V & M cat runs 8

Snake Season by Robyn Roberts

I was reminded a few days ago when my sister and I were walking along a path that snake season is upon us, when we almost stepped on a very lively snake. It gave us both a shock, and we’ll be more careful when walking along paths that lead through forested areas, even though we were only fifty or so metres from the coffee shops and restaurants of Buderim Village.

It also reminded me that we have to be careful of kittens, and also young and/or small cats, at this time, particularly if there are pythons around – as there are in most areas in Australia!

A number of years ago when I was living in Carindale I had a cat enclosure installed, which ran out into the garden from the house and included the paling boundary fence as one side of the enclosure. It was one of those paling fences with gaps between the palings, but it never occurred to me that a snake would come into the enclosure that way – in hindsight I guess I should have thought of that.

At that time I had two adult cats and one five month old Chinchilla kitten named Sam. I was getting ready to go to work one morning (fortunately running late!) when I heard him scream, and knew something terrible was happening to him. It was a large two storey house, and I ran downstairs to be confronted by the terrifying sight of a large python wrapped around my beautiful kitten.

I am utterly terrified of snakes, but of course, without thinking, picked up the whole bundle (it was a large snake, and quite heavy, and I was a lot lighter in those days) and proceeded to try and separate the snake from my much loved kitten. I was about to drag the whole lot into the garage and grab a shovel to hit the snake, I guess, when the snake let go and poor little Sam took off, with me in hot pursuit. I was terrified he would have collapsed and died before I caught up with him – thankfully that was not the case!

However, I had the presence of mind (thank goodness) in my panic-stricken state, to shut the enclosure flap leading into the house, because when I came downstairs later the snake was right at the entrance, very keen to get at my much loved kitten.

Needless to say, I was very late to work that day. Firstly, I rushed my kitten off to the vet, where he was given anti-inflammatory and antibiotic injections, and then I saw my GP for a tetanus shot as, unbeknown to me at the time, the snake had bitten me on the arms several times.

We both lived to tell the tale, although I have to say poor Sam developed severe asthma at about age five, and having seen the large snake wrapped around his tiny chest I often wondered if that had been the cause of the asthma.

However, I mention this as something to bear in mind when planning the installation of a cat enclosure if a boundary fence is to be included. It’s not something I would like to go through again, although I guess I’d do the same thing, and I hope this will save someone else going through a similar ordeal.

As you can see, Sam survived the ordeal and is inspecting Ken’s efforts to produce our zip installation manual.

 

Cat shelves

Cats like nothing better than to sun themselves on a shelf in the back garden, or if the sun’s not shining snooze on you bed.

 

All you need to make a few shelves for your cat/s are a few metal brackets, a strip of exterior plywood and a piece of artificial grass (all from your favourite hardware store).

If you install one of our outdoor cat enclosures, they can sun themselves in happily and you can leave them with complete peace of mind, knowing they are safe.

Cat containment news.

Cat owners who live near areas containing threatened species could be banned from allowing their pets outdoors as the federal government sets its sights on the potential killing machines.

Australia’s first threatened species commissioner, Gregory Andrews, said all cat owners should keep their pets contained 24 hours a day, saying it makes them happier and healthier, and saves native mammals.

The plan says the government will seek public support for expanded “24-hour containment requirements for domestic cats, particularly close to identified conservation areas of significance”. It listed the measure as a high priority.

Mr Andrews said conservation areas will include 12 million hectares of land across Australia where the government plans to bait feral cats. Exact locations will be determined after consultation with experts.

It would include Commonwealth land such as national parks and defence land, and may also involve contained areas such as peninsulas where feral cat control measures have a good chance of success.

Mr Andrews said community engagement was important and “we are not planning to go in and tell people what to do”.

“In terms of getting the most effective outcome, [we will] work where communities are already making these decisions,” he said.

“The plan over the long term is to make this part of our culture, and then it becomes normalised … It’s a journey that Australia has to go on.”

He said cat containment measures in the ACT required cats in some suburbs to be kept indoors. If allowed outside, they must be on a leash or in an enclosure.

The federal government does not have the power to make laws on domestic or feral cats, but Mr Andrews said it would work with state, territory and local governments to expand cat containment.

The plan says the measures will require “education and enforcement” and should be implemented over time “so it does not cause an unnecessary financial burden on those who cannot afford the containment options, or lead to dumping of domestic cats”.

Since 2005, cat containment areas have been declared in 12 Canberra suburbs adjacent to nature reserves.

The ACT government is considering an expert report that recommends the measure be extended across the territory.

But Canberra vet Michael Archinal cautioned against a “one size fits all approach”, because not all cats coped well with confinement.

“Some cats are very stressed when they are confined, it can actually induce behavioural issues and some physical problems as well,” he said.

Dr Archinal said confined cats could develop bladder issues and behavioural problems because they were prevented from scratching trees, marking, exploring and finding mental stimulation.

The RSPCA says it prefers cat owners keep their pets contained, as long as the animals’ needs are met.

An Animals Australia spokeswoman said it supported cat confinement, but had concerns about the government’s potential baiting and trapping plans.

A study released last week that tracked more than 400 cats found nearly all roamed farther than most owners realised. This put the cats at risk of cars, hissy cat spats, annoyed neighbours and poisons, all while endangering native animals and birds.

University of South Australia researchers attached GPS devices to the collars of 428 cats for a week. It found the median range the cats travelled from their home was about the size of a football field, while some free-ranged across towns and city suburbs.

Asthma in Cats

Robyn giving Sam his daily astma puffer Sam also gets daily insulin injections for his diabetes.

Robyn giving Sam his daily astma puffer Sam also gets daily insulin injections for his diabetes.

If your cat is diagnosed with asthma, don’t despair. Asthma can be managed by giving your cat a daily dose of an asthma preventer, such as Flixotide, using a feline aerosal chamber.

The one shown in the photo is an Aerokat chamber manufactured in Canada. Your vet would be able to help you with this. Sam still enjoyed romping around with the other cats in their cat runs.