My wife, Jennifer, daughter, Addie, and I have loved our kitten Shadow since he joined us and our 18-year-old tabby, Maria, this spring. Like all kittens, Shadow is a little dynamo, tossing his toys to and fro and racing around the house as if he’s on fire. Unlike our late Maine Coon, Albie, he stays indoors. Albie lost his outdoor privileges the day he killed a beautiful yellow warbler—the sort of neotropical migratory songbird that this magazine champions—in our backyard, a “murder most foul,” to borrow from Shakespeare, but neither “strange” nor “unnatural.”
Cats, particularly the feral variety, are born hunters and, if left to their own devices, capable of taking a terrible toll on birds, as Ted Williams points out in “Felines Fatales.” “The multitudes of feral cats that blight America [further] hasten the extinction process,” Ted writes, by exposing other animals—some endangered, and others, including humans and fellow cats, not—to diseases such as toxoplasmosis, roundworm, and rabies. “Sterilizing pet cats and keeping them indoors, caging feral cat colonies, and even lethal control won’t solve the problem,” Williams concludes. “These measures are, however, the best we can do, and they will help a lot.”
In this issue’s special Green Design section Audubon also puts its unique stamp on another hot topic. Features editor Rene Ebersole has surveyed the country “to show you some of the most exciting and inspiring ways that today’s visionaries are designing amazing places to live, work, play, and learn while creating a smarter, more sustainable future”—whether it’s a wind turbine on a Minnesota college campus or a Washington ballpark built from recycled steel. Rene lives the life at home, too, remodeling with salvaged materials, like old French doors from a yacht club, and drawing heat from a wood stove using pelletized sawdust and corn.
Design director Kevin Fisher, aided by photo editor Kim Hubbard and designer Todd Standley, have woven the visual themes together in one of the world’s greenest “art rooms,” with countertops made with recycled mining waste and cabinets of bamboo plywood. Says Kevin, “As I wheel my chair across the soft cork floor and look at all the bamboo around me, I feel like I’m in a really natural environment.”
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