The Cats Who Protected their Homes from Bears

Nancy Strand lived in a small cabin in the Tongass National Forest in southeastern Alaska with her chinchilla Persian cat, Feral and a formerly tough guy cat she named KittyBaby. They lived in quiet wooded solitude, with a beach as a front yard, though there was a small town nearby.  

The local government had recently started a new program where they collected bags or garbage and shipped them out for composting and recycling. The problem was that for generations, 30-plus bears had spent the early summer days living off the trash in the city's neighborhood - now they were looking for that missing food source.

Nancy said, "After bears started passing through our neighborhood, KittyBaby quickly made himself invaluable. One night, as I prepared to go outside, KittyBaby firmly pushed me away from the door. He pressed hard against my leg, redirecting me to another area. The next morning, I discovered that a marauding bear had turned over and ransacked our garbage can during the night. This was the first time I realized that KittyBaby was protecting us from bears. On numerous other occasions, when KittyBaby sensed a bear nearby, he would stand between me and the cat flap on the door and growl as if he were a big dog!"

Information from the
Cat Heroes page at the Hieronimus & Co., Inc. website

Jack trees a bearJack is a 10-year-old orange-and-white tabby.

And when the 15-pound cat spotted the bear in a neighbor's yard last Sunday, the clawless kitty took action.

The bear scurried up a tree and eyed the cat for 10 to 15 minutes, while Jack stared and hissed from the ground.

The bruin inched its way down before jumping off and running away.

But then Jack chased the bear into the brush and up another tree.  "He doesn't want anybody in his yard," owner Donna Dickey said of Jack in an interview with the Newark Star Ledger.

That's when Jack's owner realized what was happening and called her cat inside.

Full-grown black bears weigh between 200 and 600 pounds and measure as much as 6 feet long. Their diets can include fruits, honey, insects, acorns and animals as big as moose calves —- a fact apparently lost on Jack.  (June 2006, New Jersey)

Information from the National Geographic news website

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