Dangerous invasive species in our neighborhoods

House cat – in the house

Cats roam free in my neighborhood and they make little cats too. There are people who believe that it is alright to let their cat roam free and that cats are outdoor pets.

The house cat has long been listed among the 100 most dangerous invasive species. They kill millions of birds and other small animals each year to the point of extinction. A cat is a pet when kept inside but once when outside it is a heartless killer.

“If we extrapolate the results of this study across the country and include feral cats, we find that cats are likely killing more than 4 billion animals per year, including at least 500 million birds. Cat predation is one of the reasons why one in three American bird species are in decline,” said Dr. George Fenwick, President of American Bird Conservancy [wildlife management institute]

There was a study that shows that they only bring home about 25% of what they kill. They eat some of what they kill but they leave a lot of it where they killed it.

Being a free range cat in St. Paul is not good for the cat either. Here are some statistics for St. Paul:

200 cats are killed annually in traffic

Life expectancy of a cat allowed to roam is only three to four years

Confined cats can live beyond 14 years

Over 1,200 cats are picked up each year by animal control

Roaming cats may be a nuisance by urinating and defecating in sandboxes and gardens

Outdoor cats are susceptible to injury or death from other predatory animals

Outdoor cats are predators to wildlife such as birds

Sewers and septic systems

To some people the job of a real estate broker may look glamorous and it does look that way on those T.V. shows with the real estate sharks, and home flippers and hunters.

Some days the job is mostly about waste, sewers and septic systems. The Saint Paul sewer system is interesting with all of it’s tunnels. In the oldest parts of the city there is a sandrock tunnel system.

Having the sewer line scoped before buying a home is a good idea. Sometimes sewer lines are broken and sometimes they need to be replaces which is expensive. It usually costs less the $200 dollars to get some pictures of the inside of a sewer line.

The most common problem reason for a blocked sewer line is that is is filled with tree roots and that is a fairly easy and inexpensive problem to fix.

The city has a program that allows home owners to borrow money for sewer repairs. Go to StPaul.gov and search “sewer”. I can not put a link on this site because the city moves pages on a regular basis and I am left with broken links. The city has some useful advice about sewer line maintenance and who to hire to replace the line.

For your enjoyment here is a diagram of the sewer system in my neighborhood.  Home owners are responsible for the sewer line from their house to the street.



As for septic systems they add a whole new level of complexity to buying and selling real estate. They need to be tested and they are expensive to replace. They are regulated by the city, county and state. Septic systems are not very common in St. Paul. They are the most common at the edge of the city and often there is sewer and water in the street but the house is not hooked up to it.

2007 home prices in 2017

Median home sale prices

We didn’t know it at the time but 2011 was the perfect time to buy real estate in St. Paul. It looks like home prices are back up to where they were in 2007. Buyers ask if prices will keep going up. Right now it looks like prices will continue to rise but the rate of increase per year has been slowing.

Today is the big day Minnesota!


Today, July 1st 2017,  is a historic occasion. It is the first Sunday ever in the history of the state that liquor stores can be open and we can buy alcoholic beverages Sunday. People are quick to remind me that not all liquor stores will be open and not everyone is happy with the new law.

Banning the sale of liquor in Sunday was a “blue law”. Blue laws date back to colonial times and were made for religious reasons. It has always been legal to drink on Sunday in Minnesota and alcoholic beverages are sold in bars and restaurants.

Some liquor stores will stay closed and I respect that. As a self employed person I have choices about when I work. I don’t work every weekend. I take the major holidays off completely.

Many people work on weekends. Some people work two jobs. Some people have religious beliefs that include celebrations on Saturday not on Sunday.

I plan to mark this historic occasion by stopping at the neighborhood liquor store and buying a bottle of wine. It will be the first time in my life that I have ever made a purchase in a liquor store on a Sunday. Up to now I have always planned ahead or managed without.

There are still 11 states that do not allow liquor sales on Sundays. Alabama, Indiana, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, and West Virginia.