We thought of introducing cats into the permaculture eco system, when we started getting a lot of mice in our shed. The mice ate up our hammocks and some other material we had stored. And we decided the only way to deal with them was to set some cats on them.
Surprisingly, cats are very difficult to find. Its easier to get dogs from shelters and generally from the street. But there are hardly any cats up for adoption or available at a shelter. Our animal lover friend Anand Siva connected us with a family in Dehradun who were looking for a home for their 4 kittens. Such was her love for her kittens, that the foster mom Renuka, drove all the way from Dehradun to Panchkula, to drop off her kittens to us. Hats off to her - may her tribe grow!
We settled the kids into the shed, and despite the cold winter, they found it quite entertaining and adventurous. Within a day or two they had already killed their first mouse!
We are all familiar with dogs, but a few things struck us about cats.
1. They are real carnivores. They have very sharp claws and equally sharp teeth. If they are in your lap and they feel threatened - their claws can start piercing through your flesh.
2. Its far tougher to feed cats. You can't just given them milk and bread - the way you can feed dogs. We had to buy cat feed for them for a long time (more expense).
3. They are very detached animals. They don't form ties of affection easily, and you can invest a lot of time in them in return for nothing.
4. Apart from mice they like to eat lizards, frogs, and birds in the farm. You have to keep your hens and geese away from them.
5. Cats are not very loyal. Very quickly they started disappearing, moving to other farms, generally disappearing.
But they are lovely creatures - like little tigers. Its fun observing them.