Saturday, 27 April 2013

Some of God's Creatures Deserve to Die

A fluffy little bastard

The Idiot Gardener has just posted about his frustration with domestic cats defecating in and destroying his seed beds.

I am not sure it is enshrined in our unwritten constitution but the basic right of any UK resident to keep pets appears inalienable.  The society to prevent cruelty to animals, the RSPCA, is a Royal society whereas the society to prevent cruelty to children is only a national society (NSPCC).  It’s quite bizarre really.  Not a year goes by without at least one child being mauled to death by someone’s cuddly little pet and dozens of others being scarred for life. Within the last few months, two children were even mauled by foxes in the ‘safety’ of their own cots.  Yet libertarians howl in rage at the suggestion we should return to dog licences, the tagging of pets and good old fashioned fox hunting.  They would go berserk at the idea of the ordinary citizen being able to blow them off their lawns.

I have, of course, merely cited a fraction of the most extreme consequences of keeping carnivores with a genetically coded hunting instinct as pets and no longer being able to rid the countryside, and increasingly our urban areas free of dangerous vermin.  I can legally buy, and place around my property, rat poison.  Rodents are scavengers and survivors.  They will eat a tiny bit of something and see if there are any ill effects.  If there aren’t, they will tuck in.  So rat poison has to be firstly attractive enough for the rats to eat, and then slow acting enough, usually two weeks, so the rats, lulled into a false sense of epicurean security, tuck in and  eat a lethal dose.  It is a horrible death.  The poison is an anti-coagulant and the victim slowly and incredibly painfully bleeds to death.  Their intestines disintegrate.  They defecate oily black blood and their eyes bleed.  They rot from the inside out.  It is a slow, miserable, messy and lonely death.  Most decent people don’t like to think about the details when they lay down the poison but, let’s face it, a rat in the house is terrible. A single rat dropping can close a restaurant and an infestation can bankrupt a farm.

A dead rat that died a miserable death
And yet under UK/RSPCA law, if I caught a rat with my bare hands and ripped its head off killing it instantly, which I have done on numerous occasions, I would be liable to prosecution especially if I posted on U Tube a short video entitled ‘How to Catch a Rat With Your Bare Hands and Kill it Instantly By Ripping It’s head off (Warning, Graphic Content)’.  I am sure the RSPCA would also bring in a prosecution if I happened to film one of my dogs cornering a rat in my shop and tearing it to shreds.  But it is OK to poison rats.  And it is perfectly OK for cats to wander into their owner’s home and drop the little present of a dead mouse on the carpet or the corpse of a little bird robbed off the feeding table.

The Idiot Gardener  has his bit of God’s earth and is determined to suck out of it all Mother Nature, her fertile erogenous zones suitably tickled by spade, compost and liberally applied seed, can be tempted to offer.  He travels the country in search of the Holy Grail of seeds, be they potatoes, onions, herbs, spices, exotic tobacco, no matter.  The back of 34 Winsome Gardens will be the Shangri-La he has worked his whole life for and invested in.  One day he will lie there supine on a deckchair surrounded by the aroma of home grown combustible intoxicants and fruiting healthy vegetables knowing that the mortgage and school fees are paid.   

Instead his neighbor’s cats shit and piss all over his effort and dig over his beds.  Yet if, while sitting on his stoep, he put down his ice cold Gin and Tonic, shouldered his properly licensed shotgun and blew a neighbor’s cat defecating on his radishes to smithereens, he would be prosecuted.  If IG collected all the cat poo dumped in his garden and shoved it through the letter boxes of their respective owners, he would be prosecuted.  If he trespassed on his neighbor’s property and laid an enormous, charcuterie induced walnut whip in the middle of their lawn, he would be prosecuted.  If he dug up their flower and vegetable beds, if he pissed on everything in sight, if he had wild and noisy sex on the roofs of their conservatories and sheds in the middle of the night, he would be sectioned.

My father had a wire haired Dachshund that used to lie in wait concealed in the shrubbery surrounding the bird feeder.  Beppo caught and killed seven cats and one fox in total before the surviving cats learnt to stay away.  My father would quietly bury the evidence and even managed to look sympathetic while denying to distraught owners having seen their little tinkerbell recently.  Sadly, neither Beppo nor my Father are with us anymore but I am sure my Father would have happily lent Beppo to IG for a couple of weeks.  The difficulty would be if IG’s garden was overlooked by neighbors.  Beppo had mastered the art of stealth but still had a lot to learn when it came to the technique of killing silently.

The area surrounding my last house in Benfica was infested with cats so feral even my dog was frightened of them.  After little Alex was bitten and scratched by one that had entered the house, I borrowed a high powered .22 air rifle and shot every cat I saw.  A .22 air rifle is not enough to drop a cat dead in its tracks but if they didn't die a lonely, miserable death and survived instead, they learnt not to come near my property anymore.  I suppose for the people IG describes, cats make nice pets but to me, like foxes and rats, they are vermin.  I had turned my garden from desert to oasis.  When I bought the land it was little more than desiccated scrub infested with the lice from the goats that grazed there.  There were no birds, no wildlife whatsoever except rats.  I planted trees and exotic shrubs, flowers and herbs.  I irrigated and within a few years, the birds came back.  They nested in the new trees, under the eaves of my house, even bats moved in, snatching moths and other insects midair and drinking water off the surface of the pool on the fly.  The garden was truly a very pleasant place to sit and I was proud of it.  Then the cats came back, robbing the nests, raiding the house and intimidating both children and my dogs.  They dug up my seed trays and shit and pissed all over the place.  Had I been seen in UK shooting a cat off my asparagus tips, I would have been prosecuted.  Had I, instead of shooting the cat, sought damages from its owner, I would have been laughed out of court.  But this was Angola.  So I shot them.

When I moved down here to the Barra de Kwanza, we again had a rat infestation.  They were everywhere, they chewed all my computer and electrical cables.  They got into the drawers of my desk and chewed up my paperwork.  They chewed our clothes and the stink, it was dreadful.  They even ran over us in bed at night.  I put down poison, but since all poison looks like an enticing sweetie for a toddler, we could only place some in the spaces inaccessible to a child. 

Finally, I persuaded Marcia to overcome her phobia and allow me to introduce African House Snakes into the house.  They are not venomous, they are constrictors, grow to a metre in length but are no thicker than your thumb.  They leave no discernable piles of poo, need no looking after and keep themselves to themselves.  In other words, ideal house guests.  Marcia missed the point entirely when she ridiculed the idea saying that there was no way such a snake could kill a rat.  She was desperately, flushed with horror at the idea of live snakes crawling under the bed, trying to scotch the idea but also quite correct, such a snake could not take on and kill an adult rat.  What it can do is kill babies.  It finds rat's nests and gobbles up future generations.  Since I introduced snakes into our humble accommodation, we have no rats or mice and the dogs do an excellent job of keeping cats, goats and pigs away.  I do like natural solutions to natural problems.  I no longer need to lace house and countryside with poison or blast God’s inedible furry little creatures away with my rifle, I am just allowing nature to take its very satisfactory course.

Well I have rambled on a bit, all the time hoping that a solution to IG’s problem would pop into my head.  If he doesn’t have a dog like Beppo and doesn’t want the responsibility owning a dog entails, his easiest solution is denied him.  Since cats are quite large, relative to rat’s babies, if he chose the reptile route, he would need a pretty healthy sized constrictor but they tend to slither off if left unattended and would really upset the neighbours if they ate the wrong kind of baby. 

So, quite frankly, I am at loss.  He can’t shoot domestic cats, it’s against the law.  He can’t put down poison; that is indiscriminate and, therefore irresponsible.  The snake option isn’t one he can coil his mind around.  If he electrifies his boundary fences and a burglar cooks himself, he’ll be on a manslaughter charge.  If he lays gin traps and is in any way like me, he’ll forget where he laid them until he finds himself in A&E after a weeding session.  And yet pet owners, unless their animal mauls someone half to death, are largely immune from any claim for compensation.  There is a planting season.  If someone’s ball of fur comes along just as the green shoots are sprouting and digs the lot up, that’s it for a year.  And what would the owner and the RSPCA say?  Well, animals will be animals, it’s only natural.

Armex Sniper
150lb compound crossbow

With FREE Walther competition red dot sight!

Possibly the best quality and value for money compound crossbow available in the UK.

"Yes, yes.  But will it kill cats?"

The only thing I can suggest, IG, is a cross bow with broad heads fitted to the quarrels.  Crossbows are silent and a broad head will kill a cat pretty much instantly (so long as you can shoot straight) but please avoid practicing in your overlooked back garden in daylight.  Neighbours are nosey, tend to gossip and stupid as they can be sometimes, are often  able to put two and two together.  Also, a 150lb bow can send a quarrel a long way and it will easily punch a hole through a pine lap garden fence so think about where the quarrel will end up once it has ripped its way through the cat eviscerating it in the process.
Oh yes.  These will kill cats.
Photos courtesy of
Of course I didn't ask them first and given the enormous disclaimer on their site regarding the legality of bow hunting in UK, I am positive they would not condone slotting neighbour's cats.
Please remember. Hunting with bows and crossbows is illegal in the U.K. !!!! 
But can be so satisfying.
(OK, I added that last bit myself)

Go on, IG, I KNOW you are tempted....


  1. We live in a hamlet of five houses and when we moved here one of the first things we were asked was whether we had a cat or not. When we said no they were so releaved "good we like wildlife and song birds". I could now start to tell you a few stories ive been told but I'm sure if I did then I'd be blamed and there would be a petition to have me extradited...

    1. Omerta, Don Kev, I understand.

  2. I killed one rat with my bare hands....( well I tried to strangle the bugger first) then threw it against the churCh wall.

    I felt guilty for one second.....,.and one second only

    1. Maybe I should do this You Tube video because all it takes is a little twist and a pull and the head comes right off.

    2. Depends on the camera angle...

  3. When I was a nipper, we had a vicious black cat called Blackie (I would deny this if arrested). He killed one dog and blinded another before the cat police came to take him away. What they used for his execution; I have no idea. Probably the 'sack and well' method.

    1. What a shame, I could have used him here. You see, I am not really biased. If it's half loyal and will tear a local apart, I'll feed it.

  4. Dear Tom (pun fully intended), you can take a landmine out of the ground but you can't dispose of a disposal expert. Your 'rambling' has taught me that if I were a rat I'd come to you, preferring a quick death by your own strong hands. Naturally, and not to be wasteful, you will go our hero's (Hugh F-W) way and treat me like road kill and roast my cadaver. Chalked up as "Special of the Day". Don't forget to stuff my head.

    I haven't (yet) read the irritated gardener's lament about damage to his seed beds. Here is a thought for all of you: Stop imposing your will on Mother Nature's elements. Learn to live with them. And if you can't outfox cats ruining your seedbeds, if you have a problem with birds being eaten by cats, dogs chasing cats, rats rearing their naked tail below the floorboard's of Hippo's Restaurant's immaculate kitchen, why not just take a short cut to paradise and shoot yourselves instead?


    1. How about I just shoot you instead? Strikes me as a damn sight easier.

  5. Just this last week, I had an incident like this. We had a baby dove in the yard. Every year, his parents come and attempt to build a nest somewhere in our tiny yard. Doves are dumb, so it was fascinating to watch them work so hard to fly twigs up to the top of one of our porch columns, then absent-mindedly knock them off when they got all excited about their nest-building progress and did a "victory dance."

    Somehow, eventually, they manage to get it done and, this year, raised one baby. He was, last week, old enough to look like an adult but didn't fly. He had left the nest. As I said, doves are dumb. We had to carefully shoo him off the driveway before we could drive the car out. He would waddle over to a bush and, though still in plain sight, think he was hiding from us.

    But one morning, I saw the neighbor's cat slink out of our yard; a few minutes later I found the baby dove in a flower bed with his neck broken.

    I don't blame the cat. He's just doing what cats do. I blame his owners who let him outside. They're called "house cats" for a reason, right? If you want a cat, have it be an indoor cat.

    But my Texan neighbors still think they are cowboys living out on the range. Though this is Houston, rapidly becoming the 3rd largest city in the US, some of my neighbors still think it's OK to let their dogs run loose -- you can tell by how often you see dead dogs by the sides of major, urban roads.

    Even animal-control officers won't collect cats who live outside, including feral ones who have been breeding there for generations, because, most Texans believe, cats belong outside. Meanwhile, the song-bird population has plummeted.

  6. I have 10 cats. Two are housecats and the other 8 are feral. They live in my woodshed and wander around the farm at night. They have been neutered and have their shots. It has been less than a year since their pregnant mother was dumped at my place. When she came, we were being overrun by rodents: mice, rats, voles and gophers. Now there are none. It takes some planning to keep them from also wiping out all the wild birds, as well as my own domestic ones (pigeons and chickens), but it's doable. So far the only unintended victims have been the lizards. I keep the cats well fed, putting out their food in the morning. They eat, then sleep all day. At night they go out to hunt and the only creatures that are out and about then are the rodents. With a busy highway nearby and wily coyotes in the fields, I'm surprised all of the ferals are still here. The thing I really hate is the people who dump their animal problems on the rest of us. It's probably illegal to shoot them if you catch them in the act. I think I could make my point with a paintball gun, and that would probably keep me out of jail.

  7. I agree with Jan. I have three cats, two are indoor/outdoor by choice, one is 99% indoor by choice. Their choice, not mine. The two who are indoor/outdoor were born feral. All are marvellous hunters, and while they do occasionally get birds, there are enough moles, voles, mice, and chipmunks to keep them busy.

    I didn't put poison down for the rodents before moving here full-time (we had the house for two years before living here full-time) partly because i didn't want to arrive to half decayed carcases and partly because a neighbour's cat considered part of our yard his territory. I didn't want to poison him inadvertently or any other creature like an owl or even a fisher (similar to a badger) who would make a meal out of a rodent.


Please feel free to comment, good or bad. I will allow anything that isn't truly offensive to any other commentator. Me? You can slag me without mercy but try and be witty while you are about it.