Domestic cats are an environmental issue

Feral Cats

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Ecologists talk a lot about invasive species. These are plants and animals that are not native to North America, and cause enormous economic and ecological damage when they establish. Examples include cane toads, kudzu, zebra mussels, and fire ants.

Most invaders are easy to malign. No one is lobbying to protect the rights of killer bees or starlings. But if you are among the 33% of Americans that owns a house cat, you won’t be pleased to hear that, if allowed to roam outdoors, your beloved companion is a threat to the environment.

Even more problematic are the millions of feral cats that have been abandoned. Some cities and suburban areas record hundreds of cats per square mile. There are simply more cats than nature can support, and these cats are remarkable successful predators, killing about a billion birds each year in the United States.

Along with pythons in South Florida and feral pigs in the Great Smoky Mountains, cats have no place in nature. They threaten some of the endangered species we are working so hard to reestablish. Ron Jurek of the California Department of Fish and Game comments: ((Cats kill one or two colonies of least terns each year. These small white birds are part of an intense monitoring program with volunteers who watch the colonies throughout the six-month nesting season.))

Humans have been enjoying feline companionship for more than 9,000 years. I am not suggesting this relationship should end. But responsible pet ownership – including spaying and neutering – is needed to minimize the number of cats that roam, and thus the number of birds that are silenced.

 

Photo, taken on March 23, 2008 using a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XTi.  courtesy of splityarn via Flickr.

7 Responses to Domestic cats are an environmental issue

  1. Woodsman says:

    Feral cats and farmers that let theirs roam free had annihilated the natural food-chain in my woods. The resident foxes, owls, and other predator animals no longer had a food source. The feral cats destroyed all the smaller animals that all others depended on. The native species all starved to death. That’s what cats do to ALL native animals.

    I live where it is perfectly legal to defend your property and animals from destruction by others’ animals. I lost count after dispatching the first hundred piece-of-s*** vermin with a good .22, outfitted with laser-sight and zoom rifle-scope. I didn’t have to waste even one bullet, making this solution highly economical as well. Think of how many dollars and hours of your lives that you have spent trapping, transporting, calling, complaining, restoring damaged property, et.al. … and still all the problems that these useless cat-lovers have caused remains.

    Shooting is one of the most humane methods available. One moment the cats are intent on stalking some defenseless animal to cruelly rip apart again, the next moment they are dead and don’t even know it. ALL the cats I shot didn’t even have enough time to make a sound. That’s how fast they die. This is FAR FAR kinder than trapping, terrorizing them with cages for days, being handled by humans, then being locked into a state of paralyzed torment with drugs until animal-shelter euthanizing methods finally take effect. They are suffering and in torment for DAYS using animal-shelter methods. Did you know that death by lethal-injection is also not humane? Many humans who faced death by lethal-injection survived to talk about how they were fully aware during the whole painful heart-attack experience. Lethal-injection is just like TNR (Trap, Neuter, Release), it only makes the practitioner feel good through a bliss of self-induced ignorance.

    It’s time to give cats and cat-lovers the same consideration and respect that they have for all humans and all wildlife — that means NONE. Don’t waste your time trying to respectfully reason with or arguing with disrespectful, inconsiderate, and ignorant cat-lovers either; as I stupidly tried to do FIFTEEN YEARS. Trying to be “nice” about this ecological disaster they have created is what caused it. You won’t solve it until you stop being “nice”. Just do what needs to be done and there’ll be nothing to argue about.

    Last year owls and foxes have returned to my woods. Through a large effort of my own, including raising and releasing native mice and voles to help repopulate the species that their piece-of-s*** cats destroyed. Their lousy cats are finally gone for nearly two years now. And NONE have replaced them, contrary to their oft-spewed “vacuum effect” LIE. But I’ll shoot again on first-sight the first chance I get should even one have the misfortune of ever stepping foot on my land again. The rewards for ridding one’s land of ALL cats and restoring the native wildlife population are far too great.

  2. Woodsman says:

    Another important thing to keep in mind. Predation on cats by native wildlife is never going to solve this problem. While some native predators will prey upon cats occasionally, it’s not this simple.

    15 years ago I started a project to increase the populations of the few remaining native predators to try displace all the feral cats on my land. Nearly all the native wildlife on my land was annihilated by cats. Native prey became tortured play-toys for cats. Native predators starved to death from cats destroying their only food sources. By trying to increase the populations of these few remaining predators I was hoping that they would put “cat” on their diet — become my ecological army to fight this invasive-species nightmare. This was all started by one wild animal that was so starved for food that she literally, and I do mean literally, dragged her two surviving pups to my front door for help one day in the early afternoon because she couldn’t even make milk for her pups. Going against every instinct of hers in the world to try to survive. This is what alerted me to how bad the situation had become.

    During the many years of my extensive wildlife-repopulation project (which even included raising native mice and voles to help repopulate all the prey that cats had destroyed) I discovered something interesting that nobody else seems to be aware of or is mentioning anywhere. It explains why these man-made cats are able to inundate and displace all native species, from the smallest of prey to the largest of predators.

    Any time that a cat would enter my wildlife feeding area all the wildlife would scatter as if a bear had entered the area (which also happened on occasion). I was truly disappointed. These were, after all, the army that I was trying to raise to get rid of the cats for me and here they were running away on the first sight of any cat. Later, when it became obvious that shooting cats was the only solution (NONE of the native predators here would go near a live cat), I thought I could at least put all that shot-dead cat-meat protein to use to feed the starving native wildlife.

    Surprisingly AGAIN, even if wildlife spotted a dead cat in their feeding area they would still run from the area. They wouldn’t even approach a dead cat to sniff it. Alive or dead, they just would have nothing to do with “cat”. I finally figured out why. Due to cats’ bold coat-patterns that have been bred into them, native wildlife perceives this as a warning sign. That that animal must have a hidden toxic or olfactory defense mechanism. A universal symbol throughout nature that any unknown animal sporting bold and bright patterns must be dangerous.

    You can confirm this “bold-pattern cat = danger” yourself by searching for reports online of how a cat-owner’s cute cat chased that “nasty” and larger coyote out of their yard. The owner so proud of how brave their cat was. The cat’s non-existent bravado had absolutely nothing to do with it. That coyote was scared away by the cat’s coat-pattern and nothing else. That cat owner just as delusional and psychotic as all the rest I’ve ever had to educate on these matters.

    So, while native wildlife might prey on cats occasionally, you’ll find that they’ll only pick off the bland-patterned cats. Leaving all the bold-patterned cats to continue to reproduce. Now you’ll have a bold-pattern-cats-only situation where native wildlife won’t even go near them anymore. Back to square one.

    Another danger: The ONLY cat I got any wildlife here to eat was an all-gray cat. This is when I finally figured out what was happening with their coat-patterns scaring the larger predators. Unfortunately, the resident family of opossum I fed this cat to then promptly died from some disease in that cat-meat. Opossum can’t even transmit nor carry rabies due to their cooler body temperatures, nor many other common diseases. So it’s a little alarming that some disease in cats could be fatal to them. If you value your native wildlife you really need to shoot all feral and stray cats (stray cats being the source of all feral cats). Then bury or incinerate the carcasses so that the cats can’t harm your native wildlife with all their diseases even after the cats are dead. I had to shoot hundreds of them on my land. And contrary to the oft-spewed TNR “vacuum effect” myth, not ONE cat has returned to my land in nearly 2 years now. Native wildlife returned. May you be as successful as I was.

    Native predation will never solve this ecological-disaster caused by cat-lovers today. This is a 100% man-made ecological disaster that is now going to require a 100% man-made solution. This is why we now have a 150 MILLION, soon to be 1.5 BILLION, feral-cat ecological disaster on our hands. Tray & kill is just as ineffective as trap & sterilize because neither can catch up to their breeding rates and ability to out-adapt to any trapping method used. “Hunted to Extinction” is the ONLY method that is faster than cats can out-breed and out-adapt to. A painful fact of human behavior upon which we must now rely to get our a**es out of this mess that all cat-lovers have created on every continent on earth.

  3. Woodsman says:

    (edit: Tray & kill = Trap & kill)

  4. Jean Beaudet says:

    As a responsible cat owner, your message is probably going to reach the majority owners who are responsible. What is needed is more information to the public on the various societies that are trying to humanely deal with the feral cat population -such societes as Alley Cats Allies, the Feral Cat coalition and local anaiml origanizations. I love all animals but when my cats do get out unnoticed and consequently bring me home a “gift” I get upset. I also say to a neighbors that complained – they do not have a choice – it is instinct. We have a choice each time we go to the supermarket to minimize the factory farms etc. by our chice in buying meat but what do the majority of us still choose?

    • Woodsman says:

      Here’s how TNR-MATH works:

      “In NYC there are currently 465 registered TNR colonies. When TNR began in these colonies, 6047 cats were present – today, there are 4523 cats present, a decline of approximately 25 percent.” (Quoted from an Alley Cnt Allies member who was SO proud of this.)

      Apparently, if you TNR 4 cats and 3 die from being flattened by cars this is a 75% decline of feral-cats statewide.

      Of those 6,047 cats they’ve only REDUCED the total by 1,524 cats, about 127 PER YEAR. That’s only 0.08% of the 1,806,310 feral-cats within the city’s limits. (data taken direct from TNR-advocates’ own resources)

      Guess how many have been born IN JUST THE LAST 6 MONTHS (hoping like hell that they’re not breeding every 4 months). Let’s do the math…

      (1/2 total = females) 903,155 X 5 (avg. number in a litter) = 4,515,775 NEW CATS. Which lowers the number of them that have been reduced by TNR idiots to only 0.024%. THEY ARE GOING BACKWARD.

      Guess how many will be born in another 6 months? (4,515,775 / 2) X 5 = 11,289,438.

      Remember. the first 903,155 females are still breeding. For another 4,515,775. Add in the pre-existing 1,806,310, bringing the grand total in just ONE YEAR to 17,611,523 CATS. Which means that TNR groups have only reduced the cat-population by 0.008% of them. That’s not even 1/100th of 1%.

      Alley-Cat-ALL-LIES can’t even reduce cats in their own city, yet they promote it as a worldwide solution. Then even bigger fools fall for it and promote it.

      [Note: this recursive calculation population-growth problem actually requires advanced calculus with many more variables and will result in differing numbers; some higher, some lower, depending on how many years you do the population-growth projection when using both methods; but the results are just as astoundingly large no matter which method you use. I only include the dumbed-down version here so those of you with at least half a brain can comprehend and do the math yourself. Besides, it doesn't matter how many feral-cats are roaming free. If even ONE invasive-species cat is roaming free and has destroyed even ONE native animal, then that invasive-species cat must be destroyed. These numbers are only important to alert all others to how many cats must be destroyed and if they'll ever have the financial resources to do so by using their preferred method. In most cases, every municipality must allocate anywhere from 1/10th to 1/2 $BILLION PER YEAR if employing TNR costs just to catch-up to their breeding rates -- sustaining that expense YEARLY into perpetuity. Whereas shooting them results in costs substantially lower, in the range of $2,000 to $75,000 for 1 year. Which ends up being a ONE-TIME-EXPENSE. Something that is attainable by the tax-base in most every area.]

  5. Woodsman says:

    TNR-Advocates “Vacuum Effect” is an absolute 100% LIE (OR “The Deadly Cat-Attractor Equation”)

    There’s an interesting study done by the Texas A&M University on TNR practices. They started out with about 12 sterilized cats. At the end of 9 months they had over 30. An increase of more than 200%, all moved in of their own volition. This isn’t due to any mythical “vacuum effect” that cat-advocates spread and lie about so often. For that to have happened you would have had to remove cats to create a vacuum for others to replace them. The exact opposite happened in this study.

    Simple reason being: CATS ATTRACT CATS

    Cat scents attract cats. This is why they spray everything, to attract mates and rivals and mark territory. Cat sounds attract cats. Mewing kittens will even attract stray toms who will kill the kittens if they are not their own (basic feline behavior of any cat species).

    If you want more cats, keep some around. More will find you. Get rid of them all and there’s no reason for other cats to come to that area. I proved this myself by getting rid of every last cat on my own land. ZERO cats moved in to replace them.

    Another interesting finding, sterilized cats do not defend their territory. Any new cats see this as easy-pickings and move in to take over. If that cat-colony is being fed then non-sterilized cats will actually overtake the sterilized colony’s food-source because the non-sterilized cats are not as docile and complacent.

    The DEADLY Cat-Attractor Equation

    Another fun kicker. Cats’ Toxoplasma gondii parasite they spread through their feces is meant to infect rodents. This cat-parasite alters the mind of any animal it infests (even humans). Any rodents infected lose their fear of cats and are attracted to cat urine. http://scitizen.com/neuroscience/parasite-hijacks-the-mind-of-its-host_a-23-509.html Not only do cats attract more cats, but they also attract more rodents to the area with their slew of flea-borne and other rodent diseases. If cats eat rodents then they contract those rodent diseases to spread those diseases to humans. The attractor-equation is not just CATS = CATS + CATS, it’s actually CATS = CATS + CATS + RODENTS + DISEASES.

    TNR IS 100% FAILURE — no matter which way you try to spin that sorry hole-filled story.

    ANY cat — stray, feral, sterilized, or fertile — is just a magnetic “seed cat”. No matter how they are there or in what state of reproductive-viability that they are in, you’ll attract and grow more of them. Even worse — then you attract cat-advocates that want to turn your life into a living hell too. They’re all part of the same life-destroying equation.

    The FULL cat-attractor equation is actually: CATS = CATS + CATS + RODENTS + DISEASES + LIFE-DESTROYING CAT-ADVOCATES.

    This is why you MUST destroy all cats on your land. So cat-advocates will never be able to control or rule your life ever again. It’s THAT simple.

    I did it on my land. Now it’s YOUR turn.

  6. Woodsman says:

    Be cautious about using any cats taken from outdoors for adoption or you could be held criminally responsible. There’s no way to know a wild-harvested cats’ vaccination history, if any, nor their exposure to all the deadly diseases cats carry. If a cat has contracted rabies then a vaccination later will do no good. It’s already too late. There’s no reliable known test for rabies while keeping the animal alive. They need to be destroyed after they are trapped. It’s the only sane and sensible solution. This is why all wild-harvested animals of any type intended for the pet-industry must undergo an extended quarantine up to 6 months before transfer or sale of those animals to prevent just these things. Cats are no different than any other animal when wild-harvested. You’re risking this following story happening in every shelter across the land.

    http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2011/09/23/2631106/rabid-cat-adopted-from-wake-county.html

    Adopting any cat that’s been taken from outdoors is just playing Russian Roulette.

    Stray-cats, the very source of all feral-cats, need to be euthanized too or you’ll never be rid of the feral-cat problem.

    These are just the diseases cats spread to humans, not counting the ones they spread to all wildlife. THERE ARE NO VACCINES against many of these, and are in-fact listed as bio-terrorism agents. They include: Campylobacter Infection, Cat Scratch Disease, Coxiella burnetti Infection (Q fever), Cryptosporidium Infection, Dipylidium Infection (tapeworm), Hookworm Infection, Leptospira Infection, Giardia, Plague, Rabies, Ringworm, Salmonella Infection, Toxocara Infection, Toxoplasma. [Centers for Disease Control, July 2010] Flea-borne Typhus and Tularemia can now also be added to that list.

    The plague:
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8059908
    http://www.pagosasun.com/archives/2011/07July/072811/webplague.html

    Tularemia (rabbit-fever, transmissible to humans):
    http://www.news-gazette.com/news/health/miscellaneous/2011-09-14/cats-savoy-test-positive-rabbit-fever.html
    http://www.westyellowstonenews.com/news/article_02fceec6-f695-11e0-b752-001cc4c002e0.html

    Flea-borne Typhus:
    http://www.ocregister.com/articles/county-317133-animals-cases.html

    Hookworm — ruined Miami Businesses:
    http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2010-11-24/news/fl-miami-beach-hookworms-20101123_1_hookworm-infections-feral-miami-beach

    The most insidious one of all, the common Toxoplasma gondii parasite that they spread through their feces into all other animals and livestock. This is how it gets into meats and humans get it from meats, cats roaming around stockyards and farms. This is why cats are ROUTINELY destroyed around gestating livestock or important wildlife by shooting or drowning them. So those animals won’t suffer from the same things that can happen to the unborn fetus of any pregnant woman. (Miscarriages, still-births, hydrocephaly, and microcephaly.) It can even kill you at any time during your life once you’ve been infected by it. It becomes a permanent lifetime parasite in your mind, killing you at any time that your immune system becomes compromised. It’s now being linked to the cause of autism, schizophrenia, and brain cancers. This parasite is now also killing off rare and endangered marine-mammals (otters, seals, dolphins, etc.) along all coastal areas from cats’ T. gondii oocysts in run-off from the land.

    Its strange life cycle is meant to infect rodents. Any rodents infected with it lose their fear of cats and are actually attracted to cat urine.

    http://scitizen.com/neuroscience/parasite-hijacks-the-mind-of-its-host_a-23-509.html

    Cats to control rodents is false. Cats attract rodents to your home with their whole slew of diseases. If you want rodents in your home keep cats outside of it to attract rodents to your area.

    The time has come to destroy them all whenever spotted away from supervised confinement. There’s no other solution. We have nobody but cat-lovers to thank for this disaster.

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