Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Fishing for cats

A century ago our suburban countryside was largely farmers’ fields, a moonscape compared to today. Now, the trees have returned, and with them, some woodland creatures that haven’t been seen since before the colonists flattened the forests primeval.

A case in point is the fisher. This 10- to 15-pound marten has long been found in northern New England and forested regions across North America. But until a few years ago, these weasel-like mammals were unknown here. Now that the trees are back, so are the fishers.

Sometimes called fisher cats, fishers neither fish nor are they even closely related to cats. In fact, they may be a cat’s worst enemy. Fishers usually feed on wild mammals ranging from mice and voles to porcupines and young deer. In suburbia, however, domestic cats are becoming a fisher delicacy. And there’s little a hapless cat can do – run up a tree and the arboreal fisher will follow right behind.

It’s another good reason why all pet cats should be house cats.

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