about 200,000 people, near railway lines, an interstate, and several major city traffic arteries.
You should keep your cat inside so that it doesn’t get killed or hurt by cars, dogs or sadistic assholes. Outdoor cats that hunt are just doing what comes naturally, just as the birds are. And some cats simply don’t have the temperament for living indoors.
We have a palm tree in the neighborhood with about a hundred sparrows in it. They crap all over everything. I think it’s great to see one of the neighborhood cats stalking them. But I always side with the predators.
“Cats are essentially invasive wildlife”
Big deal. So are you.
Big deal. So are you.
ah, so you’re volunteering for removal?
one less idiot impacting the environment.
dwarf zebu says
My family had a huge brown tabby many years ago who was a self-taught hunter. He left occasional offerings/trophies on the back porch, but always carried them off after he had been sufficiently praised for his prowess. Vwah-lah! No clean-up!
All bets were off with the sparrows, though. All we ever found were feet and some feathers and that was out in the yard.
That’s so sad…having a 2-month-old pet bunny, this is an unwelcome mental image…
It goes with being the in-house biologist. On the bright side, they have to cut you some slack on putting dead birds and other cool finds in the freezer or in jars of alcohol. It’s the biological quid pro quo.
I live beside a river which is host to populations of Eastern Water Dragons.
(See link) http://www.wildherps.com/species/P.lesueurii.html
There is one particular neighborhood cat which has the rather annoying habit of chewing up juviniles of the species.
There is certainly no love lost between me and this particular feline. I have been sorely tempted to unleash my slingshot at it on several occasions.
Domestic cats kill hundreds of millions of migratory song birds each year including many threatened species. Domestic cats that are allowed to roam outdoors are indeed fair game by any means necessary.
John S. Wilkins says
Well duh… you write pieces about the beauty of your own insides. They probably think you’ll find it an uplifting experience.
I have two cats.
I walked into the kitchen one morning, still groggy from just waking up. On my last step, as I stopped in front of the sink, I felt something odd in the arch of my right foot. I noticed it too late to stop my weight from shifting. It was a small pile of rabbits organs. As I smushed down on them, a stream of dark-greenish liquid squirted out across the floor. Yum.
Interesting how people think cats are the evil, and are destroying native wildlife (I’m in Ohio USA).
Of course, draining wetlands, bulldozing forests, building strip malls and developments of McMansions have no effect whatsoever on local wildlife.
If you really cared about wildlife you would have one or no children.
BTW, several species of hawk have killed various birds in the front yard.
I have observed a quantum chipmunk effect: the cat kills a chipmunk, and a day or two later another one pops into existence.
Here in Australia, we hate wild rabbits even more than we hate feral cats.
If feral cats ate only wild rabbits, then we probably would not mind them nearly so much.
Rabbits have been a curse on the Australian landscape since their introduction by Thomas Austin in 1869.
At times they have reached plague proportions on a truly ‘Biblical’ scale.
We have waged conventional, chemical, and biological warfare on them for 100 years, yet still they persist.
For those of you who always imagine rabbits as being cute and cuddly, then take a look at these couple of web pages.
Of course, draining wetlands, bulldozing forests, building strip malls and developments of McMansions have no effect whatsoever on local wildlife.
irrelevant as to whether cats do or do not have an effect, though. It’s just like if I removed any one thing from your list, and said: “what about the rest?”
this has been known for years, btw, you can check most fish and game reports from just about any state for verification.
Correction to my previous post.
Wild rabbits are thought to have been first introduced into Australia in 1859, not 1869.
khan, in your home of Ohio:
why don’t you ask them if your opinion on the impact of outdoor/feral cats is correct?
The Australian Museum once had a display of all the wildlife that could be killed in one year by the average domestic tabby. Hundreds of animals all laid out. Gave pause for thought.
We have a large cat in and we keep him indoors. We have to, we live in an apartment but would keep him indoors anyway. We have a balcony so he still brings us grass hoppers, moths, cockroaches and lizards. He will occasionally be tormented by magpies too. For some reason they don’t like cats.
Outdoor cats live an average of 8 years. Indoor cats live an average or 12 to 15 years.
If you love your cat keep it indoors not only because they slaughter local native wildlife.
Evil? Ummm, no they’re cats doing what they are highly evolved to do…be superb predators. It’s they’re dumbass, thoughtless owners that are the problem.
Of course it does, but no-one I saw posted anything even implying otherwise. Decline in many passerine populations is due to a complexity of factors. Predation by domestic cats is just one of the major ones.
So what? What’s that got to do with the problem of domestic cats unnecessarily allowed to wander about killing native species. Hawks are part of the ecosystem and have natural feedback controls on their populations related to prey populations. Domestic cats do not.
Put the pipe down, and back away….slowly.
When I was a kid we had a Chihuahua miniature foxy cross. Tiny little thing. Vicious too. He’d go down burrows after rabbits. We’d hear him yapping dozens of metres into the burrows from where he’d gone in. Sometimes he’d drag out a bunny. Sometimes he’d come out scratched and bleeding and his ears ripped.
One of the funniest things I ever saw was this tiny dog dragging the corpse of a bunny twice his size home. He had to drag it backwards a few feet at a time. Another time he dragged home a large leg of a kangaroo. We never found out if he’d pulled down the roo himself.
Good snake dog too. He’d yap and bark and keep the snake bailed up in corner on our verandah. He’d keep a sensible distance though.
#135 (Ichthyic) Interesting, one study in Wisconsin estimated that 39 million song birds are killed/year by rural cats in just that state alone. USFWS has produced a fact sheet (PDF) about this problem.
one study in Wisconsin estimated that 39 million song birds are killed/year
with well over 80 million cats in the US, numbers like that don’t especially surprise me.
I’ve seen a single domestic cat kill up to 6 or 7 birds in a single day.
It adds up quick.
domestic and feral cats are even a problem with roadrunners out here in the desert.
I doubt they commonly take on the adults, but the chicks and juveniles would be easy pickings.
Shane @ #136
Surely that should have been “paws for thought”.
Thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all week. Try the veal.
Ace of Sevens says
I thought you bioligists enjoyed painful bunny deaths.
Charlie Foxtrot says
But how venomous are those bunnies?
When I was a boy, the next door neighbour had a couple of Siamese cats. On at least two occasions that I know of, one of the cats brought into the house a small Brown Snake from over the back fence. (Yup, that’d be #2 on the World’s Gonna-Kill-You-Stone-Dead list)
I’m told there are an amazing number of potential snake-holes in an average living room.
My cat stays indoors.
Paula Helm Murray says
A friend of mine, who lived further into the inner city than I do, had the perfect front porch to be Left The Hell Alone.
He’s a leather worker and he had a dye-ing accident on his front porch. The stain that was left looked like someone inside had murdered someone on the front porch with a shotgun…. They never EVER got bothered by theft or burglary.
My cats stay inside, at first it was because i’m allergic to fleas (one bite = dinner-dish-size hive) and I don’t like their predation on the birds. Now it is reinforced because we have an ever-changing population of wild cats. The up side is that we mostly don’t have squirrel issues any more. the down side is that right now all the sexy yowling and screaming outside have caused the sap to rise in my ‘neutralized’ male one-year-old kitten and he’s really really REALLLy annoying all the neutered girl house cats in the house, Including his sister. t
I thought you bioligists enjoyed painful bunny deaths.
I do indeed enjoy painful bunny deaths:
andy o says
I’m not sure why the cat chose me, though. I don’t even know it. I remember one time though, that a cat went into my apartment and hid underneath the bed, maybe it’s the same one. I do dislike cats a lot. I wouldn’t have one myself. As I often say, I can barely take care of myself, I can’t take care of an animal.
It’s a test of your fidelity; as the saying goes “friends help you shift. Good friends help you shift corpses.”
I, I suspect like most NZers and Aussies, immedaitely thought “good riddance to the bunnies, shame about the mess”. It took a while to remember that you strange furriners think rabbits are cute.
Since rabbits were introduced to Australia and New Zealand they’ve pretty much taken over the place. They have no natural predators and the population increases until their habitat can’t provide enough food to support more. They tend to be scrawny, disease ridden vermin that are the constant bane of farmers because they eat all the grass. Two dead rabbits are two fewer that will starve next time there’s a drought.
Which is not to say that we don’t have cute fluffy pet bunnies, but the wild ones are nationally reviled. Same thing with possums in New Zealand (the revilation, not the pets), but for some reason Australians like the damned vicious bird-egg eating, tree killing sacks of tuberculosis.
Story time. Never been a cat person, but we had them when I was growing up. Imagine the horror to my three year old mind when I awoke Easter morning to find our cat had deposited the remnants of the Easter Bunny on our front step, two ears, paws, some innards. My parents then explained the Easter Bunny was not real and that Smut, the cat, had not killed him. Looking back, I think this was one of my steps toward atheism, realizing that all the stories were not real. Glad Santa is, tho.
Because you will be in charge of the barbecue?
Because you’re the one pulling down college professor money. As the saying goes, that’s why you make the big bucks.
Murdering and mutilating a nest of cute baby bunnies is just the sort of impulsive behavior some academics expect from an atheist like PZ Myers.
David Marjanović, OM says
Reminds me of the recurring line in Spider Robinson’s Callahan’s Bar series: “I used to have a wife and daughter, until I fixed my brakes myself. Saved $100, easy.”
Were they Brown Bunnies? Vincent Gallo is looking for a career – maybe he could clean them up?
I have a cat-eats-bird story.
Shortly after I got married, my husband was carrying the trash down the alley to the dumpster. His cat (raised by a dog; she could bark. Honest.) was trotting along at his heels, when suddenly, a bird dived straight down at her. She raised up, and the bird flew into her mouth. The force of impact caused her to do a flip; then, without hardly breaking stride, she contiued trotting along, carrying the bird in her mouth, just as if this sort of thing happened every day.
Such a pity this was before the era of the readily-affordable video camera. For some reason, people have trouble believing it when we tell them the story.
Does Ben Stein have an alibi for this?
I cohabitate with two cats because they came with the wife. They live in the house and are not permitted outside for a goodly number of reasons.
Lately I saw a cat corpse by the road, obviously struck by a car. This spurred discussion with my near-neighbour, who said accusingly that she would regard it as “cruel” to keep them indoors.
Cruel to keep them from getting eaten by the coyote, cougars, and bears that live within a few hundred metres of city limits?
Cruel to keep them from catching diseases or fathering/mothering a million little bastard kittens?
Cruel to keep them from slaughtering the quail, chickadees and other wildlife in the area?
Cruel to keep them from $#17ting in my neighbours’ gardens?
Were I in your shoes, I’d hunt up a couple of local cat owners and ask them to clean up the bunny corpses.
And it should be a duty to kill wandering pets. A town south of here is experiencing serious problems with wild dog and cat packs. Why? Because godforsaken idiots come out to their summer campgrounds and cottages and can’t resist buying a puppy. Labs and Shepherds are popular breeds.
Then come September, when the pup is 75lb and John Q. Petowner is facing a hard choice about returning to his rent-controlled “no-pets” 780 square foot apartment, he drives into the bush on the logging roads, throws the tennis ball, and as Old Yeller leaps joyfully out to chase it, the sadistic, irresponsible #^$% drives off whistling “born free.”
I dislike pets, but their owners make me spew.
We had an invasion of carnivorous crows in our backyard a few years ago.
My mother noticed some strange-looking objects floating in the birdbath. They looked disturbingly like a spine and part of a ribcage (probably from a chicken). There were crows around, and they’d taken to raiding the neighbors’ garbage and stashing their finds in the birdbath.
She emptied the bath and drained the water. A few days later, while she was working in the garden, a crow dropped something unpleasant close to her head. It was a deceased fledgling.
Why a flock of crows is called a murder.
I sometimes find a discarded mouse stomach under the dining table. But as I imagine you do, PZ, I comfort myself with the thought that all of it, even down to the way the entrails are laid out, is part of the loving and omnipotent skyfairy’s master plan. So that’s all right.
Oh suuuure. YOUR cats are willing to hunt for their own food, but MY cats are afraid of pet mice.
Even the feral cats in my neighborhood are afraid of the starlings and other common birds in my area.
I guess the cats where I live just fail at being cats.
If you want to have outside cats but don’t want them terrorizing the neighborhood — have them be inside cats for a few years first.
Both my Crowley (Maine Coon) and Ephiny (silver tabby) roam the neighborhood each day, but they don’t hunt. They don’t need to, and they don’t know how. They will sit next to the goldfish pond and simply observe the fish. They will play, but if they’re ever (rarely) struck with the idea of hunting for fun, they’re terrible at it. They have their fun and the neighborhood fauna is spared. And no cleanup. :D It takes a while for them to become courageous enough to stay outside, and you need to be sure of all the typical dangers (like loose dogs and coyotes), but eventually they learn to love it.
For the record, this behavior was accidental. And of course, you can’t do it with a cat who’s too stupid to find her way home. Both of my cats look both ways before crossing the street.