Our popular, small, non-native predator kills billions of small animals a year directly and indirectly by disease-

There are close to 80-million pet cats in the United States and over 50-million feral cats — felis domesticus.  Unlike other pets that eat meat, cats are pure carnivores.  Fortunately, the meat for most the pets comes from domestic livestock and commercial fish.  Almost all feral cats hunt their meager meals.  Pets allowed to roam often hunt too.  The percentage of pets that hunt has been controversial, however.

A recent study using a “kitty cam,” gives useful information of how much pets really do (and don’t) hunt. A “kitty cam” is a small video camera placed on the neck of pet cats that are allowed outside to roam. The National Geographic Society has helped researchers at the University of Georgia deploy and study the results of what the secret lives of cats is like.

It’s pretty interesting stuff — like cats that “cheat” on their owners. They often eat and sleep at other folks’ homes. From the standpoint of our wildlife, the real interesting findings are about their predatory habits.  There have been a number of takes on these findings.  Some articles emphasize how much the cats kill in total. Other writers have found the interesting thing is that only a minority of pet cats hunt and kill prey.  Only 30% of the roaming kitty cam cats killed as many as two prey a week.  Contrary to the idea that cats specialize in birds, it turned out that reptiles were a much more common prey, though one usually not eaten nor taken back home.

Is it a lot or a little killing?

Given formidable weapons that domestic cats have for stalking and killing small prey plus the appetite of a pure carnivore, it might seem surprising that only 30% of the cats killed as many as two prey a week.  More than half of the cats did not kill or even chase prey at all.  Of course, we must remember that most of kitty cam cats are not hungry, yet over 40% of them hunting nevertheless.  Because the supposed “killing machine” wild wolves hardly hunt at all when they are not hungry, it could be that the real spirit of violence and death purrs on your lap when it is not outside doing ” surprising” things.

In total, the number of cats that hunt times the number of animals killed totals billions a year, making domestic cats are a major source of death in the places they live, which is all of suburbia and many other places too, especially when we consider the feral cats.

Here are two takes on the same data. 1. Kitty Cam Shows Not All Cats Are Killers By Kelly Slivka. New York Times Green blog. 2. The Kitty Cam Will Expose Your Cat As a Cold-Blooded Murderer. By Ted Johnson. Geek System.

This research did not deal with diseases spread by cats, though The Wildlife News has run a number of stories on toxiplasmosis, the cat friendly parasite that infects as many as 60-million Americans, most feral cats, rats and mice, bobcats and cougars, dogs, deer, and even lethally some sea mammals from cat scat washed to sea.  By writing “cat friendly parasite,” we refer to the much verified discovery that rats infected by toxiplasmos are directly manipulated by the effects of the parasite in their brain to enjoy being in places where the small of cat urine is strong . . . at least they enjoy it until the cat grabs and eats them, thus perpetuating the parasite’s life cycle.

The full impact of of toxiplasmosis infestation throughout an ecosystem deserves much more study, and so does its effect on human brains, e.g., are “cat ladies” disproportionately infected? If so, is it an effect of keeping many cats or the cause of it?

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About The Author

Ralph Maughan

Dr. Ralph Maughan is professor emeritus of political science at Idaho State University with specialties in natural resource politics, public opinion, interest groups, political parties, voting and elections. Aside from academic publications, he is author or co-author of three hiking/backpacking guides.

123 Responses to Domestic cats are a huge destroyer of wildlife

  1. avatar Nature Advocate says:

    These man-made invasive species disasters called house-cats managed to annihilate nearly all the wildlife on my land in the not-to-distant past. From smallest of native prey that was disemboweled alive or skinned alive for these cats’ daily play-toys, up to the top predators (fox, hawks, owls, etc.) that were starved-out or literally starved to death from cats destroying their ONLY food sources. For 15 years I tried to reason with cat-lovers. That solved ABSOLUTELY NOTHING and caused the problem to grow exponentially worse. Then finally, on advise of the sheriff, I just started shooting and burying every last one their cats on my land until there were none left. Learn from this. Don’t waste 15 years of your life and all your native wildlife too by trying to reason with cat-lovers. Trying to get a solution from a demented invasive species advocate on how to protect your valuable native wildlife is as foolish and useless as asking your local career-thieves on where to hide your valuables from them. A lesson I learned far too late.

    My land has been 100% cat-free for over two years now and the native wildlife is starting to rebound amazingly well (in part through a large effort of my own elaborate wildlife restoration project, not just by shooting and burying cats). The simple reason my land has been cat-free for so long now — cats attract cats. Get rid of every last one and there’s none there to attract more of them. A study done by the Texas A&M University also came to the same conclusion. That “vacuum effect” that cat-lovers always spew is a bald-faced LIE. But should even ONE of these disease-infested invasive species ecological disasters ever step even one paw on your land ever again? Shoot on sight A.S.A.P.! Because if you don’t? You’ll be up to your ass in cats again in no time, with them destroying all your wildlife, spreading their deadly diseases, and worse — attracting even more criminally irresponsible cat-dumpers.

    While it is true that overpopulation of humans is the #1 problem that we and all other species face today; this doesn’t excuse all the responsible, wise, and intelligent people from cleaning-up and stopping all the ecological disasters caused by those incredibly stupid, morally reprehensible, and criminally negligent people that should have never been born in the first place.

    Cats are a man-made (through selective breeding) invasive species. And as such, cats being a product of man’s intervention, 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 having to be removed from every natural environment, wherever and whenever they are found away from supervised confinement. Just as you would do all you can to remove Zebra Mussels from any waterway where they don’t belong. Or Burmese Pythons and African Cichlids from every habitat where they exist in N. America today. Burmese Pythons and African Cichlids started out as pets too. MANY of our destructive invasive species pests started out as PETS discarded by criminally-irresponsible humans! (Or from pets’ habitats, i.e. Eurasian Watermilfoil that is annihilating native aquatic life in many regions of the USA came from people irresponsibly dumping their pet-fish aquarium water into lakes and streams.) And guess what happens to all those other non-native pets that became destructive invasive species pests? THEY ARE DESTROYED ON-SITE BY ANY MEANS POSSIBLE — NO QUESTIONS ASKED — NONE REQUIRED.

    Important note: One winter I tried feeding one of the shot-dead cats on my land to the last few starving opossum that I had taken under my care. (All the rest of my larger native wildlife starved to death from cats destroying all their food sources.) They were doing well, even having 3 offspring while I took care of them. The only foods they were using and had access to were the vitamin fortified foods I gave them. But when I tried to give them a much-needed protein boost with that cat-meat those opossum promptly died from some disease in the cat. Sad to say the least. And highly alarming — in that opossum, due to their cooler body temperatures, cannot contract nor transmit many common diseases, not even rabies. They are one of the most disease-free animals in N. America. Yet … something in that cat-meat was able to kill them all. Cats truly are complete and total wastes of flesh. They can’t even be used to feed wild animals safely. Leaving any of these invasive-species cats out in nature, alive OR dead, is no better than intentionally poisoning your native wildlife to death.

    When ridding your lands of cats please do so in a manner where you can safely and sanitarily retrieve that useless carcass and dispose of it so no other life comes in contact with it. Your wildlife and neighbors will thank you. If using guns, I’d even advise against using a shotgun, too much disease-filled splatter. Make it clean as possible. Wear gloves while disposing of the cat-carcasses and even bury or burn those gloves too when the last cat is finally gone.

    p.s. I have analyzed over 100 TNR programs around the globe. From this I was able to clearly prove that NO TRAPPING PROGRAM OF ANY TYPE can catch up to cats’ breeding rates. This is precisely why all Trap & Kill methods have also always failed. Trying to depend on slow and inefficient traps is cause of the problem! The ONLY method that will now work is employing “Hunted to Extinction” (or extirpation of all outdoor cats in this case). It is the ONLY method that is faster than a species can out-breed and out-adapt to. Especially for a man-made species like these cats that can breed 2-4X’s faster than any naturally occurring cat species. A hard-cold FACT that you’re all going to have to wake-up to eventually. And if you don’t wake-up to it sooner rather than later, you’ll have an exponentially increasing number of cats that will have to be shot-on-sight later. There’s NO OTHER SOLUTION.

  2. avatar Mark L says:

    Interesting that the primary reason for night hunting of coyotes in eastern North Carolina (near red wolves) is complaints that domestic cats were being targeted by the coyotes. Coyotes are doing a decent job of limiting meso-predators in an semi-urban environment and we step in to eliminate them by shooting them. Worse, many house cats are just part-timers, getting their ‘real’ food safely in a house and not being exposed to the environmental shifts outside until they choose to hunt (kind of like many hunters, huh?). At least feral cats tough it out in the same environment all the time, leaving them exposed to the elements and vulnerable to predators.
    BTW, I’m not a ‘cat hater’ or anything, I actually like them, but I think they need to be controlled just like dogs, in suburbia.

  3. avatar Snaildarter says:

    60 cats, one month, in Athens Ga that killed 5 birds? how did we get from that to cats taking 500 million birds a year as well billions other small animals. Coyotes are everywhere in Amercia now and some studies show their diet, at least in urban areas is about 20% cat. I suspect the feral cat population will be controled by coyotes. I do wish someone would study wild house cat colonies they sound like little lion prides, very interesting. I have two cats who hunt by day locked up at night because of coyotes. They kill about 40 chipmunks (their main prey) a year every year, for 9 years? Hum sounds sustainable. snaildarter

    • avatar ma'iingan says:

      “60 cats, one month, in Athens Ga that killed 5 birds? how did we get from that to cats taking 500 million birds a year as well billions other small animals.”

      The cats in the study all had homes where they were well-fed by their owners, so the results have little correlation with the predation carried out by feral cats.

      “They kill about 40 chipmunks (their main prey) a year every year, for 9 years? Hum sounds sustainable.”

      Those 40 chipmunks a year could have sustained natural predators – instead they were wasted on your pets.

      • avatar Nancy says:

        And how much meat have you bought from the local supermarket in the last year Ma’ that could of substained natural predators?

        Its indeed a touchy subject, right?

      • avatar Savebears says:

        I have no had a domestic cat since I lived in Hawaii, which they loved because the cats would kill the mongoose which preyed on one of the rarest birds on the planet, the ne’ne’ eggs or Hawaiian goose eggs, which numbered about 50 adults when I lived there. Here in Montana, I have a couple of feral cats that live under the house, we don’t feed or water them, but they do a bang up job on the destructive pack rats, so I don’t chase them off.

        • avatar Nancy says:

          Truth be told – I have two “feral” cats at my cabin also SB.

          A pregnant cat got dumped off down by my neighbor’s place and I adopted two from her litter of 6 kittens.

          This neighbor, when she can afford it, has spayed and neutered many cats that have been “dumped” by her place.

          These two (neutered) brothers, are now a big part of my family, get 2 squares a day and have a foyer at night to sleep in and…. they also have limited outside, daytime, access.

          Both are great mousers. I’ve got chickens so I appreciate the help 🙂

      • avatar JB says:

        Ma’

        Check out this (see link) article by my colleague. They found a “decoupling” of predator prey relationships in urban settings. In the five birds they studies predator abundance was actually positively correlated (or uncorrelated) with survival–but only in urban settings. The opposite was true in rural areas. Very neat stuff.

        http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/10-0863.1?journalCode=ecap

        • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

          So JB, what are some implications of this decoupling?

          • avatar JB says:

            Ralph:

            The implication, as I read it, is that the high predator abundance is not really problematic for songbirds, at least in urban settings.

            Interestingly, despite the universal presence of domestic cats in this area they were not the dominant nest predator; rather cowbirds (15%) and racoons (13%) accounted for the greatest amount of predation. They conclude that “the lack of concordance between rates of nest predation and predator activity in urban landscapes arises because many synanthropic predators are heavily subsidized by anthropogenic food sources…and consequently, may depredate fewer nests than less subsidized rural predators.”

            The message for the management of cats (as I see it) is that efforts at controlling cat populations are most important in rural areas. Controlling cats in urban settings may not have the desired effect. Which to many, will seem counter-intuitive. (Of course, there are other reasons to keep cats indoors and off the streets. I do.)

            • avatar ma'iingan says:

              Interesting stuff indeed, JB. Leaves me wanting more, of course. Mainly, I wonder how the results line up with predation on small mammals in rural vs. urban environments.

              And of course, free-roaming cats benefit greatly from anthropogenic food sources in urban environments due to the many well-meaning folks who feed them. So I would expect a strong decoupling effect for cats in particular.

            • avatar JB says:

              “Leaves me wanting more…”

              Me too! I agree about the small mammals–and you also have to consider the (somewhat overblown) disease risk. I think studies like this are needed to help us prioritize where to focus our efforts. Lets target cats FIRST where they are the biggest problem.

  4. avatar CodyCoyote says:

    I’m a cat person . I was raised with a cat before I had a little brother, and have always had a couple around to keep life interesting.
    I also allow my cats to be cats, and they are free to go outdoors at will to follow their nature. And yes they do hunt. I had one cat who brought me over 60 live birds one summer, besides the usual assortment of nightcrawlers, bugs, moths, the occasional garter snake, and on one occasion a bat.
    Here’s an interesting fact about cats. While they are born with the skill and the need to stalk and catch prey , they have to be taught to eat their catches. Momcat has to teach the kitten to eat her kill, besides honing the cub’s hunting skill. All cats will hunt on their own, just as they will chase a finger under a blanket or a laser pointer on the floor. And eventally they will figure out they have to eat small critters, but that is more a learned trait than built-in behavior.

    The aforementioned Cassie ( and her Maine Coon sister) came to me before she was weaned, from a hamper full of barn cat kittens about 4 weeks old. Those two cats loved to hunt , but never ate their kills. Contratsed tot he cat I keep now whom I took in off the street when he got friendly with Maine Coon and started coming in with her. He is Pure Predator , although he is also the best darn cat I have ever had for intelligence, fun , spunk, affection, and I can take long walks with him. He burgled his way into every house in a three block radius and was/is well known. Folks are glad I adopted him. He also really likes dogs and even gets cozy with the neighborhood Mule Deer of which there are many. Yet he is territorial and does not back down from a confrontation. He is a force of nature to be reckoned with and totally the sheriff for controlling the numerous grackels, starlings, blackbirds and even full grown crows. He’s done a good job of thinning down the overpopulation of opportunistic robins that have multiplied profusely. And my ex-rancher neighbor is thankful he has Spook to take care of the rodents in his garden shed.

    I enjoy my cat(s) , all the more because I let them be cats. They get all the canned and dried food they could ever want and all the attention in the world and shelter, but they are still cats. I would love to put one of those videocams on Spook. He climbs to the top of 75 foot trees and he goes in people’s upstairs windows. I’m sure he has lots of other human waystations besides me , but he’s home nearly every night and asleep alongside me becasue he wants to be.

    I feel that the human-feline relationship is tenuous. We domesticated the dog fully , and they domesticated us as well. Man and Dog is a full partnership based on loyalty and mutual assistance.

    Cats are semi-domesticated at best. Even after 4,000 years of living with humans, cats remain aloof and independent. I honestly do not have a problem with that.

    The best we can do is be diligent about Spay and Neuter.

    • avatar WM says:

      Dogs have friends; cats have staff.

      The occasional cat thinks it is a dog, in which case it has friends, too.

      We manage to keep our dog behind a fence, on a leash or on the rare off leash episode in immediate voice control, and cats indoors, which seems to help all wildlife, and everybody seems to stay disease free and thus disease transmission free.

      The one cat who thinks he is a dog, comes when called, puts his humans to bed and grooms the dog and our other polydactyl (6 toed) cat, before he settles in for the night, usually back to back beside the dog at the foot of the bed. Occasionally he checks on his humans during the night, settling in if he is cold. The six toed cat has staff.

    • avatar aves says:

      “I always allow cats to be cats”.

      You are pleasing your cat (and yourself) at a very high cost to native wildlife. Plus you’re potentially exposing your cats to animal abusers, cars, coyotes, and disease.

      “60 live birds one summer, besides the usual assortment of nightcrawlers, bugs, moths, the occasional garter snake, and on one occasion a bat”.

      That’s way too much carnage for someone interested in wildlife conservation to allow. It doesn’t matter if the birds were “live”, the claws and teeth of cats are so loaded with bacteria the birds will likely die from the infection and/or the stress of being captured.

      “He’s done a good job of thinning down the overpopulation of opportunistic robins that have multiplied profusely”

      If someone inserted the word “coyotes” in place of robins you’d throw a fit. It’s the same oversimplistic mindset. There is no “overpopulation” of robins anywhere, if you believe there is you should think about what’s drawing them to the area, figure out how to coexist and let the wild predators manage them. If you can’t even live with robins how can you expect others to live with grizzlies and wolves?

      “And my ex-rancher neighbor is thankful he has Spook to take care of the rodents in his garden shed”.

      Replace “ex-rancher” with rancher and “rodents” with prairie dogs or wolves and you’d be outraged. It’s the same mindset.

      “The best we can do is be diligent about Spay and Neuter”

      No, the best thing we can do is keep our cats indoors. The fact that you won’t, in spite of all the damning evidence, is completely at odds with the high conservation standards you so often demand from others.

  5. avatar mikepost says:

    God help us. Lets see: we need to get those nasty non-native cows off the public range, we need to make sure that sheepherders dont entice wolves into attacks or kill off any more mountain rams with those non-native sheep, we need to make sure those blood thristy hunters dont start up any exotic game farms near our homes…but your cat…your invasive non-native cat…well to hell with science based decision making if your talking about your cat. What planet do you people live on?

    • avatar TC says:

      Agreed. 100%. Shame on you Cody Coyote. The best you can do is not spay/neuter, the best you can do is keep your native wildlife killing invasive species indoors.

      • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

        TC,

        We have had a number of cats over the years. I like them, but we will never have another. I have always let them run. I thought it was more natural and made for a happier cat.

        All of our cats but one were killed on the roads. Wilbur, the smartest cat set up his territory so it didn’t cross roads, and he lived to be eleven or so when he died of feline AIDS. He was a real menace to birds and could catch them even after we belled him.

        In retrospect, and now armed with more knowledge, I must confess that our actions were absolutely indefensible from the standpoint of wildlife or human health.

        • avatar TC says:

          Yep, me too. I actually do like cats (well, some of them), but they just don’t have a place roaming free if you truly do care about native wildlife, and especially non-charismatic small wildlife like rodents, reptiles, amphibians, passerine birds and even things like insects (including many many butterflies and moths). Contrary to popular belief, cats can adapt to and actually enjoy a life indoors. Mine do just fine. I don’t let my dogs wander, kill wildlife, disturb wildlife, etc. – why would I let my cats do this?

  6. avatar red says:

    Do feral/roaming pet cats partially fill the role of bobcats which have been extrirpated from most of suburbia?

  7. avatar Mark L says:

    Possibly somewhat, but cats can’t take raccoons, armadillos, and opossoms…which bobcats can.

    • avatar Savebears says:

      You have not had the cats I have had in the past, they were very successful and taking raccoons and opossums, we didn’t have any armadillos where I lived, but they were especially good with opossums!

      • avatar WM says:

        I am not optimistic that many cats could take on a big ol’ buck raccoon or a family, and win. Even if it did, the vet bills are likely to be formidable. Had a friend that thought his cat was capable of taking on big raccoon. He is/was mostly an indoor cat, but gets let out in the yard to do his business. Cat disappeared one night after alot of strange screechy sounds in the dark that could only have come from raccoon(s). He and his wife were very attached to the cat (and they have two others that get some outside time). A bad experience for the family.

        The cats’ new guardians are a pair Welsh Corgi dogs, and a matronly and very smart Australian cattle dog. No more raccoons (or anything else on four legs for that matter) in the yard or their small orchard. The area perimeter has one of those invisible fence systems, and each dog a corresponding collar. Hear a noise in the night. The dogs head for the door and are on their way, wasting no time. Hate to think what a burglar would encounter with that loyal and smart trio. These Corgis are like muscle bound, height challenged, German Shepard’s with attitude.

  8. avatar jdubya says:

    This is why I enjoy running with my dog off leash in the early morning hours. The cats are about hunting their prey, and my dog hunts the cats.

  9. avatar Mark LaRoux says:

    Do they ‘eat’ them or just kill/eliminate them? I can’t see anything EATING a coyote.

  10. avatar Nature Advocate says:

    I found out another interesting aspect to this invasive-species-cat-predator and native-wildlife relationship that no others seem to be aware of. When some local wildlife LITERALLY came to my door in the middle of the day, dragging her two starving cubs to my door because she couldn’t even make enough milk to feed her offspring (all her food supplies DESTROYED BY CATS). This is what alerted me to just how bad the situation had become. I then started out on a venture to try to assist all the local native wildlife. In the hopes that if I increased the populations of the few remaining predators that they would one day put “cat” on their natural menu. (FYI: That mother and her two cubs rebounded just fine with my assistance and went on to produce many healthy offspring.)

    During this venture I found some surprising things.

    Any time that a cat would enter the wildlife feeding area, all the wildlife would scatter. After 5 years of witnessing this I was truly disappointed. These were, after all, the native-wildlife army I was trying to raise to deal with the invasive-cat problem ecologically.

    When I was advised by local law-enforcement to deal with the problem by shooting cats, then I thought maybe I could at least put that cat-meat from these useless and destructive waste-of-flesh cats to use and feed the wildlife their bodies. These cats had denied all the native-wildlife a food source all these years, perhaps in death they might be able to put back what they had taken. But no. Even when offered DEAD CATS the local wildlife would run from the wildlife feeding area.

    Longer story short:

    Due to the bold patterns bred into these INVASIVE-SPECIES cats, the NATIVE wildlife perceives them as having a hidden toxic or olfactory defense mechanism. A universal symbol throughout nature. That if an unknown animal is sporting bold patterns then that animal must be dangerous or deadly — to avoid it at all costs.

    This is why you will read reports online of how someone’s docile “Mr. Fluffy” scared that “nasty” coyote out of their yard. The cat’s non-existent bravado had NOTHING to do with it. It was the cat’s coloring pattern alone that scared that larger predator.

    Conclusion: Native wildlife will only pick off the bland or no-pattern cats. And even then, only if starving to death as a last resort, taking the risk of overriding millennia of natural instinct to try to survive. So even if coyotes or other larger predator will take a cat or two, they’ll leave all the bold-patterned ones alone. And the land will eventually be inundated with bold-patterned cats only. Back to square one.

    NATURE IS NOT GOING TO SOLVE THIS HUMAN-MADE DISASTER FOR YOU.

    There’s very good reason that the phrase “hunted to extinction” is so well known across all cultures, across all lands. It is THE ONLY METHOD THAT IS FASTER THAN A SPECIES CAN OUT-BREED AND OUT-ADAPT TO. Especially a species as prolific as these man-made cats which can breed 3X’s faster than any naturally-occurring cat species. A painful fact of past human-behavior that we must now rely on to fix this worldwide ecological disaster. I too was surprised to come to this realization, that these human-caused disasters in the past are now providing a valid method upon which we need to rely to solve this 100% man-made problem. This is ONLY going to be solved by a human-eye aiming a gun to pick off the correct species as rapidly as is humanly possible.

    Important note: One winter I tried one last time at feeding one of the shot-dead cats to the last few starving opossum. (The only all-gray cat I had ever shot, this event led to the discovery above.) Those opossum promptly died from some disease in that cat-meat. Alarming — in that opossum, due to their cooler body temperatures, cannot contract nor transmit many common diseases, not even rabies. They are one of the most disease-free animals in N. America. Yet … something in that cat-meat was able to kill them all. Cats truly are complete and total wastes of flesh. They can’t even be used to feed wild animals safely. Leaving any of these invasive-species cats out in nature, alive OR dead, is no better than intentionally poisoning your native wildlife to death.

    p.s. In case you doubt what I say is true, check out this recent viral video. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/06/060613-cat-bear.html

    A declawed cat with a bold pattern and a slightly assertive demeanor can even frighten a bear away. A bear, that by all rights, should just give the cat one paw swipe and a quick chomp. But no, the coloring pattern told the bear that this is a potentially deadly and toxic life-form, use extreme caution. (Which leads me to strongly believe that humans can employ this same instinctual behavior in larger predators — wear bold patterned hiking-gear in predator country. Save human lives AND animal lives that would otherwise be destroyed from attacking humans. Some good might come out of this for everyone.)

    • avatar Nature Advocate says:

      Another interesting point to all of this that is worth mentioning, is that due to the widely variable coat-patterns in cats, no native predator can lock-onto which of them are safe to prey upon.

      I noticed this behavior when feeding the native predators every night during my wildlife-restoration project, standing there amongst all of them. (Toward the end of this successful project, as many a 60 assorted predators to step over and around in my yard each evening.)

      When another differently-patterned cat would enter their feeding area, they’d all stop feeding, all stare at the cat, (the foxes giving that bewildering look on their faces with ears-perked, like all canids do), as if to say, “Now what the hell is THIS ONE?!?” Before they all decided it was best to run off into the woods as if a bear had entered the feeding area (which happened on occasion, all the other animal responding similarly to bear or cat).

      While it seems like a silly analogy, I can think of none better than the situation of the Borg in the fictional ST:TNG series. As long as cats can randomly change their defense shield coat-pattern, the native predator can’t see through the guise. So you have a two-fold instinctual defense mechanism that cats are employing (by accident of being bred by man to be that way).

      Cats not only sport bold patterns to alert predators to flee for safety, but cats’ coats are randomly changeable patterns. So even if a local predator DOES eventually learn which cats might be safe to eat, the next cat coming along with a whole new coat-pattern will instil fear and doubt again.

      This is how cats can so effectively wipe out the whole food-chain. While starving animals out from competition, they also bewilder any predators that could keep their numbers in check. Now add in their unnatural breeding-rates, and you have one of the WORST man-made invasive species ecological disasters that anyone on earth will ever see — of truly global proportions.

      • avatar Nature Advocate says:

        And then, of course, let’s not forget my wildlife that died from eating that dead cat. Add in cats’ deadly diseases they’ll transmit to any predator that does eat a cat (or just walk where a cat has defecated, or live on a coastline where run-off carries cats’ parasites), and you have a many-multi-fold reason they wipe out all native species on earth. (Cats’ bold patterns scaring native predators away might be the only thing that is still keeping some of our native wildlife alive.)

        Eventually cats will even be wiping-out indigenous plants that depend on all those smaller animals that they require for pollination and seed-dispersal or defense against insect pests.

        Cat’s don’t just destroy fauna, eventually native flora goes as well.

        Is any of this getting through to any of you yet?

  11. It’s disappointing to see so many news outlets swallowing in one in one gulp a press release plagued with errors, misrepresentations, and glaring omissions. How do you expect to “improve the world” by promoting such nonsense?

    The American Bird Conservancy and The Wildlife Society claim, for example, that “bird kills constituted about 13 percent of the total wildlife kills.” Thirteen percent of HOW MANY? As the Athens Banner-Herald reported in April, “just five of the cats’ 39 successful hunts involved birds.”

    That’s right: FIVE. Fifty-five cats, 2,000 hours of video—and just FIVE birds. Not so impressive when it’s put like that, is it?

    And which species of birds are we talking about? Are these common? Rare? Native? Non-native? Etc. It’s curious that ABC and TWS, which claim to be concerned with the “ongoing slaughter of wildlife,” aren’t troubled by such “details.”

    ABC president George Fenwick claims that “cat predation is one of the reasons why one in three American bird species are in decline.” Where’s the evidence? Certainly not in the KittyCam study!

    Predators—cats included—tend to prey on the young, the old, the weak and unhealthy. At least two studies have investigated this in great detail, revealing that birds killed by cats are, on average, significantly less healthy that birds killed through non-predatory events (e.g., collisions with windows or cars).

    As the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds notes: “Despite the large numbers of birds killed, there is no scientific evidence that predation by cats in gardens is having any impact on bird populations UK-wide… It is likely that most of the birds killed by cats would have died anyway from other causes before the next breeding season, so cats are unlikely to have a major impact on populations.”

    Nobody claiming to have even the slightest regard for science would extrapolate from five birds killed in Athens, GA, for the purposes of developing a nationwide “estimate.” The fact that Fenwick is so willing to do so—and sell it to the public—says far more about the integrity of ABC than it does about predator-prey dynamics.

    The ABC/TWS press release is just the latest installment in the long-standing witch-hunt against free-roaming cats. It’s difficult not to see it as an act of desperation—no surprise, really, from organizations whose position is supported by neither the science nor public opinion.

    Peter J. Wolf
    VoxFelina [dot] com

    • avatar Nature Advocate says:

      Hey PedroLoco!

      Tell everyone again how you and your blind and home-schooled followers strongly believe that EVERY LAST INVASIVE SPECIES ON EARTH SHOULD BE ALLOWED TO DESTROY ALL NATIVE SPECIES ON EARTH.

      That’s always a fun read from you. How come you don’t post that anymore?

      Yes folks, this PedroLoco and it’s demented followers ALL believe exactly that very thing.

      You don’t need to know much more about them after knowing that!

    • avatar TC says:

      One bird, killed by one domestic cat, is too many. One lizard, killed by one domestic cat, is too many. One vole, or deer mouse, or shrew, killed by one domestic cat, is too many.

      Keep your cats indoors, or contained and supervised outdoors, and nobody has any problem with them. It’s called responsible pet ownership. Give it a try.

      My bullmastiff would happily kill just one cat. It wouldn’t affect cat populations or genetic diversity. If it were yours, I bet your little fluffy self would be upset. Show the same damn respect for wild animals.

    • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

      Peter J. Wolf,

      I was interested in large part because of the different takes the papers took on the small study.

      Of course, no reliable generalizations about rates or percentages can be made to the entire population of cats in the U.S., Georgia, or even Athens from this small sample.

      Nevertheless, the study is suggestive for many more studies and provides a new tool (tiny cams) for conducting studies. We did find out that many free roaming cats do not hunt, but many do. They don’t necessarily kill what we think they kill.

      My article added a lot of additional information about infection by toxiplasmosis gondii. I am surprised people don’t comment more on this because this parasite does exert mind control (or at least control over behavior by manipulating the rat brain). Is it also obvious it has cognitive and behavioral effects in humans too.

      I would have thought that “alien mind control” would spark a few comments and arguments, but this isn’t a sci fci web site. 😉

      • avatar Immer Treue says:

        Think about the cat ladies. What possess them to possess so many cats that their home smells like inside a bottle of ammonia? Is toxo the culprit?

        • avatar Harley says:

          Immer,

          I think that was explored, and there is something to that actually.

        • avatar Nature Advocate says:

          You have another issue at work (not to say that T. gondii infection isn’t also involved, I posed that years ago). This principle works on basic animal behavior, humans being just another animal. When you strip away humans’ communication methods and more elaborate tool using, there’s very very little difference between humans and all other animals on earth.

          Yet another original discovery made during my wildlife-restoration project:

          Some important information to help you understand the behaviors of “cat-lovers” and their cats. Something I discovered when local “cat-lovers” (an oxymoronic label if there ever was one) were using cats to overtake my land and woods, eventually even by moving my property markers when using their cats had failed — failed because I got the legal go-ahead to shoot all cats on my land. (An expensive many $1000s lesson for these thieves, surveyors are not cheap.) I often wondered why they kept releasing new cats onto my land even long AFTER they already knew that all their cats were being shot to death, they were told this is what was going to happen, and WAS happening. They didn’t care about cats AT ALL! Clearly something else was motivating them. How many so-called “cat-lovers” do you know that release cats and let them roam free even after seeing many of them become road-kill, harmed by cat and animal attacks, die of diseases, killed by poisonous plants or animals they encounter outdoors, etc.? (Like every last TNR-advocate for starters.) They don’t care about cats, not in the least!

          Now you’ll know exactly why cat-lovers do what they do. It really has nothing at all to do with their concern for cats, nor even the lives of anything else, quite the opposite.

          Human Territorial Behavior By Expendable Proxy

          I have come to the inexorable conclusion that the vast majority of “cat-lovers” and cat-owners that let their destructive invasive-species roam free, and especially those that defend the rights of feral cats to overtake private and public property and wildlife areas, are only (cowardly) using cats as a proxy for their OWN territorial behavior. Not unlike uneducated inner-city youth that will disrespectfully and inconsiderately use loud music to stake-out a territory for themselves. Whether this behavior is done consciously or subconsciously, the underlying motive is the same. As long as they can have one of their cats defecate in another’s yard or destroy their property, animals, and wildlife; and the land-owner not have any recourse; the cat-owner/caretaker owns that territory. It’s time to put a stop to them using their “cute kitty” excuse for usurping and stealing others’ property. If they want territory they can damn well buy it just like anyone else. Instead they’re using underhanded, disrespectful, and manipulative means. By putting (and sacrificing) live animals in the path of their envy and greed. “Cat-lovers” only really want your yard, garden, or forest while making all others and all other animals suffer for what they can’t have nor own. Bottom line–they want to control you and your property. That’s _ALL_ that “cat-lovers” are really after. It’s why they don’t care at all if their cat nor any other animals, nor even other humans, get harmed by their goals and (lack of) values in life.

          There’s an interesting news report about a community in Florida where cat-advocates are trying to get a court to allow them to use a local shopping-center where they can keep their cats (to act as speed-bumps, car-accidents, and health-violation-lawsuits waiting to happen I presume). They are also doing this to Loews hotel chain, several universities, and even churches. We can now add those to the kinds of property that they want to steal from the owners and control. It never ends with them. Destroy all cats before they and their advocates can and will try to destroy you. Don’t believe me? Google for what these demented cat-advocates have already done to Loews hotels in Florida.

          They can’t be stopped from their behavior. They psychotically believe they are doing “god’s work” for themselves. Destroying all their free-roaming cats for them is the ONLY solution.

          Another human motive that often plays a part:

          You can also add in a Munchausen by Proxy manipulation for attention and control of one’s community. If a cat-hoarder situation gets so bad, she (rarely he) now gets all the attention they’ve wanted for all those years. The attention attracted by their now ill and neglected cats. The attention from their cats never fulfilling what they’ve really wanted all along. Using their cats to get it. In this case too, it’s not about the cats at all. This is why you have such a high recidivism rate. People think they solve it by removing cats from the hoarder’s life. Cats are only the unfortunate symptom and tool of the desperately manipulative self-victimizing sick one, torturing cats to eventually get the attention they crave. (Not too different than TNR cat-hoarders that hoard their cats outdoors instead of indoors. All their cats suffer during life and die cruel deaths too.)

      • avatar Nancy says:

        “My article added a lot of additional information about infection by toxiplasmosis gondii. I am surprised people don’t comment more on this because this parasite does exert mind control (or at least control over behavior by manipulating the rat brain). Is it also obvious it has cognitive and behavioral effects in humans too”

        http://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-lady-suicide-study-lets-talk

    • avatar ma'iingan says:

      “…It is likely that most of the birds killed by cats would have died anyway from other causes before the next breeding season, so cats are unlikely to have a major impact on populations.”

      This is your idea of “science”?! They would have died anyway?!

      So predation by domestic cats is compensatory – but how about the native predators (“other causes”) that those birds could have sustained?

  12. avatar JB says:

    Reading over some of the responses here, it appears that the Wildlife News has finally stumbled upon an issue with as much hyperbole and vitriol as wolves. I wouldn’t have thought it possible…?

    • avatar Harley says:

      JB,
      Was thinking the same thing. Some of the comments against cats are seriously almost identical to those against wolves in other areas, it was truly frightening. I almost posted something yesterday when I began reading but…I’m not sure this is a fight I want to get into. I love cats. I don’t like letting them outdoors. Not because of their impact on nature but because I don’t want to provide any of the area coyotes with an easy meal. I also know that cats are some of the best controllers of mice and rats on a farm and much more preferred to poison. Sterilizing however becomes a pricey issue though. And the average life expectancy of a farm cat is not very long.

      • avatar Nature Advocate says:

        Nobody in their right mind would be making the same arguments against wolves that are valid against cats. Wolves are native predators. Cats are a man-made invasive species. Until you can comprehend why that is you and everyone just like you are only going to remain the cause of this man-made ecological disaster.

        Cats may have been used on farms in ages past, and now out of ignorance-fueled convention, but more efficient and secure grain-storage methods along with pest-repellants applied to that grain keep our grain-stores well and safe.

        Introducing a man-made predator to solve a rodent problem is about the absolute worst and most ignorant act that anyone can possibly do today.

        You might also enjoy knowing …

        If you advocate for cats as rodent-control on farms and ranches you’ve already doomed them to being destroyed by drowning or shooting when it becomes a financial liability more than any asset. Ranchers and farmers worldwide are fully aware that cats’ Toxoplasma gondii parasite can cause the very same birth defects (hydrocephaly and microcephaly), still-births, and miscarriages in their livestock and important wildlife as it can in pregnant women. Consequently, this is also how this cats’ brain-parasite gets into your meats and onto your dinner-tables, from herbivores ingesting this cat-parasites’ oocysts in the soils, transferred to the plants and grains that they eat. Not even washing your hands in bleach will destroy this parasites’ oocysts if you have contracted it from your garden or yard that a cat has defecated in.

        This is why any cats are ROUTINELY destroyed around gestating livestock and wildlife-management areas in the most efficient, humane, and least-expensive method available. Common rural practice everywhere. The risk of financial loss from dead livestock and important native wildlife from an invasive-species cat is far too great to do otherwise. This cats’ parasite is now even killing off rare marine-mammals along all coastal regions from run-off containing this cat-parasites’ oocysts.

        The next time you bite into that whole-grain veggie-muffin or McBurger, you need to just envision biting down on a shot-dead or drowned kitten or cat. For that’s precisely how that food supply got to your mouth — whether you want to face up to it or not. It’s not going to change reality no matter how much you twist your mind away from the truth of your world.

        If you want to blame someone for the drowning and shooting of cats, you need to prosecute yourself — every time you eat.

        Now that I’ve shot and buried every last one of hundreds of cats where I live I now have back my hawks, owls, snakes, fox, opossum, etc. etc. to take care of any excess rodents. ALL are native animals WHICH BELONG HERE. They also do a much better job at it too. They don’t destroy everything that moves just for play-toys like useless cats do.

        If you want rodent control on a farm, educate your sorry self on why one species of bird is even called “The Barn Owl”.

        Can you comprehend a simple kindergartner’s question?

        House-Cat. Barn-Owl. Tell us all which animal belongs where. Would you like some flash-cards with drawings on them to help you too?

        Thanks to morons like you promoting and applauding rounding up feral cats and dumping them into “barn cat” programs, then dumping them in rural areas, I had to shoot and bury HUNDREDS of your cats. Stray and feral cats that are dumped in the country NEVER stay where they have been dumped. So they do absolutely NO GOOD to the person who has agreed to let you dump them there and those cats then just run off to destroy every form of life that moves. Or if very very lucky, finding itself in the sights of someone’s gun.

        (Blathering idiots, every last one of you cat lovers. What is it? Your cats’ T. gondii parasites eating out what you have left of any brains?)

        • avatar Nature Advocate says:

          One further note. Unfortunately an important lesson isn’t being taught to children on farms and rural areas today on how to be a responsible steward of their land. When cats were the ONLY source of rodent control, all children on farms and ranches were given one very simple lesson; about firearms safety, self-sufficiency, and land-management:

          “If you see a cat more’n 50 yards from a building — SHOOT IT! ‘Cause it’s up to no good!”

          Without that simple lesson taught to today’s children on farms and ranches, we now have cat-shooting-quotas to take care of what irresponsible idiots refuse to do, they being too spineless and heartless to put down their own unwanted animals. Eventually forcing someone else to do the required job for them.

        • avatar JB says:

          Whoa, someone is full of assumptions!

          Like I said, same vitriol and hyperbole, and some ALL CAPS and insults (e.g., morons like you) to boot! Paseo en don Quijote de la Mancha!!

        • avatar Harley says:

          Nature Advocate,

          I’m not sure who pissed in your Cherios. I didn’t come on here insulting you. I stated my opinion. I didn’t state how I thought about YOU. You want someone to learn? Stop insulting them and maybe they would take two seconds to actually listen to what you have to say. When you can learn to be civil, then we can have a discussion.

          • avatar Nature Advocate says:

            I learned how to solve the cat problem, after 15 years of trying to be civil with cat-lovers which got me nowhere and only increased the problem exponentially.

            Only AFTER you discount anything and everything a cat-lover might say will you solve the problem they created where you live.

            Asking any demented invasive species advocate on the best way to solve the problem and protect your valuable native wildlife; is as ludicrous, foolish, and useless as asking your local career-thieves where to hide your valuables from their daily activities.

            Cat-lovers have absolutely ZERO respect and consideration for all other animals and lives on this planet. You’ll finally solve the problem by giving them the exact same amount of respect and consideration in return. That’s what I learned. And THAT is precisely what solved the problem where I live.

            I wasted 15 years of my life trying to have a respectful and civil “discussion” with the likes of Harley. During which your favored invasive species animal managed to destroy nearly every last native animal on my lands. Then came the best advice of all from my local sheriff, “You have EVERY RIGHT to shoot every last one of their cats on your lands.” With that little bit of helpful advice I was then able to solve a 15+ year problem in less than 2 seasons of hunting down and destroying every last cat that so much as stepped one paw on my lands, collared or not.

            Which, in this story, had the better advice to restore valuable native habitat back into natural balance:

            The cat-lovers? Or the sheriff and land-owner who ignored the cat-lovers?

            Everyone can argue with cat-lovers’ Toxoplasma gondii parasites in the cat-lovers’ brains until you are blue in the face and your whole planet is destroyed by their ignorance and irresponsibility. But it will NEVER get rid of their cats for you.

            Learn from this. Don’t waste 15 years of your life too by trying to have “discussions” with people like this Harley. While you do, their favorite pet will be exponentially breeding out of control and destroying every ecosystem around you. Just do what needs to be done and the problem will be solved. There’ll be nothing there to discuss or argue about. SIMPLE as that!

            Been there, never going there again. .22s and a laser-sight are cheap!

            • avatar Harley says:

              Dude, really, take a deep breath. I can certainly agree that there are WAY too many feral cats. I can also agree that that is a problem. It’s not going to make me hate cats. It’s not their fault if you think about it. It’s the idiots who have let them go feral and have not been responsible pet owners.
              I undersand you’ve had a crappy situation. I’ve read it twice now. You’ve probably stated it more than that.
              My stance is this. I did not let my cat roam outside. I didn’t add to the problem. The fact that there is a problem is also not going to make me stop loving cats, nor will it stop me from adopting another one. It will be a cat that will be kept inside and spayed or neutered. That’s called being a responsible pet owner, no matter what kind of pet you own.

        • avatar Harley says:

          Nature Advocate

          One more thing. I don’t recall advocating ’rounding up feral cats and dumping into barn cat programs’.

          Take a deep breath. After the posts you’ve churned out, I’m sure there is a vein sticking out somewhere on your neck or forehead and that much hate is just not healthy.

          • avatar Nature Advocate says:

            Don’t project your own inadequacies Harley. I type 130+wpm. Do not misconstrue post-length with effort, emotions, nor tensions.

            And don’t be too upset. You’re merely a teaching prop I choose to use. To show everyone else how to solve the cat problem where they live. Your existence in this discussion (and probably in real life) is inconsequential. I could have picked any cat-lover here and done the same. You’re all alike, you’re all the cause of the problem, and by example and experience, you must all be summarily dismissed from any discussion on how to solve it. For that IS the solution!

            • avatar Harley says:

              Wow. You have some very serious issues my friend!

              It’s been nice, glad I could be your prop, but this is where I end this discussion with you.

              Have a nice evening!

            • avatar Harley says:

              “Never argue with a fool, onlookers may not be able to tell the difference”

              ~Mark Twain~

              Thank you Mr. Clemens

            • avatar jburnham says:

              Wow, talk about self righteous. Never a dull day here at the Wildlife News.

              Harley your restraint is commendable.

            • avatar Ralph Maughan says:

              Nature Advocate,

              You write about some important things and you might know what you are talking about, but I think your way of calling people “stupid,” and similar names means you will have to take your thoughts to some other forum

              ~Webmaster

    • avatar louise kane says:

      just seeing all this. Pretty amazing. All that hate directed at cats can’t be a good or healthy thing. Many people here have argued for keeping the cats indoors and being a responsible pet owner. I second that. A little like keeping your livestock out of harms way so that native wildlife like wolves will not be destroyed.

      • avatar Harley says:

        I honestly thought I would Never see such blind hatred aimed at anything but wolves. (yes, I know it’s out there and I don’t like that sort of hatred either.)
        I stand corrected. By the Enlightened one no less. 😉

        • avatar louise kane says:

          Pretty frightening to hear so much hate directed at anything. I guess if there is a positive at least its not directed at wildlife. A long time ago someone shot our family’s much loved Siberian Husky for running though his yard. The dog had escaped which was unusual, and horrifying for us. When we found our beautiful dog, he had been shot in the leg and then the bastard came out and shot him in the head while he was lying there suffering and crying. That man had a whole lot of hate in him and caused our family a lot of suffering. NA posts remind me of that.

          • avatar Harley says:

            Wow, I’m sorry to hear about your dog, that just sucks. 🙁

            • avatar Louise Kane says:

              Its one of those things that you never forget, long time ago or not. Some of those posts reminded me of the posture, attitude and hard cold stony blackness I saw in the man who killed our dog.

          • avatar Harley says:

            I mean, I know it was a long time ago but it still sucks.

            • avatar Nature Advocate says:

              louise kane,

              I don’t care how repulsed and offended and horrified you are by my words and our now collective need to extirpate every free-roaming cat from existence.

              I assure you that billions of native animals every year are even more greatly repulsed, offended, and horrified just before their being skinned-alive and disemboweled-alive by your values and your cats. And probably equally repulsed by you being so f***ingly ignorant and stupid to not see why cats need to be destroyed on-sight as fast as is humanly possible in order to try to catch up to their exponential breeding rates. “Hunted to Extinction” (extirpation of all free-roaming) is the only option we have to solve this. Thanks to idiots like you standing in the way, instead of you confronting those that are causing the problem. Direct your energies at cat lovers. Because shooting (and then burying or incinerating to prevent further spread of cats’ diseases) of every last free-roaming cat needs to start NOW. Or no manpower on earth will be able to destroy them all in just one year from now when it’s far too late.

              Help shoot them or get the f*** out of the way. Simple as that.

          • avatar Nature Advocate says:

            What a shame that you got your education about the world from bambi-cartoons while still living as an adult in your mommy’s basement.

            It is mandatory by law in nearly every, if not every, state of the USA to shoot any dog on sight that is seen harassing wildlife. And a property owner has EVERY RIGHT to destroy ANY animal that is threatening the well-being, safety, and health of their own self, family, animals, and property. (Minus those species on endangered or threatened species lists or under protection of MBTA (Migratory Bird Treaty Act), though variances can still be given should there be sufficient problem, but this requires further study by authorities.) This is even true in most densely populated cities and why 700-1200 fps air-rifles and pointed vermin-pellets are often advised as the solution because of firearm laws in cities.

            This is why feral dog-packs are a rarity in most rural areas. They are SHOT before things get that bad. Unfortunately, people moving to the country aren’t aware of this so they refuse to do their civic and moral duty by destroying that dog or cat that is harming other animals. I keep a paintball-gun loaded with red-pellets for any stray dogs. Stings enough to teach a teachable dog, and leaves a nice signal on their coat. The first time they get the paintball gun (and MAYBE a 2nd time too if they seem to be a well-mannered dog). If that doesn’t teach the owner and alert them to what could have REALLY happened to their dog, then out comes the rifle next time. Cats aren’t so easily forgiven, because from past experience I know that warning a cat-owner makes absolutely no difference whatsoever. They really could care less about their outdoor cats. Proved time and time and time again and again — with each and every one of their hundreds of cats that I had to shoot and bury. So out comes the rifle on the first sighting of a cat instead of the paintball-gun. Nobody has the time to put up with a cat-lover’s BS nonsense, deceptions, and lies. I most certainly learned that, the hard way.

            People in rural areas who actually care about their animals keep them confined and supervised, or they lose them — permanently. No warning, their animal just fails to return home one day and nobody knows what happened to it. You can tell who actually loves their animals in rural areas — their animals are still alive. It’s the law of the land.

            • avatar louise kane says:

              NA you know nothing about the circumstances of my dog’s death but if you had read the post you would have seen that it was the first time the dog escaped and that we were horrified precisely because this dog was a part of our family and we were worried. The dog did no harm to wildlife, to the owner or his property. he was a hateful, spiteful, crazy mean bastard. As much as I agree with you about the need to keep cats and invasive species from devastating native populations of animals, I abhor your dialogue and am repulsed by your thinking and vendetta against cats.

            • avatar Harley says:

              I agree with your all you’ve said Louise. People do need to be responsible pet owners. The diatribe that has been spewing forth regarding the need to eliminate cats is offensive. The arrogance is equally as offensive.

            • avatar WM says:

              Nature Advocate,

              ++It is mandatory by law in nearly every, if not every, state of the USA to shoot any dog on sight that is seen harassing wildlife. And a property owner has EVERY RIGHT to destroy ANY animal that is threatening the well-being, safety, and health of their own self, family, animals, and property.++

              ???????? Horse pucky!

              You now a lawyer, too? If you are, you are not a very good one. In most states, to my knowledge, if you go around shooting and killing dogs, at least those which have no history of being feral or a safety threat to a property owner (without verifiable proof), as in only temporarily escaped from its owner, you may be subject to a civil claim for monetary damages for the value of the animal that is killed. Of course, the dog owner may be liable for property damage the dog causes. A self-defense argument for killing a dog is just that- a defense against a claim of damages for shooting the dog and destroying the property of the owner.

              Furthermore, if a dog is harassing wildlife it is not the independent duty of a private citizen to kill the animal or otherwise deal with it. In fact that may be a misdemeanor, itself. That is the job of law enforcement – animal control, wildlife agency sheriff, etc. Usually, those are fact specific situations, and dogs are not killed by law enforcement unless as a last resort. Again, some private citizen idiot who does this leaves himself open to a claim for damages if he kills the dog (and is caught).

              In any case, go around shooting somebody’s dog and there is the often unpredictable response from the dog owner, who just might do something just as dumb. Seems I remember an incident not too long ago where some guy’s dog got into a chicken coop and killed a bunch. The coop owner shot the dog, and the dog owner knifed the dog killer. Stupid as stupid does. A bunch of citations for misdemeanors and criminal charges are written up. So, then it gets sorted out in court. In that instance a claim for dead chickens by one guy, and a dead dog by the other. In criminal court, one guy get melicious destruction of property and the other attempted murder. Each side pays out alot in attorney fees, and wastes court time. Then one guy goes to jail on the taxpayer dime, while his kids get carted off to social services and he loses his house for the costs of his legal fees, damages and the job he can’t do while in jail.

              Stupid is as stupid does.

              I think I will go back to ignore mode, now.

            • avatar Nature Advocate says:

              WM, it’s PRECISELY why ignorant people like you get their dogs shot in the country. Spread some more of your ignorance around. You know what’s going to come of what you just stated? More people thinking they can let dogs run free = more dogs shot on sight.

              Your ignorance does wonders. Not any kind of wonders that you’d hope for though.

            • avatar Nature Advocate says:

              WM, Here’s just NYS law about cats and dogs for starters, each state having similar laws. Many don’t even require the person to have a hunting license as NYS does. And in the case of dogs the dog doesn’t even have to be on the shooters’ property to put it down. Any dog hunting out of season, and not under control of the hunter with a license to do so, is destroyed on-site. NYS laws are extremely restrictive compared to most other states. (I just happened to have these handy, for example, when trying to educate a NYS resident even more ignorant than you are.)

              § 11-0529. Cats hunting birds; dogs pursuing deer or killing other wildlife in certain areas.

              1. Any person over the age of twenty-one years possessing a hunting license may, and environmental conservation officers and peace officers,acting pursuant to their special duties, or police officers shall humanely destroy cats at large found hunting or killing any protected wild bird or with a dead bird of any protected species in its possession.

              2. Every environmental conservation officer, forest ranger and member
              of the state police may kill any dog (a) pursuing or killing deer within
              the Adirondack or Catskill parks, at any time; (b) pursuing or killing
              any game or wildlife on a state-owned game farm or wildlife refuge; or
              (c) pursuing or killing any game or wildlife on a state-owned or leased
              wildlife management area, except a dog being legally used for hunting
              small game or for dog training.

              3. Every park patrolman, park ranger and member of the state police,
              county police and town police may kill any dog pursuing or killing deer
              within any state park or state park reservation at any time.

              4. At any time (a) any environmental conservation officer, dog warden,
              forest ranger or member of the state police, anywhere in the state, (b)
              any member of any town police within the limits of the town of which
              such member is an officer, (c) any member of the Westchester County
              Parkway police on any park, parkway or reservation owned or controlled
              by the county of Westchester or (d) any member of a police force or
              department of any county, city, town or village in which such member has
              jurisdiction and is regularly employed may kill any dog pursuing or
              killing deer and any coyote killing a domestic animal.

              5. No action for damages shall lie against any authorized person for
              the killing of a cat, dog or coyote as provided in this section.

              (Note: any person “authorized” to kill animals includes those who can buy rat-poison or snap-traps on their grocery store shelves, or the 3-12 year old who can go fishing legally without a license. (“‘Authority’ is not something that someone else has. It is something that you have freely, foolishly, ignorantly, and irresponsibly given away — all by your stupid little self.”))

              Now what I wonder is … just how many dogs and cats are being shot to death today because YOU let people think it was okay to let their pets run free without immediate and fatal consequence. I hope you can sleep well after you realize how many hundreds or thousands of people’s pets that you got shot to death today and every day from now on from you spewing your ignorant words.

              Go watch some more bambi-cartoons. We’re talking about real-world issues, not your desired pet-the-pussy imaginings while sitting there in your feety-pajamas and sucking down cheerios.

            • avatar Nature Advocate says:

              (re-posted to the correct thread, my browser not lending itself well to this layout for nested responses)

              louise kane,

              I don’t care how repulsed and offended and horrified you are by my words and our now collective need to extirpate every free-roaming cat from existence.

              I assure you that billions of native animals every year are even more greatly repulsed, offended, and horrified just before their being skinned-alive and disemboweled-alive by your values and your cats. And probably equally repulsed by you being so f***ingly ignorant and stupid to not see why cats need to be destroyed on-sight as fast as is humanly possible in order to try to catch up to their exponential breeding rates. “Hunted to Extinction” (extirpation of all free-roaming) is the only option we have to solve this. Thanks to idiots like you standing in the way, instead of you confronting those that are causing the problem. Direct your energies at cat lovers. Because shooting (and then burying or incinerating to prevent further spread of cats’ diseases) of every last free-roaming cat needs to start NOW. Or no manpower on earth will be able to destroy them all in just one year from now when it’s far too late.

              Help shoot them or get the f*** out of the way. Simple as that.

            • avatar WM says:

              Nature Advocate,

              I expect you won’t understand most of this, but I will try anyway.

              First off, I was commenting about the legal liability that potentially arises from a private citizen shooting DOGS. You ought to re-read what I said. I did not mention cats at all. Cats are treated differently under the law than dogs in most states, from my understanding, and may be shot or otherwise removed under certain circumstances I will not venture to summarize here.

              Second, what I said regarding dogs is accurate and to my understanding reflects the law in most states, including your cite to New York statutes (I will presume for discussion purposes you cited them properly and they are current law). Incidentally, you better re-read the material you posted. A private citizen does not appear to be authorized to kill dogs harassing wildlife; only various law enforcement types are EXPRESSLY identified in the statute, and in only in some types of reserves. The statute enumerates those authorized and where, in clauses 1-5. And, it appears only those with statutory authority will be indemnified from claims by dog owners (A VERY important point you should understand but probably won’t).

              Unless there is another section of the NYS you did not cite, there are no other “authorized” persons who can avoid liability for killing dogs (subject to certain legal defenses for civil tort claim monetary damages). Again, cats are a different matter.

              Fact situations differ, so dogs may be killed by law enforcement officers at their discretion (in practice that sometimes/usually means a dog will not be killed unless circumstances warrant). There is nothing MANDATORY about it.

              Last, and this is important, I do not advocate cats or dogs running wild. Some do, and that is unfortunate. My comments on this forum are consistent with the view that they should not run wild; cats should stay indoors and dogs on immediate voice command. People who do not follow those simple rules put their pets at risk, and they assume that risk at the peril of the lives of their pets. That is a big responsibility in my view.

              And, the fact that there are people like you out there, suggest folks would be wise to not let their animals run free, or maybe go anywhere near you, wherever you are.

              __________

              I am grateful the forum webmaster has suggested you post elsewhere, for good reason.

            • avatar WM says:

              Correction: ++…And, it appears only those with statutory authority will be IMMUNE (not indemnified) from claims by dog owners (A VERY important point you should understand but probably won’t).++

      • avatar Nature Advocate says:

        Destroying cats is NOT hating cats nor a fear of cats.

        Why do mentally-unbalanced and psychotic cat-advocates always presume that if someone is removing a highly destructive, deadly disease spreading, human-engineered invasive-species from the native habitat to restore it back into natural balance that they must hate that organism? Does someone who destroys Zebra Mussels, Kudzu, African Cichlids, Burmese Pythons, Brown Tree Snakes, or any of the other myriad destructive invasive-species have some personal problem with that species? (Many of which are escaped PETS that don’t even spread any harmful diseases, unlike cats.) Your ignorance and blatant biases are revealed in your declaring that people who destroy cats must somehow hate or fear cats. Nothing could be further from the truth.

        It is people who let a destructive invasive-species roam free that tortures-to-death all other wildlife that have zero respect for 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 you let cats roam free you are violating every animal-abandonment, animal-neglect, animal-endangerment, and invasive-species law in existence.

        If people DO hate cats today, 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.

        In summation: 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.

      • avatar aves says:

        Your comparison of free-roaming cats and livestock is spot on. We are not only irresponsible in what we do but what we allow our domesticated animals to do.

  13. avatar CodyCoyote says:

    I really don’t think I’m willing to let 50 carefree cats in Athens Georgia ( home of the B-52’s happy pop rockers ) to overinfluence the debate on Man’s relationship with Cats going back 4500 years , videos or not.

    My cat Spook told me to say that . He rules.

  14. avatar HAL 9000 says:

    JB,
    The cat’s out of the bag, now, isn’t it? I appreciate this lively exchange, and all the points of view, though I’m not sure I’ve formed a solid opinion yet.

    I’ve not owned cats for many years (one of the kids is deathly allergic to them.) These posts have given me plenty to ponder if/when I do get another one.

    Speaking of Athens bands, R.E.M. was from there as well.

    • avatar Nature Advocate says:

      Your information about T. gondii is so full of holes, misconceptions, and misleading misinformation that I had to stop reading it halfway through.

      Please educate yourself before you attempt to educate others.

      • avatar Nancy says:

        “Please educate yourself before you attempt to educate others”

        Nature Advocate – appreciate the advice. Now do some of us a favor here and chill out, please?

  15. avatar WM says:

    Nature Advocate,

    You might just slow down on the 130+ wpm typing of which you unashamedly boast, your dismissal of those who disagree with you, stop using foils as “teaching aids,” and concentrate on the logic and syntax of your thinking.

    Because if you have it all figured out, without questioning the weak points of your logic and maybe admitting to some, this crowd will chew your sorry ass to shreds.

    • avatar Nature Advocate says:

      I wasn’t born on this earth to play nor win any little girls’ popularity contests. I’ve never been that emotionally insecure in life.

      I outgrew the need for approval of others by the age of 5 (a precocious child to be sure). After asking adults questions to which even their most “enlightened” had no answers, I realized that even at that age, I was on my own in this one, in trying to solve all the blatant stupidity and hypocrisy of humans.

      I tell it like it is. If people don’t like that? That’s THEIR problem. Boo-hoo, so-sad, too bad. i.e. Sucks to be you!

  16. avatar Mike says:

    I’d worry more about poaching, the effect of massive hunting seasons, and the 20 million birds and animals killed by lead bullet poisoning every year than I would cats.

    • avatar Mike says:

      The point is, worry about what we can control. Cats are going to be cats.

      I keep mine inside, and only let them out supervised.

      • avatar Harley says:

        Mike,

        Yay, common ground!

      • avatar TC says:

        That’s an inane argument. What we cannot control is the behavior of other human beings – hunters, poachers, bunny hugging nutjobs, politicians, most anyone other than yourself. Short of killing humans or locking them up, most of us will do what we will do. What we CAN control is the behavior of cats and their access to wildlife. I should quit this thread – it’s annoying me and making me cranky.

        I do not understand how some of you, avowed (and sometimes over the top) wildlife advocates seem to shrug off an introduced, invasive, non-native species killing native wildlife. How this one gets a “pass” when very few other things (again, Mike, with the slam on hunters, how novel) ever get a “pass”. It’s so illogical as to be astounding.

        • avatar ma'iingan says:

          “It’s so illogical as to be astounding.”

          Welcome to Mike’s World.

        • avatar JB says:

          I don’t know if I got lumped into the ‘some of you crowd’, but my logic is simply this: everything involves tradeoffs. The city block where I live is covered in non-native grasses and plants; many (if not most) of the birds are non-native invasives, and there are numerous dogs, cats and other native carnivores (e.g. racoons) that are well-adapted to people. If I drive 30 minutes in any direction I will be in farm country where, again, most of the areas are planted monocultures with genetically-engineered, non-native crop species. So the fact that non-native cats inhabit these lands is not necessarily problematic. If and where they have negative (non-compensatory) impacts, then I fully support efforts (lethal and otherwise) to control there populations. Where they don’t have these types of impacts, I think our money is better spent on other efforts.

  17. avatar Immer Treue says:

    How about windows and birds? During the past few days I heard one thump, then saw a yellow-rumped warbler fly away after another thump, and then fast moving something (hmong bird?) fly off after a glancing blow. Hopefully all survivors.

    Doubt cats would last long if running loose up here, there are things in the night that will eat them.

    • avatar Nancy says:

      Immer – know of a few cabins in my area (high ceilings, BIG sections of windows) that dozens of birds fly into every year.

      I was at a place a couple of years ago doing some work and it sounded like someone was taking pot shots at the cabin, discovered a short while later, the sound was birds flying into the windows.

      Little bodies littered the area just outside the windows. Some were just stunned and did manage to fly off but others had broken necks.

      Seems to happen more often in late summer, when birds are gathering for migration.

      Suggested to the “seldom there” owner he might temporarily, drape a mesh screen just under the eves, over the windows but that idea went over like a “lead balloon”

      Seems like so many places being built today (especially out here – high ceilings, lots of windows, translation – views) don’t have the benefit of a screen on those windows to cushion birds who accidently fly into them.

      • avatar Immer Treue says:

        Nancy,

        Screens make a difference. My cabin has a low peak and pitch, but we just put new windows in, and it was such a mess, the screens went in last. Hopefully that will help.

        • avatar louise kane says:

          screens help and or also you can hang something, even something small in the window inside or outside. I had two birds fly into a large window. Its a terrible thing to see and think that you are responsible for. a wind chime like hanging thing has stopped all kamakazie like deaths.

          • avatar WM says:

            A long used standby is a black silhouette of a raptor in a corner of a window. Cheap, no hassle to put up and they look kind of neat.

            • avatar aves says:

              Hawk silhouettes are often used but do not really work, the birds don’t mistake the silhouettes for real raptors and they don’t block off enough of the window.

            • avatar WM says:

              aves,

              You sound like you know lots about this stuff. That’s great. What about the new energy efficient low-E double windows being put in houses now, that have slight green tint and repel UV? Do they deter birds?

            • avatar Kathleen says:

              To WM: No, the low-E windows don’t deter birds. We have them and they are very reflective.

            • avatar aves says:

              WM,
              Unfortunately not. The tinted glass has little effect and in the windows I’ve seen you almost need to look at a bit of an angle to see more than a trace of green. Glass with UV patterns or reflectivity don’t typically work because they need very strong contrast to help birds, there’s no real standard for UV claims and they’re not designed with birds in mind. There’s a big market out there for bird friendly glass and so far few manufacturers are jumping on it, though Ornilux is one (http://ornilux.com/).

      • avatar skyrim says:

        Solar screens or solar shades is the answer. They are basically a fabric shade made in a screen frame that has no reflective element that the birds view as air space.
        A variety of colors that can actually match the exterior and do not inhibit the view from inside. Terrific uv blockage for hot southern climates with the added benefit for wayward birdies. They work great!

    • avatar aves says:

      It is important to recognize that bird strikes often go undetected when people aren’t home to hear or see the strike, when injured birds creep off to hide and recover, and when predators can pick off injured or dead birds. So what many view as solutions are not really solutions.

      Research has shown that whatever is placed on windows must by only 4 inches apart to be statistically effective. Anything that leaves more than 4 inches of open window will still kill birds. So most of the window must by blocked off not just a spot here and there.

      One of the most effective solutions is clear UV tape from 3M which will cover entire windows and once applied can be seen by birds but not by humans:

      http://www.3m.com/us/mfg_industrial/indtape/polymask/html/uvprotection.html

      There are also smaller pieces of tape sold by The American Bird Conservancy but they need to be spaced properly over the entire window as this link with video details:

      http://abcbirdtape.org/

      • avatar skyrim says:

        For the record:
        The shades referenced in my post cover the entire window. No glass is exposed on the exterior of the building if all windows are treated with the product.

    • avatar Mike says:

      Up to 40% of semi-rural (I consider this midwest farmland) and urban coyote diets is cats. So when you start shooting coyotes (like most of the gun-toting idiots that drive around the countryside), you remove another brick in the ecosystem wall.

      • avatar Cobra says:

        Mike,
        So what if they’re shooting cats? Another brick put back in the wall? Man, you never miss taking a shot at people who own guns or hunt. Looks like hunters numbers are up a bit from 2006.

        • avatar Nancy says:

          Hand up here and waving 🙂

          In my area…….rural, cats either learn to co-exist with wild predators or they don’t exist.

          Most feral cats (some even come in once in awhile and claim a human) can be found close by and around livestock operations where grains are stored – grains that attract mice.

          And, most people who live in rural areas and raise livestock have no problem with feral/barn cats, breeding and re-populating/re-stocking because they do have a way of keeping mice populations to a minimum.

          Sad but true. Cow dogs and their lot in life on a ranching operation, are just a notch above barn cats.

        • avatar Immer Treue says:

          Cobra,

          Not to enter the banter, but Mike said shooting coyotes.

        • avatar Mike says:

          Only hillbillies shoot cats.

  18. avatar Mina says:

    Having had 4 cats over the last 20 years, my cats were all spayed, and I NEVER let them outdoors. They are domestic animals, they don’t belong roaming the streets. There is plenty of food in the house, and, so they don’t have to hunt for their food. I strongly disagree with any “cat lover” who let’s their cats roam outdoors. It’s irresponsible, and if you really “love” your cat, why would you risk it’s life to a predator, a cat hater, and traffic? Keep your cats in the house!

    • avatar Immer Treue says:

      Mina,

      You said it!

      I remember cautioning someone in the distant past about leaving food out for feral cats. I told her she not only wasn’t doing the cats a favor, but she was also drawing in SKUNKS, raccoons, and the occasional opossum. She sneered at me to mind my own business. Education did not save the day in that case.

  19. avatar Kathleen says:

    Kitty Cams and PR Scams – well-researched and linked to sources
    http://www.voxfelina.com/2012/08/kittycam-reveals-high-levels-of-wildlife-being-killed-by-outdoor-cats/

    Fatal Light Awareness Program (FLAP)
    http://www.flap.org/
    offers an excellent page on what homeowners can do to reduce bird/window collisions (and also addresses deterrent myths) http://www.flap.org/residential.php

  20. avatar Nancy says:

    http://www.flap.org/residential.php

    VERY informative site Kathleen! Thanks for posting it.

  21. avatar louise kane says:

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/canine-corner/201002/personality-differences-between-dog-and-cat-owners

    this cat discussion is amazing. Now there is another animal behind wolves and coyotes that may be more loved and hated. as a big dog lover (German Shepherds, Akitas and Sib Huskies looking like wolves) who also loves all animals (wild or otherwise) and including cats, I found this interesting.

  22. avatar louise kane says:

    Aves this thread has gotten confusing what comment is directed to me?

    • avatar aves says:

      It has indeed gotten confusing, I didn’t realize how far down my comment would end up from yours.

      I was agreeing with your earlier comparison of free-roaming cats and livestock, about how it’s people’s responsibility to reduce the resulting conflict with wildlife.

  23. avatar louise kane says:

    aves got it thanks for clarification

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‎"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earthmovers, government and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behaviour."

~ Edward Abbey

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