Dear Joan: My husband and I are having an argument about the cat door.
He doesn't want to get up in the middle of the night to let the cat in, so he leaves the door open. I say the cat will be fine outside and that it's dangerous to leave the door open. Twice, something has come into the house and eaten all the cat's food in the kitchen.
Dear L.: This probably isn't the answer either of you want to hear, but you're both wrong.
Leaving a cat outside all night is extremely risky. Many large predators are out at night, and your cat is in danger. I would encourage you to keep your cat indoors, and at the very least bring it inside before darkness falls.
Leaving the cat door open is an invitation to trouble. The two previous visitors could have been other cats, but they might also have been raccoons or skunks.
Keeping the cat inside and the door closed means you all win – your husband doesn't have to get up to let kitty in and you don't have to worry about animals coming into your kitchen.
Dear Joan: I have noticed black scat on the cement around my house. It is less than a half inch long with a white dot at one end.
I assume it's rats. Will you confirm?
Dear Bill: First of all, let's apologize to the readers who are still trying to eat breakfast.
Without seeing the droppings – and I'm not encouraging you to send them to me – I can't say for certain, but they could be rat scat.
The Norway rat's droppings are typically 3/4-inch long and have blunt ends. Roof rat droppings are a half-inch long with pointed ends. Aren't you glad you're not the person who had to determine how the scat differs?
Another possibility is that the poo is from bats. Guano, as they say in polite circles, is usually a quarter to a half-inch long, and will glisten with the undigested parts of insects, which might explain those white dots. And now I really apologize to those who just pushed away their cereal bowls.
Armed with all this information, you can now make your own determination.