Barn Cats Beware

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I know it's October, but this actually doesn't having anything to do with black cats crossing your path on Halloween. Instead, I have quite a sad story to share. And I tell it to you only to help protect your beloved barn felines.?

My parents live in a very urban area of Dallas proper, so they obviously never expected to encounter a predator more menacing than the neighbor's German shepherd. A few months ago on a rainy afternoon, I was out shopping with my mom. We had just returned to my house, when I noticed my dad had called seven times on my cell phone (highly unusual, being that he doesn't know how to answer his cell phone). I finally got a hold of him. "Alana, is your mother with you still?" I could tell he sounded panicked. "Yes, she's right next to me." He replied, "Can you go in the other room please."

From one off-tone from either of my parents, and I can immediately tell?something's wrong. I raced to the back bathroom. He continued, "Our neighbor just called and asked if the Siamese cat with Teddy-Bear round ears was ours. I said, 'Yes, is he sick? Hurt? Do we need to come get him?'"?

Our neighbor's reply: "No, he's not sick. I do have his head, though." WHAT???#$%#^@! I have no idea what possessed her to announce this horrifying tragedy, as if she were describing a particular weed in her backyard.?Apparently, either a coyote or a bob cat had attacked poor Katmandu, decapitating him and dismembering the rest of his body. This was months ago, and I CANNOT get it out of my mind.?

The following day at the barn, I sat stroking our barn puss, Spice. I've seen coyotes once or twice before around our barn and surrounding area------even though we're still in the heart of the city. It seems with all the recent construction (that is, until the recession), these wild animals are being banished from their natural habitats. I can't blame them for being hungry, but why did one have to eat Katmandu?

Anyway...I just wanted to send out a warning to all of you with barn kitties. Try to be cautious. I know, especially in rural areas it's extremely difficult. But our barn cats ARE part of our horse lives. Spice loves Memphis. She sits on the fence post, begging for a lil' kiss. And, she does keep those poisonous spiders and unsightly rats at bay.

So, my next question for you guys: Has something this tragic ever happened to one of your barn cats or dogs? Any suggestions for keeping them safe? Or, how to keep these predators away? Should I start hanging steaks from the trees? I would greatly appreciate any advice, as my heart is still breaking over my Katmandu.

BTW: The above photo is not Katman. It's my dad's part Russian-blue named Scout after Harper Lee's young heroine. And, guess what? Scout does NOT ever go outside. It's kind of a shame, but I'd rather her get stir-crazy than the alternative.

Thanks guys! R.I.P. Katmandu