Harm To the Ecosystem: part 2

Stray cats and cats that are let outside kill around 1.4 – 3.7 billion birds a year, and 6.9 – 20.7 billion mammals a year, according to One Green Planet.  They have become the number one cause of death of both birds and mammals, instead of by the native carnivores.  These unnatural predators steal prey from native hunters such as owls and hawks.  Many of the cats that are let outside to roam free during the day hunt wildlife for fun, not for food.  Pet owners believe that if you feed your pet, they’ll leave native wildlife alone, but that isn’t true.  They’ll kill their prey and abandon most of it, snacking here and there.  In spring and summer, cat’s kill more animals than ever, because the newborn animals don’t have any defenses yet, making them easy prey.

Now, the definition of a feral cat is a cat who has “reverted in some degree to a wild state (definition found on Neighborhood Cats).”  What does that mean, exactly?  Does it mean a cat that is slightly more skittish and prone to hunt small animals more than other cats?  I think that it varies.  There is the slightly un-domesticated stray, who could easily adjust to life as a pet again.  And there is the full-blown feral cat, who are totally unused to humane interaction.  I think that feral cats are worse for the environment, because they can’t be re-acclimated into domestic life.  Instead of bringing these felines to a shelter or other organization, programs like Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) must be used.  While TNR is effective, it does not remove strays from public areas as fast as putting them in a shelter to be adopted would.

As a final thought, the best place to keep pet cats is inside the house.