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We're relocating to Central Texas next summer. Since one of my family members is terrified of snakes, he said we should get 2 'outdoor' cats once we get a house to keep away the snakes. He heard from a relative living in California that it works. Anyone have any experience with that?
Is it even possible (with the heat) to keep cats strictly outdoors? (I'd defenitely get them spayed/neutered to keep them from roaming the neighborhood... and plan on having a huge fence).
Cats will roam no matter what but yes you can keep them outdoors, just make sure you provide some sort of shelter and make sure your neighbors do not object.
As far as snakes go, they are kind of useful. Like cats, they help keep the vermin down. Since the cats and snakes compete for prey, it would make sense that if the cats keep the rats and mice away then the snakes would stay away too as they would have nothing to hunt. Even then, you might some grass snakes who prey on insects but they are pretty harmless and stay away from houses.
This is kind of funny, but when I expressed fear of having snakes in the yard and was considering having an outdoor cat, a friend suggested getting guinea fowl instead! I haven't looked into it, but she said her family had guinea fowl and they do a much better job of keeping critters out of the yard.
But I have a weimaraner with a very strong hunting instinct. There's no way the dog wouldn't see guinea fowl as prey. It took me a while to convince her that my Yorkie was actually her brother and not a long-haired rodent!
Otherwise, I think it would be cool to have guinea fowl. I'm not a cat person, even if it did live outside.
I grew up on a farm and loved our outdoor cats (usually around 20+) that we had when I was a kid... my daughter is a total cat lover, but this particular family member who's got the snake problem doesn't enjoy cats in the house at all... so I was surprised when the suggestion with the cats even came up, to say the least, but it would solve 2 problems at once, got the snakes out of the way and a happy daughter (we had an indoor cat we had to give up when she was 6)...
Anyone else with cats who can confirm them keeping the snakes in check?
Nope. My parents have always had a few cats around (indoor/outdoor) at their place in Hunt County, and they still have snakes. One of the cats was once bitten by a poisonous snake (likely a Copperhead) and nearly died. They rushed her to the vet and after a $250 bill, she lived another 10 years! Cats do keep mice away, but unless the snakes are non-poisonous garter snakes, having cats makes no difference!
CATS DO MAKE a difference, just out of logic... what do snakes eat? MICE. what do cats eat? MICE, if the cats eat all the mice, then no snake will be interested in staying. now you probably won't have to worry about snakes if you live in a city that has a population of 5000 or more... as long as you don't live on the outskirts.
Cats tend to be very violent creatures, which means that they will take on anything smaller then them. If you like them as novelties I would suggest getting 2-4 cats and let them go between the indoors and outdoors (they will go outside).
If you don't like cats as a novelty and have sizable property then i would suggest sheltering the cats and let them reproduce, feed them with minimal food (so that they have an initiative to hunt, but not so much that if they just don't have hunting down they can live off of you.
In addition you may also want to build an owl house, they will double as a cat with wings, especially during the night (because if you like to have them on your bed purring or playing with you feet). owls also tend to kill mice/ rat AND SNAKES. and lastly keep a watchful eye on your cats they may get harmed by a venomous snake (which you as a Californian should be no stranger to especially if you come from SD or LA.) one cat will probably not do a sufficient Job, 4 will probably due but 2 will undoubtedly help.
keep a watchful eyes of you cats give then shelter... GOOD SHELTER, coyotes tend to roam around (even in the suburbs of Dallas which is where I am but my family does have property out in central Texas) so give them a quick escape.
I understand you may not be an animal lover but if you are, you should get some dogs as well, get them the same time as you get cat, the Dogs will wear away larger stuff like coyotes and skunks, which may also be a threat to your cats.
I like the replies from you guys... thanks ;o)
I'm not from California, I'm from Germany, the only snakes I've seen in my life were in a zoo or pet shop behind the glass... let's not even get to the topic of all the other creatures... like the 900 species of spiders living in TX... I rather NOT know what I'm gonna be dealing with there...
I guess it came across as me not wanting to have anything to do with animals/cats and just trying to find a 'fix' for the snake problem... not so true... like I mentioned earlier in my second post, I was always around cats and we had an indoor cat for a few years (big big difference to the outdoor cats I grew up with... ), so I don't mind having the indoor/outdoor cat, much more animal friendly than strictly indoors anyway.
As far as the food, guess that's a good point, they still need to have enough hunger left to even wanna hunt and I'm aware of the fact that some cats simply don't like mice (yes, I've seen it), The idea with the owl house sounds good as well.
We plan on living in Kempner, 1000 people there, with at least an acre of land, so it'll be a little more country and therefore probably more snakes (
And knowing my daughter, those cats will be spoiled to death with affection ;o)
Thanks for all the input )
guinea fowl do keep away snakes--they can kill rattlesnakes that are not that big and copper heads--as well as the more useful ones like rat snakes...my sister lives north of SA around Spring Branch and she raises them---they roam and are pretty independent, can shelter in trees if they need to...but the heat is really bad for them...
cats keep away mice but cats will kill snakes--our cat does--he is inside/outside cat...
we lived in central TX east of SA when I was growing up---had about 1.5 acres of open land around the house and pasture across the road and on the lot next to ours--we had snakes around the house from time to time but my daddy always kept outside cats and I know that we did not have as many snakes as we might have....
Cats kill rodents AND the snakes (if they are small). If you are moving to a very urban area, though, it is likely that the cat won't make much difference (let the OTHER cats take care of the problem ). If you are moving to a rural area, the coyotes are hell on outdoor cats. In fact, even in the city of Austin proper, coyotes get hundreds of cats each year. If you are going to have an outdoor cat, it is better to keep them in at night, which takes care of about 99% of the risk.
CATS DO MAKE a difference, just out of logic... what do snakes eat? MICE. what do cats eat? MICE, if the cats eat all the mice, then no snake will be interested in staying.
I don't disagree, but I've also seen a snake try to eat a toad in my back yard. Not sure if that would harm the snake because toads are poisonous to an extent. Anyway, it didn't finish its meal because its neck met the end of my shovel before all parties met the plastic bag.
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