Democratizing the global food crisis...

The dangers of climate change aren’t down the road; they’re already here. And they’re fueling a global food crisis. This week, more than 60 scientists from around the world are meeting in Japan, to finish writing a comprehensive report on the impacts and dangers of climate change and global warming. The report, which is being written at a meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - the IPCC - seeks to tell global leaders just how bad the climate change problem is right now. And it’s very bad.

While the report hasn’t been released yet, leaked drafts have been, and they are painting a pretty frightening and disturbing picture. According to the leaked drafts, the major risks and effects of climate change and global warming are far more immediate then was first thought. And those effects go beyond melting ice, rising temperatures, and threatened species of animals and plants.

Right now, climate change is driving everything from droughts and flooding, to war, disease, and hunger. In fact, global-climate-change-driven food problems are behind most of the upheavals in the Middle East, from Egypt to Syria. And, as climate change continues to worsen, those food problems and conflicts will become more widespread, and extend well beyond the Middle East. That, according to the leaks we’re hearing from this IPCC meeting this week in Japan, should cause the entire world to rethink how we produce our food.

Right now, much of America’s – and the world’s – food is produced by giant agribusiness companies. Corporations like Cargill, ConAgra, Kraft, and PepsiCo dominate global food distribution, using large-scale homogenous single-product operations. But as you can imagine, with just a few massive agribusiness corporations controlling food distribution for nearly the entire planet, the process is extremely inefficient, unsustainable, and fragile.

That’s why there are 842 million people struggling with hunger worldwide. In the face of global climate change and global food crises, common-sense - and now, apparently, the IPCC - tell us that in order to build a more resilient food system and future, we must decentralize global agriculture, break up the big agribusiness giants, and move towards local agriculture systems.

Cities like Detroit have already realized that. Yes, the same city where the economy is in pieces and where people are struggling to make ends meet, has turned into one of the biggest success stories in local agriculture and community gardening. Entire blocks of run-down and abandoned homes have been knocked down, and turned into community gardens. In fact, there are now over 300 community gardens across Detroit, and that number is climbing by the day. And city schools are getting in on the “urban farming” action too. Eighteen schools in Detroit have built school gardens.

In the face of economic despair, Detroiters have found a way to keep food local, to keep money in the local economy, and to remove the influences of giant agribusiness corporations. And they’re being environmentally friendly, too. Our current food system, driven by giant agribusiness corporations, is incredibly destructive to our environment. It relies on toxic fertilizers and pesticides, not to mention all the fossil fuels used to grow, fertilize, and transport the food.

But local and organic agriculture doesn’t rely on dangerous pesticides and herbicides, and sequesters carbon in the soil, rather than releasing it into our atmosphere. And, local, organic agriculture produces higher yields and higher quality food too, which simply can’t be matched by giant agribusiness corporations. Climate change is making it abundantly clear that we need to rethink and reinvent our global food systems. The age of a few giant agribiz corporations controlling most of the world’s food supply should come to an end.

Here in America, we can use the Sherman Act to break up giant agribusiness corporations, and the giant banks whose speculation is constantly increasing food prices. A few companies shouldn’t hold the fate of billions of people in their hands. And we need to encourage more local agriculture across America and around the globe.

Put control over food production and distribution back in the hands of the people. Every home in America should have a garden, so that entire neighborhoods and communities can become more resilient and self-sustainable. It’s time to break the corporate stranglehold on our food system, and in the process help combat global warming.


jkh6148's picture
jkh6148 10 years 13 weeks ago


WHERE have all the good jobs gone?

long time passing.

WHERE have all the good jobs gone?

long time ago.

WHERE have all the good jobs gone?

corporations ship them every one.

WHEN will they ever learn?

WHEN will we ever learn?

chuckle8's picture
chuckle8 10 years 13 weeks ago

Thom you need to repeat our mantra. Breaking the stranglehold of the monopolies needs

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 13 weeks ago

This might be slightly off topic; however, I saw the coolest bumper sticker today... It said, "FOX NEWS Keeps Me Stupid". I laughed my head off. You can order yours today at this web site:

mcowley01's picture
mcowley01 10 years 13 weeks ago

The same web site that sells the Fox News stickers also sells pro Ron Paul and anti Obamacare stickers. How come?

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 13 weeks ago
Quote mcowley01:The same web site that sells the Fox News stickers also sells pro Ron Paul and anti Obamacare stickers. How come?

mcowley01 ~ I don't have a clue. I imagine that they are just trying to cash in on that little freedom we are supposed to all still share called 'Freedom of Speech' I'm not shilling for the website, just for that one little bumper sticker I mentioned that made me laugh my a$$ off.

BTW I just saw a photo on facebook of a car that had "Obama is the AntChrist" written on the rear window. The slogan below said, "Obama, Savior of Ants." I had to share it recommending that someone put a "FOX NEWS Keeps Me Stupid" bumper sticker below before anyone becomes too confused.

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 10 years 13 weeks ago

Hey Kend, I got something for you Seems it's just like I said. The pigs you shill for are just trying to steal the Canadian Postal Service - which, until now, has been a beutifully efficient and profitable operation, just like the USPS until 2006.

I don't know if you just made up half the shit or what.

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 13 weeks ago

jkh6148: Now, you done it...can't get that tune outta my head...good lyrics though!

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 13 weeks ago
Quote hartmann:Every home in America should have a garden, so that entire neighborhoods and communities can become more resilient and self-sustainable.

That is a good idea unless you are going through a drought and water is being rationed. I'd rather have a garden than grassy lawns any day. I feel sorry for those who are in a drought and cannot grow their own gardens. It's almost impossible to find a tomato that tastes like a tomato unless you grow them yourself. With water costs in drought areas, where they raise the price of water, it might not even be cost-effective to have your own garden. You have to buy the starter plants, or plant seeds (but unless you buy the seeds your saved seeds might have been deactivated), and then after putting in some labor and trying to fight the insects for several months, and using up lots of water, you might have a nice productive garden. I'm not sure if it would be less expensive than going to the dollar store or farmer's market though.

I wonder if I should build an abattoir in my back yard. I know a couple of cats that have been getting pretty fattened up. ;-} Yummy! Cat soup! It's not a vegetable...or is it?

douglas m 10 years 13 weeks ago

Ita amazing what you can do with a 4x4 space and a 55 gallon plastic barrel($10 on craigslist). Slights every other foot apart for a different vegtable and a 6" tube down the middle for worms and compost, drain at the bottom to catch and recurculate water not used. You should put it on a stainless steel rotating stand too. Mulch, topsoil, different mineral dust for optimum vitamins and storage barrels from rain water are invaluable to you; maybe you just havnt relised it yet. Even a small window area for winter.

Meanwhile international corporations feed us ethanol is gas, toxins in our food, and charge whatever price they want to. Whats most amazing is how food gets shipped back and forth across oceans to waste huge amounts of fuel just to make a greedy few pennies inevitable at the long term cost of the customer,us. Ya, they want and everyone to keep watching fox news for intelligence purposes.

We are all individual lemmings unless you do something/anything to better yourself.

Maybe it will catch on. Anyways off to the grocery conglomerate twenty miles away to spend a couple hundred dollars on junk!

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 13 weeks ago

Very excellent points, douglas m, hydroponics is a very good idea that conserves space and conserves water. Now, if we can think of a way to not be polluted by not only the nuclear radiation of past testing and accidental nuke plant accidents but the future ones. The new cold war against Russia that the hegemonic US and Europe has created may very well spark a new era of nuclear bomb testing not only in Nevada but in the Kazakhstan area near Semipalatinsk (Kurchatov City is the Northeastern corner of the test zone. The Rusky ruling elite had even more disdain for those living nearby than the US did in their nuclear testing when they chose test sites. The results of 100 above ground tests and 465 tests in all in the Semipalatinsk area (also called Semey) resulted, over the years in some of the most grotesque mutations of humans and animals and a great many babies born dead. This was a long term effect that is still a problem in the Semipalatinsk area. We don't need this kind of Earth-wide suicide. The isotopes in nuclear waste that gets into our atmosphere and ground...our gardens...can do their long-term damage for millions of years...virtually forever.

Quote from Nuclear Weapons Tests and Cancer Risks

Exposures 50 years ago still have health implications today that will continue into the future

Steven Simon, André Bouville, Charles Land

Prior to 1950, only limited consideration was given to the health impacts of worldwide dispersion of radioactivity from nuclear testing. But in the following decade, humanity began to significantly change the global radiation environment by testing nuclear weapons in the atmosphere. By the early 1960s, there was no place on Earth where the signature of atmospheric nuclear testing could not be found in soil, water and even polar ice.
Internal irradiation exposures can arise from inhaling fallout and absorbing it through intact or injured skin, but the main exposure route is from consumption of contaminated food. Vegetation can be contaminated when fallout is directly deposited on external surfaces of plants and when it is absorbed through the roots of plants. Also, people can be exposed when they eat meat and milk from animals grazing on contaminated vegetation.
There have been only a few studies involving detailed estimation of the doses received by local populations; the exceptions include some towns and cities in Nevada and adjacent states, a few villages near the Soviet Semipalatinsk Test Site (STS), and some atolls in the Marshall Islands.
One of the 65 tests conducted in the Marshall Islands, the explosion of a U.S. thermonuclear device code-named BRAVO (March 1, 1954), was responsible for most—although not all—of the radiation exposure of local populations from all of the tests. The fallout-related doses received as a result of that one test at Bikini Atoll are the highest in the history of worldwide nuclear testing.
Nuclear testing in the atmosphere began 60 years ago. It ended in 1980, in part because of public concerns about involuntary exposure to fallout. By that time, increased cancer risk had been established as the principal late health effect of radiation is increasingly clear that radiation-related risk may persist throughout life.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 13 weeks ago
Quote Palindromedary:I wonder if I should build an abattoir in my back yard. I know a couple of cats that have been getting pretty fattened up. ;-} Yummy! Cat soup! It's not a vegetable...or is it?

Palindromedary ~ As a cat lover I don't find your joke the least bit funny. Please leave my furry little friends out of mankind's problems. They exist only to be our loving companions and are off limits. Start your abattoir and don't be surprised if you run into some really pissed off kitty owners gunning for you. A word to the wise.

Besides, befriending the little creatures is a far wiser move. Putting out some feed and water bowls and maybe a litter box or two has it's own advantages. First, they take care of your rodent problem for you. Second, they give you reason to stockpile cat food in your shed, basement, or garage. That food, in an emergency, can keep you alive a lot longer than cat meat can. Again, a word to the wise.

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 13 weeks ago

Marc, I agree with everything in this last post of yours except where you state that cats "exist only to be our loving companions". Like all creatures of the world including humans, cats have their own agenda: to survive, thrive and multiply.

I too am a cat lover. I really miss having one or more of them in our sweet home. Soon as we can afford the vet bills again, I will head straight down to the local animal shelter and adopt a couple of kittens.

Even without having cats of our own nowadays, I am immensely grateful to the neighbors' cats who help keep the rodent population under control on our property. There are an awful lot of rats around here, and I'd hate to think how many more there would be without the felines.

My hubby & I have had this ongoing debate about whether our next feline companions should be indoor-outdoor (like all our previous felines) or indoor-only. At this point I'm inclined towards indoor-only. Most of the cats we've had over the past thirty years have wound up dead at the side of the road, hit by cars; or they have simply disappeared. We strongly suspect that our little Tiger was killed by a neighbor's pit bulls. This is not just heartbreaking and deeply upsetting; it gets old. - Aliceinwonderland

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 13 weeks ago

Awwww...did I hurt your widddow feewings? Gee, I'm sowwy. I didn't know I was going to upset some totally uptight sensitives. It was a joke! Get over it! You know, some of these politically correct fascists just love to make people feel defensive. I'm not one of them!

I obviously do feed the two cats that show up for a handout...they are not my cats but seemed to need to fed. One is very old and limps and was pretty wild and wouldn't let me approach for over a year...but now it let's me pet it and seems to love being petted. But it still, occasionally, hisses at me. Like some people I know! If it wasn't for me they would have to either eat birds or rats or be fed by someone else...if they were lucky..otherwise they would starve. If I didn't care about them...I'd let them starve.

Geeze, some of you people are just so overly ready to let just about anything prick your nerves.

Here's another one: I just love animals....they're very tasty!
Especially chickens. Actually, I wouldn't eat cats unless I was starving. We may all have to eat cats or rats someday in the future if the ruling elite have their way.

Here's another: Nuke a baby whale for Jesus!

Holy flying spaghetti I've done it...not only to I have Jesus freaks gunning for me, now I have PETA freaks gunning for me too. If God didn't want us to eat meat she wouldn't have given us flesh-ripping eye teeth (ie: fangs).

I'm not anti-vegetarian either and think it is probably a pretty good idea. You're not a vegan are you? I can dig up some good vegan jokes aside from the ones I've already made.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 13 weeks ago
Quote Aliceinwonderland:My hubby & I have had this ongoing debate about whether our next feline companions should be indoor-outdoor (like all our previous felines) or indoor-only.

Aliceinwonderland ~ That is a major decision. Considering the traffic where you live I would only consider indoor cats. Been there done that. You might want to look for an indoor breed since most cats are irresistibly drawn to the outdoors. We have a brood of cats. That's 10 or more. The actual number is constantly in flux. We started with one little kitty we adopted from relatives. We then added another that was going to be abandoned in the street as a kitten by other relatives. Around that same time some feral cats occupied the garage of a vacant house across the street. (We live on a very quite street with hardly any traffic.) My softy wife made the mistake of feeding the mother. The next thing we knew the entire litter moved into our backyard. We trapped the mother but failed to get it to the vet on time. we had to let her go. As a result, she had two more litters before I could figure out a way to trap her again and finally get her fixed. Along the way we managed to trap up all the kittens and get them fixed. The City of Oakland has a trap and fix program that fixes ferals you bring in for free. You just have to prove they are feral; and, if they are indeed feral, that fact is obvious to a trained vet.

So now we live in harmony with our extended family. No more surprises on the horizon--I hope--and everyone gets along with each other--mostly. Somewhere along the way one of the ferals got so close to my wife that she now lives indoors in harmony with us. We call her "Pinto" and she has taken over the place of smartest kitty of all--perhaps the smartest cat I've ever seen. She loves to extend her paws and cross them posing for the cutest pictures. She is really attached to my wife and rolls over on command to let her brush her belly. She also knows how to knock on the door when she wants to come in and go out. I swear she understands what we say as well. She listens and does exactly what we tell her to perfectly.

Recently a ridiculously cute and very young, furry little grey kitten suddenly appeared at our back door step. We have no idea how she got here. (Probably rejected by the parents of some of the kids up the street who decided to abandon her on the doorstep of the local kitty shelter--us.) We named her "Kiki," and now she's stealing all the attention. We haven't quite tamed her yet but she entertains us every morning staring at us through the window until she loses her balance and falls onto the porch. Sometimes she tries to jump through the window only to bounce off the glass. So far on occasion she ventures through the door when we leave it open for her and spends a little time with us in the house. In the past week she has allowed both of us to pet her for brief periods of time. Perhaps she will become our fourth house cat in the future. I hope she gets along with the others. Even though still a kitten, she's very bossy; and, all the other ferals outside seem to fear her. None of the remaining outside feral cats care to come anywhere near us. That works out for both of us. The backyard was overrun with rats when we bought the house. Now the entire neighborhood is free of the menace; and, we have enough cat food stored in our garage to feed us both in an emergency for months. Everybody's happy!

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 13 weeks ago
Post #15

Quote Palindromedary:Awwww...did I hurt your widddow feewings? Gee, I'm sowwy. I didn't know I was going to upset some totally uptight sensitives. It was a joke! Get over it!
Quote Palindromedary:Here's another one: I just love animals....they're very tasty!
Quote Palindromedary:Here's another: Nuke a baby whale for Jesus!

Palindromedary ~ Well, at least your sense of humor is improving. That last one had me rolling on the floor. No, I'm not a vegetarian or vegan; and, yes, there may be some hypocrisy in there. A neighbor of mine has a chicken coop; and, just a few days ago I was standing in his yard and petting one of his chickens. I too, who love chickens, must admit that it felt a little awkward. After all the chickens I've eaten in my life, not once did this domesticated one try to bite me. Of course, these aren't eating chickens but egg laying chickens. There is a difference you know. My neighbor thought it odd that I wasn't afraid to touch the chicken. He said most people he invites over are afraid to touch them--perhaps out of guilt? I don't know. However, I couldn't help but think to myself, "If you are afraid of a chicken, what kind of a coward does that make you?"

Oh well! Apology accepted!

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 13 weeks ago

That doesn't sound like an apology to me, Palin. "Awwww... did I hurt your widddow feewings? Gee I'm sowwy..." Why are you being so mean?!

Marc, your feral cat story hit a chord with me. Back in '04, my husband and I adopted a stray mama cat and her two kittens. To make a long story short, the mama ran off and vanished when the kittens (a black male and gray female) were almost full-grown. The female, who we named Gracie, gave birth to a litter of three female kittens before she was six months old. We had 'em all spayed & neutered, vaccinated, etc. We loved them and they became part of our little family. But in the years that followed, one by one, they got creamed on the street or simply vanished. Gracie was the last to disappear without a trace, the summer of 2012. (SIGH) It had taken us years to win her trust enough to be able to pat her; she had been way more skittish and wild than her brother Moonshine.

I love cats; I love their wildness and beauty and love allowing them their freedom to come and go. But I am no longer willing to let them be hit by cars or killed by dogs. When I adopt another couple of 'em eventually, I think I'll have to keep them indoors. What a drag. But I really miss having them around. If we adopt two, they'll at least have each other for company. - Aliceinwonderland

Palindromedary's picture
Palindromedary 10 years 13 weeks ago

Even Saint George Carlin was mean! [PBUH-Peace Be Upon Him]....except... he's dead! Is the word "peace" even meaningful when your dead? They might even try to say he was a religious man in some fantastical abortion of they do with other great men. He has ticked off a lot of people from certain sectors, for sure. Perhaps, that's because they don't have a sense of humor? The fear is, perhaps, that the jokes are more truth-telling that they would like. It's not so much what you say as it is how you say it. On the internet, it's not always so easy to indicate that you are joking. But, for some people, you can't even joke around with them....especially if it strikes a nerve. Like, for example, when someone claims that "the paranormal is real" or "scientifically proven" or something like that.. ;-}

note: the ;-} is a symbol indicating I am winking and smiling...indicating I am joking. Even poking fun at myself here! Get it? Well, that "paranormal is real" phrase was probably not meant as a joke though.

nora's picture
nora 10 years 13 weeks ago

COMMODITIES TRADERS are tainting the food availability, cost problem.

We need to grow food gardens if we have space or demand it be available like rooftop gardens for apartment dwellers. And those who don't have space need to demand THE COMMONS -- public or community space to grow food.

CUBA is the outstanding example of successful use of space to grow food locally making long distance transport unnecessary! Learn about it here:

Mark Saulys's picture
Mark Saulys 10 years 13 weeks ago

Sorry, had to fix a typo.

Alice, I'm sorry to pour cold water on everything but I have to say I am against domestication of animals in general, it is only an enslavement and captivity of them that historically lead to the domestication of other people with slavery, patriarchy, etc.. I believe, therefore, that if you bring an animal to live with you you must treat it properly and not exploitatively - almost, if not exactly, like another human member of the household. Call me crazy but I think that if more people were crazy like that the world would be better. I really don't think you should do anything abusive to them for the sake of your own comfort or convenience. I don't think you should do anything to them that you wouldn't do to your own children as they are trusted in your care..

I am against making animals (cats) into living couch pillows or parlour ornaments - I am against cats being fixed. Cat's that are fixed only care about eating and sleeping and had been ideally modified for that (couch pillow, parlour ornament) purpose.. I had a tom that I wouldn't allow to be fixed, he loved life (I really think they shouldn't have taken Freud out of the curriculum). He looked just like Higgins but was raised properly - not in a fraternity house - and he was very intelligent, polite and kind. He didn't like to fight, he just wanted to run through our backyard studying insect zoology. He was fascinated with rather than frightened by mechanical things and really seemed to want to know how they worked. He would be all over them, obviously trying to figure them out. I have no doubt that if he had had opposable thumbs he would have taken our automatic garage door opener apart and put it back together in an improved design. He would try to imitate human speech when trying to communicate with us making sounds remeniscent of "cooing" and "echolalia", the types of sounds infant humans make when in an early level of speech development. Anyway, he was a stark contrast to a fixed cat.

There is, also, no small element of cruelty in taking a kitten from its mother. I've heard that when a mother cat has her last kitten taken from her she walks through the house crying and looking for them behind every corner.

So even though Marc's my main man I disagree with him that animals exist for our pleasure. That's, after all, what white men down south, long ago, would say about women and African Americans.

Sorry to be a buzzkill.

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 13 weeks ago
Quote Mark Saulys: Alice, I'm sorry to pour cold water on everything but I have to say I am against domestication of animals in general, it is only an enslavement and captivity of them that historically lead to the domestication of other people with slavery, patriarchy, etc..

Mark Saulys ~ First of all, no need to apologize. You're not a 'buzzkill'. A very interesting perspective. Let me begin my response by assuring you that all our cats are considered by my wife and myself as full fledged members of the family. If there are any slaves living in our house I assure you it is my wife and myself. We clean their litter boxes, comb their fur, make sure they have food and water, play with them, open the door for them, and pay all their bills. Meanwhile our little furry friends live like kings and queens without a care in the world. They participate in all the activities that your cat did; except, they no longer are driven by the overbearing urge to procreate. If they were, and if they did, I assure you their existence would no longer be as pleasant or as long.

Quote Mark Saulys: I am against making animals (cats) into living couch pillows or parlour ornaments - I am against cats being fixed. Cat's that are fixed only care about eating and sleeping and had been ideally modified for that (couch pillow, parlour ornament) purpose..

"Only care about eating and sleeping?" My friend, you just described my ideal vacation. This is a bad thing? This is equitable to slavery? Perhaps the cats would be happier if I got them a job washing dishes or cleaning garbage? I doubt that because they don't seem the least bit interested in cleaning out their own litter boxes or even helping me carry the 30 lb bags of cat food I buy every month from the truck to the garage.

You are probably right about it not being kind to fix these animals. A small part of me always regrets knowing that a wonderful pet that I've had for decades will never be able to reproduce and pass those wonderful genes along. Then I find an even better little furry companion and forget about it.

The fact of the matter Mark is that we have already changed the environment of these little creatures. Unless we control their population they have no chance to adapt to it and survive. What once worked perfectly in the wild doesn't have a chance of succeeding in the big city. What I offer, to a few, is a happy and long life. We have a beautiful backyard and all the cats have the run of it. My wife built little kitty houses all over our property so the cats have a place to go when it rains or if they are being chased, or just want to take a nap in the shade. There are also litter boxes all over the property that are well maintained and always fresh. There are also a plethora of toys and plants that they love to play with. We're also not stingy with the catnip. When I look at my animals I almost wish I was one of them.

Quote Mark Saulys:There is, also, no small element of cruelty in taking a kitten from its mother. I've heard that when a mother cat has its last kitten taken from her she walks through the house crying and looking for them behind every corner.

I can't say I've ever heard of that happening before. Perhaps because I've never owned a domesticated breed. All the cat's I've ever owned were already abandoned by their mother. The vast majority of the cats I presently own were literally carried to my doorstep from across the street by their own mother. Three litters worth. That's why we named the first three kittens Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria.The only time she cried was when I finally trapped her ass. Now she lives together in bliss and harmony with her now grown kittens in my yard. After being fixed they live in a perpetual child like state. They eat, play, go potty, sleep, and repeat. They live only to enjoy life, freedom, and fun without a care in the world. They are free to roam about as they wish; yet, always stay near home by choice. You could also say that they are now living together happily ever after. The End!

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 13 weeks ago

Mark, I'll not begrudge you your opinion, but I don't happen to share it. Sorry.

I have never believed any animal has existed solely for my pleasure. For you to suggest this is presumptuous. None of our cats have been "couch pillows" or "ornaments". That last batch we had were the direct result of a stray mama cat who left her two kittens with us and vanished. There was none of the heart-wrenching drama you've described. After they were fixed, they continued living very normal feline lives: hunting, playing, defending their turf; everything felines do except procreating. Hardly the kind of lethargic, sedentary existence you've described! And Gracie was never separated from her three daughters... not by us anyway. Two were hit by cars. The one that survived the longest (Polly) happened to be the one Gracie didn't get along with too well. Their little cat spats began while Polly was still a kitten. It got worse as Polly matured. Polly ran off eventually, never to return. We strongly suspect it was because her mother won the turf wars.

Getting these animals fixed was an act of kindness on our part. One unsprayed female can result in literally tens of thousands of kittens born within just a few years. That's an awful lot of strays. And in this artificial environment humans have created, the life of a stray cat is short and brutal. The number of these animals euthanized at the shelter each year is mind blowing, not to mention heart breaking, and many are still babies when they're killed. I've never been that thrilled about spaying & neutering, but have always thought of it as the lesser evil. Such is life, Mark. We sometimes have to make decisions when the only options available leave something to be desired. As I see it, these animals are better off not being born at all than destined for such a cruel fate.

Sounds to me like you've projected an awful lot of human traits onto that tom cat you just described. "Studying insect zoology"? Mechanically inclined? Imitating human speech? Gimmie a break. Any un-neutered tom cat who doesn't like to fight would have to be a very rare phenomenon. I've lived with these animals most of my life. Never have I seen a tom who still had his gonads and didn't like to fight. When they do fight, their wounds typically develop infections that, if left untreated, are ultimately fatal. And it's a slow, painful death. On more than one occasion we've had to come to the aid of cats with abscesses like these, who (with our help) barely survived. And it wasn't pretty. After getting ole Beejay home from the vet's, where he'd had his abscess lanced, we kept him alive by hydrating him with a water dropper several times a day. He didn't eat for close to three weeks and was down to just skin & bone before his appetite finally kicked in again. We went through that ordeal with Beejay two or three times. And he was fixed! Just not soon enough. His previous human companion never did the honors, and Beejay was already an adult before we had his nubs nipped.

Regarding that feline family we adopted a decade ago, I offer no apologies. We did what we believed to be the kindest, most responsible thing. I'm grateful we had the means to do it at the time.

To associate our relationships with cats to patriarchy and human slavery is quite a stretch, Mark, and that's saying it politely. - Aliceinwonderland

Aliceinwonderland's picture
Aliceinwonderland 10 years 12 weeks ago

P.S. As an afterthought, I'll submit an example of a veterinary practice that is indeed abusive, that serves no purpose except the comfort and convenience of humans: de-clawing. Everytime I meet someone who has de-clawed a cat, I have to bite my lip and restrain myself from saying something I might later regret. - AIW

DAnneMarc's picture
DAnneMarc 10 years 12 weeks ago

Aliceinwonderland ~ I totally agree. None of my cats were ever de-clawed. Not only are those the only means cats have to defend themselves against other animals and each other, they also allow them to climb and are the closest thing the animal has to fingers. To remove them is truly inhumane and cruel. Some people just don't know any better. No furniture is worth having that makes you have to maim a helpless, innocent animal. Take your pick, the responsibility of pet ownership or the owner of nice furnishings. You can't be both without being a monster.

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Aliceinwonderland 10 years 12 weeks ago

Indeed, Marc. But personally, I've never had cats that were into clawing furniture. Even if they were, a squirt gun makes a marvelous disciplinary tool. I don't tolerate cats on kitchen counters, tables, computer components, etc. and with this method, they get the message very quickly. They hate getting sprayed so it makes a very effective deterrent without injury or maiming. Another benefit of the squirt gun is that they don't learn to associate human hands with punishment or pain. I highly recommend it. - Alice I.W.

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DAnneMarc 10 years 12 weeks ago

Aliceinwonderland ~ I learned about the water bottle decades ago, and you are so right about how well it works. Unfortunately, lately we've welcomed feral cats into our home. We find ourself walking on eggshells around them trying not to spook them. I've no problem using a water bottle on a little arrogant house cat; but, if I turned one on a feral cat who is just getting used to the house I would undo months of patient conditioning with a couple of squirts.

There are other techniques as well we could use. I could cover their scratching areas with thick canvas. There are also commercial liquids I could spray on those areas to discourage them. However, our furniture is so old we just don't care. We are trying to use verbal commands to train. It works with the feral cats somewhat. They respect our wishes much more than the house cats do. (Actually, as I've learned, Feral cats are far better behaved than house cats are. Perfect ladies and gentlemen.) Maybe, in time, when they are well conditioned to the house, we might bring back the dreaded bottle. Maybe if we buy new furniture. I'm too much of a softy to spray them over this old junk. Maybe I'll just wait for it to fall apart and then buy more old junk. Say what you want about old junk, it brings a lot less stress into your life than new stuff. The last thing I want in my life is to feel threatened by something our little friends do naturally.

We were just discussing the purchase of a new lounge chair to replace one that is completely worn out. Part of the discussion concerned fabric. The main part is it has to be cat resistant--like our sofas have been for so many years. They are upholstered with a decorative canvas-like fabric that despite being treated like a scratching post for many years now show no signs of deterioration. That will give us and the cats peace of mind.

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Aliceinwonderland 10 years 12 weeks ago

Excellent points, Marc! It's interesting that the ferals are so much more polite as house guests. I've a hunch it's because you're not such a part of their comfort zone that they can take you for granted. This would have them more alert to your body language than your regular house companions. And you're absolutely right about the squirt bottle not being an option for ferals. They are wild animals, as wild as the birds and the squirrels. Takes very little to spook them. It's a long, slow process earning their trust, and you really have to earn it.

I've always been fascinated by how well both dogs & cats understand our non-verbal signals; both body language and tone of voice.

For some reason, furniture scratching has never been an issue for us; not with any of the numerous cats we've lived with through the years. Spraying was another matter. With Gracie we learned the hard way that females are also capable of this offensive behavior. She was the only female cat we've ever had who sprayed in the house, so we could never leave her here unsupervised. But that suited her fine. Without one of us available to open the door when Gracie was ready to go back out, she'd immediately be overwhelmed with claustrophobia and have a panic attack. And when Gracie paniced, she was like a buzz saw with fur. During one such episode, she tried climbing up our vertical blinds in the bedroom, tearing down the plastic cover that fit over the rod on top of the blinds. Then she ran smack into the window in our foyer, bloodying her nose. Talk about wild! She was the wildest cat we ever had. I miss that ornery little rascal. After living here eight years, she disappeared one night, never to be seen again. Of all six cats we initially adopted, Gracie was the last to go.

I think it's cool that you and your wife have offered a safe haven to so many of these delightful creatures. Despite the spraying, my hubby & I will always be cat lovers, just like you guys. I so look forward to extending our hospitality to them again!

I realize this discussion has wandered light years away from the global food crisis. (My apologies to Thom...) But it sure has been fun, Marc! It's neat having this in common. I'm such a sucker for cats. It's lonely these days, not having any around to hang out with. I'm still grateful to the neighbors' cats though, for keeping the rat population here in check. - Aliceinkittyland

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