Sheep and Cattle Dogs and Pumas

From: Bernuetz, Oliver: WPG (
Date: Tue 14 Mar 2000 - 20:35:00 EET

Dave Bailey asked

>I'm doing some ground work to run all the Greydog stuff in TOTRM 18.
>Do the Orlanthi have such a thing as a sheepdog (or cattle dog) or it's

I would certainly say they do but apparently this is an official no no as
Orlanthi are supposed to hate dogs and use alynxes instead to do these
things. There's at least a substantial minority on the Digest who disagree
with the official stand however saying that herding is too weird for cats to
do. I'm of the "So they hate dogs, doesn't mean they won't use them as
herding animals" school.

Alex replying to Dom Twist's assertion :

>> Fourth. Food. Rabbits, Mice, Voles, Pheasants, etc. If the Canadian
>> Wolf lives large chunks of its season on Lemmings then a Cat could
>> live on what it could hunt localy.

>It's possible, perhaps, but not a very compelling argument. A puma is
>rather larger than a wolf, and hunts proportionately larger prey in the
>wild. I can't tell you it's not possible that a wolf (or a puma) might
>live a full lifespan without ever killing larger prey, but it sounds
>unlikely, and it's certainly not either animal's niche. If there were
>regular bouts of large-predator style deer kills being reported, though...
>(veterinary forensics -- now, if that becomes a hit BBC series, then you
>heard it here first...).

Mountain lions or cougars (same cat as the puma) range from 67 to 103 kg
while wolves average around 70 kg so there's a fair difference. However
a pack of wolves eats pretty much the same species as a cougar but I'd
think someone would have noticed a pack of wolves in the UK. Cougars
are supposed to "...mostly eats moose, wapiti, white-tailed deer, and
caribou. It will also eat smaller creatures like voles, squirrels, mice,
porcupine, beaver, raccoon, striped skunk, coyote, birds, and even snails
and fish. They have also developed a taste for poultry, calves, sheep,
and pigs."

It seems very unlikely that one (or more) wouldn't go after larger game
since there's so many "wooly boys" (as one of my old Champions character's
arch-nemesis used to refer to my dependent flock of sheep) wandering
around the moors.

A cougar's yearly food consumption is between 860 to 1,300 kg of large
prey animals. That figure probably wouldn't count smaller animals eaten
but they'd still have to eat a hell of a lot of bunnfies and rodents to make

up for larger animals.

The Canadian province I live in, Manitoba has quite a lot of wilderness
left and there are very few cougars here. Most of the sightings or evidence
seems to be related to farmers getting animals killed or wounded (a horse
in the most recent case though they're still arguing about what it really

So to sum up after that mess, I agree with Alex that a wild animal the size
of a cougar running around the UK seems really unlikely. Why wouldn't
it kill dogs and farm animals since that's more like what it normally eats.

Oliver D. Bernuetz


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