• James Parry

Parrywinkle December 8, 2016

Running the risk of sounding a tad catty and possibly losing some readers this week, I have been giving a lot of thought to mankind's - or should that read personkind's? - love affair with cats. And not just because it was recently raining cats and dogs for days on end. To be perfectly honest, I just don't get it!

I mean, sure I like them. Other people's that is. And just for the record, my beautiful Sunshine and I have kind of adopted three of our neighbours' felines - Nelly, Billy, and Tommy - who are regular visitors to our garden.

Which, they in turn, have adopted it as their own private hunting reserve. Tracking down and, every once in a while, killing a mouse, vole, squirrel, or little birdie. Why, I've even watched them jumping for butterflies and grasshoppers, albeit without success.

But the passion that cats generate on the part of so many in our community simply boggles my mind!

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BUILDING FELINE FENCES - Just last week on YLJ's Facebook, for example, we ran a story with pic of Chloé, a beautiful long-haired cat that went missing on November 25. Within a matter of hours after being posted, it had come in for some 500 hits. Total to date, almost 6000.

Then there was the very well-intentioned lady I met recently who told me she was seriously thinking about proposing to the Town of Hudson that a by-law be introduced banning cats from being allowed outdoors during peak migratory periods of our feathered friends in our region when they kill thousands just for the fun of it. Millions across Canada evidently.

Venture the theory that it is perhaps Mother Nature's way of culling aviation populations and you are met with a look of incredulity, at best, and total disdain at worst.

And while mainstream media has been focusing on President-elect Donald Trump's plans to build a wall at the U.S. border with Mexico - okay, now perhaps a fence on some stretches - comes word that on Hawaii's Big Island they are actually constructing an 8 km-long fence to keep cats away from Mauna Loa, the world's biggest volcano. Home to the endangered Hawaiian Petrel, a seabird that breeds only there.

Was just digesting this when I discovered that cat fences are nothing new. Evidently, they have been building them in Australia and New Zealand for years in an all-out war on cat predators decimating bird populations. One of them in Australia being a mind-numbing 42 kilometres long!

Oh yes, and Montreal has just introduced a new controversial by-law that has cat lovers not exactly purring as it requires their felines to wear a collar for identification purposes – just like dogs – unless they are microchipped, and that when they stray from home, their owners will be ticketed by animal-control officers.

Sheesh. Upon reflection, I think I'll stick with my pet gold fish, Goldie. Who never goes outside as a threat to others, has never been to a vet, and who just swims around as happy as Larry. Oops. Billy, Tommy, get away from Goldie!!! Ah, too late. Time to buy another one!

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COUNTING BIRDS - Still on our feathered friends, just a heads up that on Tuesday, December 27, one and all are invited to participate in the 76th edition of the Hudson Christmas Bird Count which sees volunteers fanning out, or even staying at home, in a 24 kilometre circle centered at Cooper Aviation's St. Lazare Airfield for a one-day tally.

Intrigued to discover from Jean Demers, the count's compiler since 2012, that said circle is divided into 17 parts and that at least 50 volunteers are needed to each specific territory.

Explains Jean, “People at home can count birds at their feeders from the warmth of their houses. Volunteers in the field usually start at 8 in the morning and cover the territory they are assigned. They then count all the birds they see and of every species on their tally sheets and at the end of the day, usually around 4 p.m., they meet with me and give me their tally sheets so they can be all compiled. And the feeder watchers do the same.”

This final data is then entered in a big database managed by The Audubon Society which, if you check out their website audubon.org/history-christmas-bird-count, you will see that they have actually been going on since 1900 and that they occur all over the Americas, Europe, and some even in Asia.

To participate, contact Jean who can be reached at cbchudson2@gmail.com. After all, they do say that birds of a feather...

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DOG DAYS OF WINTER - And lest you think that I am not paying due diligence to pet pooch lovers in Hudson - which again, I adore as long as they are someone else's as walking them in freezing rain or a blinding snow storm and scooping after them is not exactly my cup of tea - bumped in to busy pet photographer, Steve Thomas, earlier this week.

Complete with different cameras, back-lighting, umbrellas, and diverse apparatus worthy of a glossy magazine fashion shoot, he had just left the home of Ozzie and Linda Voortman on Quarry Point and was on his way to another client nearby.

Said an elated Linda, “Steve is able to capture the very essence of your pet. And we are thrilled with the way he was able to portray our four-legged family member, Winston, and froze him in time.” See photo below and if you would like to know more, give him a buzz at (514) 378-1211.

Winston, incidentally, is a Pug. A breed descended from dogs first imported to Europe from China in the 16th century and once popular during the Song Dynasty, believe it or not. Which brings me to another topic dear to my heart dear readers, martial arts and full contact Karate. Nah, just made that up. But needed the segue!

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NEW KARATE KID - For I just learned that after six years of study and training in Quebec, Florida, and Bangkok, Hudsonite Matt Levine - hubby of former town councillor, Diane Piacente - has just received his Black Belt and official certification in martial arts from 7th Degree Black Belt holder and former Full Contact Karate World Champion, Réjean Major.

A great achievement by any stretch of the imagination. “But what's so special in Matt's case?” you might be asking yourself. Well, get this. Matt is approaching 70. Just a year younger than me and I get worn out just watching a movie starring the late Bruce Lee. (See story on page 17v).

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A CORRIE CHRISTMAS - In closing, a shout out to all fans of Coronation Street. On Saturday, December 10, starting at noon, the Hudson Coronation Street Appreciation Society (HCSAS) will be hosting its 12th Annual Christmas Dinner with turkey and all the trimmings. This time at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #115, 56 Beach Road, Hudson, and when the colour theme, as always, will be red and gold.

If you love the show but are not a member of HCSAS, no problemo, you will be more than welcome, but seats are limited. For more info or to confirm your presence, give me a buzz at (450) 458-7154 or email me at the address below.

And that's a Christmas wrap!

E-mail: creation@videotron.ca

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