I will admit that I believe in the truism that there are two kinds of people in the world, cat people and dog people. Based on one of their most recent articles, the folks at Mother Jones are definitely dog people. Why else would they put up an article which says that Cats are bad for the environment. They kill birds that help mitigate against global warming.
A recent Smithsonian Institution study found that cats caused 79 percent of deaths of juvenile catbirds in the suburbs of Washington, DC. Bad news, since birds are key to protecting ecosystems from the stresses of climate change—a 2010 study found that they save plants from marauding insects that proliferate as the world warms.
In order to protect the world against this feline feeding frenzy scientists are doing their best to make sure these cats do not procreate. Cat advocacy groups believe they’ve found a simple solution: Trap feral cats, sterilize them, then release them.
In theory, this strategy, known as trap-neuter-return (TNR), sounds great. If cats can’t reproduce, their population will decline gradually. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work. To put a dent in the total number of cats, at least 71 percent of them must be fixed, and they are notoriously hard to catch. Cash-strapped cities can’t afford to chase down, trap, and sterilize every stray—a process that costs roughly $100 per kitty.
I guess to trap the cats you have to send out somebody in a cat costume wearing fancy cat lingerie (or something like that).
….the feline freedom fighters continue to promote TNR and battle to preserve feral colonies at all costs. Among the most powerful of these groups is Alley Cat Allies, a nonprofit whose main program, the Feral Friends Network, teaches people how to care for “community cats.” ACA, whose budget was $5.3 million last year, has enjoyed generous grants from cat-food vendors like PetSmart and Petco. Pro-feral groups—there are 250 or so in the United States—have used their financial might to woo wildlife groups. Audubon’s New Jersey chapter backed off on its opposition to TNR in 2005, around the same time major foundations gave the chapter grants to partner with pro-TNR groups.
As with most warming arguments, this has become an emotional argument. Many scientists have been threatened or harassed when threatened when they’ve presented research about the effect cats have on wildlife.
In 2005, research by Stan Temple, an emeritus professor of wildlife biology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, was cited by a panel that proposed studying cats’ impact on birds in that state. In response, he received several death threats. “You cat-murdering bastard,” one activist wrote to Temple. “I declare an open season on Stan Temple.” (Police promptly arrested the suspect.) When Travis Longcore, science director of the environmental group Urban Wildlands, filed suit in Los Angeles against the city’s TNR program, an irate blogger posted his cellphone number.
Biologists recommend a combination of strategies to save the environment from cats.
For starters, quit feeding the ferals: Beyond sustaining strays, the practice often leads delinquent pet owners to abandon their cats outdoors, assuming they will be well cared for. The food can also attract the very pests that cats are supposed to keep at bay. The American Bird Conservancy‘s campaign to convince pet owners to keep cats indoors has had some success—bird deaths have declined by a third in areas that passed ordinances against free-ranging cats. Programs that remove feral cat colonies are typically more successful than TNR—but those usually involve euthanizing cats at shelters.
My Dog suggests that we just let dogs go after the feline bird killers to protect our environment. But it is doubtful that people will allow that to happen. To this dog-lover it seems as if we must do something about these killer cats before they kill all the birds and we succumb to the global warming hoax.