Send out an invitation and you’ll get a few unwanted wild guests

DEAR JOAN: Recently, at 11:30 p.m., much to my surprise I saw an opossum on my front porch eating out of the bowl that I fill with cat food to feed feral cats in the neighborhood.

The cats love the food, and I guess the opossum did too. Do opossums usually come to urban areas?

Dee Neese, Richmond

DEAR DEE: They do, especially when they are given an invitation to dinner.

In a perfect world, where we definitely do not live, opossums prefer to live near streams or swamps. As those things become harder to find or become the territory of other animals, the opossums and other wild creatures move into the next best thing, our backyards.

Opossums, along with raccoons and skunks, are among the most common wild animal you’re likely to see in your yard. When you leave food out for them, they’ll definitely come.

I know you’re trying to help the feral cats, but you need to watch and gather up remaining food after the cats have eaten. By leaving it out all night, you’re attracting other wild animals into your yard. While there’s not much harm in an opossum, there is to the animals the opossums attract, namely coyotes, who will happily hunt and eat an opossum and a lot of those cats you’re trying hard to care for.

DEAR JOAN: We live in a quiet cul de sac. My husband and I cannot figure out how to deal with the cats that are continuously pooping in our backyard, though, so need your advice please.

One family has four cats that mostly stay outside, especially at night. We wake every day wondering where the poop is and when our dogs will find it. We have German shorthaired pointers and that breed loves rolling in stinky stuff. We lived in Vermont next to a dairy farm with our first German shorthaired. You can imagine what he came home with.

The dogs eat the poop and roll in it. It’s beyond disgusting.

How do we keep the cats out?

Kathryn, San Ramon

DEAR KATHRYN: Cats, like most animals, aren’t good about boundaries. They also have an instinct, developed by their ancestors and other wild creatures, to put some distance between the place they live and the place they poop so they don’t attract predators to their front doors.

That means the modern day cat uses their neighbors’ yard as their litter boxes. You have a few options and I won’t lie

Source:: The Mercury News – Lifestyle

      

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