It is little secret that I have something that might be called outright contempt for feral cats.
I don’t necessarily hate the cats.
But they are essentially living pollution.
If a business released a chemical pollution that caused that much carnage among small wildlife as feral cats do, it would be fined out of existence.
I do not agree with nor do I support TNR. I also don’t support allowing owned cats to roam or to be left outside unsupervised.
I have lost subscribers, and I have lost links on blogrolls for having this position.
I don’t care.
The biggest weakness of the No Kill Movement is its adherence to TNR as a population control mechanism.
It doesn’t work. Indeed, it only works with fuzzy math.
Unfortunately, there is no solution for the feral cat problem other than trapping and euthanizing the adults and trying to capture and socialize the kittens that are young enough to be socialized to people. In rural areas, it should just be expected that landowners are going to shoot cats, especially if the cats are killing game birds or rabbits.
Most of the focus on feral cats on this blog have been a discussion about their impact to birds. It’s enough that cats cause $17 billion in damages to bird populations each year.
But it turns out that the impact of cats on birds may be nothing compare to their impact upon lizards, frogs, and snakes.
The study was able to make these findings through attaching little cameras to the cats. The cameras recorded the cats’ activities, and they were able to find out what animals these cats were targeting on their nightly forays.
Only 12 percent of their targeted quarry wound up being birds. They were mostly targeting either frogs, lizards, or snakes or small mammals (25% of their quarry).
This sort of makes sense.
Birds are damn hard to catch. Cats don’t fly, so they would have to be expert stalkers to get close enough to birds to make a kill.
They wouldn’t have the same problem targeting green tree frogs or Carolina anoles or cotton mice.
Now, we need a broader sample of free roaming cats to make generalizations, but if these trends apply across the continent, frogs could be in real trouble.
Well, even worse trouble.
We are currently experiencing a massive die-off of frogs.
Frogs are very sensitive to environmental changes, and many are dying off as the result of increased pollution and climate change.
The last thing they need is a large number of introduced predators targeting them.
And unfortunately, that’s what we’re getting with feral cats.
And also unfortunately, we have a feral cat cult that denounces any scientific evidence that shows that feral cats are to blame for endangering wildlife.
The arguments they tend to bring up are something in the vein of “Cats is cute” and “Your a monster.”
A few will point to a New Zealand study that found that cats kept down rats at a sea bird colony. When the cats were removed, the rat population shot up, and the birds suffered as the result of increased rat predation.
That’s an interesting find, but it does not mitigate all the birds that cats have killed off in New Zealand.
In fact, people who use that finding to denounce those who think feral cat controls are necessary are being intellectually dishonest.
To save biodiversity, the cats have got to go.
And there must be stricter laws on cat ownership– including laws that make it illegal to let them roam.
Dog people have dealt with those laws for a very long time. Cats are no more special than dogs. Why should cats be given carte blanche to wander around killing our native wildlife?
My stance may not be with some people, but those are the facts.
It’s also intellectually vapid to defend feral cats by saying that predators have colonized new areas for millions of years and have changed whole ecosystems through their colonization.
It is certainly true that predators have been colonizing new ecosystems throughout the history of life on this planet.
However, no introduced predator has been given the ability to colonize so many places as the feral cat has.
Cats have been introduced all over the world through trade.
Natural introductions of mammalian predators have almost always involved a land bridge. These introductions have been relatively uncommon– at least when compared to how cats and other introduced predators have been able to expand their ranges in the past 400 to 500 years.
Ecosystems usually have had time to adapt to during more conventional introductions.
These ecosystems really cannot handle such a rapid and expansive introduction as has been the case with feral cats.
Ultimately, I’ve not seen a single argument in favor of allowing feral colonies to exist that can’t be reduced to “Cats is cute” and “Your evil.”
Unfortunately, that’s the mentality we’re up against.
Thanks to Pai for posting this link on the blog readers’ group on Facebook!
See related post: