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Terri Farley
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Friday, November 12, 2010

There is no safety at the edge of the frontier

After cougar attack: DaBubbles with canine guard

Dear Readers,
I've written about the risks of living in the real West. Not just in the past, but today. I wasn't there and I can't imagine how Palomino and her family are feeling tonight, but I hope you will hold them in your thoughts and prayers.

from Palomino:

I sit here with a breaking heart as I write to you. Honey Bandit is fine, PTL, but we had a horrible incident today. At about 1:30 p.m., today, DaBubbles, an approximately 5 month old miniature that was receiving eye care, was attacked in broad day light by a mountain lion. We did not see the mountain lion, only the havoc wreaked upon this poor baby.

Now we always prepare for cats around here. We put in the tiny, young or vulnerable animals at night. We know that we have moved into their territory. We personally know people who have lost animals to the mountain lions, but actually having it happen in your own yard is scarier and more horrible than you can prepare for. In the past month or so, we have lost 3 cats. The last one I was witness to. I heard the poor thing screaming and at first thought it was a dog chasing her. But I had ALL OF MY DOGS with me. Whatever was after my cat, and I am assuming it was the mountain lion, came through even though there were 4 dogs outside. Unfortunately these were wild feral cats that lived outdoors.

I know that up the road a few miles, there have been 5 dogs or so killed by a mountain lion with twin cubs. I also know that mountain lion's cubs were seen down in Manton this last summer. (I am assuming they are the same twin cubs.) Mountain lions have a 10 mile square radius they call their territory. Several months ago, a large one was tracked up behind our place. An injured one was spotted on property near Shingletown Ridge Road.

We know they are out there, and we share this land with them. Although they have been known to eat upwards of 20 or more foals yearly in this area, we go about our daily lives, trying as best we can to take the precautions to keep our animals safe. Last year there were full grown miniature horses, goats, cats and dogs killed by mountain lions.

But today, in broad daylight, the little miniature known as DaBubbles was lying quietly near the barn after playing and running around. Apparently, from what we can tell from the injuries, a cat came and grabbed him by the neck. He has deep slices that resemble knife wounds. He has scratches all over his neck, caused by razor sharp claws. He is torn up and only the fact that his mama, (and possibly the dogs and other mini out there) came to his rescue and scared the big cat away, caused him to survive. There was no sign of struggle or him being pulled to the ground. From what we can tell he was simply taking a nap.

He has suffered hideous injuries and was immediately taken to the vet. The first words out of the vet tech's mouth were "this looks like a cat". He is home now, in the carport next to my bed, adjacent to Honey Bandit and Patches. He will require ongoing care for a great deal of time. The poor thing was just starting to do well after an eye injury. He is quiet now, and the vet gave him antibiotics, and some other medicines to help him stay comfortable while starting the long road to recovery.

I was told by several people to keep this quiet, but felt impelled to let people know. A cat does not normally hunt during daylight hours. From what I understand, the cat that was recently spotted at some people's "camp" was injured. Nothing was done about the mountain lion, and that camp is only a few miles from our home. So there is a good chance that it is an injured cat that is struggling to stay alive and that is why he is hunting in daylight. Also, since he has an injury, he may have an infection or be ill from his wounds. These animals can be extremely dangerous. It could have been a small child that was attacked.

I understand that we have moved into their territory, but this is obviously a cat with problems. We live near the school and every so often they have to put out signs when there is a "cat incident". Several years ago one of the neighbors by the school watched her cat being eaten by a mountain lion. So even though we are not strangers to "cat incidents", we need to take these very seriously. Please say a prayer for DaBubbles. He is such a sweetie. All is quiet as Ptatches, Honey Bandit, and DaBubbles sit quietly in the carport with me, safe from the scary bad things outside. We are looking at lots of ongoing continuous care and vet visits, but are expecting a good outcome. I am sorry this is not a happy update, but ya'll said you want to know what is really going on. So now we have DaBubbles AND Honey Bandit under 24/7 care.

God bless and thank you for your thoughts and prayers. p

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Posted by Terri Farley @ 11:02 PM

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Comments: Wow. I missed everything. SO Palomino has a new pony, DaBubbles. How unfortunate that he'd got attacked by a mountain lion. He'll be in my prayers, and Honey Bandit and Patches too.

(-Young At Heart)
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