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View Diary: New study: pooties kill billions of birds a year. Let's keep them indoors. (148 comments)

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  •  Actually, they are a product of co-evolution (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flowerfarmer, BlackSheep1, blukat

    with us. Cats have provided a valuable service in disease reduction due to vermin removal. Helped us develop civilization actually. When the cats are eradicated, many other species increase their numbers, eat the bird eggs, hunt the birds, damage their part of the food web, etc. The actual situation is very biologically complex and merely eliminating feral cats will likely make things worse; something we humans seem to excel at doing lately.

    •  No. (7+ / 0-)

      Our native wildlife were doing quite alright until we got here with all attendant changes to the ecology including cats.  Feral cats are a disaster.  Ecologists have established this repeatedly.  The fact that you like cats (assuming you do) doesn't change this.

      We are here and it is incumbent upon us to manage our impacts.  Cats are part of that.

      •  Actually, I agree with you to a large extent. (3+ / 0-)

        It is primarily the human population that is the problem, the cats are attendant to us to a great extent. Their numbers would decline along with ours as would our respective impacts on the rest of the environment. As a zoologist and environmental scientist (and an owner of cats that don't get to go out unless I'm out there with them), I've pondered this for years. Ultimately, our human numbers and behavior are the problem. The cats are secondary; they just do what evolution has geared them to do. Supposedly, we can think and reason, but I'd still like to see proof of that.

        •  Then you'd agree that we should manage our impact (6+ / 0-)

          Songbird declines are reaching crisis levels, especially among ground nesters.  Being responsible with our pets and dealing humanely with feral (not naively supporting colonies) is one among many things that we can do.

          As a zoologist and environmental scientist, I suggest you read the scientific literature on cat impacts.

          •  Our songbird numbers dropped suddenly, (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            leu2500, OldJackPine, BlackSheep1

            About 3-4 years ago. This was very coincident with the scandal where Scott's songbird feed was supposedly found to be contaminated with a pesticide that was mortally toxic to the birds we were all feeding with it. Their feed even had the Audubon label on it. All I'm saying is that we shouldn't cast aspersions totally on the cats and let humans off the hook. Most environmental problems I've studied have had multiple sources that caused the problem(s).

            Having said that, I'm not in favor of killing the feral colonies but, rather, we should go all out neutering them so they can't reproduce so virulently into later generations.

            •  See comment below (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              VClib, pdxteacher

              Briefly, even if spaying/neutering worked in terms of preventing a colony from growing, you cannot begin to do it at a spatial scale large enough to offset the impacts to wildlife populations.  

            •  Why TNR? When every wildlife biologist I've ever (0+ / 0-)

              read says it doesn't work?  http://joomla.wildlife.org/...

              How big is your personal carbon footprint?

              by ban nock on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 08:19:48 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  It has worked greatly in our neighborhood (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ban nock

                Perhaps they should try harder! Besides, what do you propose, obliteration of a species of mammals to save the feathered dinosaurs? I love birds too, but your alternatives are likely horrid. Do you want to be the one to kill the cats?

                •  Its not "obliteration of a species of mammals"... (5+ / 0-)

                  ...its wildlife management.  

                  We have and entire Federal agency devoted to helping farmers ranchers, and others (you too if you're ever flown on a plane) cope with nuisance wildlife (pocket gophers, coyotes, starlings, Canada geese and deer at airports...).  Sometimes this involves euthanasia and the professionals work to do it as humanely as possible.  Many if not most of us would find the work distasteful but its necessary.

                  In the case of feral cats, I would recommend rescue for those that can be rescued, humane euthanasia where the problem is critical and rescue efforts are saturated, and prevention.

                  There is no conceivable way that the cat species will be eliminated.  And yes - I value our native animals over feral and introduced ones.

                •  I don't think that management would even put a (0+ / 0-)

                  dent in overall cat populations.  Certainly keeping them inside would lengthen the lives of individuals. I like cats more than birds in a companionship kind of way and because I know them better, but I like birds in that they are wildlife, even though I know little about them.

                  I've killed wildlife for reasons other than to eat, rats, mice, coyotes, and I don't like it. If it were my job I could do it.

                  How big is your personal carbon footprint?

                  by ban nock on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 05:50:11 AM PST

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      •  Cats don't have lobbies. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        flowerfarmer, claude, Mgleaf

        Blaming cats for songbird declines while we continue to mess with the environment on every scale and bulldoze bird habitat is really unfair.

        Could it be that developers who destroy bird habitat, pesticide manufacturers and agribusiness that turn vast swathes of land into sterile hydroponic gardens with dirt and everybody making money from global climate weirding (which messes with food availability in migration paths) own more politicians than cats and their advocates?  

        "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

        by Yamaneko2 on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 09:53:50 PM PST

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    •  I'm sorry but every wildlife biologist in the (6+ / 0-)

      galaxy seems to be in agreement. Cats, and especially ferals, are damaging to wildlife. Our modern houses aren't subject to vermin.

      I too like cats, but ecologically they are without benefit.

      We have far greater issues to worry about than cats, but our inability to face up to the damage cats do is indicative of our inability to realistically deal with our own damage.

      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

      by ban nock on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 07:46:39 PM PST

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      •  I'm sorry, but I find this statement absurd: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        flowerfarmer
        but ecologically they are without benefit
        Where the hell did you get your biology degree? Utter rubbish thing to say. Just as easy to say humans are without benefit, which is probably more accurate.
      •  Our modern houses (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MKinTN, RunawayRose

        ..are most certainly subject to vermin. Flies get in . Mice get in. Fucking termites eat our modern houses.

        That said, if pests that cats can deal with are the problem, indoor cats can catch the mice without needing to go out. My cats deal with flies efficiently. They refuse to go after the goddamn brown marmorated stink bugs that are currently plaguing me, unfortunately.

        Cogito, ergo Democrata.

        by Ahianne on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 06:20:45 AM PST

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      •  "modern houses [not] subject to vermin." (0+ / 0-)

        HA-hahahahaha! Arrogant, privileged NONSENSE to assume that all homes were built in the last 10-15 years. And EVERY home is subject to vermin, you just don't see most of it.

        Penn State - Rug too small, dirtpile too big, not enough brooms.

        by WereBear Walker on Sat Feb 02, 2013 at 09:41:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

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