I would like to bring a matter to the attention of folks of Montgomery County, especially those with pets that stay outside, about leaving food outside for your pet. There are also some folks who lean toward feeding Mother Nature's wild critters and that may not be all bad, however you may be creating a rod for your own back. Let me point out some of the ramifications of feeding those animals and a few of the drawbacks in doing so.

There are a lot of people in our neighborhood who have bird feeders and many beautiful birds are drawn to these feeders. The birds species are varied and are extremely interesting to watch. My wife has a feeder out, and her and I enjoy watching them. As nice as it is to watch them there are a few drawbacks to feeding the birds. The first one that comes to mind is the squirrels that the feeders attract.

The squirrels can be interesting to watch as well as the birds and we have three different varieties of squirrels in our yard. We have red fox squirrels, gray cat squirrels, and we have eastern gray squirrels, which are similar to the cat squirrels but are a little larger and have white fur on their ears.

I have grown up in this part of the world and I'm no stranger to the cat squirrels and the fox squirrels, but I never before noticed the eastern gray squirrels even if we had them in extreme Southeast Texas. You can always learn something when you spend time in Mother Nature's backyard.

Anyway, the squirrels and the birds empty the bird feeder, which causes us to have to buy more bird food, but so far it is worth the cost. The bird feeder draws the birds and the birds draw cats.

In Montgomery County there is a leash law and cats as well as dogs cannot legally run free. They must be on leashes or fenced in when they are outside. I know some people say that stupid but if you're gonna have a pet you need to keep control of it and not allow them to bother other people or damage their property. I cannot stand to come out to get in my car or truck and have cat paw prints on the vehicle and those can at time be accompanied by scratch marks from claws.

I have a solution for the cat problem when they run loose in the neighborhood. My solution is I get a have a heart trap into which I put cat food and set out. When I catch a cat they find their way to animal control. The last I heard it cost $200 to get them out of animal control. House cats that people let run free killed billions of birds every year, beside the damage they can cause around a neighborhood.

Let me hit on a couple more negatives about feeding critters outside and I will go back to squirrels. Squirrels can get into your attic and chew up wire insulation, pipe insulation and many other items that can cause a home owner numerous problem. It you set out poison and they consume it they can die up there and stink...a lot, until the dead carcass is removed.

Putting out pet food will also draw wildlife such as opossums, raccoons, coyotes, rats and mice. Rats and mice will also draw coyotes and hawks and other predators. So you can see the potential problems that putting food out to feed pets and the domino effect that can be sitting on the edge of that action just waiting to start. I am not saying to not do it, I am just saying be prepared for the difficulty that can accompany the action.

Also when you start attracting rats and mice you will also start attracting snakes. Snakes are not such a bad thing to have as one of their main functions in life is to eliminate these disease carrying rodents. Of all the snake varieties in Texas only four of them are dangerous to people and if you learn to identify those four you will know which can cause you a problem and which cannot.

Now I will address those misguided souls that feel compelled to feed the wild duck, usually mallards, on the lake.

When you start feeding the ducks you may think it is fun to watch them waddle up to where you put the food and gobble it down. Keep that up a few times and then more ducks will show up. Eventually you will end up with a horde of ducks and possibly geese making an unbearable racket and leaving white excrement all over your property. You can stop feeding them but that will only serve to make them more pushy and noisy and it will take a long time to get rid of them. In the mean time, such racket and filth will not endear you to your neighbors.

So folks, before you put food outside for that “poor cat” outside or feed your dog outside bring in the bowl before you go to bed and don't created problems for yourself and your neighbors.

Original Article from: https://www.yourconroenews.com/neighborhood/moco/sports/article/LeBlanc-Feeding-outside-pets-and-wild-critters-16083171.php