Cats And The Environment has become a headline lately. Cats are being perceived as dangerous predators that are killing natural species to the point of extinction. Are cats really the problem? Of course not, cats are doing what comes naturally to the cat. How did the world find itself overrun with cats?
Cats As An Invasive Species
Australia has a cat problem. They also have problems with several invasive species. Please follow this link to Wikipedia for a complete article on Invasive Species in Australia. Australia is not the only country claiming problems with feral cats. What do you suppose is the underlying issue with too many cats?
People Are The Problem With Feral Cats
On average a female cat can have 1 to 8 kittens per litter and 2 to 3 litters per year. During her lifetime, one female cat could have more than 100 kittens. A single pair of breeding cats and their offspring can produce as many as 420,000 kittens in just 7 years.
I have eight cats living in my house. They have never killed a bird, rodent, or reptile. My females are spayed and the males are neutered. I have taken the responsibility to look after and maintain my cats. I do not allow my cats to free roam and the cats that want to go outside are monitored and on a leash. I hope soon to have a catio so the cats have some free time outside.
What I am implying is that people are the cause of any invasive species problem. Any time a species has introduced to control a pest or as a pet that has escaped or been abandoned it is the human element as the root cause.
When the target species has to be controlled, usually extreme measures are employed that causes great suffering to the target and can affect the whole environment. Poisons are the worst as it affects the whole food chain. Poisoning is a terrible way to die and no animal deserves this fate.
Humanity Has To Take Responsibility
Certain members of the population should not have control of pets. Pets that are not maintained properly through diet or birth control or regular medical examination do not belong under the guidance of an irresponsible person. Animal hoarders and abusers should suffer the same criminal prosecution as child abusers. Animal dumping is another example of abuse that must be met with harsh penalties. Cats and dogs cannot survive properly on their own, especially if a dumped cat has been declawed. My latest rescue is a young pregnant dog that was dumped in the country on a viciously cold winter night. How can anyone do this?
Responsible Pet Owners
Responsible pet owners bring a cat into the family and the kitty becomes family. I want to reemphasize that this includes a proper diet, regular medical visits and above all BIRTH CONTROL. Birth control means a spay and neuter program that eliminates unwanted kittens. Back to my rescued young dog (yes Cat Care loves dogs too), We went from 3 dogs to 10 dogs in one day. Now there are puppies that require good safe homes. If you think one or two cats is a lot of responsibility, have a surprise litter of kittens will increase your workload and financial responsibility. After the litter comes it is too late for birth control and a responsible pet owner MUST raise the litter to be homed properly.
Feral Cat Colonies
Feral cat colonies are blamed for environmental destruction. The reality is that people made them feral and now people must take responsibility for them. There are dedicated groups that feed and house feral cat colonies and with the help of professional veterinary staff conduct effective spay and neuter programs to these colonies.
The feral cats are live trapped and the surgically sterilized and after a monitoring period are returned to the colony. Some of these kitties are adopted, however, some of these cats will never be able to keep inside. MY Norbu is an example of a great kitty that was as wild a feral as you could imagine and has become one of the nicest house cats you could imagine. It just takes patience and time.
Feral cat colonies that are a part of a TNR program (Trap Neuter Release) benefit the community by keeping other strays out and if fed properly have no impact on the local wildlife. Volunteers provide winter shelters and in this, the cats do not suffer the cold weather. An inspirational movie is the documentary KEDI. It is wonderful to see how the whole city of Istanbul appreciates its cats.
Adopt A Feral Cat
How can the average person help? I think that if the TNR program was supported with financial and volunteer assistance the problem with stray cats would be greatly reduced. Feral colonies need food and shelter as well as medical assistance. The next step would be to adopt a feral cat. All of my eight cats are rescues. They have been removed from the wild environment and live a safe life in a loving home. My Norbu was the wildest and with patience and compassion has become a wonderful inside cat. He has been in the house for ten months at this writing. He is still cautious but becomes calmer every day. Feral cats need their space and will calm down at their own pace. The process can not be rushed. The rewards are priceless.
Perhaps a person could adopt a feral colony. Putting up shelters and providing the necessities of life is a start. There will be people that do not appreciate the effort and be prepared for a backlash from individuals or governments. Be sure to check with local regulations before starting a big project.
Any invasive species has a human element behind it. Then the target species has to pay with its life. Humanity has to take responsibility for its actions.
I do not believe in free-roaming cats. My cats are indoors only except two that go out on leads. There are just too many hazards out there for my kitties such as wild animals, vehicles, and cat haters. I could not sleep at night if everybody was not in the house. That goes for my dogs too.
That’s my story for today. Please hug a kitty and do something green for the environment. Don’t forget to check my Cat Care Products page for something for that special kitty.
How Long Is Cat (Pet) Care? It Is Forever!
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4 thoughts on “Cats And The Environment”
Good evening Trevor,
You put a good question in your post. How come there are so many cats? We are to blame.
Australia has a cat problem now.
Well, in the past they had a rabbit problem, that was in the early 1800s. They build a fence but the rabbit was on the other side already.
Then came the problem with toads. The cane toad was introduced to Australia in 1935, these animals were imported from Hawaii. I read that a booklet was printed, something like 10 humane ways to get rid of toads. It seems the best way was to put the poor animal in the deep-freezer. How humane can we humans get?
Now its cats, come on.
My cats do roam my farm and yes, sometimes they catch a bird, lizard, or grasshopper, not to forget a juicy small mole. So what?
We are poisoning our environment which after all is our habitat. We kill bees and butterflies by the billions with Roundup.
Let our cats be cats and we should take care of them including a little operation and all will be well. This is our responsibility.
Well said Taetske! Problems created by people and left unchecked for decades are trying to be fixed with a quick inhumane solution with devastating results to the environment. It is time for humanity to wake up.
I agree with you that there are far too many feral cats. And, it is our fault. So many unwanted animals left to fend for themselves and who suffers – they do.
Bye for now.
Thank you Reggie for reading this post. We can all help with this feral cat problem. WE can adopt, sponsor, provide financial support, volunteer and rescue.
Trevor. You are a hero for rescuing Miss Kitty and her babies.