Article: Wildlife and unrestrained pets - a bad combination: some more feral cat information

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Image Wildlife and unrestrained pets - a bad combination
By Lance Gardner on March 16, 2011

Believe it or not, spring is coming, and with it new life is bursting forth from many of the plants and animals that have survived the rigors of winter. As the native birds and other wildlife work hard to raise a family, please don’t let their babies or the parents become cat or dog food.

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ImageLance
May 31, 2011 11:59 AM CST
Name: Lance Gardner
coastal plain Virginia
Question authority, guide in wisdom
Recently, I received an email from a fellow Master Gardener on feral cats. Here are the links, including some information on why the trap/neuter/release program is not very effective in controlling feral cat colonies and the loss of local native wildlife they cause, as well as graphic images of what happens to cats left outside.
From the Wildlife Society: http://issuu.com/the-wildlife-professional/docs/feralcats This link has both impacts to outdoor cats and local wildlife.
http://joomla.wildlife.org/documents/positionstatements/28-F...
http://joomla.wildlife.org/index.php?option=com_content&task... This link includes more links to information on the impacts of cats to wildlife, and about the health of the cat itself.
From the American Bird Conservancy:
http://www.abcbirds.org/abcprograms/policy/cats/materials/ca... Includes information on the hazards to cats as well as wildlife.
http://www.abcbirds.org/abcprograms/policy/cats/materials/TN... Another document on why trap, neuter, release does not work.
Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground -- the unborn of the future Nation. The Constitution of the Iroquois Nations.
Dogs; Family Fun Unplugged; Perennials, Annuals, Veggies; Happy Birthday Wishes
ImageSharon
Jun 1, 2011 5:26 PM CST
Name: Sharon
Kentucky
Well, Lance, I guess one could find all kinds of links to promote most any belief or non belief, don't you think?

I can't sit back and quietly allow you to blame cats entirely for the demise of the bird population. I just can't do that.

Have you ever thought of these situations and have you ever considered their impact on the bird population:

*Pesticides and toxic waste: according to the US Fish and Wildlife study, pesticides are responsible for about 1-2 million deaths of birds every year.

*Over a 20 year study, it was determined that glass windows caused the death of several billion birds per year.

*Again according to a study by the US Fish and Wildlife autos and trucks bring about the death of well over 100 million birds, again per year.

*And then there are hunters, another 100+million deaths per year, some accidental, some not.

*And turbines, propellors, those on airplanes and on boats. I watched a duck get tangled in an outboard motor on the lake just a few days ago. The people in the boat had been feeding the duck, they didn't bother to warn it when they started the motor. Parts of the duck surfaced in the wake of the boat.

*There are the migratory birds, those who travel long distances to return to their specified homeland, only to find concrete and pavement and the absence of trees because of human development and disturbances. I really don't think cats took their homeland away from them.

*And even more numbers show that hawks find songbirds to be tasty snacks. Studies show that death of songbirds by hawks are almost double the numbers of those killed by cats.

But you don't have to take my word for it, I'm not a statistician, but I am a believer in two sides to every story. Here is one link that can lead to many others if you choose to venture in other directions:

http://www.straypetadvocacy.org/html/cat_predation.html

I am not refuting what you have written, Lance, I'm just trying to broaden your horizons a little bit. There are cats that prey on songbirds, particularly those songbirds that have been lured to feeders placed in back yards for all the world to see. But mostly cats prefer rodents, and if given the choice, they'll go after a rodent on the ground every single time.

And the accuracy of statistics, well, they are always dependent on the accuracy of those who write them and the point they are trying to make. Don't you think?
ImageLance
Jun 2, 2011 7:57 AM CST
Name: Lance Gardner
coastal plain Virginia
Question authority, guide in wisdom
There are indeed numerous threats to the native populations of many plants and animals and their ecosystems. This is just one threat, although by all estimates from numerous sources it is a large and significant one. What frustrates me the most about cats, dogs and other pets allowed to roam at will or even abandoned is that it is so easily remedied - keep your pets properly under control for the health of the local ecosystem and your own pet. I try to educate about the other threats as I can, as well, and practice what I promote. I do not use motors for recreation, do not spray herbicides or pesticides, put stuff in my windows for visual deterrents, and have been known to swerve to avoid even butterflies as long as it is safe to do so.
I put these links up because I had recently received them. My article has links to dog damage, as well, and there are numerous instances of other pets such as pythons in Florida causing damage. Please be responsible with your pets of all kinds and prevent them from impacting our local wildlife as the wild critters obviously have enough to deal with already.
About 3 years ago I think it was, I thought there was no way the stray cats that were visiting my yard could have such a profound impact on the birds in my yard. Unfortunately, I watched the ground feeding bird population plummet. Since taking the cats to the local humane shelter, the bird population is coming back.
Thank you for pointing out many other concerns, and that this is not necessarily a simple issue.
Look and listen for the welfare of the whole people and have always in view not only the present but also the coming generations, even those whose faces are yet beneath the surface of the ground -- the unborn of the future Nation. The Constitution of the Iroquois Nations.
Dogs; Family Fun Unplugged; Perennials, Annuals, Veggies; Happy Birthday Wishes
[Last edited Jun 2, 2011 8:07 AM CST]
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