I love all animals and I am involved with rescue of many types of pets and wildlife. But, I do not beolieve that cats should be treated as wild animals and be allowed to roam.
Taking Aim at Outdoor Cats
Assemble a group of bird lovers and cat lovers in a room, and it's a sure bet feathers will likely fly (pun intended).
There are few nature-related subjects that elicit more response and prompt more passionate emotion than the debate about free-roaming and feral cats and their impact on U.S. songbird-and game bird-populations.
These days, when a writer accurately reports that millions of birds are killed annually by outdoor cats, more often than not cat supporters by the hundreds immediately rally to the defense of pet cats allowed to run freely, in addition to those abandoned or homeless (feral) cats that live outdoors year 'round.
Until recently, few organizations or individuals dared to condemn the well-meaning but misdirected Trap, Neuter and Return (TNR) programs implemented by some cities and municipalities that capture feral cats, then turn them loose again after inoculation and sterilization.
American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is one of the few conservation groups that fully grasps the irrationality of TNR programs and hasn't been afraid to say it. The organization produces videos, fact sheets and launched a Keep Your Cat Indoors campaign back in 1997.
In December 2009, a superior court judge ruled in favor of a coalition of conservation groups, including ABC, to halt the practice of TNR of feral cats in the City of Los Angeles, pending environmental review.
A 2010 peer-reviewed University of Nebraska-Lincoln report, Feral Cats and Their Management, put the annual economic loss from feral cat predation on birds in the U.S. at $17 billion.
In a column last spring, Worcester (Mass.) Telegram & Gazette outdoors columnist Mark Blazis didn't pull any punches. While noting cats are not native to America, Blazis called for a national educational effort to significantly change long-ingrained habits of pet owners who assume their right of ownership to let their cats roam free.
"They need to know they are killing with their permissive kindness," Blazis wrote.
According to Blazis, the ABC and others, an estimated 80 million feral cats currently roam the U.S. outdoors. Studies show that Wisconsin alone annually loses somewhere between 17 million to 30 million songbirds to outdoors felines. Nationally, feral and domestic cats annually kill between 100 million to 300 million songbirds in America, with some estimates placing that number closer to 1 billion.
In 2005, 57 percent of the 12,000-member Wisconsin Conservation Congress voted to support a proposal to allow hunters to kill feral cats in an effort to protect game birds and songbirds from predatory stray felines. Then-Gov. Jim Doyle's office was inundated with letters and e-mails from angry cat lovers, and he subsequently caved to pressure, announcing he'd never sign a bill allowing open season on free-roaming cats.
The proposal was subsequently dropped.
You see, there's no such thing as middle ground in the debate about cats in the outdoors.
- J.R. Absher Editor, The Birding Wire
Published in The Birding Wire, Swarovski Optik, January 16, 2013.
Absolutely! The animal has no fault in such matters. Dominic, I love your devotion to animals and sensitivity to humans.
That is a wonderful story! I would so love to have you as my neighbor!
Dominic, quite correct. Even animals respond to gentle, kind, compassionate care. What about reptiles; I suppose it is just a matter of management. Can't manage other's kids, cats, or dogs, perhaps.
Realy creative neighbour dealing but I will still take Joan as a nice little lady.
It's a wonderful picture. I wish it were the reality of really happens. The other issue is the poor lives of cats allowed to live on their own, even with supplemental feeding.
I agree, feral animals have no place in a city without proper fencing. We are now having a situation on the other end of the teeter-totter. Our next door neighbor has a beautiful Rot-Lab mix in a small city lot, and he is so neurotic, it is painful to watch him. His name is Madden, and the neighbors all complain about his barking and fierce howling. I go over to calm him but he isn't barking at anything that we can see, he just races back and forth and looks mean when I approach. Obviously, I don't stick my hand in the beautiful, expensive fence his owners built.
My daughter lives in the country 50.1 miles from my front door. They have a Lab + ? and the same age. Dominic is his name. We got him a year ago on December 24 at the county animal shelter. He is so docile, has 17 acres of fenced land to run in and is as gentle as can be, even with my youngest great-grandchildren. He learned how to open the outside door to come in by himself, and the family taught him to close the door when he is inside. He can't manage opening to go out; the door swings the wrong way. He barks only when something needs attention.
Poor Madden, my heart just weeps for that poor dog.
Here is Dominic waiting for my daughter to finish getting dressed:
I hope that everyone is clear that it is Dominic the dog and not Dominic the person, who is peering under the door watching a young lady get dressed. I would never watch a young lady getting dressed. LOL
I didn't even think of that! Oh, I am sorry Dominic - the person!
What a lovely photo Amer!. Look at those sweet faces of the girl and cat, even the birds seem to feel safe.
I have 22 or so cats. My DOGS kill a lot more wild life, I think...or, at leaswt wildlife that I can see uneaten...opposums, raccoons, recently a beaver...and the local he-men hunters kill deer and coyote and anything that moves for fun. Leave the cats alone! Birds can fly. Survival of the smartest or better-seeing!
Are these "22 or so" cats that were rescued off the street, or are they a colony being allowed to reproduce while hundreds of thousands are killed in shelters.
Tell me where in nature would you find "22 or so" bobcats, living in one area, never moving because of supplemental feeding, and destroying the wildlife in that area.
Sounds like your dogs and cats are allowed to be just as destructive to the environment as humans and their irresponsible and could care less attitudes.
And although someone out there is going to tell me about their 20 yr old free roaming cat, how many cats live to a healthy ripe old age, while being allowed to roam?
And am I to understand that cats should be allowed to kill what they want, because you have assholes in your area who kill for fun?
There are laws against dogs roaming off leash, especially if they are killing other animals. In some places it pertains to cats also.
I can tell you that although I have three cats and have had up to eight, any cat who comes through my property is in danger of being trapped and sent to the shelter. The first reason is that I'm protecting wildlife from a non-native species. But the second is that I am saving that cat from a short miserable life of parasites and disease, as well as its unfortunate future kittens.