Feral Cats Unfairly Maligned

Feral Cats Unfairly Maligned

Dogs are man's best friends, but cats have a target on their backs. The latest to take aim was Richard Conniff in a New York Times op-ed piece March 21 headlined, "The Evil of the Outdoor Cat." He takes aim at feral cats, in particular.

So, now cats are evil. Sounds like the Middle Ages, when many people feared cats as consorts of Satan and killed them by the thousands. Cats were even blamed for the Black Plague in Europe. Sadly, outbreaks only grew worse until scientists finally figured out that fleas from rats were the plague carriers, and that cats could help to diminish the disease by controlling rat populations.

Unfair condemnation of cats has gone on for centuries, although it's pretty startling when someone like Conniff, an accomplished author who writes about wildlife for Smithsonian, National Geographic and other prominent magazines, maligns them.

His complaint has nothing to do with that purring machine that snuggles in your bed at night. Conniff maintains that he likes cats. It's pet indoor-outdoor cats and particularly  feral cats that bother him, and trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs to control feral cat populations.

Conniff writes about how his cat, Lucky, would lurk near a bird feeder, and how guilty he felt when Lucky caught birds. Lucky died in 2008, and Conniff says that's when he had an epiphany that cats could or should be kept indoors, pretty much calling himself a pioneer. Of course, animal welfare groups and pet advocates, including myself, have been endorsing this idea for over 20 years.

In the NY Times piece, Conniff says he has a "sense of alarm about the dramatic decline of wildlife, especially bird populations," due to cats. He goes on to quote data from the National Audubon Society.

I'll comment on that data, but first let me implore anyone reading this column to use common sense. Of course, cats do kill birds, but studies repeatedly demonstrate that cats kill the easiest readily available prey -- most often, small rodents. As fast and cunning as cats are, they can't fly.

I don't doubt the accuracy of the data Conniff collected from bird advocacy organizations regarding the precipitous decline of songbird numbers, with some species tragically barely surviving.

However, consider this fact: There have always been feral cats. No data suggests there's an appreciable increase in the number of feral cats commensurate with the sharp decline in songbird numbers. In fact, we know far more cat owners in the U.S. now keep their cats inside than in the past.

Might there be other explanations -- aside from cats -- for the plight of songbirds? Habitat destruction and light and air pollution are principal explanations. Many songbirds migrate, so even if their habitats in America are stable, that may not be the case in Central or South America, or Mexico.

I agree that pet cats belong indoors, not only to protect wildlife, but also for the cats' welfare (which Conniff fails to mention).  Indoors, cats are rarely chased by coyotes or hit by cars.

I endorse controlling feral cat numbers is beneficial. As far I know, the only effective method to date is TNR. Cats are trapped, spay/neutered, vaccinated for rabies, then returned to the wild to live out their lives. Volunteers supplement the cats' food, and in some places feral cats are even protected against fleas and/or microchipped. Each cat is ID'd with an ear notch, so volunteers know when a newcomer joins a colony.

TNR isn't perfect, but once again, I ask for common sense. If volunteers are diligent, and if the cats in a colony can't reproduce, the group eventually dies out. Even prodigious cats can't multiply if they're spay/neutered.

Although he criticizes TNR, Conniff doesn't offer an alternative.  I know of only three options:

1. Catching and euthanizing. It's not that this effort hasn't been tried. However, rarely are animal control agencies able to catch all cats in a colony. Those remaining naturally increase their reproduction and the colony's numbers rise to, or exceed, previous levels.

2. Catching feral cats, spay/neutering them and placing them for adoption in animal shelters. If even somehow enough feral cats could be captured to make a difference (note #1 above regarding reproduction in colony cats), feral cats suffer confined in shelters don't make very good pets without years of socialization (draining resources, or not realistic), and take up limited cage space that could go to more adoptable animals.

3. Shooting cats. Can you believe public officials in some locales have endorsed this plan? Do I really need to outline why this is not a good idea?

While I do love cats, I also have a special place in my heart for songbirds. My hope is that the ASPCA or the American Humane Association can bring "bird people" and "cat people" to the same table. The current strategy taken by bird advocacy groups to malign cats has not, and will not, succeed in significantly boosting songbird numbers.

One more thing: Just curious....if Mr. Conniff was so bothered by his cat killing birds, why didn't he remove or move that bird feeder?

©Steve Dale PetWorld, LLC; Tribune Content Agency

 

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    As always, Steve, you make sound arguments. Science has showed us that the nutritional needs of the cat are equivalent to those found in small rodents. Birds have very little meat, almost no fat, and lots of feathers! So they are never the preferred food for cats.

    My website has a lot of cat info and cat tips, including info about cats interacting safely with squirrels and birds. Go to http://SimonTeakettle.com

  • thank you Barbara....

  • Do you mentally damaged cat-lickers even listen to yourselves when you spew your total BS?

    You have 1 thing right but you don't even realize what it means for TNR.

    (Excerpts from "The TNR Con-Game")

    FACT: Trap & Kill failed because cats cannot be trapped faster than they exponentially breed out of control.

    FACT: Trap, Neuter, & Re-Abandon (TNR) is an even bigger abject failure because these man-made ecological disasters cannot be trapped faster than they exponentially breed out of control, and they also continue to cruelly annihilate all native wildlife (from the smallest of prey up to the top predators that are starved to death), and the cats continue to spread many deadly diseases that they carry today — FOR WHICH THERE ARE NO VACCINES AGAINST THEM. Many of which are even listed as bioterrorism agents. (Such as Tularemia and The Plague — Yes, people have already died from cat-transmitted plague in the USA. No fleas nor rats even required. The cats themselves carry and transmit the plague all on their own.)

    FACT: Hunted To Extinction (or in this case, extirpation of all outdoor cats) is the ONLY method that is faster than a species like cats can exponentially out-breed and out-adapt to. Especially a man-made invasive species like these cats that can breed 2X-4X’s faster than any naturally occurring cat-species.

    FACT: When researching over 100 of the most “successful” TNR programs worldwide, JUST ONE trapped more than 0.4%. Oregon’s 50,000 TNR’ed cats (the highest rate I found) is 4.9% of all ferals in their state. Yet, by applying population growth calculus on the unsterilized 95.1% they will have trapped only 0.35% of all cats in their state sometime this year. Less than 0.4% is a far cry from the required 75%-85% to be the least bit effective.

    FACT: Their mythical “vacuum effect” is a 100% LIE. A study done by the Texas A&M University proved that any perceived “vacuum” is just the simple case that CATS ATTRACT CATS. Get rid of them all and there are no cats there to attract more. I proved this myself by shooting and burying hundreds of them on my own lands. ZERO cats replaced them FOR OVER FOUR YEARS NOW. If you want more cats, keep even one of them around, more will find you. That university study also found that sterilized cats very poorly defend any territory. Non-sterilized cats, being more aggressive, take over the sterilized cats’ resources (shelter & food if any). If there is any kind of “vacuum effect” at all, it is that sterilizing cats cause non-sterilized cats to restore the reproductive void.

    FACT: During all this investigation I have discovered something that is unfaltering without fail. Something that you can bet your very life on and win every last time. That being — IF A TNR CAT-HOARDER IS TALKING THEN THEY ARE LYING. 100% guaranteed!

  • If you think that cats make good rodent control, think again.

    Your myth about cats being good rodent control has been disproved on every island where cats were imported to take care of the imported rodents. Hundreds of years later and there's nothing but a thriving population of cats and rodents -- all the native wildlife on those islands now either extinct or on the brink of extinction -- even those native species which are better rodent predators than cats (such as many reptiles and shrews which destroy rodents right in their nests), the cats having destroyed them directly or indirectly. And I bet you think of yourself as educated.

    The rodents reproduce in burrows and holes out of the reach of cats, where they are happy to reproduce forever to entertain cats the rest of their lives, and make your own lives miserable, on into infinity. On top of that, when cats infect rodents with cat's Toxoplasma gondii parasite, this hijacks the minds of rodents to make the rodents attracted to where cats urinate. (Google for: Parasite Hijacks The Mind Of Its Host)

    Cats actually attract disease-carrying rodents to where cats are. The cats then contract these diseases on contact with, or being in proximity to, these rodents. Like "The Black Death", the plague, that is now being transmitted to humans in N. America directly from cats that have contracted it from rodents. Yes, the plague is alive and well and being transmitted by cats today. Cats attracting these rodents right to them further increasing the cat/rodent/disease density of this happy predator/prey balance. It has been documented many many times. The more cats you have, the more rodents and diseases you get.

    Cats DO NOT get rid of rodents. I don't care how many centuries that fools will claim that cats keep rodents in-check, they'll still be wrong all these centuries. Civilizations of humans have come and gone in great cities like Egypt, yet their cats and rodents remain in even greater pestilent numbers.

    No cat population anywhere has ever been able to control rodents effectively. But native predators can -- easily.

    Keep deceiving yourselves.

  • I managed to clear out every last one of hundreds of these invasive species vermin cats from my own lands. On the sound advice of the sheriff. Even he found that trying to reason with and warn the demented cat-lickers did no good. But shooting every last cat finally worked! My lands have been 100% cat-free for over 4 years now, for less than the price of a couple cups of coffee for the ammo -- on close-out sale, 5000 rounds for $15. That's THREE cats PER PENNY sterilized, permanently vaccinated against ALL diseases (even to those for which vaccines do not exist), and even given a permanent and "loving forever home" (2-3ft. under) so they can no longer destroy any more native wildlife -- THREE PER PER PENNY!

  • I don't see anyone dumping cats where I live anymore. They don't even adopt more than can be kept under lock & key 24/7/52. When driving through the area I don't see even one cat on anyone's doorsteps anymore. I always keep an eye out to see if there are more free-roaming cats that will have to be shot. And if I'll have to leave fish-oil trails on all the roadsides again, leading right to my IR surveillance system and laser-sighted rifle. (You can read some of the most effective methods I invented to rid my lands of hundreds of these vermin in only two seasons, posted here: americanhunter D0T org SLASH blogs/arkansas-will-trap-feral-cats The eradication of these disease-infested invasive species vermin was so complete and effective that cats are non-existent from my area for over 4 years now. Not seen nor heard a single one.)

    Leaving ANY of their invasive species cats outside in my area means certain death for their cat, their cat's further existence can be counted in hours. You'd think everyone else could learn from this simple lesson. The quickest way to solve an unwanted animal and irresponsible pet-owner problem is to let everyone know that you will quickly and humanely destroy every last one of their unwanted, uncared-for, or unsupervised animals for them. They either grow up fast or, far more plausible, dump their animals elsewhere to become someone else's problem.

    You just can't be an enabler of criminally irresponsible spineless and heartless idiots -- or they remain that way. (At least where you live, anyway.)

    IF THERE ARE NOT DIRECT AND IMMEDIATE IRREVERSIBLE CONSEQUENCES TO THEIR CRIMINALLY-NEGLIGENT AND CRIMINALLY-IRRESPONSIBLE BEHAVIORS AND VALUES THEN THEY LEARN ABSOLUTELY *NOTHING*.

  • Please explain to the class how an animal, the domesticated cat in this case, which is perfectly capable of carrying and transmitting the plague all on its own could have prevented the plague in Europe.

    Google for: Cat-Transmitted Fatal Pneumonic Plague, for a fun one.

    Yes, the plague is alive and well today, and BEING SPREAD BY CATS. People have already died from cat-transmitted plague in the USA.

    Or Google for: Oregon man suffering plague

    Or: Taos cat has plague

    Or: (hundreds of others).

    Totally disproving that oft-spewed LIE cat-lovers tell about having more cats in Europe could have prevented the plague. No rats nor fleas even required if you have cats around. Cats themselves carry and transmit the plague all on their own. Now add in the fact that cats attract rodents right to them if the cats infect the rodents with their Toxoplasma gondii parasite (Google for: Parasite Hijacks the Mind of Its Host), and you'll see a plague the likes of which have never existed before. Especially when you breed super-strains of plague with your overuse and irresponsible use of antibiotics.

    If a cat contracts the plague from any flea or other animal, it then spreads it to all other cats in its colony, other animals that come in contact with them, or any humans that come in contact with them. Hence: no fleas nor rats required after the initial infection. The very act of a cat killing a plague carrying rat will actually cause the cat to contract the plague from the rat or its fleas and spread it to those that come in contact with it.

    The plague in Europe was actually spread the most by human to human transmission. The distance and speed with which it spread cannot be accounted for by fleas, rats, nor cats. But they ALL played their parts in transmitting it to humans initially.

    This doesn't give ignorant, manipulative, and deceptive cat-lickers any kind of license whatsoever to run around screaming, "IF WE DON'T LET CATS ROAM FREE WE ARE ALL GOING TO DIE OF THE PLAGUE!" When, IN FACT, the absolute reverse of that could come to pass.

  • Woodsman - I once replied to your comments - no longer....difficult to reply to hate...yes, mixed with fact, mixed with fiction....but hate nonetheless....Not sure why you've made it an apparent mission in life to attack feral cats.

    The reality IS that no matter what you say - feral cats have been around for thousands of years....and in the past hundreds of years, it's unlikely their numbers have changed a heck of a lot in America, certainly not in the past 25 or 50 years. Yet, it's true, many bird species are now, only recently, at the brink. Obviously, it's not cats, per se. There are various other issues affecting birds. I wish those were addressed, but I suspect the advocacy groups feel helpless to grapple with habitat destruction, pollution, pesticides, etc.

    Also, if you don't like TNR - you've really never suggested a viable alternative. We do know TNR isn't perfect, but also know by experience what doesn't work.

    For sure, hatred never works....Whenever TNR pops into your Google alert - or whatever service you must use - there you are commenting....spewing the same words you've done for years. Give it a rest or be a part of the solution.

  • Destroying cats is not hating cats.

    Why do mentally-unbalanced and psychotic cat-advocates always presume that someone removing a highly destructive, deadly disease spreading, human-engineered invasive-species from the land to restore it back to natural balance that they must hate that organism? Does someone who destroys Zebra Mussels, African Cichlids, Burmese Pythons, or any of the other destructive invasive-species have some personal problem with that species? (Many of which are escaped PETS.) Your ignorance and blatant biases are revealed in your declaring that people who destroy cats must somehow hate cats. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    I battled a cat-infestation for 15 YEARS. During which time cats destroyed nearly every animal on my lands, from smallest of prey up to the top predators (starved to death). I sadly listened to FOOLS like you which only made the problem worse and worse. Until there were nothing but your disease-infested cats left on my lands. Luckily I had a smart Sheriff who finally advised that I shoot every last cat, collared or not. In only 2 seasons I was able to be rid of every last one. My wildlife has been recovering nicely for the last 4 years. I finally hear owls again. A family of Gray Fox (one of the most beneficial native animals to grace the land) made a den near my home. Birds I had never seen in my life before now nest here. 2 of the species are warblers listed in the top-10-songbirds of the world. What an amazing sound to awaken to during warm months. I now feel nothing but pity for anyone who has cats. Their lives are dismally empty and they don't even realize it.

    It is people who let a destructive invasive-species roam free that tortures-to-death all other wildlife that have zero respect for ALL life. They don't even care about their cats dying a slow torturous death from exposure, animal attacks, diseases, starvation, dehydration, becoming road-kill, environmental poisons, etc., the way that ALL stray cats suffer to death. They don't even respect their fellow human being. This speaks more than volumes about your disgusting character. People like you should be locked up in prison for life for your cruelty to all animals, cruelty to your own cats as well as all the native wildlife that you let your cats skin alive or disembowel alive.

    If people have LEARNED to hate cats today, you have nobody but yourself and everyone just like you to blame. YOU are the reason people are now realizing that all excess cats must be destroyed on-site and on-sight. You've done so much to make people care about cats, haven't you. If you want to do something about it direct your sadly and sorely misplaced energies at those that are causing the problem, not at those who are actually solving it AND HAVE SOLVED IT 100%.

    THIS IS YOUR FAULT and THE FAULT OF EVERYONE JUST LIKE YOU. You have NOBODY but yourselves to blame.

    You can take that all the way to the very last shot-dead cat's grave.

  • Birds are just a minor subset of all the thousands of native animal species (billions of individual animals) that cat-lickers (criminally irresponsible cat-advocates) are annihilating around the world with their man-made invasive species vermin cats.

    Not only are these demented invasive-species house-cats-ONLY "animal lovers" are now killing off all Big Cats in all wildlife reserves around the world:

    thenational D0T ae SLASH news/uae-news/big-cat-owners-warned-to-keep-them-acres-away-from-feral-strays

    And for the ultimate example of absurdity and species-conservation irony, now making all moggie-licking residents of the UK (the inventors of that TNR insanity) the complete laughingstocks of the whole world, they've already made their ONE AND ONLY NATIVE CAT SPECIES EXTINCT in the UK with their invasive species "moggies":

    guardian D0T co D0T uk SLASH environment/2012/sep/16/scottish-wildcat-extinction

    "A report, produced by the Scottish Wildcat Association, reviewed 2,000 records of camera trap recordings, eyewitness reports and road kills, and concluded there may be only about 40 wildcats left in Scotland in the wild today. 'However you juggle the figures, it is hard to find anything positive,' says Steve Piper, the association's chairman. 'The overwhelming evidence is that the wildcat is going to be extinct within months.'" ... "However, it is not the loss of habitat that is causing the current cat crisis in the Cairngorms. It is the spread of the domestic cat." ... "'Essentially the Highland wildcat is being eradicated by an alien invasive species: the domestic cat.'" (report quoted from 2 years ago, they are no-doubt extinct by now)

    As well as killing off all their inland River Otters in England (and elsewhere) with their cats' parasites:

    wildlifeextra D0T com SLASH go/news/otter-toxoplasmosis D0T html

    As well as cats' parasites killing off all rare and endangered marine mammals on all coastlines around the world (worse than any oil-spill that has ever existed or could even be imagined):

    news D0T msn D0T com SLASH science-technology/deadly-cat-feces-killing-thousands-of-marine-mammals

    environmentalhealthnews D0T org SLASH ehs/news/hawaiian-monk-seals

    Plus these cat-licking "animal lover" psychopaths and sociopaths are also killing off all the Mountain Lions (Cougars, Puma, Endangered Florida Panther, etc.), and all other native cat species in North America:

    rapidcityjournal D0T com SLASH sports/local/feral-cats-pose-threat-to-birds-lions/article_8ec451c9-4b03-55a3-baa7-71ac577905cb D0T html

    But now these cat-lickers are even killing off rare whales and causing massive birth-defects in the indigenous Inuit people who depend on seal-meat for their very survival. Seals that were infected (and are also dying-off) from these cat-lickers' cats' parasites.

    Cat parasite found in western Arctic Beluga deemed infectious
    news.ubc D0T ca SLASH 2014/02/13/bigthaw/

    Let's thank these psychotic bible-home-schooled cat-lickers for all the fine work they do for being such fantastic "animal lovers", shall we? THEY JUST LOVE CATS SO MUCH! So caring! So thoughtful! So intelligent! So FULL of love for living things! So much so that they will even sacrifice whole races of humans to death-by-birth-defect to prove how much they love their cats.

    I'd love to thank them all, each with a gift of a solitary-confinement prison-cell -- FOR LIFE. Better yet, for their VAST ecological crimes and sins against all of nature and all of humanity, hanged-until-dead would be a far more fitting "gift" for them AND the whole planet. That used to be the punishment for engaging in bio-warfare against the human population and all other animal life in any country. I say bring it back -- special, just for them.

  • In reply to Woodsman:

    done ranting? You made my point...thanks

  • fb_avatar
    In reply to Woodsman:

    Just can't resist one tiny response even though I am feeding the ranting 'Woodsman monster'.

    You got one thing absolutely correct:
    "...removing a highly destructive, deadly disease spreading, human-engineered invasive-species from the land to restore it back to natural balance that they must hate that organism?"

    Except I think that if you are going to follow your own logic, you need to remove humans as they are the most invasive species on the planet. I don't hate humans, nor do I hate you Woodsman, but following your own logic, you need to be removed. Peace out. And Steve, kudos for your patience and kindness in the face of ridiculousness.

  • In reply to realistic:

    Here's my standard-issue prepared reply for bible-home-schooled cretins just like you:

    Humans ARE NOT an invasive species ANYWHERE -- classified as a "weedy" species, yes; an "invasive" species, NEVER. Since humans have the genetic code to give them the capability to travel/migrate to ANY part of the globe, this means they are native to any area they have migrated to on their own. Just like birds that have this capability and can travel to different continents and islands. Those that have the flight-range required to do so are NATIVE to those areas that they are capable of traveling to ON THEIR OWN.

    (And for the love of all that's good in the world, PLEASE don't display your further ignorance and stupidity by trying to claim that Europeans, Native Americans, Africans, and Asians are different "species". That's usually your next huge omelet-on-the-face move that you astoundingly ignorant fools make.)

    Whereas, an animal genetically engineered through selective breeding, such as CATS, are NOT AN INDIGENOUS SPECIES ANYWHERE on ANY continent. They are no more natural to any native environment anywhere on earth than some insect that was invented in some lab, that once released out into nature will destroy all native wildlife, JUST AS CATS DO. Someone kept a "pet" bee one time. He too selectively bred this pet. After he selectively bred it it was called an Africanized Bee. It accidentally escaped his supervised confinement. Luckily for us they're not destroying the complete food-chain where they are found, are limited in their range, and they're not spreading many deadly diseases to all humans and wildlife -- all those fun things that these domesticated-species cats do.

    If you phenomenally stupid cretins are going to use ecology, biology, speciation, and genetics in your arguments, the very LEAST that you could do is have a base comprehension of what you are talking about. Don't you think?

    No. And that's the problem with terminally ignorant morons like you, you CAN'T think.

    Oh, if ONLY there was a legal cure for "stupid".

    If the sum of your education comes from bible-home-schooling replete with sing-along bambi-cartoon curricula then you have ZERO weapons in this argument -- as you've just proved to the whole world. Thanks!

  • In reply to realistic:

    Realistic - your name matches your comments...nice job

  • Here's how you can make every last TNR CAT-HOARDER reveal just how astoundingly ignorant, hypocritical, and self-deceptive they truly are. All with just ONE simple question:

    "If you believe that these man-made invasive species cats are a natural part of the environment and belong out in nature, then why are you even bothering to sterilize them?"

    Their agreement to sterilize them is their very agreement that they don't even belong out in nature in the very first place.

    Is this too far beyond their 3rd-grade, bible-home-schooled, bambi-cartoon-curricula comprehension levels? Must be. Phenomenally ignorant self-deceptive hypocrites much?

  • fb_avatar

    Woodsman, I'll be praying that God turns your heart into something better than it is now.

    Sincerely,
    A college educated, public schooled, never saw Bambi lover of all creatures

  • fb_avatar

    As a professional ecologist who worked for the federal government for 10 years in endangered species management, and continues to work as an avian ecologist today, I assure you that it is completely possible for bird lovers and feral cat advocates to work together. They work together inside my own form, and birds and feral cats live and feed together in my yard. I wrote a response to Conniff's false words to the NYT's and it was not published. My points are three-fold: 1) feral cats and tame pets who are allowed outside display radically different life history strategies and behaviors. There have been studies specifically designed to evaluate predatory behaviors of feral cats inside managed colonies and the depredation rates are very low, and sometimes, are nonexistant. 2) http://alleycatallies.org/TNRWorks, and 3) The science behind the "smithsonian study" -- which Conniff refers to as "federal" research -- is profoundly flawed and open to massive critique. Professional ornithologists who I know privately acknowledge that the results are not trustworthy at all. It is time for everyone to recognize that science is not driving the irrational agenda of the Smithsonian, ABC and the Audubon Society. It is an emotional, irresponsible knee-jerk reaction towards cats for reasons that continue to leave me deeply disturbed. So it is time to reconsider the levels of respect and attention that have formerly been granted to those institutions, as well as the New York Times, which only manages to published biased and false opinions.

    Feral cats are a distraction, withdrawing time, attention and energy away from the true causes of native bird population declines. TNR is effective and it is here to stay. Pet cats should be kept indoors-- a small percentage of them display extremely good hunting capabilities and they are a burden on native wildlife that is unnecessary and wasteful, as well as dangerous to all parties involved. Organizations such as ABC and Audubon should be launching a full frontal attack on Monsanto et al, on the fossil fuel industry, on planning regimes throughout municipalities everywhere, and directing their ample energy at habitat restoration and connect, control of nest competitors and brown-headed cowbirds. They have plenty of effective work to do. If the followed the lead of TNR activists and directed their energy towards actually making the world a better place, we would all benefit, with songbirds first in line.

    I question the motives of the American Bird Conservatory, the Audubon Society and their mouthpieces. What is their true motivation is sending public opinion repeatedly on a red herring with irrational justifications?

    As a research ecologist, colony caretaker, TNR activist and lover of all things wild, and all cats, I simply cannot see where all the drama is coming from. Certainly not from the reality of wild birds and feral cats... it certainly would not have come from Bill George, a friend who published an early paper about bird depredation by a single pet cat in his household (in which more than 20 cats were allowed to roam inside and out as they wished)-- this drama certainly does not come from backyards like mine, where the Cooper's Hawk kills birds every day but my feral cats never do... It is unnecessary, wasteful and harmful and I call upon those who are sane to cease and desist their witch hunt of cats immediately. We are actually all on the same side and there isn't a problem.

  • Sorry, your cats ALL deserve to be shot to death. You are certainly no ecologist. I already proved that with a previous comment. You only wasted your time.

  • To the poseur "ecologist":

    While it is true that overpopulation of humans is the #1 problem that we and all other species face today (humans are a classified as a "weedy species", but they ARE NOT an "invasive species", please educate your sorry-a**ed bible-home-schooled selves); this still doesn't excuse all the responsible, wise, and intelligent people from stopping all the ecological disasters caused by those phenomenally stupid and criminally negligent people who should have never been born in the very first place.

    Cats are a man-made (through selective breeding) invasive species. And as such, cats being a product of man, are no less of a man-made environmental disaster than any oil-spill, radiation-fallout, chemical-spill, or other environmental disaster _caused_by_man_. Cats are not exempt from being removed from every natural environment, wherever and whenever they are found away from supervised confinement. Just as you would destroy Burmese Pythons and African Cichlids in every habitat where they exist in N. America. They started out as pets too. Many of our destructive invasive species pests started out as PETS discarded by criminally-irresponsible humans. Guess what happens to all those other non-native pets that became destructive invasive species? They are destroyed on-site by any means possible -- no questions asked -- none required.

    Cats are even worse than a multi-continent-sized oil-spill. They not only kill off rare marine-mammals along all coastlines (just as oil-spills do) from run-off from the land carrying cats' Toxoplasma gondii parasites, they also destroy the complete food-chain in every ecosystem where cats are found. From smallest of prey that is gutted and skinned alive, wasted for cats' tortured play-toys, up to the top predators -- starved to death from cats destroying their ONLY foods. (Precisely what cats caused on my own lands not long ago.) They destroy everything that moves. They will even destroy native vegetation by destroying those animals that are pollinators or act as seed dispersers for those plants (as many rodent and bird species do) or those acting as plants' pest-control. Cats can and will wipe out whole ecosystems -- animal and plant.

    Cats need to disappear from all natural habitats PERMANENTLY, eventually, somehow. And the sooner the better. They are breeding out of control at an exponential rate. The reason for "sooner the better" is that you can only hope you can halt the problem before it is beyond the reach of any method you eventually choose. Luckily, I caught the problem in time where I live (by humanely shooting and burying every last cat I saw, hundreds, collared or not, totally LEGAL). Though I had plenty of native predators (owls, fox, hawks, etc.) available in surrounding non-cat-infested areas that eventually repopulated my lands so as to not cause any explosions of unwanted species and further imbalance. (I estimate that about 1 returning or 1 never-seen-before native species have been populating my lands PER DAY for the last 4 years since every last cat is gone. That's a LOT of species that cats destroyed or starved-to-death during their 2 decades infestation on my lands. People who have cats around have no idea just how bereft and empty their lives have truly become.)

    It seems nobody else is faring as well. Their time is being wasted by cat-lickers stopping them from doing the right thing. Asking or listening to any deranged invasive-species advocate for advice on how to clean up the ecological disaster that they created and perpetuate is about as useful as asking your local career thieves for advice and help to hide your valuables from their daily motives and activities. Ignore anything they might say and you too will solve the problem where you live. They ARE the problem, they cannot be part of the solution.

    It worked 100% where I live. I've not seen even ONE cat for over 4 years now. (Also totally disproving that cat-lickers' deceptive and manipulative "vacuum effect" lie and myth.)

  • Woodsman a/k/a James Munn Stevenson of Galveston, Texas is profoundly twisted.

    http://www.inhumane.org/data/JMStevenson.htm.

  • In reply to Nemesis:

    I am not surprised.....seems clear....

  • In reply to Nemesis:

    Dang, where's the "WRONG ANSWER" buzzer when you need one around here? LOL

    So far you cyber-stalking psychotics have tried to convince everyone that I am any of 5 to 8 different people that you cat-lickers have always hated. You've been wrong on all counts and are still wrong on all counts. I keep telling you fools that my real name is Rumpelstiltskin, but you won't believe that either. LOL

    It's been fun. You ALWAYS reveal yourselves and prove to be the cyber-stalking, cyber-bullying, cat-licking psychotics that you truly are. I don't even have to tell anyone that, you are more than happy to prove it to the whole world all by your stupid little selves. LOL

    (Cat-lickers are never too bright. That's why even a cat can outsmart them to escape their safe confinement. Dumber than their cats. This proves too that even their cats are smart enough to not want to be around fools this phenomenally ignorant!)

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    In reply to Woodsman:

    I do believe you are getting your jollies from antagonizing all the cat lovers. Why are you spending so much time purposely making people angry? Do you honestly believe anyone reading this article is going to agree with you?

  • In reply to Katrina Kates:

    See, I have no intentions of trying to change the minds of useless waste-of-flesh cat-lickers like you. I've dealt with your kind for over 15 years. I know every last thing that anyone would ever want to know about you. I already know you are a lost cause.

    I now only use online cat-lickers like my sad little show-n'-tell puppets. To prove to everyone in the world beyond any shadow of a doubt left in the universe; that no matter how much we try to educate you, reason with you, argue with you, beg with you, and even plead with you; that it will do NOTHING to stop you from perpetuating the destruction of life on this planet with your piece-of-sh** cats. The ONLY thing that works is destroying every last one of your cats for you.

    This can ONLY be solved WITHOUT YOU. Asking people like you for help and advice to solve the very problem that YOU created and are hellbent on perpetuating is just as foolish as for someone to ask their local career-thieves for their advice the help hide your valuables from their daily motives, goals, and activities.

    YOU *ARE* THE PROBLEM -- YOU CAN'T BE PART OF THE SOLUTION.

    You now deserve the EXACT same amount of consideration and respect as you've given and shown to every other life on the planet -- NONE -- ABSOLUTELY NONE.

    The very moment that you are cut from the solution equation the problem solves itself, 100%!

  • I am trying hard to find courage and heartening with most all the rational and wonderful comments here as well as your post, Mr. Dale. Thank you. I became an animal lover *because* of my cat. I used to have a phobia before he came to me. It did not take me long to get to know him, and despite my phobia I never EVER behaved cruel to him. It took me just a few days to completely fall in love and love all animals as well.

    This duality I'm seeing of cat vs. bird or cat vs. wildlife is unbelievably shocking and horrifying to me. I just recently came onto this "study" last Friday night. All weekend I have been reading all this vilifying, demonizing and ridiculous arguments that cats are "unnatural" on the web. The whole argument it seems, including from those who are supposed to be objective and sane is wholly lopsided against cats and very few are taking into consideration how flawed this study was statistically and scientifically. I even found some site vilifying cats saying how and why they are "not innocent." It's the Middle Ages all over again.

    The Smithsonian deserves to be boycotted or impoverished in some way. Shame on them. Academia is supposed to be about implementing rationale and compassion. This study was not only biased from the get go, it should never have made it to publication. The margin of error was by billions, a so called "researcher" was convicted for poisoning innocent animals (whom may I remind is illegal in all 50 states to kill a cat) and there is absolutely no thoroughness (e.g., what kind of species of birds are declining vs. what kind has increased, what breed of cat is more prone to better hunting skills and what are they more prone to hunt, how much does habitat loss plays a role and in what regions is this "phenomenon" of the factors the same and what is different. Meaning does the same thing happen in different regions of the same state? how about different STATES altogether? Etc.). There is A LOT to be desired in the proper most scientific way this study was conducted yet Smithsonian said "okay" and published it and forever has their name attached to a half cocked study.

    This is giving rise to frenzied thinking, mob mentality which in turn is giving rise to a witch hunt of an innocent creature who cannot say, "Hey that hurts! I'm just trying to eat and live!" I cannot help but seethe in anger over this. Academia is their to help foster intelligence both intellectually and *emotionally*. Thanks to the internet, we have already been being dumbed down over the last ten years based on my experience ranging from a variety of issues from rights/advocacy, to race and ethnicity to even the films we watch. Now this? This is like racism for animals and people are being enabled and encouraged in this kind of thinking and barbaric actions of torturing and/or killing animals and I find it appalling.

    AnnMarie, I thank you so much for your posts and allowing me to know that there are ecologists and scientists that are working together on this issue as well as seeing how stupid some people are being here. I wished though, that more bird lovers would actually speak out against this type of extremism/terrorism if you will and denounce and say they DO NOT advocate this study nor the killing/torture/hate of ANY innocent animal. This will definitely help the non critical thinking masses that surf the net see that their hate will be drowned out and not be accepted from ANY animal lover period. Vilifying one another and using arm chair psychology of "bird people" and "cat people" will NOT solve the problem, nor will it inspire anyone to want to come together. Advocates of ALL animals and those who love BOTH cats and birds and can see BOTH sides and will not allow demonization or lopsided views of ANY species are the types of people that need to work on resolving this and debunking this stupid study and mentality as a whole. NO demonizing campaigning using words such as "evil" or "murderer." That is just ridiculous and entirely unacceptable and must NOT be allowed.

    Thank you. I hope more rational people will pop up and discourage the behaviors which are borne out of hate.

  • Woodsman is clearly insane, and must be stopped.

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