Rural System's

The Bobcat Group

Similar to The Black Bear Group, The Bobcat Group is designed to work with The Wilderness Group and others and to strive to develop a dynamic, modern managerial studies program that includes tours.

An ancillary or replacement group may form related to cats in general and a studies-oriented group.

A proposal to a cat-food company might be considered.

The bobcat (Lynx rufus) is a valuable part of the wildlife resource of the state and region. It is widespread in the nation. In addition to being a fur resource, it has been listed as endangered in some areas, a predator in others. It is high in wildland food chains and thus has potentials as a biological monitor. It is a significant predator and can serve as a fundamental link to improved understandings of basic predator-prey relations. Seeing one may be a lifetime recreational high point. It requires advanced ecological communities and, because of this, it is an indicator organism, a key to assessing the development of land. It is thus one measure of reclamation success and for some "land health" or "land integrity."

The main objective of the Group is to create a center for the study and utilization of the bobcat as a vital natural resource. This is a proposed research laboratory but also a center for the long-term investigation of bobcats of the region - their ecology, economics, esthetics, energetics, enforcement and ethos. It includes education, analyses of the animal as a pest and predator, and the development of predator-prey theory and related software. It includes art sales, photography, publications, tours, and extended relations with people interested in the wild cats of the world. A membership for people interested in the cat, the cat family, and international feline resources is conceived. The bobcat can become the center of a new enterprise.

Population increases involve managing cottontail and rodent habitat, denning sites probably learned through radio-tracking), and maintaining large contiguous tracts of forest and fields with den juxtaposition. Some areas may not be able to sustain cat populations over the long run.

It may add a component on the eastern cougar (Canis concolor) , reported to be present and having increasing sightings, probably in relation to urbanization, dog control, and high deer populations. Reported attacks of hikers make this increase notable as efforts are made with the Wildland Walkers.

Costs of studies and related development parallel those of the black bear. Detailed proposals and analyses will be supplied upon request.

Notes on preliminary studies are available.

This is a financial break-even activity with gains probably equaling salaries and costs.

Perhaps you will share ideas with me about some of the topic(s) above .

Rural System
Robert H. Giles, Jr.
July 2, 2005

AProposed Studies Program of The Cat Group

The grounds for Rural System are those of finding and using financial incentives for improved land management and conservation. It seeks to exploit the billions of public dollars invested in research findings that have never been used. It rarely seeks to even consider "basic research" for there are immediate needs of people and their resources that cannot wait for such results. It advocates a "rationally robust" approach (publication available) to studies with feedback within the context of general systems theory. It operates on the grounds that people with sound scientific educations can and need to do applied work along with studies. These are synergistic activities, modern R and D, leading to enhanced knowledge bases, landscape models, and to improved computer-enhanced decisions for improving conditions for people now and for the future.

The following studies represent a planned program of work for about 10 years. There will be many articles, reports, photographs, and webcam opportunities resulting that become part of an advertising and public-awareness program for the corporation. The work will benefit the image of the corporation, enhance its public relations, add value to products for customers, provide controls for appropriate charitable contributions, and while contributing to the general public pool of knowledge, will assure priority opportunities for using the findings. Leadership will be noted for the corporation in its sorely-needed efforts to sustain studies in practical ecological and environmental topics. Counteraction is needed generally for recent negative claims about low cat food quality and BSE dangers. We know what to do with the results of each of the following studies and study programs to increase profits, reduce risks, effectively compete, or diversify products for profit-stability.

A Cat-Food Company Proposal

Perhaps someday the corporation may issue a statement like the following…

Our company has recognized and seized a new opportunity to participate in a major realm of the environment movement. We've long been committed to wildlife management and to the wise management of other natural resources and to conservation, especially protecting biodiversity and the humane treatment of all animals, wild or domestic. We've noted the emergence of Rural System's concept of modern faunal management and plan to promote and have an active role in it.

We've been pleased to be a healthy and vital part of the growth in the world-wide interest in cats. We've followed studies of the growth of cat populations in the wild and have become appalled at the high numbers.

We've seen convincing studies documenting some 60-million house cats in the US with more than10 million of them free-roaming and in the countryside having substantial impact on wild animal populations. The many beautiful songbirds, rodents, as well as reptiles and amphibians are being taken by free-roaming house cats, many of them wonderful pets. We now believe that they are harming some critical populations and disrupting sensitive ecosystems, and we'll report on such studies later as part of our Initiative. We believe that we can work with others toward abundant, healthy populations of wonderful house cats kept indoors.

Now we have developed an exciting Initiative to improve conditions for cats, those who love, care for, and benefit from them, as well as the wild fauna of the world. The Initiative has 4 major parts:

  1. We're making our Grade#1 cat food available at reduced bulk prices to ASPCA centers and their affiliates and to similar certified organizations providing low cost or free sterilization education and services for cats.
  2. We're expanding our studies and information system to encourage owners to keep cats indoors. The free-roaming pet is very harmful to neighborhood populations of songbirds and other animals. Superior healthy cats at home is our wish.
  3. We're starting a new system of studies and information providing knowledge about cats in the wild, free roaming cats, songbirds and other animals, predation, and a host of natural history information, all presented via a new web site for the Initiative. We are thus being among the first corporations to promote and engage in sustained studies of cats and related wild animal populations directed at their management. We're devoting a penny-a-pound of our Grade #2 cat food sold and a penny a bag of litter sold, all to be used in wild fauna and ecology studies conducted through the staff of Rural System, Inc., and its university and other affiliates.
  4. We're launching a new product line of mixes of wild bird foods. These are computer-designed, custom mixes that are region-specific for birds and are cost-effective ways to help meet
    1. the interests of people in attracting specific bird species, or
    2. the specific needs of a particular bird species. We will soon be designing and offering neighborhood bird community analyses, backyard feeder services, and designed birdhouses and feeders built from the wood from Smartwood forests, forests certified to be sustained and well managed.
I welcome your reactions and advice.

Information about the proposed Rural System, Inc. is available at Information on Modern Faunal Management is available at ../ModernWildFauna/index.htm.

In the appendix are notes on:

  1. Feral Domestic Cats (from of Dr. Giles)
  2. Managing Domestic Cats in the Wildlands (From The Trevey, a dynamic planning system of Giles and planned as part of Rural System)
  3. Linear Programming of Birdfood Mixes (Giles' concept)
  4. The Proposed Studies Program herein (Giles' proposal)

Notes: All of the above subject to Federal Trade Commission, ,16 CFR Part 241, Guides for the Dog and Cat Food Industry,

Cat Nutrition:

BSE appears to be caused by a single strain of prions, similar to, but distinct from those strains of natural or experimental scrapie of sheep, but analogous to the new prion diseases of cats (Collinge, J; M.S. Palmer, K.C. Sidle, A.F. Hill, et. al. 1995. Nature 378(6559) 759, and Nature 378(6559) 761-762.) BSE control -

US Cat Food 2001 - $224 for analysis at

Life Abundance Cat System -

Pet Food Direct -

Linear Programming of Bird food Mixes

Linear programming is a computer technique first extensively used in the early 1940s. As if in a conventional economic "break-even" analysis employs straight-line or linear equations to find the optimum point in a space when there are many, many equations and linear constraints (such as "ok if greater than this amount" or "must always be less than that amount"). It is an optimization technique for which there are well-developed software packages (e.g., Lindo).

Strangely, there are few studies of most-desirable bird foods. Observers generally know what seeds that birds eat. There are few studies of species-specific differences, none of seasonal differences. I worked with other faculty and student (Ms. Gray) years ago on a MS thesis on such preferences. The study was under-funded, lasted only one year, and was conducted in only one area, largely to work out details of sampling and planned studies. Setting up experiments in the field that will allow solid conclusions proved very difficult. They can and need to be done, given the size of the bird feeding industry and its likely growth.

The first bird food problem for the company is believed to become that of maximizing profit from the sale of bags of wild bird seeds. An integer problem may precede this, one including numbers of bags and weight of each bag and packaging and labeling techniques from distribution centers (a linear "transportation" problem). The problem is one of maximizing profits, a function of income minus costs (later equipment depreciation and likely labor- and energy-cost escalations can be included). We know the price of a 1000 pounds of each seed. We know the likely nutritional quality of each seed. We know the rate of decline in quality over time of each seed type. We know (and will improve through later studies) the preference rating for each seed for "birds in general" (this will be made region and bird specific later). We want a mix…the sum of the weights of each seed type (the "diet" problem of Churchman circa 1957) that gives some of each nutrient, the highest amounts and preferences at the end of the package-life, all for the lowest cost. (From this we compute the price needed to secure the desired profits.)

Single applications can be made by a consulting service. A system for doing the analyses regularly might best be designed as a graduate student thesis project (via a contribution to a 501c3 non-profit). Later we can customize mixes for areas, knowing the likely birds within each region (even by zip code regions). Customers may specify on a web site the birds they want at their feeders (from a list of potential birds within their area), order direct with secure credit card, and we can present nutrition and other information and send out bags by courier just as done for seasonal fruits and for flowers arrangements.

Information on cat-products, superior cats in the home, information on backyard faunal resource management and landscape improvement for enhancing real estate values may all be part of the packaging and delivery.

Specialized feeders and nesting boxes, all handsome and produced from woods from certified forests (Smartwood), may also be sold.

We wish to consider a service company, like a lawn-service, that provides bird feed regularly, works with landscaping groups to provide or recommend colorful food-related plants), provides feeders, fountains, and nesting boxes, places them, educates about them, provides services (e.g., anti-squirrel devices) and tends them for seasonal cleaning and repairs.

January, 2004

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