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Any ideas about what could be frightening them?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Sorry, this post is long, but I'm mystified.

A little bit of background: Jamie goes outside for a supervised walk every day wearing a harness. Our fenced-in yard is usually "kitty city", thanks to several catnip plants (right now with dry leaves, as it's winter), bird feeders, and a little pond. Two neighbors' cats, Miezi and Gizmo, are here virtually every day, and we get a lot of other feline visitors whenever Jamie isn't outside for his daily walk (he's a bully).

For the past two weeks, no cats have been visiting our yard, or the adjacent ones. Jamie is still going outside on his leash, but only for just enough time to mark the perimeter of the yard (he's neutered, but still marks). I've talked to Miezi's and Gizmo's owners, and they both say these normally indoor/outdoor cats have been staying inside of their own accord. Our street has a speed limit of 7 k.m.h. / 4.35 m.p.h., so people usually allow their cats to go outside. I walk to and from the train station every day, and I haven't seen any of the cats I usually see outside.

The weather hasn't been frigid the past two weeks, and nobody has seen any strange (tom)cats or stray dogs around. We don't have raccoons, skunks, or opossums around here, though we do get wild boar, foxes and martens. Boars couldn't manage to get into our yard, and I rather doubt a fox could (there are no signs of digging around the fence). Nobody has had their car attacked by martens recently, so I doubt we have one or more hanging around right now; they usually can't resist chewing cables and wires.

There aren't any bears, or wolves in our state, and there are no coyotes outside of zoos.

Hubby has joked that the cats sense an earthquake coming (we get them here), but that doesn't make sense, as they'd flee buildings minutes or maybe hours before a quake, not stay inside, so I think some predator is around.

Does anybody have any ideas? This is starting to freak out me, and Miezi's and Gizmo's owners.
post #2 of 26
How bizzare Tricia?! I'm curious to know whats making them like that now?
post #3 of 26
That's really strange. They obviously know something mere humans don't -- but what?
post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosiemac View Post
How bizzare Tricia?! I'm curious to know whats making them like that now?
Quote:
Originally Posted by rapunzel47 View Post
That's really strange. They obviously know something mere humans don't -- but what?
It is really bizarre. Mrs. R., Miezi's meowmy, says she's been on the lookout for birds of prey, but hasn't noticed any. I think it has to be something they're (meaning the cats) smelling. Jamie would view a strange tomcat as a challenge, rather than a threat, so I don't think it's a cat, and he loves dogs,
post #5 of 26
It's times like this when it would be great if they could speak.
post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rosiemac View Post
It's times like this when it would be great if they could speak.
Exactly! I was just wondering about snakes, but they'd be hibernating in this weather, and Jamie loves to hunt garter snakes, and was brave enough to confront the abandoned stone python that got into our cellar.
post #7 of 26
That IS weird. Maybe they sense aliens up there? Or maybe it is an earthquake or something in the "air" - fire????
post #8 of 26
I really hope no one is capturing them. Maybe the neighbors cats are warmer inside and prefer it that way. It is weird.
post #9 of 26
hm, does sound like a predator thing.

Maybe something was in the neighborhood recently and "marked" the environment?

or maybe it's aliens
post #10 of 26
Very stange. Hope you figure it out and Jamie can enjoy his walks again.
post #11 of 26
Thread Starter 
I walked up and down our street twice today, looking in yards, and again no cats, although it was mild (10°C/50°F). One guy I talked to says he's seen a couple of foxes recently when he's come home from work in the early a.m.. Based on what some town shelter volunteers say, it's just our street where the cats are being wary.

Now I'm wondering if the cats see/smell foxes, and know to keep their distance? That really doesn't make much sense, because we've always had a big fox population, and I've never heard of them attacking cats around here, especially since we have a huge rodent problem (hence so many indoor/outdoor cats), so there's plenty of prey. Jamie probably wouldn't react to the scent of fox, anyway, because he's had some playful interactions with a three-legged one that is kept as a pet.

Jamie refused to go for a walk today. Maybe this is a feline conspiracy designed to drive me over the edge?
post #12 of 26
A cat strike lol
post #13 of 26
That is really bizarre! Like Susan said - this is when you really wish they could tell us! We had foxes, coons and possums - and they never seemed to scare the ferals. So I'm mystified.

Laurie
post #14 of 26
I recall a TCS member who lives in a farm mentioning fox pee as a cat deterrent. Or was it wolf? Anyway, it was a cat's nemesis urine so in your case it could just be the reason for the cats strange behavior.
post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by yayi View Post
I recall a TCS member who lives in a farm mentioning fox pee as a cat deterrent. Or was it wolf? Anyway, it was a cat's nemesis urine so in your case it could just be the reason for the cats strange behavior.
I know coyote pee is sold as a cat repellent.

That is so strange. It seems like there's a predator hanging around from the cats' behavior. One of my parents cats disappeared a few years ago, all that was left was a few tufts in the backyard. They think it was a predator. Their other cat refused to go out for some time because of it.
post #16 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by yayi View Post
I recall a TCS member who lives in a farm mentioning fox pee as a cat deterrent. Or was it wolf? Anyway, it was a cat's nemesis urine so in your case it could just be the reason for the cats strange behavior.
Quote:
Originally Posted by littleraven7726 View Post
I know coyote pee is sold as a cat repellent.

That is so strange. It seems like there's a predator hanging around from the cats' behavior. One of my parents cats disappeared a few years ago, all that was left was a few tufts in the backyard. They think it was a predator. Their other cat refused to go out for some time because of it.
My husband surprised a fox in front of our house this morning when he left for work. I called the local forest rangers' office this afternoon to see if they had an explanation, and was told that a major cull of wild boars has been underway since right after Christmas, and that's probably disturbing the foxes in the woods, so they're hunting in town for the time being.

That makes sense, and we do live pretty much on the edge of our town, give or take a few blocks.
post #17 of 26
mystery solved!
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by saya View Post
mystery solved!
I was hoping it was aliens!
post #19 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by saya View Post
mystery solved!
Probably. Jamie is back to going outside with me, so I suppose he was just lazy the one day.

The ranger I spoke to is the one who has the three-legged pet fox, and he thinks Jamie is just weird in his likes and dislikes, and that any (other) cat would avoid foxes like the plague.
post #20 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcat View Post
Probably. Jamie is back to going outside with me, so I suppose he was just lazy the one day.

The ranger I spoke to is the one who has the three-legged pet fox, and he thinks Jamie is just weird in his likes and dislikes, and that any (other) cat would avoid foxes like the plague.
Well, he IS a tad eccentiric -- even for a cat -- no?

Glad the mystery seems to be solved.
post #21 of 26
yeah was kinda hoping the aliens were at work
post #22 of 26
Wild Boar scaring the foxes out of their territory! OK- I would NEVER have come up with that one! What smart kitties!

Laurie
post #23 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post
Wild Boar scaring the foxes out of their territory! OK- I would NEVER have come up with that one! What smart kitties!

Laurie
The way I understand it, hunters are driving the wild boar out of their "safe places" in order to reduce the population, and are disturbing the foxes in the process.
I'm not thrilled about it, needless to say, but I recognize that the boars are causing too many traffic accidents, not to mention property damage,
post #24 of 26
We have a similar problem here in northern NJ. The black bear population is now larger than when Jersey was first settled. BECAUSE of the people population, there is so much food for the bears - especially through winter. So often they're not hibernating, and they're becoming very overpopulated - especially if you factor in the encroaching people population.

It is such a sad situation. Black bears are not normally agressive - but food is attracting them to people's homes, and every summer there's at least a couple instances of the bears getting INTO people's homes and then, of course, animal control comes and shoots the bear.

At our last home, we had a mother and two cubs living on our property. I doubt they'd scare the cats away - but they sure loved the bird food we put out.

But the issue of a bear hunt RAGES. The issue is whether or not to cull the population. But it's just horrible to be in a position where you even have to make those choices.

Laurie
post #25 of 26
Thread Starter 
Today it was back to "kitty city", meaning there were cats all over the place (and some cat fights), so they must feel safe again.
It was so strange not seeing cats outside for so long.
post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post
We have a similar problem here in northern NJ. The black bear population is now larger than when Jersey was first settled. BECAUSE of the people population, there is so much food for the bears - especially through winter. So often they're not hibernating, and they're becoming very overpopulated - especially if you factor in the encroaching people population.

It is such a sad situation. Black bears are not normally agressive - but food is attracting them to people's homes, and every summer there's at least a couple instances of the bears getting INTO people's homes and then, of course, animal control comes and shoots the bear.

At our last home, we had a mother and two cubs living on our property. I doubt they'd scare the cats away - but they sure loved the bird food we put out.

But the issue of a bear hunt RAGES. The issue is whether or not to cull the population. But it's just horrible to be in a position where you even have to make those choices.

Laurie
We have that problem around here. Not in my county, because it is pretty much rural, but in a neighboring county (in Maryland) they actually had to open up a Bear Season because of the overpopulation. People down state (around DC) were furious, but they don't understand what it's like to have a bear at your back door. Now, these are the same people that like to come up for deer season, when they don't have a CLUE what they are doing!

We've seen bear tracks in our back yard, but we have miles of woods and mountains behind us, so I'm not really worried. But I still get nervous going outside at night. Actually, I'm more afraid of the raccoons and possums than I am of bears! Those critters can be vicious!
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