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Cat/predator Deterrents


mislam

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Hi for the second time in one year my pond got attacked by a wild cat. I was out of town yesterday whole day so did not get a chance to look at my pond until this morning. When I went to see the pond the entire pond was murky and I could find only 4 of my fishes out of 9. This is so terrible. Las winter something similar happened but at that time I did not have a net or any other protection so I blamed myself for the loss. But this time I had a net (actually part of gardening fence cut in shape of my pond) that covered the entire pond. Apparently the cat jumped and jumped on it until it fell inside the pond. My pond is small (about 100-110 gallon) and the deepest part is 2.5 ft.

My question is how can I secure my fishes? What do you guys do to safekeep your fishes? Should I poison the cat? I would really hate to do that since I love cats too. But I can't let it keep on destroying my fishes. What are the options? BTW this is a stray cat as far as I can tell (I saw it few times by the pond side and shooed it away) so I can't really complain to my neighbor.

I never really got over the loss last time. Now I am not sure if I even want fishes anymore. :(

Thanks

Mir

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If its a feral cat its possible... Otherwise cats (99.9%) don't like water and just are not going to get in the water. More likely its a raccoon or a heron come visiting. Once they discover the pond they come back until its wiped out. Netting with stakes every 4-6" tightly secured, there's sensor activated motion detectors called scarecrows that blast them off there feet w/water and raccoons don't seem to like sensor lights either. Coons are very destructive. There's also electric fences, but you have to make sure they go round the pond entirely, even the waterfall.

With the water being murky something has stirred it up and my money's on coon or heron......

The things we contend with as fish eaters: Heron,coons,osprey,eagles,hawks to name a few, are best dealt with with a net. Herons will strike early am, late pm/evening. Coons can hit anytime, but mostly prowl after dark. All are very intelligent. :( So you have to outsmart them.

No poison..... if you must try to get rid of any critter, traps and long drive to re-locate them. All animals are protected either by state,or by federal laws. And with a cat, you'd face animal cruelty.....

That stray cat just might be some little girls or boy's cherished pet that tends to wonder around. A kid in tears someplace...... Could you live with that on your conscience?

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Hi Tamianth, thanks for your insights and advice. I always see pigeons coming to bathe in waterfall, but never saw any heron or other birds. But I guess it is possible since the previous owner said that bird sometime took her fishes. But as you have said, the water being murky means someone got into the pond. I also found my bird feeder seeds scatter around nearby. Which suggests someone got into that too looking for food.

Cat seemed most likely culprit since I saw them around the pond quite a few times staring at the fishes. Here is a picture of my pond. BTW although I said about poisoning, I do not think I could ever do that (if I offended anyone by that I apologize). I grew up having cats as pet and you are right I could never live with a clean conscience if something like that to happen. But I do need to find out "deterrent" so that I can atleast scare things away. Your posting was great starter for me to think. Thanks once again.

PDR_0234.jpg

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I think the problem with the lattice is that the openings are so wide, a cat or raccoons paw could easily go through, or a herons beak. Around here we have tons of cranes and herons and I think they could still get the fish through those openings.

I am going to use bird snare netting from Home Depot, which has smaller holes and is used to keep birds away from fruit and trees. Maybe Tamianth can tell us if it is better to lay that over the pond's surface, or have it elevated a few inches above.

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Thanks jsrtis, you are right the holes are quite big and cats can put their paws in. However, this morning I found the lattice fence thing inside the pond. Actually I think that helped the four fishes since it formed a barrier.

So the animal has to be big and strong to be able to push the fence in the water. Can heron or other birds do that? I am not sure, but probably unlikely. The picture I posted above is pretty old. The tree on the side is much larger and there is a gazeebo on the right side of the pond. Making it very difficult for a bird to quickly come and take off. But then again I do not know for sure. I am going to try put some steaks and tie the lattice fence to it. That way it will probably stay in place even if the racoon(or cat) tries to push it away.

Any other suggestions? Thanks guys.

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Racoons will rip everything to shreds. They rip apart fish and don't really care to eat them, they JUST want a good time. If your not seeing this I doubt it's raccons.

About the kitty. Possible. I lost 5 fish to a nice kitty a couple years ago. I'm honestly not too bothered to say that it's possible some kid was in tears over not seeing that cat again. This is my yard, my fish are not terrorizing the cats in their yards, I make them stay home.

If you want to know what it is put out some double ended racoon traps, bate them with some nice stinky sardines and send the culprits to the pound. If you lived closer I'd lend you mine, I have two and they weren't cheap. But well worth it! I lost a fish to a cat that was worth a pretty penny, quite a few pretty pennies actually.

BTW, I would hate to cover my pond with lattice! From what I understand Heron and Osprey go for bigger ponds. I don't know if you have hiding places in your pond? If you don't maybe a couple water lilies would help? The fish can hide under them and if they are out of site a bird isn't going to bother they have much bigger bodies of water to tend to. Besides, I think they only strike in the day.

Good luck! My bets are on a cat, and believe me it's either the cat or your fish, of course you can put up with an ugly fence over your pond :(

(2.5 feet deep? I'm almost positive it's a cat, I'm ready to catch it for you! They may want us to believe they are afraid of water but when they see something they want that water isn't going to stop a bad cat)

Scott

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Herons can weight the net down, there legs make in in-possible to just do some things, climbing would be one. They are long and jointed just the opposite of what you think, look at your leg and then turn it round. They will look to land in shallows or for easy access to walk in. The weigh in someplace in the 8-12 lb range.

Raccons can weigh in at 45 lbs...... night maurauders for the most part. One has to stay up at night to catch those culprits or shall I ,dare I say, masked bandits?

As a Rule, Herons stalk the pond, daylight or dusk. Both crittrs are _very_ intelligent. Raccoons are most destructive. Coons are smart, they can move pretty good sized rocks easily.

Well, after I saw a Heron land on my poor frog spitter in the middle of the pond, he weighed the net down but couldn't get through it. I decided to get some shepards hooks to raise the main net. Mind you my pond is also 33 ft long, so no easy removal for one person either. Raiseing it will allow me to walk under and access. The next step is smaller nets run in panels around, to cover the sides. Stakes will be metal 4 inch's apart along the bottom. I might have to do a little edge adjustment and sewing, but when its done, I'll be able to remove the panels by myself. :)

Don't use the bird netting, I can rip it with my bare hands. I bought the heavy duty stuff like they make fishing nets out of. Dr's Foster & smith has it on sale right now also. Its made by Laguna.

Mind you, I've had a Heron & a raccoon both try this year. Herons=extremely nasty and evil birds. The coon was a comic routine as the sensor lights scared it and I was out the door with three barking dogs and shovel in my hand wacking the gravel being very noisy.

The herons take a bit more work, consistent harressment of them. They will fly over and then double back, landing someplace close, and then get brave to come in. If you actually stalk them, they hate it...... Super soakers, dogs and people harrassing them consistently discourages em.

I also hear they just love paint balls, frozen ones.... :ignore

I swear the bird I had trying to get into my pond just radiated evil..... can't explain it, but it was weird as I'd just get this feeling and sure enough, there it would be in a tree outside. Last time it came round the dogs almost got it...... Kinda heavy on the take off they are, like those b-52's takeing off so he darn near got nabbed by the akita. Mind you I've seen Nick jump, he can clear a full size f-250 4 x 4 tail gate up flat footed.

(I let them out the front door instead of the back,lol!)

Birds like a Osprey, which is a eagle, can dive into the water very easily and pack off a fish. Hawks and eagles swoop across and catch on the fly, hence they need to be obstructed. My thoughts are a net stretched tightly above prevents any injury to fish, and tightly stretched creates a nice bouncing effect.... :D

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I would tell you to just get a dog, even the small cocky types are good for scaring away most other animals. It looks like your yard is fenced in, so a dog wouldn't be that much trouble. Or maybe you could get some statues to place near the pond, I have a nice owl statue near my garden that keeps the birds and squirrels away, maybe it could scare away the cats or whatever they are.

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Thanks Scott/Tamianth/Jaxom.

I gave it some thoughts and here is my analysis of the situation. Please chime in if you have suggestion.

1. I do not think it was a bird/osprey/eagle. First, there is very little to none flight path. If any bird wants to take anything from the pond. They have to land and be on the ground to get to it. Second, the lattice fence was on the top of the pond. So the birds can not have a view of the fish (or atleast not very good view).

2. Racoon is a possiblity. However, I live in the middle of the city and there is no nearby park, abandon lot or anything near my home. My backyard is fenced and on the other side of the fence is the other neighbours. So even if racoon is a possibility, it is not very likely. I also never saw a racoon.

3. That leaves us with last option, it was a cat. I also used to think cats are afraid of water and they do not want to get into it unless they have to. The cat I saw few times in my yard is fairly heavy cat and may remove the fence if he jumps on it. I am leaning towards this culprit at this point.

Possible solutions.

1. Temporarily I will attach hooks to the fence so that I can hook them to gazeebo and stake in the ground. That will make it impossible to remove by racoon or cat.

2. Make the pond deeper. Right now it is a preformed pond. I can remove the preformed pond and dig the ground deeper. Deepest part currently is 2.5 ft. I can probably make it 3.5-4 ft deeper and use pond liners. Would that be enough to keep cats out? What about racoons? Can they swim under water and catch fish? This option obviously will require lot more work and planning. But if that helps me not to put the ugly fence (as Scott pointed out!) on top of my pond then I am willing to go that route.

Thanks guys.

Mir

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if you make your pond deeper you shouldn't have problems with the cat, unless your fish are tame and like to be hand fed. I don't think you'd have to worry about the racoon either. I think it's a bad cat. You'll be happier with a larger pond though, so that part is exciting.

Scott

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I agree on that. Also a nice hose with one of those high power nozzles, the brass ones. and one of those on/off quick flip switch's. Next time you see the cat, spray the holy bejeebers out of it. :D

Raccoon's are not day shifters as a rule, night shift & wee hours. Herons can land direct in shallow areas.

You would be surprised just what does inhabit the neigborhood in the dark........

Yes, even in big cities!

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I think expanding your pond is a great idea! Not only would your fish be more happy but you might even be able to get some :newfish .

You would be surprised just what does inhabit the neigborhood in the dark........

Yes, even in big cities!

I just finished reading Life of Pi (by: Yann Martel) a while back and what Tamianth said is absolutely true. From escaped exotic pets to introducing new species there could be some pretty odd animals lurking around especially in a large city.

I hope things work out for you and your fishies!

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