Friday, April 16, 2021

Should NYS cull feral cats?

feral catBy Hunter Peters

In the United States, we have invested significant government resources toward the control of invasive species populations, with the aim of reducing their impact on native species. But there is one invasive species that has largely avoided this level of government investment and public attention: the domestic cat. For cat lovers in particular, the idea of cats being an invasive species probably borders on offensive (full disclosure: I’m really more of a dog person.)

However we may feel, though, the fact remains that cats are not native to the United States, and as birdwatcher Noah Strycker puts it, in order to find a “more successful” invasive species, “you’ll need a mirror.”


According to genetic analysis from a study cited by journalist David Zax in his article, “A Brief History of Cats,” the domestic cat (Felis cata) was first domesticated from Middle Eastern wildcats (Felis sylvestris) in the Middle East’s Fertile Crescent approximately 12,000 years ago, around the time when the first agricultural civilizations were formed. From here, domestic cats spread to Europe alongside humankind as humans formed new civilizations there, and when humans began to sail to new continents during the Age of Exploration cats would join them aboard these voyages as well.

The global population of cats, now sitting at half a billion, eventually spread across six continents and 118 main island groups out of 131, according to Strycker’s article, “Cat vs. Bird: The Battle Lines.” Because native species in these locations did not evolve alongside domestic cats they are particularly vulnerable to cat predation, and their negative effect on biodiversity has placed domestic cats among the 100 most harmful invasive species in the world, according to Scott Loss, Tom Will, and Peter Marra. In addition, feral cats act as a natural reservoir for zoonotic diseases, diseases capable of being transmitted from a nonhuman animal to humans, including rabies, Toxoplasma gondii, tularemia, and even plague, according to R.W. Gerhold and D. A. Jessup’s study, “Zoonotic Diseases Associated with Free-Roaming Cats.”

Impact of Feral Cats

Previous estimates of the impact of domestic cats on native species might have actually underestimated the rate of animal mortality, according to a systematic review of existing studies conducted by Scott Loss, Tom Will, and Peter Marra titled, “The impact of free-ranging domestic cats on wildlife of the United States.” According to the authors, free-roaming cats, including both owned and unowned feral cats may, “exceed all other sources of anthropogenic mortality of US birds and mammals.” Loss, Will, and Marra found that free-ranging cats kill between 1.3 and 4 billion birds, along with 6.3 to 22.3 billion small mammals each year in the United States.

For Australia in particular, feral cats represent a dire threat to native species. Jessica Camille Aguirre wrote an article for The New York Times in April 2019 titled “Australia Is Deadly Serious About Killing Millions of Cats,” which documented how the Australian government had undertaken a regular culling of feral cats in order to mitigate their impact on native species. The article described how officials airdropped poisoned sausages over feral cat colonies, using a poison from a plant that is only lethal to nonnative species. Aguirre’s article in turn prompted me to begin researching how feral cats are affecting native species in New York State, and whether a feral cat culling could be replicated here.

Unfortunately, after reaching out to a representative of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), I was informed that the DEC had not conducted any studies into feral cat predation in New York. The representative did tell me, however, that the DEC “acknowledges that feral cats have negative impacts on birds of concern in the state,” and that the DEC has employed “education and outreach” to encourage “cat owners and advocates to keep their companions indoors.” The primary reason that the DEC has not undertaken research specific to New York is that feral cats are not legally considered wildlife under New York law, as all domestic cats, regardless of whether they are owned or unowned, enjoy protected status as companion animals under sections 353 and 353-A of the Agriculture and Markets Law.

Population Control Measures

The protected status that feral cats enjoy in New York would obviously pose a legal obstacle for any culling as potentially indiscriminate as that used in Australia. The revelation, however, raised new questions on whether alternative measures may exist for controlling feral cat colonies, short of airdropping poison sausages. From my research, I learned that other states have implemented two types of programs aimed at controlling feral cats: trap and euthanize programs, which are a form of strategic culling; and Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) programs, which involve front line workers trapping members of feral cat colonies, vaccinating them to deter the spread of zoonotic diseases, neutering them to slow the growth of the colony, and then returning them to the location in which they were found. According to Loss, Will, and Marra, TNR programs are implemented widely across the United States, despite their potential harm to native species and the fact that legislators do not typically undertake a review of the program’s environmental impact. Part of the reason for this lack of scientific consideration is that animal advocacy organizations possess extensive influence in the United States and can successfully lobby State Legislatures, while according to Aguirre such groups are comparatively weak in Australia.

In New York, the State Government has left a status quo in which feral cat populations have gone both understudied and uncontrolled, with neither a TNR or trap and euthanize program implemented at the state level. Nonetheless, I wondered whether front line workers, such as Forest Rangers, could exercise discretion in their approach to feral cat colonies. For this, I reached out to Mike Bodnar, a now retired New York State Forest Ranger, to learn how Forest Rangers approach the state’s feral cat population. Bodnar told me that because feral cats enjoy legal protection as companion animals in New York, he was only authorized to kill a feral cat if he personally witnessed one attacking a member of a threatened or endangered species while on patrol. And while Bodnar recognized that the State Government has not actively sought to control the feral cat population, he pointed out that coyotes and fishers prey on feral cats and that some are killed by automobiles, providing at least some negative pressure on their population.

While New York may not have implemented a TNR or trap and euthanize program, in 2015 the State Legislature did attempt to pass a law that would have essentially created a statewide TNR program, a measure supported animal welfare organizations. According to an article by Jon Campbell titled “Feral cat bill claws way through New York State Legislature,” the State Legislature put forward a bill that would have enabled the State’s Animal Population Control Program to direct up to 20% of its funds, which are collected from dog licensing fees, toward nonprofits that would then administer TNR programs across the state. The legislation was opposed by an unlikely coalition, most prominently the New York Sportsmen’s Advisory Council and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). After the State Senate passed the bill these groups successfully lobbied Governor Andrew Cuomo to veto it. Cuomo justified his veto by casting doubt on the effectiveness of TNR programs, explaining in a statement that “prevailing science suggests [TNR] programs are not guaranteed to reduce feral cat populations, and, even if they do, may take many more years to do so than existing programs.”

Among the prevailing science that has questioned the effectiveness of TNR programs is a cost-benefit analysis conducted by Cheryl Lohr, Linda Cox, and Christopher Lepczyk in 2013 titled “Costs and benefits of trap-neuter-release and euthanasia for removal of urban cats in Oahu, Hawaii,” which modeled out changes in a feral cat colony over 30 years. In terms of effectiveness, the TNR program took the full 30 years to fully eradicate the colony, while the trap and euthanize program was able to eradicate the colony by its second year in 75% of the simulations, so long as the colony’s population remained stable. However, when the simulation increased the population of the colony by 10% each year, the trap and euthanize program could not prevent the colony from returning to carrying capacity within 6 years, while the TNR program was unable to eradicate the colony even within these 30 years. In terms of cost, TNR was twice as expensive as the trap and euthanize program.

Another study from Billie Lazenby, Nicholas Mooney, and Christopher Dickman, titled “Effects of low-level culling of feral cats in open populations: a case study from the forests of southern Tasmania,” focused on the effectiveness of less intensive culling programs used in some countries. The authors found that the number of cats at the two sites they studied actually increased during the 13-month period of observation by 211% and 75%, while the population remained stable at the control site where no trapping was conducted. The most likely explanation for the low-level culling’s counterproductive effect on feral cats, according to the authors, was that the removal of dominant feral cats enabled subordinate cats, which had previously been excluded from the site of the colony, to take up residence within the colony. Two alterative explanations were that the experiment’s culling was not sufficiently intense or that the culling removed dominant cats from the colony, freeing up resources for other members of the colony and allowing their offspring a greater chance of surviving.


In New York, even a modest low-level culling would likely require an amendment to the Agriculture and Markets Law, in order to signal to state agencies that feral cats are wildlife suitable for research and population control, rather than companion animals. If the State Legislature found the political impetus to pass such an amendment while also designating state funds for a trap and euthanize program, then it would be prudent to implement an accompanying monitoring program and an education program discouraging cat owners to from abandoning their animals. Perhaps the most immediate measure to address feral cats in New York, however, would involve a study, administered either by a state agency or university researchers, to measure feral cat predation. If members of the public are made aware of the impact that feral cats can have on threatened species they are already familiar with seeing at their birdfeeders or around their lawns, then perhaps even cat lovers can recognize the urgency of feral cat population control.

Photo Source: Shutterstock, “forestpath.” 

Hunter Peters is a writer from Washington County, who is studying International Affairs at Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy.


Related Stories

Guest Contributor

The Adirondack Almanack publishes occasional guest essays from Adirondack residents, visitors, and those with an interest in the Adirondack Park.

Submissions should be directed to Almanack editor Melissa Hart at [email protected]

121 Responses

  1. Boreas says:

    First, let me say I LOVE cats. Dogs, not so much. That being said, feral house cats do not belong in our wild ecosystem. While it is obviously inhumane to cull these animals, it was more inhumane to release them and allow them to breed to begin with. They certainly do significant damage to native birds and rodent populations, but the exact effect on their numbers is based primarily on statistical extrapolation – not in-depth studies. But they do displace and compete with other small predators such as weasels, owls, hawks, and even foxes. However, starvation, disease, and becoming prey for dogs, coyotes, owls, fisher, etc. are not pleasant for feral cats either. It is simply cruel for feral cats to be in the ecosystem – whether we intervene or not.

    Regardless, they need to be removed from the environment as well as boa constrictors and feral dogs and pigs – as many non-native species as possible. TNR only is better than nothing, but not much better. The released animals are still causing destruction. Culling – especially of colonies – probably a little more effective. It makes no sense to combine the procedures. If you trap a feral cat, euthanize it, don’t neuter it and return it to the wild. It may be effective in city/urban environments, but not in the wild.

    Unfortunately, this is not a cat problem, it is a human-created problem. Unless there are substantial penalties for abandoning animals or allowing cats to breed without housing/confining them, the problem will never go away. I know of several homes where people allow cats to breed and feed them, but allow them to wander day and night uncontrolled and un-neutered. This should simply be illegal with stiff penalties. Even allowing neutered cats to be primarily outdoor cats should be discouraged. Fluffy really should not be outdoors long enough to hunt – whether it is on a farm or in a residential area.

    Is my point of view cruel and inhumane? Yes – but only to feral cats. But at some point we have to put on our big-boy pants and try to mitigate a tragedy of our own creation. I see no other effective solution.

    • Steve B. says:

      Agree with you Boreas on having some healthy doubts about the numbers of birds killed by cats. Part of this is having lived with an outdoors cat (he was an outdoor cat when we adopted him, no good way to change them), and NEVER saw him catch or kill a bird. Mice, yes, birds, no. Now that’s a completely anecdotal experience but it puzzled me as to where that billions number came from. I frankly doubt that it’s accurate. As well, I have ferals that pass thru my yard reguarly (it’s open territory now that my outdoor cat has passed on and no other cat I’ve had has been an outdoor cat), I never observe bird hunting, so question the statistics.

      I do support TNR, yes it takes time, Cuomo’s reasons for vetoing that bill were just stupid, but he’s an idiot, so expected.

      • Boreas says:

        When I first moved here 20 years ago, I used to have a healthy population of ground-nesting birds. As numbers of feral cats increased, the population of those birds were decimated. Cats tend to become specialists. Some will focus on birds, others focus on rodents. Some don’t care – when they are hungry, or nursing young, they can go after pretty much anything.

        I am not without guilt here. My last cat was a neutered stray (not feral) that I started caring for. I fed her, and she came in MOST nights, but not always. Before I started keeping her inside, she would bring home birds, flying squirrels (tails only), chipmunks, mice, a woodcock, and even a weasel. And she was well fed by me. I guess after being abandoned, she apparently became a very good hunter to provide for herself. It was difficult keeping her indoors, so I would let her out occasionally. I could usually find her out roaming the fields for mice, or sitting calmly near a chipmunk hole, or sitting under the bird feeder ready to grab any bird that dropped within easy jumping distance. Today she is around 20 years old and can barely walk. She likes to sit on the porch in the sun, keeping an eye on those chipmunks, but unable to do anything about them. Kinda like me.

      • JJ McKibbin says:

        TNR doesn’t work. It is simply a euthanasia avoidance scheme. There is no town, city, or county anywhere that has reduced its feral cat population through TNR. Not one. If you wish to dispute this fact, then name the town along with its feral cat population when it started TNR and its feral cat population today.

        • Steve B. says:

          TNR does work. It’s obvious that if you spay and release, they will not produce off spring. How hard is this to understand and I challenge you in return to state any statistics that proves otherwise. The fact that towns and municipalities do not financily provide much support is simply they see volunteer organizations doing all the work and say “why bother”, complely avoiding their responsibilities.

      • AG says:

        Outdoor cats kill anything. I have personally witnessed on eat a bird. And it was in an urban environment. But again they kill anything. A cousin of mine in Florida brags about no lizards or frogs coming inside anymore because the cat kills them… You don’t think they would outside too?

    • Marybeth Clark says:

      Human are far more destructive to planet Earth than any other. We kill for sport. We defoliate for our own selfishness. We leave “space junk” litter in our atmosphere.You choose to concentrate on cats.The Australian ferel cats were not humanely euthanized n 2019. Poisoning by sausages is quite painful. Agonizingly painful! Imagine strychnine. Clorophorme is not a “peaceful sleep”. Neurological damage is slower pain. As far as his”big boy pants”, he needs diapers and a pacifier.?

      • Tony S White says:

        You seem to be so sympathetic to feral cats and outdoor cats, yet you forgot to consider the thousands if not tens of thousands of wildlife each one will kill. Cats already have killed 63 species to extinction. Why don’t we just admit that cat lovers want the ecosystem to be replaced with feral cats? No matter how much harm they cause, cat lovers won’t budge an inch. It’s at the point where cats can do unlimited damage and that is OK. The best thing about this country is the ecosystem, and its being managed partly by cats that want to destroy it. If only some degree of respect could be extended to the ecosystem, then people wouldn’t be calculating that each invasive cat is allowed to kill thousands of wildlife, or refusing to open their eyes at all and not thinking about what is happening–which is even worse. It wasn’t enough to holocaust the Native Americans, now the native animals have to also be destroyed as well because of a twisted form of entitlement over ethics. As far as all the damage that humans cause, that is just whataboutism. Why should cats be allowed to cause unlimited damage just because humans cause damage? That is like saying, I am entitled to kill / rape / steal / commit these crimes because someone else does it twice as much and gets away with it. As far as how people are destroying the planet, it isn’t people like me, it is people like the cat lovers that have an extreme sense of entitlement and a will to destroy. That is their own kind, not my kind.

  2. nathan says:

    i know feral cats are a huge issue around bird feeders and i see them killing rabbits, occassionally a squirrel. i have had to move feeders away from any kind of cat cover. i find feathers and cat prints, ive seen many times cats blasting in to try and cat birds. doves are commonly killed by cats. I would agree that feral cats are a big issue. they need to be controlled. I have managed to live catch cats some and drop at shelters, but they are willy to catch.
    I guess cats are truely an invasive species, pets are one thing but feral is just huge issue.

    • Live and let live says:

      First I only feed from Nov to maybe April. Second even though it’s a bother I surround my feeders with 3’ fencing during that time. Keeps the cats out.

    • M Leybra says:

      Yes & can only hope that the author of this article & anyone who reads this article also reads the Merritt Clifton article, link offered here, in order to get a more comprehensive view of this subject.

      • Hunter Peters Hunter Peters says:

        Hi Ethan and M Leybra, Thanks for reading my article. It looks like Merritt Clifton is a member of an animal advocacy organization, as well as a TNR advocate, and not an actual researcher. So you might want to consider his bias in that article.

  3. grace says:

    HUMANS are the MOST ‘invasive species’ of all – we destroy EVERYTHING, land, water, air, animals…then we scapegoat the animals! Pathetic.
    FACT: The DEC/Wildlife Services kills FAR more birds than any animal; skyscrapers kill millions of birds, cell towers and wind combines the same. Leave the animals alone, lets try to act like decent humans for once.

    • Evangeline Cisneros says:

      True. But again cats should be fixed if they are gonna be wild running pets.

    • LJ says:

      I agree with you, Grace. Lazy humans do not want to change their destructive habits and are always looking for something else to blame so that they do not have to take stock of and change themselves. We are responsible for over development, loss of bird habitat, hybrid plant species that do not have the same qualities for wildlife as native species, pesticides/herbicides and mass commercial fertilizers, etc. I could go on and on. Not to mention the amount of poor birds that fly into cars, as well as irresponsible hunters and children with guns. A neighbor’s son sat in their yard with a bb gun until he had successfully killed a pile of small birds. No one seemed to care except for myself.
      It is absurd to even suggest that cats, even feral cats, are responsible for even close to the amount of birds that humans kill in the myriad ways we do. And please do not say “culling” when you mean “killing”, because that’s what it is. Killing is cruel and barbaric. We must not set the example for our children that killing other living beings is the answer when we find something inconvenient. We always have the choice to be kind, compassionate and respectful of other living beings. This is an opportunity to set that precedent in this community.

      • Denise Lochner says:

        Thank you LJ, you said it very well. I have a TNR colony in my backyard, started with 24, through natural causes, hit on the road, predators, old age, etc. I’m down to 6 after 15 yrs. I also have loads of birds in my yard. I don’t feed the birds since I’ve had the colony(didn’t want it to be bait, lol),with that said, it doesn’t keep the birds from eating the cat food, which is fine with me. These cats don’t bother the birds at all, in fact the birds bother the cats, swooping at them and what not. All in all its pretty harmonious, the Jaybird announces when the cats are there and then sounds the all clear when they’re gone or done eating just laying around. TNR does work!! Just look at the Bay cats in San Francisco, they started with over 200 and are down to 1.I think loss of habitat and humans are the biggest offenders, are you going to cull humans?

      • AG says:

        The cats are not natural to the environment.

    • Steve Austin says:

      Good point. Lets cull some humans before we start exercising god-like judgement on other species. At least cats don’t attack other cats using automatic weapons.

    • Marybeth Clark says:

      Yes! Very good point! I see more birds killer by glass collisions…even front picture windows on suburban homes. Thankyou for offering alternative thought on this issue.

    • AG says:

      yes – humans introduced domestic cats that became feral.. so another human caused problem

  4. JT says:

    I have had four cats dropped off ay my house which is an old farm house with a barn. People don’t get their cats spayed and neutered, then they have litters of kittens they cannot find homes for, then they drive around and find a farm to unload them. Luckily, I was able to find homes for these cats. I could not take them in because I already had two cats. Two is the max for me, any more than that they get territorial and pee all over. A lot of the farms around here have barn cats, basically feral cats they keep around to control the rodent populations. No vet care, just survival of the fittest. Many of these cats are not friendly to people.
    I definitely think it would be beneficial to cull some of these cat populations. I don’t see it happening in the country side but within towns and villages it would be feasible.

    • M Leybra says:

      Do you really think that somehow we (humans) have right to domesticate & spread a species around the world & at some point w/ a snap of the finger decide we (humans) should cull ‘them?’ It’s a powerful thing, that human ego. How would you cull them anyway, stand out by the barn & pick them off w/ a rifle? Or poison them? Or if were able to live trap them, you may as well spay & neuter them.

      • JT says:

        I guess my point of view on this subject is based on what I read in articles and personal observations. I know of two farms where they have barn cats. I think the farmers view them as beneficial to have around. They help manage the rodent populations and in return, they get shelter and some milk. So these cats populations cannot be culled because they are on private property and the farmers do not wish to have the populations culled.
        Then, in the local village, there is a house with a large population of cats hanging around. Not sure of the exact situation, but I think the owner of the house feeds them and provides some shelter. This would be a good opportunity to vaccinate/spay/neuter to stop the reproduction and reduce spread of disease. Perhaps they already are, I know the village has an animal control officer that must know about it.
        My son and his friends were walking down the road a couple years ago and heard a kitten meowing just off the road in the woods. He’s now sitting next to me while I drink my coffee. My In-Laws have a barn, always getting new cats showing up. They said no more indoor cats. Last time I went there, guess what, they gave in, a new indoor cat. My neighbor is an animal lover. The word got out, she had about ten cats at one point in time. These cats are the lucky ones. I think of all the ones that are not so lucky.

  5. M Leybra says:

    Of the 3 billion No American birds that have disappeared since 1970, what percentage is attributed to feral cats? Cats chase butterflies, could that explain the disappearance of all previously common blue, yellow wing-tailed, etc. butterflies & esp. Monarchs? How can it be known anymore what percentage of birds, bats, bees, butterflies, all lying insects are killed by feral cats as compared to killed by wind turbines now that wind turbines seem to be breeding even faster than feral cats? The global population of cats, now sits at half a billion? Since feral cats only exist relative to concentrations of human populations, if the 8-9 billion human pop. were reduced, stands to reason the half billion cat pop. would also be reduced, yes? In fact, where do homo sapiens rank on their negative effect on biodiversity among the ‘100 most harmful invasive species in the world,’ according to Scott Loss, Tom Will, and Peter Marra? The same ‘cat-obsessed’ trio associates cats w/ zoonotic diseases while health scientists primarily refer to bats as the main conduit of zoonotic disease. And same trio of cat-obsessed authors also associate feral cats w/ rabies as opposed to rest of the world associating rabies primarily w/ bats & dogs & same cat-fearing trio associates the plague w/ cats, while historically rats are blamed because of religious fanatics killing all cats out of fear of black cats, ‘whose lives didn’t matter.’ And this same cat-fearing trio are sticking to blaming feral cats.. In fact, if Loss, Will & Mara are quoted long enough, they’ll be telling us that feral cats are causing climate change next..

  6. Peter says:

    Should we get rid of automobiles and wind turbines too? They kill thousands of more birds than cats. Did you mention that cats help control the rodent population?

    • AG says:

      Cats were domesticated to control rodent populations on people’s property. In the wild – rodents are part of the ecosystem – cats are not.

  7. Live and let live says:

    The most destructive animal on the face of the planet is Homo sapiens so if we want to start culling I have a couple of politicians we could start with. Bird population decline is a huge problem that mostly stems from habitat loss not cats. I live in a smaller suburban setting and I own cats and I have created a backyard habitat that attracts birds. In addition to my cat all the other cats in the neighborhood feral and otherwise trek to my yard because that’s where the birds are. So are the cats to blame for bird loss or am I because I created the habitat? Should we cull cats for killing European house sparrows and starlings which make up a large percentage of urban birds? Bird lovers, cat lovers, butterfly lovers, politicians – they all contain their share of nut job crazies who are much more dangerous than what they fail against.

  8. Naj Wikoff says:

    How many birds do the windows of our houses and office buildings kill, lots. Our lit up cities, all the outdoor street and building lights let unnecessarily on cause all manner of havoc to not just birds, but moths and other creatures. Cats, feral especially, are part of this mix. I think we need a more wholistic study, and then come up with an array of actions to mitigate the damage we humans are causing to wildlife.

  9. PMKB says:

    Seems a bit hypocritical to blame the cat for so many sins of survival. We don’t seem that concerned over mass bird kills by chemical sprays which took out millions of birds of every species. If man stays out of it all species tend to benefit. Trap and kill? Just shows our uglier side. Trap and neuter? Takes a long time but if the goal is to drive up the price of domestic tabbies that should work relatively quickly. Just because something is wild does not mean bad. Keep man out of it and nature adjusts. We are the ones who create the problems because we want all things to conform to our view of how it should be.

    • Boreas says:

      “Blame” doesn’t apply to animals/plants acting according to their nature for survival. Blame falls entirely on humans because they have the “intelligence” and arrogance to believe they can control Nature without repercussions. Feral cats are but one symptom, not the ultimate problem. But I doubt there will be a push any time soon to neuter or cull humans. So what choice do we have than at least try to right our wrongs? We have no reluctance to eliminate/eradicate other non-native invasive species. Just because cats are warm and fuzzy doesn’t mean they aren’t an environmental problem.

    • Mar Thom says:


  10. Lucy sykes says:

    This article us beyond stupid other states have introduced feral cats to control rat population. The amount of birds feral cats kill does not put any dent in bird population. Birds are threatened by interference with their habitat by man not cats. Tnr works there is absolutely no need to cull feral cats. Some one had a same stupid idea of shooting feral cats like wildlife in New Jersey that law was never passed. The idea of culling feral cats is atrocious. Australia culls feral cats that is the only country where such a stupid law could pass where there are no studies about how feral cats affect their environment , they already have short lives. The only reason to cull cats is if you hate them

    • Dana says:

      Given a choice, any cat would kill a bird before taking on a rat. Less risk of injury. Hopefully the introduced feral cats you mentioned were neutered, but I doubt the plan was well thought out, if it is even true. Why kill the rats? Are unwanted cats better than unwanted rats? Ridiculous.

  11. Teresa Calafut says:

    A newsletter from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology said that cats are the number one reason for the decline in bird population “after habitat loss”. It would seem then that the actual number one reason for the decline is habitat loss, but we glaze over this because habitat loss is due to human activity. Perhaps we should get our own act together before we start blaming other species for human-induced problems.

  12. Vanessa Banti Vanessa says:

    Yeah, I am not really convinced here, and it’s absolutely true that feral cats are bad for bird populations. There are so many more humane things to do than killing cats en masse. TNR is good but probably not super effective, but what about bringing cats to shelters? It’s true that right now not enough people adopt from shelters, but other laws could crack down on so-called “kitten mills” and make it easier to control the true population driver – the pet industry. This issue will never get better unless we more effectively regulate the pet industry, because people are always going to be irresponsible and abandon/lose their pets.

    In full disclosure, my bias here is that I am not nor will ever be a pet owner. I get that pets are cute, and I get that they’re nice companions for many, but I hate the high expense to our natural world. Plus it’s weird that we need to manipulate animals into liking us in order to respect and appreciate them. Wildlife are excellent companions, and no one has to force them to get along with us, we just have to respect their way of living.

    I also hate that every day is a constant battle in my city neighborhood to keep people’s dogs from pooping literally everywhere. Every trail I’ve been on in Mass has dog poop baggies left on trail. It’s the most frequent trash I see. Owners have let their dogs poop my little apartment porch, literally inches from my door. 🙁 It’s not just an issue of feral pets at all.

    • Pat Smith says:

      So Vanessa if these cats are feral doesn’t that qualify them as wildlife by your definition? Sad for you that you have such a warped perspective about pet ownership. I’ve been surrounded by animals my entire life, I wouldn’t trade a minute of the joy we’ve mutually shared. Any predator will attack a bird as prey. Should we also cull fox, dogs, coyote, fishers, and birds of prey?

      • Barbara Moore says:

        Totally agree with you. I’ve had Cats, mostly Dogs and feel honored to have had their companionship. I recently have been involved with a 15 Cat rescue, by an apartment complex, most were abandoned. I’m sure it’s a great issue in alot of areas. Would love to see laws for spaying/neutering. Punishment for abandonment of Cats and Dogs. Only hope there is a special Hell, for those that do.

      • Vanessa Banti Vanessa says:

        Pat, I’m not quite sure why you continue to misunderstand pretty much everything I say here at the Almanack, but it’s a bummer. You should save your pity for someone who’s words or perspective you actually take time to consider. 🙁

        • Pat Smith says:

          Vanessa, I’m actually fascinated that we have such diametrically opposing views on things. I don’t pity you, just hope you have something in your life that brings you joy and love. I do consider your side of the stories then I share my perspective. Maybe its my point of view that you find a bummer. I guess I’m wondering what exactly is the high cost domestic pets and animals inflict on the natural world. I’m also not sure why you think we manipulate animals into liking us. Most of my pets (except my horses) have come to me as strays. In some cases it’s taken me months to build a bond of trust and love. Is this what you consider manipulation? Living in an urban environment is certainly a challenge, maybe you’re actually a country girl at heart.

          • Vanessa Banti Vanessa says:

            Hi Pat, this is a thoughtful response and I appreciate it. I’d like to write back something thoughtful too. I have a busy workday but I’ll try to do this when I get a chance.

      • AG says:

        That doesn’t make sense. Fox – coyote – fishers – raptors are NATURAL predators in the ecosystem. Cats are not. Keep your pets indoors and don’t breed them.

    • Steve B. says:

      I’ve rescued and domesticated 25 feral kittens. It took 2 years to catch the female mother of 21 of these. It was a TNR and she died in anesthesia. I still have the first kitten who is now 18. Had I not rescued these animals they would have just lived feral and bred more cats, which we do not need. They also would have certainly not had long and healthy lives, they all got into good homes.

      TNR is really the only ethical option for ferals, assuming they can not be domesticated, which is extraordinarily difficult. I’ve also read that many ferals can live 10 years if there’s a reliable food supply and some form of shelter. Are they going to kill a billion birds ?, not likely.

  13. Kevin says:

    Without taking sides, (as I am an indoor cat owner), the hypotheticfal comments on what could be various causes of bird death caused me to search Audobon Society for cat related bird deaths. It led right to the study cited by the author.

    As to claims that buildings, humans, autos cause more bird deaths, the study states:
    “More birds die from cat encounters than from collisions with buildings, communication tower, or vehicles, or poisoning by pesticides. Two thirds of the killers’ avian victims are native species”

    “Previously, scientists knew that domestic cats had devastated native species on islands and contributed to 33 modern extinctions.”

    As a side point, our vets in a variety of locations have always recommended that we people keep our cats indoors. It keeps them healthier, provides a longer life span, and eliminates their hunting of local animals. While people may adopt cats that previously were outdoor cats, that behavior can changed by keeping the doors closed.

    It is well documented that bird populations are falling. Cat populations are not.

    • Eileen McKenzie says:

      That’s the problem. Audobon’s study is wrong because the original studies claiming that cats kill so many birds and wildlife are based on junk science. If you go way back to Pete Marra’s study, it even admits to being based on estimates. Unfortunately, most people don’t have time to go back through all the research to see how flawed the estimates are. Then you have organizations like Audobon telling us that this is the truth and it just perpetuates the myth that cats are devastating the wildlife. It’s just not true. We humans are devastating the wildlife…not the cats.

      • Boreas says:

        I agree. But what is the solution? Is there a downside to eliminating invasive species? Yes, it is but one of MANY ecological problems created by mankind, but should we just shake our heads and give up or try to right our wrongs WHEREVER possible? If there is a non-lethal way of eliminating feral pets (cats, dogs, ferrets, boas, tropical fish, etc.) from the environment, let’s do it. But I don’t believe there is such a thing.

        We usually know technological advancements will have negative ecological consequences, but we introduce them nonetheless. Guy wires, reflective windows, wind turbines, automobiles, plastics, dams, etc., etc. ad nauseum.

  14. Susan Pappalardo says:

    Leave the cats alone, it’s not their fault, humans let them down by abandoning them

    • Tony S White says:

      So allow 10’s of billions of wildlife to get slaughtered because it’s not the cats’ fault? So far, 63 species have been killed to extinction, at what point and when is it realized how destructive they are?–only when people attribute respect for the tens of billions of wildlife killed annually in the USA. That’s the thing, the pro cat people have zero regard for how much damage is caused by cats. Would you allow outdoor animals to kill your family? Why should you insist that other animals that are native to this land be sacrificed at a ratio of thousands per invasive cat? Prove to me that is a good idea by example–allow yourself and your family to be sacrificed for outdoor cats if its no big deal. When people are generous at the expense of others, but won’t make the same sacrifice.

  15. Crystal Hernández says:

    Culling cats? Ridiculous!!! Just listen to how that sounds, dropping poisoned sausages to kill off cats?! What if someone or other animal get a hold of that poison, then you’re risking killing something or someone else. TNR (trap neuter release) other medical procedures, increasing animal education to the public, and donating to rescue animal facilities are the most effective and humane way to deal with controlling any animal situation. HAVE A HEART AND USE YOUR COMMON SENSE TO THOSE WHOM ARE FOR CULLING CATS!

  16. Smitty says:

    Dog laws can be quite strict. In most areas you’re not allowed to let a dog roam freely and if you do, the dog catcher can fine you and impound fido. But cats are allowed to roam and kill wildlife with impunity. Maybe its time for pet parity.

  17. Karen L Howell says:

    There are approximately 860 thousand cats killed every year. To me this is heartbreaking. Humans are at fault and yet they want even more killed per year.

  18. Jeanette Kelly says:

    Birds are being decimated by habitat loss, pesticides and human interference. Feral cats tend to go after mice vs birds as they are easier to catch. And depending on the location of a feral cat colony even a dumpster is much easier than trying to catch a bird. In my 20 plus years of doing TNR the domestic well fed house cat is the bigger threat as they at leisure will go after a bird and play with it whereas the feral is looking for food and the ground mouse is much easier to catch

  19. Walter Wouk says:

    As Ethan pointed out in his comment (see link he provided), the Feds kill 2.5 million birds per year.

    • Boreas says:

      It isn’t all about saving the birds! Feral pets, regardless of species, not only kill native species that have not evolved to be wary of them, but they compete with natural beneficial predators that are part of any stable ecosystem. Unfortunately extinction happens MUCH faster than evolution.

      Many, if not most scientists believe we are living and accelerating the 5th Great Extinction. We are losing species globally at an alarming rate – and much of it points to humans. Ignoring the problem is not part of the solution.

    • JJ McKibbin says:

      Do you know the difference between million and billion? Free-roaming cats kill 2.4 billion birds annually in the U.S.

  20. Eric says:

    All the species on earth now represent one tenth of one percent of the total number that have ever existed . A reset might not be a bad thing for the planet .

  21. Sc B. McKinney says:

    The humane thing is to Trap, Spay/Neuter and return to the wild. They have a right to life and it isn’t their fault irresponsible people dump cats to fend for themselves.

  22. Janet Cannon says:

    Discourage people from dumping their cat. How about putting them in jail. Cats are being punished and killed cause of people! Face it if they are dumping their cat they could care less if government kills it. Make it a crime that carries a big punishment maybe they will think twice before getting. Make it so cats are chipped like dogs are licensed. Make them prove the cat was Givin away if found. Crack the whip at people to do the right thing.

  23. Susana valdez says:

    I disagree of slaughtering of the ferrals;they should implement TNR. Killing ferrals is inhumane.

  24. You will see the cats are listed as animals who are says:

    How about a real study? The real answer is to have controlled colonies with responsible caregivers and to have the municipal shelters provide all of the spay neuter appointments at no cost. I live in California and I was a caretaker of a colony of cats. I fixed everybody. I fed everybody well. I even flea treated and did all updates to immunizations.These cats lived in a very large business park behind my job. There was absolutely no signage and I had no idea that my job was along the shoreline in Oakland California. Due to the proximity of the cats and even though I was there every day to provide care, even though it’s against the law to harm an animal in California, I had left a note in the area where I fed the cats so people would know that they were being tended to. This note was seen by a ranger for the East Bay regional park district. Instead of working with me because apparently the parks believe that cats cannot be Live within 3 miles of any area where birds migrate, they secretly had a biologist come to the property for 14 days and with his spotlight and a 12 gauge gun, he murdered them. I have learned that a 12 gauge gun is a very cruel way to kill a cat because it’s very hard to shoot it humanely. I think the issue needs to be discussed openly with people who really care about the animals. There are ways to protect birds and cats, and there’s also a real need to do some real studies that are not biased. I personally think a small managed colony is good for the birds because manage colonies tend to only be able to catch a sick bird and that helps to prevent disease. I think giving the shelters the opportunity to find barn cat placements in areas where rodent control is needed and endangered birds are not living. I guess my word of caution is not to think black and white in this issue. If I would have been contacted and told my cats would be shot, I would have been down there with many volunteers dropping every single one and doing the work to find them a different place to live. Unsocialized cats or feral cats are not the same as other Wild animals. At the same time, as I have gone through the last five months of learning what happened to my animals, it is truly heartbreaking how wildlife services and the US DA brutally killed any animal who is deemed a predator. We have a lot of blood on her hands and we kill in the cruelest Ways. We have options, predator fencing is an option that might sound costly but the USDA contracts cost an off a lot of money and all they do is shoot cats often while the cat is sitting in the trap already. Sounds can determine our guls which are animals who predate quite a bit on shorebirds. I’ve heard good things about bird bibs on cats but it could be hard with a truly feral cat. The colors of these bibs give the birds a real warning, much better than a bell. I do question the Audubon studies or maybe better yet the Smithsonian study that the autobahn pushes. As I’ve gone down the rabbit hole, I have seen the real culprit and well I will not say that cats do not pre-date on these birds, I have found mitigation agreements within governmental agencies where land is taken away from the endangered bird species and in return mitigation contracts providing better predator control on smaller areas of land are the norm. I encourage everyone to do public records request for agencies that use wildlife services. You will see the cats are listed as animals who are targeted for lethal removal. Even in areas where shelters will take them, the contracts call for trapping a cat, shooting it while it’s in the trap and throwing it in the garbage. Just go to the USDA website and look up cats

    • JJ McKibbin says:

      You obviously don’t know anything about guns. Killing a cat with a 12 gauge shotgun will cause almost instantaneous death nearly all the time. Any cat that isn’t killed instantly will certainly be in shock and will not experience pain.

  25. Scott says:

    I hope all you people who feel so strongly about saving the cats feel the same way about abortion and the hundreds of thousands unborn children killed each year.

  26. Cats life matter says:

    Most feral cat colony cat people leave cat food for so your precious Birds do not get eaten a cat’s life mater not to mention feral cats are in danger from coyotes wolves other wildlife those same Wildlife still go after the birds so going after the feral cats isn’t going to solve your problem

  27. Alina says:

    According to the logic here, we need to be culling humans, as in all ways, human destruction is exponentially worse than anything cats do.

    If we got our own acts together, a much, much bigger and better difference can be made.

    But it’s so much easier just to blame the cats and make them pay, isn’t it?

  28. Ravi Peiris M.D. says:

    With due respect, humans are the invasive species having destroyed millions of species, destroying the planet with carbon emissions and polluting our oceans.

    Maybe we should be putting a mirror on ourselves.

    Do you know how the Bubonic plague occurred which killed millions of people? Europeans, in their infinite wisdom, culled many cats, allowing the rodent population to increase, which served as a vector for fleas to spread.

    Ravi Peiris M.D.

    • Robin says:

      If you feel the need to state M.D. after your name, thus potentially implying that you are an authority on this issue, then you should be up-to-speed regarding the topic.

      New research suggests that human fleas and lice spread the plague and not transmission by rats.

      Additionally, note that predation by domestic cats is the leading direct anthropogenic cause of wild bird and small mammal mortality.

      Finally, domestic cats, while fantastic companion animals, do not belong free-roaming under any circumstances. They deplete biodiversity and increase risks to public health.


    How about culling the ignorant humans who just drop these poor animals off at any convenient woods instead of being responsible….grrrr, dont get me started! I always had dogs, currently 1 cat who came out of the woods one day and claimed me as his…best day EVER…

  30. Everett McNeill says:

    cul the feral cats. they are just a terrestrial invasive

    • Pat Smith says:

      How do you kill the feral cats and not accidently kill someones pet or other animals that aren’t targeted? Safe to say we can’t shoot them as most live near buildings and homes

      • JJ McKibbin says:

        Responsible cat owners who keep their cats contained won’t have to worry about anyone (or anything) killing their cat.

        • Pat Smith says:

          I was thinking more about all animals in general if a poison bait is used. Again most feral cats stay close to homes and buildings where using a gun would be illegal.

  31. Donna A Dolan says:

    How about instead of killing them, we help out more with the rescues trying to get them off the streets and the tnr programs for the real ferals? And maybe people could stop dumping their cats off too? This article is absolutely ridiculous.

    • AG says:

      Ok – rescue them and put them where? Millions of cats are abandoned every year. obviously many people get them but then can’t or don’t want to keep them. Dogs get put to sleep…

  32. If you want to know the price of culling feral cats go to Google and type in Australian mouse problems. Cats do kill many birds but they may actually save more than they kill. How? By keeping the rodent population down. Both rats and mice feed on baby birds and bird eggs. Kill off cats may do more harm than good to birds. As far as disease goes, nothing is worse than the threat of plague, spread mostly by rat fleas. At least one of the plagues of Europe started shortly after they culled their cat population.

  33. E gold says:

    I am appalled that this unnamed contributor would even suggest killing homeless cats. Many of these cats are taken off the streets because they have become socialized and are adopted. I find it unacceptable to think that people like the contributor find killing as the only solution. Perhaps he or she should put their energies into something positive

  34. JCurt says:

    We have a farm with big barns that seem to be a magnet for people wanting to dump off cats. Most get dropped off just before the first big winter storm and we find them under our porch. They look well fed and cared for and some include what appear to be purebred siamese and long hairs and are probably grandma’s cats that relatives want to get rid of after grandma died. The cats are scared and almost immediately become feral and hard to catch. They used to be able to survive in the wild around here, but now they only last a month or so due to coyotes eating them. Just let them be and let the coyotes reduce their numbers. Any state trapping or euthanizing program will also kill people’s beloved pets that just happened to have gotten out that day. We don’t need the government getting involved in this- they screw up enough things. Feral cat numbers are dropping naturally by predation. There are no where as many around as there used to be. Hasn’t the state got better things to do than risk the chance that people’s pets will also be killed. Talk about government over reach! This is a dumb bureacratic idea. A better idea would be to have more low cost spaying and neutering programs so that people would get their pets neutered, since the domestic population is where the feral cats are coming from.

  35. L King says:

    These cats wouldn’t be out there to begin with if the idiot owners would either leave them inside or if they insist on letting the cats outside, get them spayed or neutered! It’s not rocket science. These cats wonder off and get pregnant and the owners abandon them. Let’s put the blame where it belongs.. ON IGNORANT OWNERS.

  36. Elizabeth says:

    According to your theory because cats whom you consider disposable both domestic and feral kill birds than why don’t we look at humans who not only created the problem ( not the cats) and how many animals do humans kill? Do you eat meat? I find it appalling ignorant and biased to site one side of the issue. If you are going to take such a strong inhumane stand look at the other research which shows TNVR reduces
    the cat population, they don’t spread disease … please be accurate and informed.

  37. Jet Black says:

    Absolutely not. It’s abhorrent and morally deficient. The number one threat to native wildlife is by far humans who bulldoze wild areas to build infrastructure; pollute the sky, earth, and sea; overfish, overfarm, overgraze; and poison the environment with chemicals. So if you really want to address the root cause of all “environmental evil,” instead of scapegoating the cat, you might want to start with our failed humanity. I’m sick of the rallying call of killing as the answer to every wildlife problem we cause. Yes, we caused it. Why should the suffering fall upon the shoulders of the innocent? There are other more humane ways. Beware the PR drumbeat of animal sacrifice. Who the people behind it I judge harshly and wouldn’t eat at the same table as them.
    Remember God tried to cull humanity several times and He couldn’t even get that to work. What makes us think we are omnipotent in that role.

  38. Georgia says:

    What about the problem of domestic dogs running in packs and taking down deer, or killing neighborhood cats and small dogs? Nothing mentioned in the article about THAT problem. I live in a rural area of the Finger Lakes and have witnessed a group of neighbor’s dogs running loose and chasing deer in the winter especially, when the dogs have an advantage over the deer in crusted over snow. It was a group of seven bigger breed dogs and they chased and then brought down an adult deer, ripping it apart alive. I got my 22 rifle out and shot three times in their direction to finally drive them off. These are dogs that have owners that let them run free. I reported this event with DEC, and was told to call them if I see this happen again, and they will send a Ranger out immediately. Fat chance of them getting here on time to do anything, as the nearest office is twenty miles away.

  39. I think you would have quite a fight on your hands if the public knew that you were euthanizing feral cats because you thought there were too many. There is prejudice in your writing, sir. And yes, I am also prejudice.

  40. Paige Riddle says:

    Feral cats are a product of human neglect and “pet” unwanted. If there could be more affordable spay/neuter clinics and more pet owners would spay/neuter their pets feral cats would not be the “problem” the article is suggesting. Feral is not wild it is unsocial. The TNR program does work. I manage several colonies in my state maintaining food and water. I’ve “tamed” and found loving homes for some of these cats and kittens as well. Hunting is a primal instinct in cats but if they don’t have to hunt for food they don’t. Culling the NY feral cat population with poisons and trap killing will not end their population. It’s only with public education and participation of vaccination and spay/neuter before their left outside and abandoned that truly makes a difference. This goes the same way for dogs that are left behind as well.

    • AG says:

      What you said is simply not true. PLENTY of well fed cats kill animals and bring them home as trophies for their owners.

  41. Zephyr says:

    I live in the city and without the feral cats we would have an even worse mouse and rat problem! I have two indoors cats who do a great job catching mice, but the feral cats are needed to manage the population outdoors. Both of our indoor cats were born to feral cats in the neighborhood, but my daughter rescued them when they were little and then found homes for the other babies. We used to have a neighbor who hated the feral cats and was always calling animal control who came around and trapped the feral cats. During that period we noted a vast increase in mice and other rodents. I can’t recall the last time I found a dead bird in the neighborhood.

  42. Ike jone says:

    Yes any cat that isn’t tagged or on there own property need to be culled and need them now

  43. Sharon Moore says:

    I HV great concern for all cats that are put bk on street after (TNR) only to starve, endure
    The weather, get injured or killed, W/O medical care,etc. Plus, constantly reproducing in those same conditions.
    This is real animal cruelty!! Can’t control
    Nature,so PLEASE them out of their misery!
    The problem will only worsen. How sad
    For the cats & those who hv to watch it.
    Yet, we do NOTHING!! They can’t help
    Themselves. SHAME on us!!! it’s cruelty
    In the WORST form!!!

  44. Emmie M says:

    How about making humans responsible? So nice they are domesticated, HUMANS are responsible for their breeding. The same humans who don’t care and are irresponsible about throwing trash in our beautiful Adirondacks are probably the same that are irresponsible about owning an animal…..letting them roam free without spay/neuter.
    Cats are doing what comes natural. Humans are the most unnatural living things on the planet. Humans are the reason for the feral overpopulation……as they are the reason for almost all problems in the natural world.

  45. Emmie M says:

    Sorry for typo in 2nd sentence ☹️

  46. Daniel says:

    People refuse to stop owning animals. This is just a half measure.

    All domesticed cats would need to be culled,

    Exactly why do some people get to exploit animals but others don’t?

  47. Linda Stipe says:

    Feral cats should be trapped neutered rehomed if possible or released What sick person wants to kill them

  48. Linda Stype says:

    Trap spay neuter try n regime it release that’s the humane way Not kill a living thing that’s pretty despicable

  49. Joseph Mosquera says:

    Perhaps we should cull writers freelance and otherwise (Full disclosure: I’m a cat person too) Whereas not invasive of the species one is left to wonder just how many subjects this class of people have invaded, to what extent and at what cost. Having been educated long ago that the pen is mightier than the sword I again- long ago- obtained a degree in history whilst learning how true such actually is. The cost is in the hundreds of millions of lives lost and not just human either. Think about that: assorted dictums, laws. books and musings of all kinds put to paper and now the internet have and have the potential to kill countless millions more. So perhaps Hunter should find himself a tainted sausage to munch on.

  50. Dan says:

    What amazes me is how far they travel. We have a regular feline visitor here that I’ve seen as far as a mile away.

  51. Robert S Robinson says:

    I always ask the obvious, after thousands of years why has cat populations a problem? Humans tend to generate problems just to justify their actions. Has anyone considered the problem of increased rodents?

  52. Hhart says:

    We have culling processes in place called tnr. We trap, neuter and release. While slower than shooting a bunch of innocent animals, it works. There are several organizations as well as just good people who do this. Killing off the feral cats for no other reason that you are worried about one of its prey is obscene. Birds fly, birds (especially birds that flock like swallows) will attack a cat if it mans one of their own. They will literally pick it to death. I’ve seen it. Cats also keep the rodent population in control. Everything has its position.

    Because we think we are smarter than Mother Nature we consistently try to “fix” her errors. Leave nature alone. Leave rain forest alone, stop pollution.

  53. Bethann says:

    Since all feral and stray cats are not in identical circumstances, a one- size fits all remedy isn’t going to be the best solution. But I’ll bet $$ that if people don’t stop feeding strays without neutering them, letting their un-neutered cats roam, and dumping their unwanted cats wherever they think there’s a chance to survive, you’ll be culling forever because it will only take a few years for an area that was once cleared to be repopulated. Effective solutions would best be localized, but would also require resources of time and funds. Since we can barely afford to keep roads paved, let alone provide enough services for people who really need them, the cat overpopulation problem is far away from being effectively addressed.

    But I would like to say one thing to the Audobon Society– if you feel so strongly about it, why don’t you pull yourself away from your computers and conferences, go out and buy humane traps, and trap the cats and take them to vets to check for a microchip and humanely euthanize those that don’t have them. And pay for it out of your own pocket, as do so many of the people who TNVR, rehome adoptable strays, and maintain colonies. At least they’re trying to do something to lower the population and reduce the cats’ need to hunt for food. As opposed to your particular wildlife group and PETA who seem to mostly fundraise, lobby, and publicize.

  54. Jack Sullivan says:

    the TNR policy for feral cats is one of the most ecologically destructive animal policies
    currently in vogue. A young feral can easily live 15-20 years after trapping and being
    released each and every year wreaking havoc on native wildlife.Feral cats should be completely extincted from NYS

  55. JJ McKibbin says:

    Good grief. So many non-scientists posting their emotion-based anecdotes and theories while dismissing the work of actual scientists who do the research.

    Free-roaming cats kill an estimated 2.4 billion birds annually in the U.S. This is more than vehicles, windows, buildings, powerlines, pesticides, wind turbines, and all other direct human-caused bird mortality combined. Your anecdotes don’t disprove this.

    Humans cause the deaths of many, many birds. Allowing cats to free-roam is one of the ways humans cause the deaths of birds. We created the problem, so we must take serious, responsible steps to correct the problem. TNR is not the solution because it simply does not work to reduce feral cat populations. There is no town, city, or county anywhere that has reduced its feral cat population through TNR. Not one. If you wish to dispute this fact, then name the town along with its feral cat population when it started TNR and its feral cat population today.

    For links to research papers, scholarly articles from universities, medical experts, and biologists, and more data, check out the face book page: The Truth About TNR

    • William says:

      Agree. Unfortunately, while TNR allows some humans to sleep better it does little to protect true wildlife. The SSS method is far more effective, the baby rabbits and song birds will thank you.

    • Peter says:

      The elitist has spoken the rest of us are just deplorable.

    • Pat Smith says:

      Estimates of the total bird population in the US is between 200-400 billion. So even at 300 billion that leaves us 297.6 billion to spare.

  56. The reason there are feral cats is because people let them out and don’t neuter them.Its not there fault it’s ours.You should makes law that all animals be neutered before being let out or would that make to much sense and we cant have something that makes sense in the United States.We cant take responsibility cause were a country that doesn’t take responsibility anymore either.

  57. Susan McDonough says:

    What we really need to have in NYS is Cat Licensing. Years ago, domestic dog packs were all too common and they killed many deer. Dog licensing put an end to this for two reasons: It helped raise funds for DCO’s to pick up stray dogs and it forced irresponsible dog owners to be responsible.
    Wild cats, such as Lynx or Bobcats have the ability to survive. All domesticated cats are considered companion animals in NYS. there is no way to know if they are “feral” or simply abandoned or homeless and it doesn’t matter. Domesticated animals live a short miserable life of suffering when they are forced to survive like wild animals. As pet owners, we ALL have a responsibility to assure that cats have a humane life and a humane death. Licensing will do this.
    NYS Humane Association

  58. William says:

    When we TNR could we also declaw them? That would protect wildlife the most.

    • Steve B. says:

      You would be eliminating one of their defensive abilities against a predator – coyote, dog, large bird of prey, etc…. bad idea.

  59. William says:

    What size legold traps should we use? I have some 1.5 coil springs but they seem big for a cat. Obviously conibears shouldn’t be used.

  60. niko says:

    cats are in tons of majur food chains and culling them will kill so many more animals and mice will be everywere

    • AG says:

      foxes – hawks – owls – bobcats – fishers – coyotes – and even snakes do very well at eating mice. domestic cats indeed do a good job with mice… but they are domestic and so should be kept indoors to keep mice out of your house. outdoors belongs to actual nature


  62. Jim says:

    ) I do have one opinion that I think is important. Many people take a very myopic viewpoint when it comes to difficult topics, such as death. I’ve always been irked that people will gasp with horror and pity when they see a car accident on the side of the road, but somehow go through the rest of their happy life ignoring the fact that at all times, at this very moment, atrocities and suffering are happening on a grand scale worldwide. But no, people can only see the tiny thing in front of them. Similarly with stray cats, people can only see that a person who would trap and kill a call, kills a poor innocent cat. Never mind that this poor innocent cat, if left to live, will kill, in a far more brutal manner than the County Animal Services, countless birds and small mammals. Why is the life of that cat worth more than the lives of all those other critters that stray cats decimate? I don’t get it. I understand that nature is brutal, and that almost EVERY living thing on this planet meets a painful and untimely demise. So it is with stray cats as well.

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Wait, before you go,

sign up for news updates from the Adirondack Almanack!