If you are becoming aware that every year we are experiencing more and more of a Silent Spring, and it’s not from your hearing loss, it’s not because of pesticides ( as in Rachael Carson’s “Silent Spring”), it just might be the overall impact of 60 million feral cats on the national bird population.
In a study 6 years ago the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute alleged that feral cats kill an average of 2.6 billion birds per year in the US. Apart from the bird deaths they kill an estimated average of 14 billion mammals per year which include rats, mice, rabbits squirrels, and voles. There are no statistics covering their impact on lizards and snakes except in Australia where it is alleged that they kill over a million a day. It’s hard to put a price on a bird but money spent by bird watchers places the cost at $80 / per bird spotted.
Now these are feral cats, not the ones who are claimed to be pets who run loose outside killing things because “ that’s just what they do” even when they have well stocked food dishes at home. The pet cats surely have a negative effect on wildlife also. I saw a photo of a British couple who froze and put on display every trophy, uneaten animal their cat laid on the porch for a year. It was astounding the waste of wildlife just because “that’s what they do.”
The reason I bring this to your attention is that I have seen at least 3 times in the last year articles in the HCFP written about misguided people in Hays Co. who with good intentions capture feral cats and have them vaccinated, neutered, and transported back into the wild free to destroy wildlife. The cost to society for these services is about $100/ cat. The cost to wildlife is inestimable.
The photo of a pet cat wearing a colored collar which, birds being especially sensitive to bright colors, make it more difficult for cats to score a kill. The owner says the kill effect of her cat is down 87% and eventually “George” just quit hunting. Actually house cats should be always kept indoors.
Feral cats originated in the Middle East and consequently are an invasive species like kudzu, constrictor snakes of the Everglades, zebra mussels, pine beetles, fire ants, and should be treated as such. May it be suggested that the damage done subsequent to their capture, neutering and releasing to the wild is a stupid thing to allow. If it weren’t for coyotes’ (God bless ‘em in this case) appetites for cats the problem would be greater.
These anthropomorphic feelings must be overcome. Do the right thing. Have them euthanized . If you can handle it a twitch of an index finger is cheaper and quicker. Any cat in the wild without a collar is a candidate.
Since kids don’t do the BB gun thing so much as my generation did, without the depredations of cats the birds just may make a comeback.