Ducks and cats [advice from James Rankin, in 1906]

This advice about cats, from an artificial duck farmer — a farmer who raised ducks under artificial conditions — was published in 1906, in the book Natural and Artificial Duck Culture by James Rankin:

Do Not Have Neighbors Too Near.

Another source of discomfort was our neighbors’ cats. Now, we are eminently social in our disposition, and enjoy our neighbors’ company very much. We like to spend a social evening with them and have them do the same by us. But not so their cats. We never interchanged civilities with them, their visits were too ill timed and frequent. Our ducklings were carried off in large numbers, and in pure self-defense we shot the cats.

Of course, this made trouble in our neighbors’ families, especially the female portion, by whom it was promptly resented. The principle of “touch my dog, touch me,” was illustrated here in all its force. No amount of provocation ever justified us in their eyes in killing their cats. With pater familias it was different. His affections were not engaged. He recognized the necessity of the thing, laughed it off, and said it was all right. Now, cats breed fast and are very prolific, and our neighbors were plenty, and we are unwilling to state the amount of our losses from those sources, for fear our veracity would be doubted. We endured this sort of annoyance for some twelve years, but made up our minds that if we ever selected another poultry ranch we would locate our neighbors at a distance. We have done so, and now have no trouble from this source.