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Pet Information: Eastern Gray Squirrel
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"I found a baby squirrel and raised her to be a pet. When she was large enough I let her play with my four cats. At first the cats looked at her as a meal ticket due to their natural predatory instincts. The siamese, who is a naturally good hunter, was the first to attack. She leaped on the little squirrel and went for the throat. Her attack was fast and furious. They went round and round like the well known cartoon skirmishes where only parts stick out of the small tornado for maybe three seconds then there was this awful cry and the siamese stopped cold, the squirrel upside down and still between her feet. The siamese limped away, nursing a bitten toe. The squirrel rolled over, walked over to one of the other cats, but that cat was a bit shy, so the squirrel found another to play with. That single fight was the beginning and end of the squirrel-cat battles in our house. That was about a year ago, Now the cats all know better than to pick on a full grown squirrel. There have been a few other fights, usually cat-to-cat, but seldom is the squirrel involved. Squirrels are faster, with better reaction time and they fight back well. They can out jump a cat and can hide (if necessary) in much smaller places. Usually the squirrel ignores the cats, except at play time--then she is right in there having as much romping fun at the cats. Where the cats climb the trees in the yard, the squirrel absolutely runs up them, leaping vertically from each piece of bark. They are lightening unleashed. The interesting thing about cats and squirrels, is where teeth are concerned, the cats actually bite with caution. They know that a broken tooth or a wound means death. A squirrel can break a tooth and it will grow out, and injury may mean death due to a slow escape, but it is not so certain. So, when a squirrel and cat fight, the cat will be slow to bite. When it does, the sharp fangs, unless they penetrate something vital, both hurt less than a squirrel bite and are far less damaging. Cats kill by suffocating larger species, not biting to kill. Squirrels, when they bite, put the pressure of four forward facing teeth that are built to strip bark, crush nuts, and and can chew metal pieces off. Those bites are extremely painful. A predator will not attack a species it cannot use as food. When they learn that a species is dangerous, they leave it alone. I watched a new squirrel in the neighborhood actually not get concerned when my four cats approached. It hopped along looking for nuts, surrounded by cats. When one of the cats popped out a test swat, the squirrel, a large Eastern Gray, turned instantly and assumed a defensive posture, standing a bit tall. The cats backed up. It was not bothered and is still here. I saw this before I allowed my squirrel to be with them. While the cats bring home the occasional animal, it's never a squirrel. "

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