Brewtown Politico

Carrying a little stick and speaking loudly in Milwaukee

3.10.2005

Okay, seeing as this is a Wisco-blog, I should probably weigh in on the shooting of the cats issue.

Basically, the proposal would allow hunters with small game licenses to shoot cats that aren't identified with a collar. There's problem #1. Just because the cat doesn't have a collar on means nothing. These days, many, if not most, cats are microchipped for identification purposes. So unless you have a scanner with an uplink to the database, there's no way of knowing if the cat's feral or domesticated. Also, good cat collars are of the breakaway kind so that if the cat gets caught on a tree branch for instance, it prevents the cat from choking. With this new proposal, that safety mechanism now has the unfortunate effect of putting the cat at risk of being shot to death.

The hunter who developed this idea probably didn't expect the kind of backlash from passionate cat people, and I'm sure he proposed it with the good intention of controlling the stray cat population.

The best and most humane method of dealing with strays is the Trap-Neuter-Release solution. You trap the promiscuous adult cat, get it fixed, and then release it (since it's feral by this age, it has zero chance of being adoptable). There are many veterinarians who participate in such programs along with volunteers who help with trapping the cat.

Cambridge Chatter, formerly of our fine state, speaks to this today as well.

3 Comments:

At 4/13/2005 09:35:00 AM, Anonymous Trebz said...

Scott,

The problem is that these cats are killing 100's of thousands, to millions of birds per year in WI alone. The ground nesting (and flightless birds in other geographies) birds don't stand a chance. Why should cat owners be allowed to let their cats outside without a leash?

Cats, though they may make great pets, are also some of the most efficient killers in the wild. Here is the classic story every biology or ornithology student hears: http://www.terranature.org/wren.htm

The gray area is farms. I know the cats are considered 'mousers', but at what expense?

I don't think that the capture-neuter-release method really is feasible. The millions of cats in the wild today will breed faster than we can keep up with them. You think this administration is going to fund nation wide cat neutering? They might be more in line with cat abstinence!

For that matter, I am not sold that hunting will fix it either. This seems like such a stupid topic, but their impact on the environment is substantial. Just my two sense...

Trebz

 
At 4/13/2005 09:49:00 AM, Anonymous Trebz said...

Sorry, the numbers I posted were wrong. It is between 47 million and 139 million songbirds are estimated killed each year in WI.

 
At 4/22/2005 04:03:00 PM, Anonymous Scott said...

Certainly there's something to the cats contributing to the loss of songbirds. However, I wonder how much of the decrease in the population is due to environmental impact of urban sprawl and the decrease of their habitat.
It's something that deserves further study.
Also, what impact will the decrease in cats have on that rodent population? There are plenty of rats and mice out there that need to be contained.

 

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