Cats are ruining our ecosystem, yet we fight to keep the problem persisting
I have always been invested in this topic, both emotionally and logically, and I can't ignore things that are clearly wrong. I am certainly not a rabbit or song-bird crazy person, opting to prefer less conventionally-adored animals like bugs and snakes.
Yet things that result in abuse that are also so patently unnecessary (like fur), drive me up the wall.
To add to the piling research of past domestic cat predation studies, as well as flat out common sense (which is ironically, uncommon) another ‘captain obvious’ report has emerged with attention-grabbing results to support what I’ve been complaining about for years now.
Domesticated cats are an invasive species and are an extreme danger to wildlife.
I find this heavily ironic as an exotic pet owner, who has been told by numerous people that I should not have the animals that I have, and that I should just get a domesticated animal like a cat (unspecified if adopted or purchased).
Animal rights groups also, among many hyperbolic criticisms, point out that exotic animals pose a great threat to our ecosystem and purport that citizens should stick to supporting the domesticated animal trade.
As a result, many states have enacted complete bans of animal species being kept as pets.
Cats vs. Exotic Pets
It is amazing to consider that while many smaller animals which have no convincing data on their potential to become an invasive species are scrutinized and banned, no bans or regulations exist for a well-established, scientifically-proven invasive species.
Unbelievably, there are also no laws against permitting owners of these invasive animals to allow their animals to roam at large, which results in the violation of rights of non-cat owners (or responsible cat owners that restrict their pets to their own property). Roaming cats are vectors for disease, a detriment to the environment, and they often annoy people and may destroy or contaminate their property.
To put things into perspective, it is currently legal for me to buy a cat and set it free outside, fixed or not, in all of the states, yet in some places it is not legal to own ferrets, gerbils, and other 'exotic animals' that will remain exclusively indoors and will not pose a disease threat to anyone outside of that household.
Thank you NY Times and BBC, you actually got it right for once
- BBC News - Cats killing billions of animals in the US
Cats are killing billions of birds and other animals in the US each year, a new study suggests.
A pet cat torturing a small lizard
The new study reveals that cats (including feral cats) are responsible for the deaths of a median of 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion mammals a year. Apparently these kill rates are 2-4 times higher than originally believed, although it's not like any of that matters.
2.4 million, 1 million, 1,000, even 200 dead animals as a result of pet cats is not acceptable. Feral cats are at least killing to survive, but their populations are obviously out of control.
The article states that cats as a whole are "one of the single greatest human-linked threats to wildlife in the nation. More birds and mammals die at the mouths of cats than from automobile strikes, pesticides and poisons, collisions with skyscrapers and windmills".
These claims are unsurprisingly being denied by the special interest group 'Alley Cat Allies' and various cat lovers (emphasis on cat lover, they are not animal or nature lovers).
It should be firmly understood that no such evidence will ever convince individuals who believe cats deserve special treatment over all other animals that sometimes the right thing to do isn't always the most emotionally favorable. In many cases, and probably most cases, cats should be humanely euthanized. Only where TnR (the process of actually releasing cats back into the environment) is PROVEN to be effective would it make sense to compromise with this. Most cat lovers will not hear of it.
Neutering an invasive species
TNR, which stands for trap, neuter, and release, is a popular practice that causes mostly well-meaning (although naïve) animal caretakers to re-place captured, invasive, free-roaming feral cats back into the environment for a short 2-3 year lifespan of stress.
While TNR methods may assuage the emotional resilience people have toward euthanasia against cats, the result is the inhumane deaths of native wildlife.
TNR workers often cite that the 'vacuum effect' (more cats will replace the ones removed) will make humane euthanasia ineffective and TNR a better option. I theorize that perhaps this method might work for some locations where the cat populations are not numerous, but how long are we expected to maintain invasive predators until they will supposedly disappear?
More research is needed to examine the long term effects of TNR practices (any study suggesting TNR's ineffectiveness will be denied by Ally Cat Allies; they will probably cite that a researcher in the study is not credible because they have a bad haircut), as it is with little doubt that they do result in significant predation, and this would only be acceptable if the alternative did not result in any difference of these numbers.
Birds, wildlife = free pet food/toys for outdoor cat owners
Cat lovers in denial
Becky Robinson of Alley Cat Allies has released this article entitled 'How Important is the Cat vs. Bird Debate When Millions of Cats Are Dying in Shelters?'. Really? This title essentially reads, "who cares about birds and wildlife dying when cats are dying?" A wonderful and sad example of the entitlement complex that many cat owners possess. Ally cat allies calls this study "junk science" because it involved individuals who used common sense to actually see that excessive cat predation is destructive.
Free-Roaming Pet Cats
If I had my way, this would be considered to be a crime and a case of pet neglect.
While the practice of releasing owned pets into the environment may have reasonably stemmed from owners of farmland to protect barns and crops from the consumption habits of the small rodent population, people did not evolve, mentally, to consider that doing the same thing in an urban or suburban environment is not only dangerous for their pets, but it serves no purpose other then for bored pets to entertain themselves by killing wild animals while sporting full stomachs.
Unlike the feral cats, that are at least trying to survive, pet cats kill for 'fun' and will also often play with and torture the animals they capture. Even escaped prey will succumb to the germs in the teeth of the animals, and I have experienced this first hand.
I have heard bizarre and ridiculous excuse, after bizarre and ridiculous excuse that cat owners have given to justify this practice: “Cats are wildlife”, “it’s cruel to keep cats indoors”, “cats need to hunt”, and several variations. But the worst one is a blatant straw man: "habitat loss or some other human activity kills more animals".
Apparently, this means that any issue that accompanies another issue should be ignored. Exercising that logic, I can suggest that a person who is found guilty of poisoning outdoor cats should not be charged with anything because disease kills more cats.
In addition, cat owners when confronted with this common sense idea often become vitriolic and celebratory of the fact that their pets are killing and torturing animals. Amazingly, people of this mentality are often the first to proclaim that I am unethical for caring for non-domesticated animals.
Should Domesticated Cats be Banned?
Domestic felines are ravaging the highly specialized ecosystem of New Zealand, causing some people to actually call for a ban on the new ownership of the animals and for castration of currently owned pets. While the specialized endemic wildlife of that nation are of special concern, the birds, reptiles, and small mammals of the United States are also jeopardized.
Let’s review some of the situations of escaped exotic pet populations that received much attention within the last five years and compare the threat of the presence of these animals to that of the cat conflict.
Burmese pythons have been receiving a lot of attention lately due to their presence in the Florida Everglades. Many activists frequently cite this as an example of the threat that pet exotic animals pose.
While the populations of these serpents were ‘estimated’ to be around 100,000, thousands of snake hunters who were dispatched to kill as many of the animals as possible were able to round up 30 snakes over the course of weeks.
In addition, most of these snakes were genetically tested and shown to have likely originated from a single location—a snake breeding facility that was destroyed during Hurricane Andrew.
Cats are nearly established in the ecosystem, and many species are continually threatened or have gone extinct due to their presence. Cats, unlike pythons, adapt well to all climates.
Free-roaming pet cats also frequently annoy people who have gardens, bird feeders, and pets that may be affected by them. I have even seen a case on Judge Judy where a free-roaming cat clawed the eye out of a leashed dog, read as these cat owners justify bird-killing with statements such as: " I think that in about 99.9% of the USA cats run free" in defense of the defendant.
Cats are the most significant pet animal problem
Domesticated cats are a significant problem in every state, with a high dispersal rate that certainly no snake could ever hope to enjoy.
Domesticated feral cats, in their short life lifespan, are highly efficient predators, and obviously exceed the carrying capacity of the wild environment.
While I have no definitive evidence, I have seen the disappearance of rabbits in my area correlate with the arrival of a few cats.
At minimum, the practice of free-roaming owned, pet cats should be completely banned. There are not many situations that require bans, yet free ranging cats qualifies for its overtly ridiculous violations of all sensible pet owning standards.
In addition to the fact that wildlife does not need assistance from owned pets in decimating their numbers unnecessarily, it is common sense that owned animals should remain on their owner’s property or supervised off of it, just like the standards for domesticated dogs or any other pet.
It is rather preposterous that cat owners let their pets out, then complain of other people, coyotes, or poisons harming their pets.
Free-roaming pet cats are a far more significant public health issue than pets that are maintained on their owner’s property, including exotics.
Unfortunately, owners of free-roaming cats often have some of the most ridiculous, inexplicable, hateful attitudes toward the animals they are responsible for the deaths of.
I don't claim to know what feeds this mentality, but its prevalence will most likely hinder sensible reform toward this issue. Such is the way of the world.
Cat crazed? That isn't the half of it.
Tevin Woods on August 19, 2019:
I personally think that if Cat owners want their pets outside they should instead walk them like dogs.You can walk cats on a leash. That way a cat can still get their appropriate exerice and most importantly mental stimulation without need of your cat contributing to needless killing of billions of wildlife.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on January 23, 2016:
They are gross. I got 2 rabbits from my neighbor's cats. Both of those cats should be caught and euthanized, no ifs, ands or buts. I hope you have some predator that can take care of them.
B M Gunn from A Place Outside Of Time And Space...Somehow... on January 21, 2016:
I'm seething right now. I just got home from work and was about to relax with a nice sandwhich, when I heard the most appalling and pain-filled squealing noise coming from my backyard. I flew to my door, and saw a long-haired cat watching its larger, black short-haired partner, viscously murdering a rabbit. It was holding the bunneys body down with its claws, and had its fangs latched around its throat. I immediately flew to rip the door open, but we had just received a bought of freezing rain the night before ( I live in Canada) and so the latch was stuck. By the time I had forced the door open, the cat was holding what, at first observation seemed to be an ear, in its mouth. My shouting was able to stun the cat, and the rabbit flew underneath the hedge. Unfortunately, both cats followed close behind. I, in the the -15 degree weather without a coat, followed the tracks. they had left a tuft of the rabbits fur (thankfully not an EAR) in the snow. Every couple yards, a drop or two of blood would be placed besides the rabbits footprints.The tracks swirled onto the road, and I lost track of them. I just got back inside fifteen minutes ago. For all I know, the rabbit is probably dead, or so severely injured that the frigid northern night will take it.
This was an adult eastern cottontail, not a baby.
I'm so frustrated with the fact that anybody with a shred of compassion would let these feral cats loose on my neibourhood. I've told some of my acquantinces before about the dangers of free roaming cats, and they always say, "oh no, fluffy here can't hunt! She's just a cute little furball".
I would like to see the look on those cat owners faces when they see the aftermath of their cats "outdoor playtime"!!!!!!
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on January 02, 2016:
Sure thing Frederick.
Frederick Minshall on January 01, 2016:
Hey Melissa...sorry for posting the above entry twice. Computer temporarily uncooperative and I didn't think the first got posted. Feel free to delete one of 'em.
Wanted to mention also that we seem to have common interests besides our antipathy to selfish, elitists "people" who value the warm and runny "feelings" they get from hoarding their precious "pets-gone-wild" over their neighbors' health, their neighbors' children's eyesight, and the continued existence of hundreds of native wildlife species.
I'm the guy in that Far Side cartoon sitting in his stuffed chair reading "All Things Cold and Slimy", LOL. Eight years ago I was given five Asian fire-bellied toads (Bombina orientalis)--a male and four females--by a reptile rescuer who couldn't find homes for them. Kept 'em in a thickly planted 10 gal tank. That tank has now become five tanks. I still have the five original toads--and their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Last week discovered tadpoles representing the 5th generation in the great-grand-toads' tank, swimming among the water lettuce. Not counting the tadpoles there are about 70 of them now.
These animals get about as big around as a quarter, but can live for 30 years. Second through fifth generations will almost certainly outlive me.
In the original tank are also about four (maybe more, they hide in the ferns) Chinese fire-bellied newts (Cynops orientalis). They've spawned at least four times and I've raised larvae to adulthood. Obtained the original animals about nine years ago. In warmer years they won't spawn.
Also have a breeding colony of northern dwarf sirens (Pseudobranchus axanthias). Original pair obtained as neonates less than 1" long about six years ago. Don't know how many there are now--have spawned at least five times.
Very secretive--they hide in the masses of Java moss, Ludwigia etc. in a 55 gal aquarium. I only see 'em during the day when three or four individuals race across the tank when they're courting, or very rarely when I put small worms in for 'em to eat.
Last reliable count I got was 14 adults, have about six recently hatched neonates in a separate tank, removed 'em as eggs, and they're nearly big enough to go back into the main tank. Adults usually don't eat their young (most of my population were hatched/raised in situ), but not taking chances. The biggest adults are about 10" long and a little bigger around than a pencil.
The sirens share the tank with a beautiful little native North American live-bearer, Heterandria formosa (so-called "least killifish"); adult females barely an inch, adult males 0.75 inch or less. They're naturally syntopic to the sirens, and don't seem to bother their eggs or neonates (the sirens probably do snag a newborn Heterandria on occasion, but I've never seen it).
The Heterandria are all descended from a single gravid female I rescued from a "feeder" tank in an Anchorage pet store in 2004. Estimated population about 200 at this time. As they lifespan is only about two years, they're the multiple-great grandchildren of the original female. Maybe if it's OK with you I'll try to post some photos sometime.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on July 29, 2015:
That's great to hear Zach. Not all cat lovers are cat crazies.
Zach Reed on July 29, 2015:
Being a cat lover myself, I never understood the whole idea of letting your cats outside to freely roam. Not only does it, like you say, put other wild animals at risk, it also puts the cat at risk of disease and serious injury as well.
All of my cats have been indoor, and they have lived long and happy lives. It also makes me sad when I see my neighbor just leave their cat outside to fend for themselves. As a result, we have started giving him actual cat food so as to make sure he has something to eat, and so as to keep him from harming the other animals in the wild.
Just a few thoughts from a cat lover like me.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on June 21, 2015:
Kill, eliminate, destroy, annihilate, dismember, disembowel, engulf, torture...whatever the heck you want to call it. It's disgusting that anyone would allow their pet to do this. Yet you are still harping on whether or not they destroy species. Something tells me you'd give a damn if I told you I allowed my dog to kill ONE CAT. Why the hell do millions/billions of wildlife not even measure up to one f_ing cat to you people? I don't have to ARGUE why it is the responsibility of a pet owner to confine their pet. Without the death, disease, and inconvenience to other humans it is still goddamn common sense. It's like arguing whether or not it's OK to set a forest on fire. IT'S INHERENTLY WRONG. I can't tolerate anymore craziness.
Stephanie on June 21, 2015:
Slaughter? Only people slaughter animals. I think humans pose more of a threat to wildlife than they do. They're cats, hunting is in their nature. Are we going to ban cars? Because i see people daily hitting birds that fly too low. Or running over countless other animals. When does it stop? I seriously doubt outdoor cats are a cause of dwindling bird or mammal numbers. Im tired of people blaming the cats and not the owners.i think mandatory bells on their collars would suffice. Like in Victoria for example it is enforced in order to protect wildlife. It seems to be working pretty well. And let's remember they are earth's creatures too. They are just doing what is natural for them and they don't deserve to be condemned for it.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on June 21, 2015:
Stephanie, the same exact way we enforce it for dogs or any other animal. If the owner chooses not to show up, easy, we give the animal to a person who actually wants it. It's inconceivable that there are people who justify the slaughter by saying they don't think any species will go extinct because of it.
Stephanie on June 21, 2015:
This is something that sounds good until you put it on paper. How will this be enforced? Will law officials follow the animal until it goes home, Will they depend on misinformation by neighbors, or will the animal be placed in a shelter until the owner shows up to be fined? What if the owner chooses not to show up? A better more functional plan would to make chipping and fixing animals mandatory at purchase/adoption. That way it will decrease feral cat populations. While i keep my cats indoors for their own safety, i do not think cats kill enough birds, mammals ect. To really diminish their numbers. I think we as humans are depleting it more than they are. Habitat loss,pollution ect. If a cat does happen to catch a bird,it is more than likely a sick one. We have many ferals,barn cats in my area and we have a wonderful array of birds, field mice, gophers,as well as foxes,bears,rabbits, ect. They aren't depleting their numbers at all. I myself only let my cat outside while on a leash, walking her with my dogs. While i don't agree with keeping cats outside personally, i do not think they should be banned from doing so.
AP on May 19, 2015:
One note Mark: wrens are very much not invasive. They do seem to be distressingly easy for cats to catch. When I was a kid, my parents had an indoor-outdoor cat, and wrens, not invasive birds, were the only birds he ever brought in (he mostly dragged in rodents and baby rabbits).
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on March 12, 2015:
It's horrifically unfair Philip.
Philip Easterly on March 12, 2015:
This is a battle that has been going on for over 20 years. Know one seems to get it or they don't give a crap, instead they ban animals that can't survive in the wild except for the lower part of the everglades, (refereeing to the addition of the new snakes to the lacy act) people are not afraid of cats and they don't understand the eco system. And yes I own a male neutered cat as well as many exotics.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on March 11, 2015:
Oh my goodness, you're right Heather! I shouldn't have written "scientifically-proven". Absolutely no science is needed to prove that cats are an invasive species. All you have to do is open your eyes and see that a non-native animal is procreating out of control in an environment it didn't evolve in. Actually, they didn't evolve anywhere. This is not a science article, so please, in the future don't make it so easy for me to disregard your stupid comments. Thanks.
Heather Joness on March 11, 2015:
Although I am a huge supporter of banning outdoor cats (if you can't keep your cat inside, you shouldn't have a cat), I had to stop reading this article when the phrase "scientifically-proven" was used. Anyone who uses this phrase doesn't understand science, and therefore shouldn't be writing about it. I believe the author had good intentions, and seemed passionate about what she was talking about. I just hope in future articles she doesn't make it so easy to disregard everything she says.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on March 10, 2015:
It's not really ironic Mark. Those birds exist in the highest amounts, therefore they compose the majority of birds caught (if that's even true). Especially pigeons, that's the main bird you'll see in the city. The cats certainly aren't scoping out rare birds just to be evil : )
Mark S. on March 10, 2015:
I concede that cats are an invasive species originally brought to the US by the colonists, and that cats being obligate carnivores will prey upon any small animals and birds they can.
HOWEVER I find it ironic that the majority of the birds that fall prey to cats; English Sparrows, Wrens, Starlings, and Pigeons are also invasive species.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on February 17, 2015:
"Sure, cats may hunt, but it's in their nature."
SO? Why is that not a good excuse to ignore feral dogs running all over the place? Oh, because you don't like dogs, you like cats. We should only allow the invasive species that appeal to you, am I right? Feral dogs are nowhere near as prevalent as feral cats in the U.S. The reason? We actually got rid of the problem before it got out of the control, probably due to rabies. This is how I know eliminating cats as an invasive species is perfectly plausible if people actually cared.
"If you want it to stop, then maybe you should ask cat owners to be more responsible with their pets."
I think I'm doing just that?
" it is not animal abuse it is called the food chain"
No, it is still cruel and it is unnecessary. The 'food chain' label changes nothing.
"illegalize free roaming cats."
In case you didn't realize we TOTALLY agree here. I want free-roaming to be 100% illegal no questions asked. So at least there's that. But the feral cats must be controlled too. In the long run this will save them all.
Taylor k. on February 17, 2015:
Cats are not the problem, you see, the cats are mostly not responsible for the depletion in wildlife near homes, dogs are larger and usually there are more dogs in a neighborhood than cats, in cities all across the a world, feral dogs have took a massive tole on the surrounding wildlife, a couple of years ago, my neighbor had to get rid of their dog because it would hunt spand kill as many as twelve small mammals and birds every night. Sure, cats may hunt, but it's in their nature. You can't just put down every single can't in the world, also if you ban them, they will be an even larger problem, considering the fact that they have adapted to urban and suburban communities, they will tend to stick there, and hunt even MORE animals in order to survive. If you want it to stop, then maybe you should ask cat owners to be more responsible with their pets. In the picture of the cat and the lizard, it is not animal abuse it is called the food chain, it happens, just because the majestic wolf tears apart the corpse of a deer, doesn't mean that that's animal abuse. The ban of cat ownership in general will not end this, it will either make it worse or critically endanger the domestic cat. The way to solve the problem is to be a more responsible pet owner, and illegalize free roaming cats. Cat owners should have a backyard for their cats to roam in, they shouldn't let their cats roam anywhere else except for their own property, also, in my opinion, everyone, except breeders, should have mustered cats.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on March 25, 2014:
Thanks Shaddie! Haven't seen you in a while.
Shaddie from Washington state on March 25, 2014:
Great great GREAT article! I keep coming back to reread this :)
Jessica Howe on January 09, 2014:
My name is Jessica and we are making a film for the BBC on cats in the UK. We are keen to address the problem of feral cats and the threat to wildlife or gardeners. If you are willing to have a chat with me please contact 01865297220 or email@example.com.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on December 23, 2013:
I think you're probably annoyed with my writing style because of some other article I wrote that you didn't agree with. I don't see anything written here that is controversial outside of those with an agenda. Are you contesting the fact that cats kill various small animals? What invasive animals do you know of that are high up on the food chain that are considered to be a non-threat to the ecosystem? The thing is, the very idea of questioning whether or not these animal have a negative impact is out of bias and wishful thinking. It's no different from people who try to downplay the snakes in the Everglades (which is my pro-exotic pet side). The burden of proof lies with people who attempt to make arguments that cats propagating and spreading everywhere is not an issue.
The articles I posted simply make sense, I am not using them as a basis for my fact stating. They are here because I am discussing the absurd reactions from cat lovers towards them. I don't consider the idea of cats hunting endangered animals debatable (or the extreme bias of TNR groups who will stop at nothing to protect cats), what is debatable is the effectiveness of TNR, the EXTENT of the negative impact of cat predation, whether or not they are essential in controlling other invasive species, ect. My articles typically don't need to rely on sources, because as you may have noticed, not all sources are correct anyway. They don't make what I'm saying anymore or less valid. The study can be wrong about the 'billions' part, but that is meaningless to me.
Maybe you should state here what you think needs to be verified by a scholarly article.
X12 on December 23, 2013:
While I agree with you on this particular subject, I'm annoyed with your style of writing. The things you post about are opinion pieces, because you fail to back up your writing with relevant sources - why should I believe you, and how are you an authority on the subject? It makes for a weak argument.
This piece is especially lacking, and the articles you posted in apparent support are ones that you claim to have "got it right for once" Why should I follow these articles from sources that aren't usually worthy? That is fairly strange, if not a bit biased.
Again, I do agree with what you are saying, but I suppose I wish it was written at a level that didn't assume you to be the authority, while your sources are only credible case-by-case. Either way, keep your cats inside folks.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on December 15, 2013:
CompassionateGirl on December 15, 2013:
Lol Melissa you are brilliant.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on December 06, 2013:
Science with you is a waste of time. You've made your decision. Your cat will never be brought indoors and you will invent an excuse even if an angel descended from the heavens and confirmed the research.
"Your vituperative and opprobrious insults doesn't gain you points as far as your intelligence and ability to debate an issue either."
Amusing and obvious use of the online dictionary to try and sound intelligent, while making several grammatical errors. I think you're done here.
synclairepbcr on December 06, 2013:
Can you read? I said:
"Shame to blame a little animal when we humans are responsible for the diminishing of entire species. I strongly disagree with your "science" and would ask you to submit proof from a scientific journal (not the NYT or BBC or FOX network) on the hypothesis that cats are an environmental hazard."
Do you understand how to cross reference scientific journals or do you just know how to ferment in your own sciolism.
Your just full of an opinion that you did not create. Using others opinions, so lacking in knowledge as you, are adds new dimension to the saying opinions are like assholes.
Your vituperative and opprobrious insults doesn't gain you points as far as your intelligence and ability to debate an issue either.
btw I do not let my cats out for their own safety and well being and I tell other owners that they should keep their pets indoors.
You must be one howling bitch to your neighbors with outside cats You might want to watch that...they know where you live.
Hold your your responses until you have some genuine compelling proof, not NYT or BBS or People magazine or rag paper ,because you are really starting to bore me. You have nothing to say without some positive scientific hypothesis to even try to make yourself look intelligent on your subject.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on December 05, 2013:
Synclarepbcr, do you think I've never heard any of that before? Try not being so biased for an animal that you enjoy. I find it hard to take anyone seriously when there is an obvious agenda behind everything they type. Wishful thinking does not make your wishes reality. Your motivation is clear from your first sentence; it matters not whether I'm blaming a "little animal" or people. In fact, I'm not blaming animals, I'm blaming people like YOU. That doesn't change that they need to be removed. I do not believe for two seconds that removing every last cat from my region would result in mice in my house. I'm lucky enough to live where feral cat infestation is not an issue and we have no issue with rodents. It is nothing but illogical to assume that every region needs loads of cats breeding out of control to balance ecosystems, which bears no resemblance to natural predator population densities. They do way more harm than 'good'. Small mammals are food sources for native animals.
"The other argument that cats spread disease is almost not worthy of addressing."
Why, of course it's not!
Furthermore, I do not need YOUR PET to save me from rodents. It's shockingly absurd that you would insinuate that the world is in perfect balance by the random numbers of neglectful, selfish people that choose to release their well-fed pets. It should be illegal for your ignorance to force me to put up with some free-ranging pets.
synclarepbcr on December 05, 2013:
Shame to blame a little animal when we humans are responsible for the diminishing of entire species. I strongly disagree with your "science" and would ask you to submit proof from a scientific journal (not the NYT or BBC or FOX network) on the hypothesis that cats are an environmental hazard. To be correct it would be the lack of predatory animals that would cause an environmental hazard. Cats control the threat of vermin (mice,rats etc) that multiply at an alarming rate as well as the birds that would, left unchecked, would destroy your home as well as crap all over your house and car leaving fecal bio-hazard.
Cats have been a part of the ecosystem for long enough that nature has evolved a natural balance in adaptation for the cats. Remove the cats now and the small mammals would no longer have a natural predator to control their population.
There is far more cruelty in nature than a cat getting a small mammal. Crying over it shows narrow mindedness and a lack of education in the ways of nature.
And cats don't observe boundaries and no one could expect a naturally inquisitive animal like a cat to do so. Only trained rats and confined for life animals observe boundaries. Where is our so called compassion for animals if we throw a hissy fit because the neighbors cat is in your yard. It's a petty concern coming from petty anal retentive people.
The other argument that cats spread disease is almost not worthy of addressing. Anyone who thinks that I would suggest they take biology classes at a good university. Cat's do not steal babies breath either. Even if the cat is sick it is impossible for the sickness to spread inter-species (in other words humans can't get cat diseases, it's impossible.)
The cats in your yard and neighborhood are doing humans a favor by keeping the rodent and other small mammal population down. All the animals cats kill would be considered nuisance animals if overpopulated. Cats are an integral part of the natural balance
Certain species of bird population are diminishing, but I know it's due to our polluting of the environment and our intrusion on their natural habitat. Easy to scapegoat the cats. We are killing numbers of animals by logging alone. Worry about the big picture of the environments WE destroy, not a few silly little cats. They couldn't begin to do the damage we do to other animals even if there were 50 great hunter cats in every yard across America.
supertoastfairy on August 01, 2013:
They don't really seem interested in leaving our boundaries, that I have observed anyway. I've had a small camera on their collars once, they don't really enjoy being at the fence. They much prefer swimming in my small pool. I guess they're just quirky. :/
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on August 01, 2013:
Unfortunately, there is evidence that putting bells on cats makes them better hunters,as they learn to stalk more quietly. The only way to know for sure would be to put a camera on their collar, they may not always bring their kills to you.
supertoastfairy on August 01, 2013:
This is why I rarely let my cats out of our own backyard. And, whenever I do let them out, I make sure that I have put on a little bell collar on each cat. While it doesn't completely get rid of the body count, it does reduce it massively.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on June 26, 2013:
I will soon be uploading the Judge Judy episode that I described in this article. You should enjoy it.
Compassionate Girl on June 26, 2013:
Melissa well said, he also needs to know that cats are actually the worst type of rodent control. They don't just prey on rodents, and they attract rodents with their t.gondii parasite which makes them attracted to cats seeking out areas where cats are (scientific studies have proven it) also cats displace natural predators by taking their food sources
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on June 15, 2013:
Hi peter, I don't know why you believe that what you've written is an excuse to be OK with cats running rampant in our environment. Rodents and 'vermin' belong outside. Pets do not. If you keep pets -on your property- to control 'vermin', that's one thing. But they never belong outside preying on anything that suits their fancy. They certainly don't belong in the yards of people who don't want them there. Their history of vermin control does not give anyone the right to use another person's property as a liter box. Also, many other animals live in human households, obviously.
peter on June 15, 2013:
Let's remember. Cats have got rid of rodents and vermin for last 10,000 years. Cats are domestic animals. Cats have contributed to human society by controlling rodents and vermin for 10,000 years. Cats are companion animals, and only one of two ( other being the dog) that live in human households. Therefore cats are beneficial to humans, and that's why cats are going to exist forever among us.
John Jason Hosac on May 29, 2013:
Feel free to add me on facebook if you like.
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on May 25, 2013:
Hi John, I just saw your question in the fanmail, I can't reply to that. Is there a way I can message you privately?
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on May 24, 2013:
Thanks John, it helps choosing topics that are so easy to defend.
John Jason Hosac on May 23, 2013:
I like this hub, and you fully explain your point of view. I agree with it, but had I not, you might persuade me with your numerous relevant points. Fantastic!
CompassionateGirl on April 15, 2013:
Thanks Shaddie. This is it! I have seen this exact attitude too, and it angers me that these same people even dare to claim they love animals and are animal lovers, the hypocrisy is so strong.
You will be shocked by this, but in the UK cat owners act like their cats hunting defenceless native animals is some sort of 'accolade' and they even praise the cats when they bring home the animals. There are some who claim they hate their cats hunting, but if they hated it, they would not allow it to happen. They will come up with every excuse under the sun
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on April 14, 2013:
Thanks Shaddie. It's funny how I get called egotistical for having my exotic pets. You are probably right about people feeling pride over owning successful hunters. I hear that kind of talk all of the time, even around here from some hubbers. Such as on the question here asking if dogs can be 'evil'. I would never allow my animals to hunt live, but the crime is especially awful when animals are well-fed and are just hunting for pleasure.
Shaddie from Washington state on April 14, 2013:
It's funny you guys are mentioning the culturally different mindsets concerning UK and free-roaming pets. I just had a conversation with a gentleman last night who grew up in England and he had a dog growing up who would regularly kill local wildlife. Rabbits, birds, even deer (it would kill fawns and chase adult roes to exhaustion). The man spoke so highly of his pet, and when I expressed sympathy for the waste of wildlife, he shrugged it off like it was no big deal. I am constantly infuriated by people, who claim to be animal lovers, who simply have no compassion when other animals fall victim to the teeth of their own pets.
I think people enjoy it, personally. They like possessing or having control of a "vicious hunting animal." It aids in their inevitable ego stroke. I had no idea it was worse in the UK than it was here in the United States, but it makes sense now that I've read the comments here. This is a great hub, Melissa. I only wish you didn't have to write articles like this in the first place...
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on March 22, 2013:
It's because cats are culturally ingrained and accepted, unfortunately. People don't do what they should do, just what the majority wants.
CompassionateGirl on March 21, 2013:
I think there will be a lot of extinctions if they are not banned from roaming. I don't see how birds and other wildlife can survive all these things that humans are doing. Why do you think they wont fully ban it eventually? I just find it absolutely insane that they will sit back and let all this carry on (including allowing groups like alley cat to continue)
Oh yeah the hypocrisy is insane too, all the whining they do when a dog gets hold of a cat or a coyote
I sent you an email :)
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on March 19, 2013:
Well that's perfectly OK because it's a stirring subject for people who care. Unfortunately I don't think it's illegal in any state, maybe just some cities and things like that. I don't see it getting banned fully in any state, like I said it's still pretty bad here too. Yet people get convicted when they mess with free-roaming cats, and people whine when coyotes start eating them. My neighbors are from Germany or some country like that, lol I don't know accents so well.
CompassionateGirl on March 19, 2013:
Your articles were a breath of fresh air, and im so glad i came across them, when i came across the 'feral cat favouritsm runs amok' finally someone else with a balanced view, real common sense and compassion, and someone who tells the truth about Alley Cat All Lies.
Sorry about my earlier reply, i didn't know it was that long until after i posted it, it probably comes across as a rant (lol)
But im just so fed up over it all
I just can't believe that cats are given so many advantages over wild creatures. Also i once read that the deaths of birds cost the US billions, so its bizarre they allow it to happen. As far as i know in some states of america they have banned free-roaming?
Do you have british neighbours?
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on March 18, 2013:
Your voice is refreshing to hear but your situation over there sounds abysmal and near hopeless. Even here I consider this pretty bad, as Alley Cat Allies is given precedence when they spew utter nonsense. The word 'cult' is in culture for a reason and cats have become a fabricate of that, unfortunately. I was all fine with cats outside until I saw the animal with something in its mouth moving, and was actually pretty horrified by it and started crying. I just didn't actually know people would allow their animals out if they did that, and have been obsessed with the topic ever since. The people whose cats they are are also from Europe, and I think they have no clue I object to outdoor cat roaming, like it's not possible.
CompassionateGirl on March 18, 2013:
You are totally right Melissa. And its bizarre but so incredibly sad that cat advocates get so rabid over pet cats while the UK's only native wildcat (the scottish wildcat) is going to become extinct in months, because of pet cats that are allowed to roam free. And they are not doing ANYTHING direct about it either. It's like they are sitting back watching the clock tick waiting for it to become extinct. I just can't understand it. I find it interesting about how the outdoor cats culture originated over here. I live in the UK and the attitude over here is appalling, seems like most owners have this phobia of keeping a cat indoors, and they call them free spirits. Though i think the 'free spirits' thing is just an excuse. Plus the people who don't own cats have a laidback attitude and have no fighting spirit to speak out for their rights as non-cat owners, and for the wildlife they supposedly care about. They don't campaign and get loud about it, instead they just sit down and take it, and these same people purport to care about birds. One thing i noticed about Americans is many get loud about it and push for a change, in contrast to people over here. Why are people not standing up for their rights? Im impressed with the ABC's protection of birds and their campaign, it's a complete contrast to over here, where the biggest bird society has no empathy at all. They are basically saying the birds taken by cats would have died anyway by other means, so, so what if cats kill them, who cares they would have died anyway. That sort of logic. Where is the compassion? What about the wild predators, the 55 million estimate could go to them, which are likely being displaced by pet cats. They claim cats are only taking sick or weak prey, but wild predators could have that prey instead. They also love to try to cause fear by claiming that if cats were removed from the environment we would be overrun with mice and rats, and that cats killing mice is doing people a favour. I occasionally hear owls and i feel sorry for them, because they are most likely struggling to find enough mice to keep alive and provide for their chicks, in neighbourhoods that are filled with cats roaming around taking all the mice. Like you said in your other article, even the most conservative estimates are too many, so why are they not protecting birds? Why should cats be able to kill any wildlife? I have seen cats stalking and killing wildlife and i rescued a bird myself once, which had been badly mauled. It is so cruel. It was in a bad way. It seemed the cat wanted to keep it tortured for as long as possible. And cat favouritism sufferers call this 'natural' and say "Its what they do"
Also i think that a lot of members of that bird society are cat owners, and apparently they have a lot of cat owner members who donate. How does that work?
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on March 18, 2013:
It is incredibly frustrating CompassionateGirl. It is the stupidest claim that cats 'need to hunt' when we have many successful zoos maintaining truly wild animals without live prey. These animals can easily express their behavior without actually killing, it simply requires owners who are true caretakers, not just feeders and waterers. I think that things are particularly worse in the UK. The cats outdoors culture originated there and has gone haywire, with people finding it cruel to keep cats inside at all. That article appears to be tainted with that mentality. The suggestion of keeping a cat inside appears to be presented as unfeasible. As for the statement "it is likely that the birds cats killed would have died anyway from other causes", wth does that mean? That all birds eventually die? LOL. Or maybe those birds are the victims of a 'Final Destination'-like fate and the cats are some how picking up on this and eliminating only those particular animals...*eye roll.
CompassionateGirl on March 18, 2013:
An excellent article Melissa . It deeply saddens me how these people are able to get away with allowing their pets to destroy wildlife and how those who don't own cats have any rights over these anti-social people, and it disgusts me that they have the audacity to make excuses and rubbish scientific research
I just don't understand why the governments allow it to happen and those cat favouritism groups should be closed down because they create the problem
Take a look at this, i could not believe that a supposed professional claims that cats have to hunt. Someone who is meant to be a cat expert should know the difference between domestic pets and wild animals that NEED to hunt to survive. This is in a country where the bird societies pander to cat advocates and they don't protect the birds and unbelieveably the cat groups say that cats need to express natural behaviours for their health and welfare, but don't give one thought to the wild creatures that suffer just so their pampered pets can go about destroying whatever endangered creatures they like:
What are your thoughts on the article?
Melissa A Smith (author) from New York on February 08, 2013:
I agree EM, I've never seen feral dogs but where they do exist, they must also be dealt with. Feasible or not, I wouldn't support a cat ban but I certainly want people to realize that free-roaming is an irresponsible, negligent practice and a violation of the rights of other humans. I've never witnessed so many lame excuses from people who appear reasonably intelligent. It just adds more fuel to the fire for me that I have to deal with so much criticism and unsubstantiated speculation over the effects of exotic pets when cats are a proven catastrophe.
Becki Rizzuti from Indiana, USA on February 08, 2013:
I am a cat lover, but I never allow my cats to go outside. Domestic cats out of doors presents a threat not only to native wildlife, but to the cats themselves, as our two babies with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) illustrate.
Personally, I don't believe that cat ownership should be banned completely, since I personally am not in favor of more regulation on anything, because if the regulation of pet cats is put into legislation, then so will more legislation to prevent the ownership of exotic pets.
This is a no-win situation. Many cat owners just do not want to hear it. Education isn't going to solve this problem, but I doubt that legislation will, either. You'd have to find a way to legislate the wild ferals in the areas that are affected in this way, and the only solution to that is (as you inferred), euthanasia.
Local dogs in our area are a huge problem too. We have an *enormous* feral dog population and they are destructive in their own right, to birds, small mammals, and even humans in our environment, not to mention their waste!