From Here & Back Again

By Jim Coufal

(Cazenovia, NY) There has been much recent controversy about feral cats in the town of Salina. There seems to be no disagreement that they are a problem (Post-Standard letters and features), but there is disagreement how to treat the problem.

I haven’t seen anyone suggest suspending a town regulation to allow a hired professional hunter to shoot them, as has been done regarding coyotes. Some want to trap and euthanize them, some want to use a process whereby they are trapped, neutered and returned so that reproduction is reduced.

Much of this debate revolves around the ethical question is it right to kill the cats? Altering their bodies is OK and, to some, killing coyotes is OK, but cats are perceived as somehow different. Why?

In weighing these options, I’m surprised how little has been written about the impact of cats on wildlife populations. The Wildlife Society, the professional society of wildlife biologists and managers, has a statement on “Feral and Free-Ranging Domestic Cats.” It calls such cats “exotic species,” saying these “are recognized as one of the most widespread and serious threats to the integrity of native wildlife populations and natural ecosystems.”

Exotic species are often referred to as “invasive species.”

In dealing with the problem of many invasive species, killing and even exterminating the problem species is not an issue. Perhaps in dealing with an insect, the current emerald ash borer, or a disease problem, like Dutch elm disease or chestnut blight, there is a perceived difference in the kind of life and the value of that life as compared to a cat.

Sentience is often used as one measure of difference, but insects are sentient. Things that strike directly at humans or their food sources (e.g., smallpox or tomato hornworms) are also perceived as different and more liable to eradication (killing). Is this species-ism or logic?

Regarding cats, the National Wildlife Federation, whose members are wildlife professionals and interested lay persons, has a statement noting there are more than 77 million domestics cats in the United states, of which 65 percent are allowed outside without control, adding to the feral cat population of 60 to 100 million.

Such feral and free-ranging cats compete with native predators such as owls, snakes, weasels, bobcats and foxes and with their minimally territorial life style and fast reproductive rates, they exist in high densities and outcompete the native predators.

Unvaccinated domestic cats can transmit diseases such as rabies, toxoplasmosis and feline distemper to other domestic cats, native wildlife such as the mountain lion, bobcat and endangered Florida panther and sometimes to humans.

They can also be infected with deer ticks, which carry Lyme disease.

The NWF adds, “…scientific studies indicate that free-ranging domestic cats and feral cats kill hundreds of millions of birds, and more than a billion other small vertebrates such as rabbits, squirrels, frogs, snakes, shrews, voles and chipmunks each year, along with a wide variety of songbirds and other birds, including a number of endangered species.”

How is this to be weighed in determining the control method used for feral cats?

The problem of feral and free-ranging domestic cats is widespread. In California, they are a major actor in eliminating pockets of the endangered California Least Tern. Australia is overrun with them.

Other organization, such as the Audubon Society, has similar statements. Many universities and state and federal research organizations have done empirical studies. Often, such organizations oppose the trap-neuter-return process because while it does curb breeding, a cat returned still kills wildlife.

A house cat allowed to roam free kills native wildlife – witness the “gifts” they often bring home that we blithely chuckle about. The mixing of feral and free-ranging cats also complicates the issue, as when one recent P-S letter writer said, “And rounding up people’s outdoor cats is totally unacceptable.”

Cats don’t generally wear collars and certainly don’t have licenses, so how does one separate the two?

And free-ranging cats are a big part of the problem of cats decimating wildlife populations.

Groups such as “Stray Pet Advocacy” often discount statements and studies as above, calling them ‘junk science.” Yet People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, known for its radical defense of animal rights in such programs as “don’t slaughter the seals,” euthanize a high majority of adoptable cats and dogs in its care.

The studies of the impact of feral and free-ranging cats on wildlife populations are there to be investigated and analyzed and should not be ignored in discussion of the stray and feral cats problems of Salina or elsewhere.

Complicating the matter is that the free-ranging cats, so much of the problem, are basically family pets. Any control effort is likely to include trapping or neutering or euthanizing them just as the feral cats. This indicates how much of the problem truly is a human one.

We have separate rules for dogs and cats, with much less control of cats. People often do not have their cats vaccinated or neutered, and one of the sources of feral cats is house cats turned loose or abandoned.

It’s time to investigate the need for laws controlling cats in much the way current laws control dogs.

Jim Coufal of Cazenovia is a part-time philosopher and full-time observer of global trends. He can be reached at madnews@m3pmedia.com.

By martha

12 thoughts on “Cats Killing Wildlife, People Killing Cats”
  1. The ONLY difference between rats and cats is that people who own and love pet-rats aren’t severely mentally unbalanced and trying to hoard sterilized feral-rat populations on other people’s public and private properties — while also relentlessly petitioning all their law-makers to do so.

    Pet-rat owners, and all other types of pet owners, at least have THEIR sh** together.

    If only the same were true of all these mentally-ill TNR cat-hoarders.

    (I still think it’s their cats’ Toxoplasma gondii parasites in the cat-lovers’ brains that make them so unfalteringly blind to their own stupidity, hypocrisy, and absolute absurdity.)

  2. FACT: Trap & Kill failed because cats cannot be trapped faster than they exponentially breed out of control.

    FACT: Trap & Sterilize (TNR) is an even bigger abject failure because they cannot be trapped faster than they exponentially breed out of control, and they also continue the cruelly annihilate all native wildlife (from the smallest of prey up to the top predators that are starved to death), and the cats continue to spread many deadly diseases that they carry today — FOR WHICH THERE ARE NO VACCINES AGAINST THEM. Many of which are even listed as bioterrorism agents. (Such as Tularemia and The Plague — Yes, people have already died from cat-transmitted plague in the USA. No fleas nor rats even required. The cats themselves carry and transmit the plague all on their own.)

    FACT: Hunted To Extinction (or in this case, extirpation of all outdoor cats) is the ONLY method that is faster than a species like cats can exponentially out-breed and out-adapt to. Especially a man-made invasive-species like these cats that can breed 2-3X’s faster than any naturally occurring cat-species.

    FACT: Alley Cat ALL-LIES have only managed to trap 0.024% to 0.08% of all feral cats in their own city, thereby allowing more than 99.92% to 99.976% to continually and exponentially breed out of control. Alley Cat ALL-LIES can’t even reduce the number of feral cats in their own city, yet they promote it as a worldwide solution, then even bigger fools fall for it and promote it.

    FACT: When researching all the most “successful” TNR programs around the globe, JUST ONE OF THEM has managed to trap more than 0.4% of cats in their area. Oregon’s amazing 50,000 TNR’ed cats (the highest rate I found) is only 4.9% of all feral-cats in their state. Yet, by applying advanced population growth calculus on the unsterilized 95.1% of cats they will have trapped only 0.35% of all feral-cats in their state sometime this year. <0.4% is a far cry from the required 70-80% to be the least bit effective.

    FACT: During all this investigation I have discovered something that is true without fail. Something that you can bet your very life on and win every last time. That being — IF A CAT-LOVER IS TALKING THEN THEY ARE LYING. 100% guaranteed!

  3. Jim,
    This issue raises its hackles on a regular basis. Back in the 1980’s a comprehensive 4-year study was done at the University of Wisconsin, Madison after a similar study in Ohio showed what seemed to be an extraordinarily high toll on native wildlife by feral cats. When the Wisconsin study was completed, the results showed that the Ohio depredation numbers were perhaps too low. As an advocate of eliminating the feral cat (by whatever means) from our area and being somewhat vocal on the subject, I have come to realize that the vast majority of people I have talked to about the problem are simply ignorant of the plight of our native wildlife or simply don’t care. The general consensus with Wisconsin sportsmen and women who consider themselves stewards of the environment in regard to feral cats is “shoot, shovel and shut up”. As a historical note, if you research newspaper ads back in the early 1900’s, full length cat coats were the rage. As a predator, cat pelts would simply be
    added to an already long list of legal game. I would look forward to seeing a feral cat image on the cover of Predator Magazine or, perhaps, an illustrated article on stalking the feral cat in Field & Stream. Turn lemons into lemonade.

  4. Contrary to your observation, Jim, a great deal has been written about the impact of cats on wildlife populations. But you’re going to need to look beyond the propaganda coming out of The Wildlife Society, Audubon Society, and PETA to find it.

    I’ve spent the past few years digging into this issue, and, like the folks behind “Stray Pet Advocacy,” have found more “junk science” than the kind of rigorous science that can withstand careful scrutiny. A couple of comments regarding predation…

    Aggregate figures such as those promoted by the American Bird Conservancy and Audubon Society are essentially meaningless. These “estimates” can typically be traced to small—often flawed—studies, the results of which are subsequently extrapolated from one habitat to another, conflating island populations (where the presence of cats can have dire consequences) and those on continents, combining common and rare bird species, and so forth.

    In their contribution to The Domestic Cat: The Biology of Its Behaviour, researchers Mike Fitzgerald and Dennis Turner thoroughly reviewed 61 predation studies, concluding rather unambiguously: “We consider that we do not have enough information yet to attempt to estimate on average how many birds a cat kills each year. And there are few, if any studies apart from island ones that actually demonstrate that cats have reduced bird populations” (Fitzgerald & Turner, 2000).

    Something else to keep in mind: 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) and (Møller & Erritzøe, 2000; Baker, Molony, Stone, Cuthill, & Harris, 2008).

    As the UK’s Royal Society for the Protection of Birds notes, in refreshingly straightforward language: “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” (RSPB, 2011).

    Regarding lethal control methods, you and your readers need to understand just how ineffective and costly these are. In fact, there’s ample evidence to suggest that we’re not going to kill our way out of the “feral cat problem.”

    “There’s no department that I’m aware of, says Mark Kumpf, former president of the National Animal Control Association, “that has enough money in their budget to simply practice the old capture-and-euthanize policy; nature just keeps having more kittens” (Hettinger, 2008).

    Indeed, “successful” eradication programs on small oceanic islands demonstrate the enormous challenges involved in addressing this simple truth. On Marion Island, for example, it took 19 years to exterminate approximately 2,200 cats—using feline distemper, poisoning, hunting and trapping, and dogs (Bloomer & Bester, 1992). Just 115 square miles in total area, this barren, uninhabited South Indian Ocean island is the largest from which cats have been eradicated (Bester et al., 2002).

    I’ve been unable to find cost figures for the project, but if the Ascension Island effort is any indication, it must have been astronomical. On Ascension, roughly one-third the size of Marion, it cost the equivalent of $1.1 million to eradicate approximately 635 cats over 27 months (Ratcliffe et al., 2010).

    I don’t imagine Madison County residents are interested in allocating the necessary funds for such an undertaking. And I don’t see how a law “controlling cats in much the way current laws control dogs” is going to make any difference.

    Trap-neuter-return—a non-lethal approach to managing community cats—is often the best option we’ve got.

    Peter J. Wolf
    http://www.voxfelina.com

    Literature Cited
    • Baker, P. J., Molony, S. E., Stone, E., Cuthill, I. C., & Harris, S. (2008). Cats about town: Is predation by free-ranging pet cats Felis catus likely to affect urban bird populations? Ibis, 150, 86–99.
    • Fitzgerald, B. M., & Turner, D. C. (2000). Hunting Behaviour of domestic cats and their impact on prey populations. In D. C. Turner & P. P. G. Bateson (Eds.), The Domestic Cat: The biology of its behaviour (2nd ed., pp. 151–175). Cambridge, U.K.; New York: Cambridge University Press.
    • Møller, A. P., & Erritzøe, J. (2000). Predation against birds with low immunocompetence. Oecologia, 122(4), 500–504.
    • RSPB (2011). Are cats causing bird declines? [Electronic Version]. Retrieved October 26, 2011, from http://www.rspb.org.uk/advice/gardening/unwantedvisitors/cats/birddeclines.aspx

    1. We are not a barren, uninhabited island. There are people all over the place here, and a change in public opinion and effort could have a much greater impact here than on a remote island in the Pacific. There does not need to be nearly as great a plan for eradication, nor as great a cost, if only the general public took a stance that letting them run free is a bad idea. That way, people here and there would be able to remove cats from the wild without a bunch of crackpots getting in their face about it.

      Also, the comment that most of the birds killed by cats were of lower-quality health, usually goes for most predators. They do not seek them out because they are sick, they seek them out because they are easier. And your quote by the Brit is anecdotal and not backed up by any science. Indeed, most of the researchers of the cat/bird issue in Great Britain think this guy was ridiculous for having said what he did.

      I have personally trapped and removed more than two dozen cats from my neighborhood, and I did it all from my own property. I do not own a cat, so if I catch one here, it goes directly to the animal shelter. I have caught the same cat more than once before, since it is micro-chipped and registered. I went right back to the shelter with it. The owner gets a small, negligible fine when they get notified to come pick up their animal, and obviously they never learned their lesson. I have not caught the cat again because it is now trap-shy, but it is still right back to running around my neighborhood. If I do manage to trap it again, it might accidentally fall into a hole and fertilize a tree while I was getting ready for another trip to the shelter.

      I no longer set up a bird feeder in my yard, because it is cat bait. I did it faithfully for my first year in this residence, and every week, or more often every day of the week, I would find feathers and other evidence that another bird was taken at my feeders. I am an accomplished tracker, so I do not want anyone to try to say “oh, maybe it was a hawk.” I would actually relish a Cooper’s Hawk or other such bird specialist raptor at my feeders, but no. It was almost always glaringly obvious that it had been a cat, and the few times it was not obvious I just had to look a little harder to find out it was still just a cat.

      I agree with the author on many points, that the view about dogs, cats, and I would add horses, is very skewed in a completely irrational manner. The complete hypocrisy of condoning the elimination via lethal measures of NATIVE wildlife, while simultaneously decrying any similar efforts to control unwanted domestic animals. As satire, I often make jokes about eating dogs, cats, and horses instead of pork, beef, and chicken. What is the difference? Hypocrisy, that is the only difference.

      1. David, some of us do not condone the use of culling of native species either.

        As to “invasives,” some ecologists are rethinking approaches to their “management:”

        ” ‘People like to have an enemy, and vilifying non-native species makes the world very simple,’ said ecologist Mark Davis of Macalester College. ‘The public got sold this nativist paradigm: Native species are the good ones, and non-native species are bad. It’s a 20th century concept, like wilderness, that doesn’t make sense in the 21st century.’

        Davis is one of 18 ecologists to sign a June 9 Nature essay entitled, “Don’t judge species on their origins.” They argue that while some non-natives are indeed destructive, such as Guam’s brown tree snakes and Great Lakes zebra mussels, they’re the exception.

        Most are actually benign, relegated to a lower-class status that reflects prejudice rather than solid science, write the authors. Non-natives are assumed to be undesirable, and their benefits go ignored and unstudied.”

        http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2011/06/species-persecution/
        http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v474/n7350/full/474153a.html

        There simply isn’t science to support the notion that feral cats are impacting the population of our wildlife other than in isolated habitats.

  5. Stoat, due to all the heinous and deadly diseases that cats carry and spread today, it would be wrong to advise they be used for anything in this day and age. The risk of anyone dressing them for even the use of their furs today could be deadly to the people involved.

    I tried feeding one of the shot-dead cats on my land to the last few starving opossum (almost all the rest of my native wildlife starved to death from cats destroying all their food sources). 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.

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

  6. Peter did an excellent job (as always) of covering the issues. And Peter, in his blog http://www.voxfelina.com has done a far more thorough job of evaluating the research on cat predation than Stray Pet Advocacy.

    As Peter addressed the issues, I would like to take a moment to address Stoat. It was, in fact, the University of Wisconsin “study” that got a number of us digging into the research touted by organizations such as the American Bird Conservancy (ABC Birds), the Audubon Society and The Wildlife Society.

    The authors of “The Wisconsin Study” published four articles on the subject of predation by rural free-ranging cats on birds in Wisconsin.

    One was an actual study, a survey of free-ranging cats used to estimate the number of free-ranging cats in Wisconsin. This was published in a scientific journal where submissions are subject to the peer-review process. (“Rural residents’ free-ranging domestic cats: a survey,” Wildlife Society Bulletin 21: 381-390 (1993).)

    In the other articles, the authors attempted to project the potential impact of those free-ranging cats on the bird population in the state of Wisconsin. THOSE numbers, the predation numbers, were not based on any published study. (“How Many Birds Do Cats Kill,” Wildlife Control Technology. Jul-Aug 1995: 44). The authors themselves identify their estimates of cat predation on birds as “guesses” (“On the Prowl,” Wisconsin Natural Resources 20(6):4-8), and one of the authors, when interviewed on the subject, said “Those figures were from our proposal. They aren’t actual data; that was just our projection to show how bad it might be.” (Elliott, J. 1994. “The Accused.” The Sonoma County Independent, March 3-16).

    So the authors themselves identify the information as “guesses,” and the data as “not actual data.”

    Is this “junk” science? Was it responsible of the organizations citing those clearly noted “guesses” based on “not actual data” to use them? (And claim they base their information on “the best available science?”) I never used the word “junk,” but either it’s appropriate or the “data” can’t even be considered something that’s based in science, let alone “the best available science.”

    It’s easy and convenient for wildlife conservation organizations that want to promote trap-and-kill to latch on to large, startling numbers that make the argument more persuasive. For instance, The Audubon Society chose to tout a circular published on the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension website claiming a huge (dollar value) estimated cost of feral cat predation. My analysis of that information covers most of the problems with existing cat predation research.

    Jim, you might want to take the time to give it a read. The economic cost of the cat estimates were based on work conducted by Dr. David Pimentel and graduate students in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences of Cornell University, people you would expect to churn out quality, properly edited and thoroughly researched information. Whether or not their estimates of the economic impact of the cat are “junk” are not, I leave in your hands. http://www.straypetadvocacy.org/PDF/17reasons.pdf

    But when it comes to cat predation, study flaws aside, the main issue, as pointed out by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (see Peter’s post), is that cat predation does not translate directly into wildlife population impact. Cats may not be native to the U.S., but they’ve been on the continent for four centuries, and our birds evolved in the presence of predators, unlike many island environments.

    The bottom line for feral cat management, IMO, is not one of ethics or choosing which life has “more” value (though Dr. Pimentel did value dead birds at $30 a head and dead cats at $20 a head). No, the issue is (or should be) efficacy of the control method within financial realities. Trap-and-kill has had decades to prove it doesn’t work in real-life situations. Trap-and-kill has left us where we are. It’s not practical, it’s not affordable. Trap-neuter-return may not be ideal, but in combination with community education and low-cost spay/neuter programs for our pets, TNR is proving to be the best method of control.

  7. Y’all

    Thanks for all the comments.

    Obviously, some pretty strong and divergent opinions. Peter, you are the first respondent on any topic who has included references. Thanks. However, if you reread my piece, I did not say there were no studies, I said little had been written on the impact of cats on wildlife in the context of the Salina controversy. Further, near the end of my piece i noted that the studies were there to be looked at and brought into the discussion, as you and laurie have done.

    I haven’t had the time to look at the references sent, but calling the statments of groups like The Wildlife Society and Audubon “junk science” is rather strong. I hope to get the time to look into your comments, but chances are it will be awhile.

    Jim

  8. Cat’s?

    It is very clear that the stray and feral cat population in and around has a limit which is dependent on food, and stray cat feeders, in other words those who for several reasons take it upon themselves to not only feed three or more cats from the own or more cat pets they already. They may know it or not. The territory concept is a failure which I have seen fail personally because we have several cat colonies in the Los Angeles suburbs. It seems there is always some good Samaritan to take the burden of feeding wild mass cat populations. I can try to over look the public defecation and urination contamination they leave if I had not experienced it live in a location were one lady single handed keeps close to 60 cats alive in a public area. Why would she not use her own home to keep these cats and passing by every day I got my answer. She already has many cats there, so this is a substitute colony. That’s one of the new medical terms regarding the newly identified mental condition known as hoarding, more conservatively collecting, or cat collecting. The condition seems to have many consistent symptoms between with the mental illness been accepted as a social and psychological mental illness. Its progressive and can financially destroy the victims life. the characteristics are so consistent with the hoarders that they will go to veterinarians miles away once they feel the vet might be on to them and is obligated legally and morally to contact the SPCA of America. To avoid detection, they use as many veterinarians as an area has till they keep expanding the distance to seek new unfamiliar veteran aries with the excuse that these remotely located vets are specialists who are the only one’s who can cure the cats. Truth is these are not the specialists the cat hoarder is saying they are. These are simply vets who don’t suspect a hoarder, yet and don’t know how many cats they actually have. Anyone going taking a cat unusual long distance to see a Vet. really makes sense only to cart hoarder, because most of them either heard of or have lost colonies of cats to the SPCA. Hoarders are known to have as many as three colonies. Most Hoarders of cats are females and though the syndrome can be almost seen in their 20’s, most people don’t really notice it till the hoarder is into her late 30’s and especially when combined with some personal disappointment like divorce or death of a parent. If they had A general lazy or less than well kept household personality to start with which is another common sign, the real on set of Hoarding with accentuate that to the point they will try to hide but the unkept environment will ultimately become very noticeable to anyone around either in appearance or more likely by scent. The lack of cleaning or picking feces and the amount of urine from the growing number of cats will saturate the grounds and the smell will actually be overwhelming, even in open outdoor air at considerable distance. The person who devotedly feeds a wild or stray cat population is very likely feeding their spare colony of cats in reality. These individuals, and most often females in at ages described, will go to such lengths as renting an additional residence such as a modest priced place in a trailer park, just the have a location to keep and maintain a spare colony, or have a friend who tolerates a spare colony which she visits on a routine basis. One more sign is their vehicles will have super high miles are unusually high miles for the age , cause they drive a lot. The Hoarding in many instances extends past cats to general items, and vehicles are no exception. A trail of broken down vehicles can often be seen, with each having unusually high miles such as over two hundred thousand or two hundred and fifty thousand and up, probably to the limits of the vehicles life expectancy under conditions of inconsistent care and maintenance. The broken down vehicles will be “stored” or more accurately parked but they may also draw attention so they will be moved where they can go undetected as possible, such as two at the residence, one at a friends, one at another private location. The interesting part here is if you try to purchase one of them. You will be amazed how close you will come and never actually be able to close the transaction. Hoarders have been known to have junk vehicles “stored” in the amounts of five or more vehicles if non are confiscated, and they will pay the fee’s if able into large amounts to recover a junk car and have it placed back in safe keeping. The cats are not the real cause here, they are just the most convenient animal they can hoard that maintains a loose ownership in open public or private grounds and cats keep to a specific area. If a cat is moved and placed in a location far enough away fro the old location and left on its own to fend for itself, it will remain in that same area with a radius of about one and a half miles give or take a quarter, unless its extremely dangerous and even then it will move next to it. This is like metal imprinting similar to ducks when they hatch and the first thing they see will remain their mother, be it human, dog, cat or hoarse. This trait is why cats are the most likely animal a hoarder will attach to. try keeping a colony of 30 or more dogs in a public place and it would be all over the news. Can you imagine a pack of 30 wild dogs roaming public grounds, even if they were loving a nice to people? but cats fit this situation well for the hoarder. I am amazed how well 30 or more of a colony of cats can keep off the radar. and the less contact with humans, the more stealthy they become. chance are you have several colonies living in and around you now. That is why the sudden public outcry for protection of free roaming wild or homeless cats seems to come from everywhere. the hoarders are in greater numbers then we realize. One hoarder can maintain a free roaming cat colony from her back door of her residence without really being identified as the colonies keeper. All the neighbors would notice is there is a lot of cats, but on closer inspection, the cats will be noticed heading to or away from her direction over or by your residence. These are really good people who have some fear inside and should not be hated. They are sick and they can’t figure out that they are sick. They are holding on to something in order cope with life. They can be widows of military veterans, or victims of divorce. Perfectly good ladies who have been left to try to deal with an emotional burden. They certainly don’t deserve to be hated. They deserve kind and sensitive care, for they are innocent victims and this is a mental disorder which is finally coming tom light. On the same note, unprofessional private attempts to correct the cat hoarding can be met with great opposition and while usually harmless, one would be surprised to find the length and the resources these hoarder can got to in protecting their colonies. There is not enough data to be totally sure physical violence is a factor but it seems unlikely so far. The problem is the health issues to the general public and lets set aside the smell for a moment and consider the bacterial dangers, which have been fought by cat hoarders from sources that defend free roaming homeless cats. These organizations generally ride the current animal kindness movement and run with the general green movement. hoarders find this a great place to advocate the protection of free roaming wild cats while staying well hidden within these organizations. Another very interesting point is cat hoarders are basically stingy. This is almost comical. They don’t like to share. They can barely tolerate a fellow hoarder and my harbor an insecurity or distrust for one another, however once an outside threat against their hoarding is identified, they will come together like kin to defend each others colony and as soon as the threat is dispatched, they soon return to barely tolerating the fellow hoarder. There is many more characteristics hoarder have in common and A book can be written on what is already known about this newly recognized mental condition, however, lets focus on the most public concern. The environmental impact. True the native wild life is being affected. True the impact of such has not been accurately predicted but elimination of some species is likely in part due to the successfully adaptation cats have shown with the support of humans, voluntary or not. I believe the real threat is the new strains of disease which are increasing in number congruent with the increasing global interaction of society. One real example is the variations of the flu virus coming out of china almost annually has hit the states in a limited way killing a certain amount of people prior the finding and distributing of a vaccine, each time taking a more efficient course to infect a larger amount of people. The CDC seems to have been almost an alarmist, somewhat, seemingly overstating the concern for threats in the past, but this time they are on to something. A recent flu strain from china finally jumped to a higher level species which was pigs, and was given the name swine flu. This was real cause for alarm and promoted the United States to form a new organization based upon the new science of coonskins, which is the transfer of a virus from one living species to another, usually higher level. It was generally argued that this possibility was unlikely till now. Viral strains are mutating at recorded rates now to a degree that has made the treat a real global concern and it’s just the beginning many in the biological research community say. The US military consider this a national threat and believe this could weaken our military capability as much as a nuclear first strike, leaving a military vulnerability of the same magnitude in theory. That aside, the medical danger is more than just some long shot. The CDC be lives the Zionistic factors are ripe for a future mass killer viral strain to hit the US with a perfect pathway to reach greater numbers than ever in history. the domestic cat and the added resource of the wild or feral cat population. the cat is already host to a number of viruses, which have mostly been shown to have a lessor danger to most than society is willing to take notice of, unless your a expecting mother or a cancer patient, however the research is still not complete for some of these viruses currently in over fifty percent of cat owners or those who come in contact with cats or their fecal remains in gardens and such already have some of these viruses and or parasites thus far considered banine and of no apparent danger to most, still have not completely been researched enough to over look the threat. Current research regarding toxoplazmosis which is very dangerous threat an unborn fetus where some type of deformity is certain. This danger alone is a surprise to me how strong the forces defending free roaming and wild cats is opposed to those involved with infant mortality and the general concern we have for children regarding all the dangers as well as pedophilia. Probably this is due to the ability for pregnant mothers to avoid certain threats such as cats and thus keep this danger under control. Still the lobby defending cats is remarkably strong and combined with the recent animal awareness movement, has prolonged what I feel is a certainty. Its just a shame it’s going to take some real human toll before action is taken, and hopefully not too late to correct the damage. The likely theory is that once a real killer virus phonetically jumps into the cat species, the death toll will possibly be over half our population all combined and maybe more. Now this can also never happen, and there is the argument that cats are actually introducing humans to viral strains which are building immunities in us that may combat future strains and make us bullet proof. Nevertheless, the general population has not had a real choice and infarct is for the most part aware of the experiment that is being place upon them with the rapid growth of free roaming and feel or wild cat colonies. We all see cats everyday, everywhere we go. One here, two there, usually on their way to something or from some place, seeming to pose no immediate threat, but as I said before, cats are convenient for the their stealth, which is why a cat can roam free which for a dog is unlikely to last a day before being dealt with. Cat excrement is the issue as well as cat hair. If you have ever had a cat on you, it obvious how mush they shed, and the fur does not bio de gate very fast. this combines with their skin dust can get into a persons lungs very easy which is qa pathway for parasites. Cats scratch and especially bite is toxic and another great way into the human system. Cat excrement is the big danger, and they leave it anywhere the can dig, which by the way does not relieve the bio hazard and often cats don’t cover it well anyway. then there is the urine, which is quite potent especially in certain breeding males. Cats are little eating defalcating factories, self contain units with survival techniques few animals on any scale can claim more successful. The only ingredient which keeps the cat population from leaving no space to avoid running over one on a weekly basis is more food. TNR advocates claim space or territory is a factor, but I have seen that put to the test and it boils down to three foot radius circles. I have seen a cat population that has enough food with TNR being practiced, grow to a population that from a distance looked like a forest with cats claiming there three foot areas, hissing at one another now and then in order to keep their space. It looked comical if not for the fact the territory theory is false and TNR is a publicity ploy to avoid the elimination of wild cats. There is no public ground in any metropolitan area I would every what to come in contact with including baseball fields, sand boxes or any garden. they are all contaminated. Test them and see. The individual cat hoarder does not have one colony. As I said before they have a spare or two, incase one is removed by the SPCA. Wild cat colonies are less like to bring direct blame to these hoarders as will a residential colony. Ether setting, cats are not the clean creatures they used to say they were. They are very filthy animals and turn an area into their personal toilet very rapidly. As pets go, cats are the greatest medical threat there is, because of their numbers, and the ease they transform from domestic pet to wild animal. cats are the most likely pet left behind when people move and I think this is greatly due to the limited contact many owners perceive pet cats unpleasant close association with can be until they try to put them in the same small space they inhabit, such as a car. Imagine the scene, you’re all packed up and you left the cat for last to collect and drive off with. You got the little fluff ball in the car despite it’s fear of confinement, and say it doesn’t go berserk and scratch everyone in the vehicle. Soon after you start driving away, you inhale a few floating cat hairs and the scent of how clean cats really keep themselves dispels all propaganda regarding how naturally clean cat are said to be. You might even come to the understanding that those tales of how cats are so clean involved cats licking themselves especially their anal and urinal areas regularly, which really makes me form an opinion for those who allow cats to lick them orally. As you continue driving any child in the vehicle will now display the signs of allergic distress. This is the almost invisible dust cats shed constantly and can be seen if there is a stream of light in the car to detect it. By now you have battled with inhaling cat hair, trying not to notice, when you become vaguely aware of a certain stench and Just bout then you realize your cat has damaged some part of the interior with his claws besides the scratch he left on your arm when you retrieved it. Then you’re wife can’t remain quiet any longer and remarks on the smell. A few more inhaled cat hairs, the child wheezing and the threat of urination all come to the attention of every sane adult in the car and the die is cast. Suddenly you are plotting how to break the law and loose the cat, as soon as probable if not immediately. You drive back to the now former dwelling, and with out looking to guilty, pretend that you forgot something, which in actuality you did. You forgot to make prior arrangements to relocate the cat or heaven forbid, dispose of the cat, because cat’s don’t make easy travel companions to most congenial sorts. For those few that claim they do, the fail to disclose they have had their olfactory system out of service for some time or learned to tolerate it. By now it is likely that the cat has left a little token of its existence just due to the shock in your vehicle which you will be able to justify your next action by all the way to your next residence. You open the door nearest the feline hopefully to avoid getting scratched again and the cat grants your wish and leaps from the vehicle, likely too scared now to even wave goodbye which justifies your abandonment since you won’t find it again until feeding time this evening. you pour out the rest of its cat food and fill a larger container of water, call it a few more times and decide you can’t delay, besides you tell yourself you will be back more prepared to retrieve the cat soon. As you drive away with you’re wife trying to remove floating cat hair from the child and her mouth. You remain quiet and check if the child has any protest at this point, but is rather consumed at this time in trying to breath correctly and probably wont say anything about the cat also. secretly everyone is more pleased that the cat is not in the car any longer but the subject is not mentioned. Your long scratch on you’re arm is starting to coagulate finally after ruining a perfectly good shirt that you just noticed dried blood stain on and you decide is collateral damage, so off you go and this time you are not turning back. Your filled with a sense of escape. Deliverance more accurately, and somehow you become a partial advocate for free roaming cats in the hope that you are making up for your sin of leaving your pet cat behind. Don’t worry. It probably survived. It already made prior feeding arrangements with the unknown cat lady neighbor three houses away since a year ago and soon it will join her ever growing collection which will make her feel so popular and good because everyone knows if a cat like you, there must be something really good about you. The more cats that like you is a sure validation if not a vindication for you to feel better about life and yourself. Its at the point where a hoarder believes that cats are some kind of spiritual currency is when all stops are pulled. that’s when cat ownership moves into the industrial phase soon to be followed by the undeterminable phase when you lost count. The walls of life start to collapse some time after that depending on your saved resources since actual employment and cat collecting don’t exist long in the same human. The late evening take on a special allure since their are fewer witness and cats are active at that time. This further moves you to the life of a recluse, in addition to the fact that all your good clothes are ruined or torn. Eventually the cat hoarder will believe the effort is important and praise worthy as if they are the angel of cats. Or the cat hoarder will describe their hoarding to those who they come to know better as some sort of a public and paid project. After years of it, even described as “their work” as if they are on the cutting edge of some social breakthrough, or they saved a village in south Africa while building a school and a hospital. At this point, any awards or medals from observers will be accepted whole heartedly. Any sudden jolts with reality at this phase, could cause the hoarder to summon considerable reserves in the form of helpers who she has persuaded to believe she is the victim of some heartless persecution. 60 cats, can be moved in one evening if need be, and wild as they are. I believe free roaming cats cant continue but I also feel we need to go about this carefully, not for the cats sake, but for the mostly female cat hoarders because these are not bad ladies. These are good women, who are hurting emotionally usually after giving a major part of themselves to others and suddenly being emotionally left behind out of bad luck. To just remove the problem would be less then sensitive and these were someone’s mothers or daughters. They really mean no harm and they are trying to hang on to something without bothering anyone in their minds. cats instinctively display actions that seem like actual emotions, which they are not capable of but what the heck, at least it looks like they are trying to which is better than these ladies have been shocking left behind with in some very heart breaking situations. Besides, cats make better husbands. They don’t get angry, they don’t divorce, and they don’t die all at once. A true soul mate group forever after, and they don’t demand sex. I have rarely seen a cat owner who really had just one cat. check her back door for multiple bowls if you think I’m worn. You have forgotten the feral’s. Besides, more cats is cheap insurance there will be a replacement. Anyway, there is so much more to this very dynamic subject but before we do anything, we need to consider society’s welfare and the hoarders feelings and mental pain. Anything other would be less than human. Thank You.

    Vasall.

    Paul vasall

  9. My appoligies for ther lack of proper proof reading on the previous comment. I used a spell check program from aol that didn’t work right. the correct term I AM MOST CONCERNED with is Zoonosis. The words the spell check used were not meant to make light of the subject and was truely not intended to ba anything but serious. I can’t seem to correct the comment now, but I offer my appology for the inaccuracy.

    vasall.

  10. To sum up my opinion regarding free roaming, homeless, feral, and wild cats, which come in a spectrum of degrees from combinations of these terms and are an entire discussion alone, I give the following answer. I believe this is a human problem which revolves around mental health. I believe the real health risks are creaping up on us over time laying a path to strike deeply into the core of our lifestyle contrary to what the CDC is trying to protect us from. I believe the CDC has done all that can be expected of one US agency. I believe that lack of action regarding cats thus far is normal for a democracy and id rather live under one than force some evil decree without compassion for the reasons people support these cats. I believe the current pro animal movement is good yet sudden and almost fashionable to the point of slightly missing the sinciere and balanced realism we need to operate by as truely kind and considerate society, which I hope we are. I don’t see anywhere near the same compassion from heartfelt animal kindness individuals toward the struggling cancer patients who can barely survive cancer without the added threat of disease surrounding their residence. I also don’t see the concern for the children who have multiple dissabilities because of prenatal infection with Toxoplasmosis and then carried to humans primarily through or due to cats. Love of animals is commendable as is human compassion. What I don’t see is appropriate balanced compassion in a mature perspective. I see large numbers of cats being protected and that’s great, but these same groups want to preserve these cats in the same locations where there are children and aduts on chemotherapy trying to survive cancer and subject under doctor advice to avoid areas where cats roam due to airbourne infections that their lowered immune systems are vulnerable to. To support a truely humane movement, would there not have to be a balance of humanity extended to all living things, and wrong as it may seem, are people not the primary concern with animals secondary or is that part of the animal rights movement aswell? Really, Id like to know if people are a secondary concern for animal rights. If so, they should make it public so at least we humans with vulnerable illnesses will know where we stand and take appropriate defence. What about the threatened natural wild life, of which many species face extinction, perhaps not due to cats thus far but barely surviving with cats poised to deal the final blow pushing the remaining living species to the edge of existence forever.
    Where is the kindness and animal movement concern for them? See this is some of the dark inconsistencies I see and once the pendulum changes and the reasonable people realize this was kind but not considerate and void of fair sinciere humanity, it will be a late correction where injustice may be unrepairable. Just so an inordinate overpopulation of cats and pets can live at the expense of the species forced into extinction and a general disregard of the human Ill and disabled. The great enthusiastic push to save mainly the pet animals cause we’re so civilized and humane but never mind the other animals barely still here and to hell with the few unlucky humans with illnesses because this isn’t really about humanitarianism. Thios is about inconsideration and selfishness. Almost a digusting thoughtless mob mentality. Disproprtionately misdirected and disgusting. At least the hoarders have an excuse. They are metally ill. buit the rest don’t and look like a group of clowns all jumping on the popular band wagon just because. Well, thats very tacky and nothing to be admired. We need to balance this out better and allowing cats open breeding rights to populate the land is not humane at all. It’s not even kind. It’s childish and selfish and shows how pathetic some sane individuals can behave. We may not do it now, but very soon something is going to have to be done. I just hope it is not too late.

    vasall

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