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Melissa Mayntz

Feral Cats Cause $17B in Damage

By December 7, 2010

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A study from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln estimates that feral cats cause $17 billion in damage to wild bird populations every year in the United States. According to the Orange County Register, the study averages the per bird cost at $30 - a figure calculated based on money spent by birders, bird hunters and bird rehabilitators. Information was collected from throughout the country for other parts of the study, including the numbers of wild birds killed by feral cats and potential techniques for managing feral cat populations.

Controlling feral cats is a controversial subject for birders and wildlife advocates. Trap-neuter-release programs, habitat modification to exclude cats and euthanasia of overwhelming feral cat populations are all used to control too many stray and feral cats. Birders can use different methods to protect their backyard birds from cats, including changing how feeders and bird houses are positioned to make them less accessible to hunting cats.

Are feral cats an issue in your neighborhood? How do you keep them away from your feeders? Share your ideas in the comments!

Feral Cat
Photo Liam K

Comments

May 26, 2011 at 8:36 pm
(1) Laurie says:

The Orange County Register is incorrect. The $30 per bird valuation is not an average of money spent bird watching ($0.40 per bird), bird hunting ($216 per bird), and bird rehabilitators ($800 per bird – a number from oil spill recovery efforts with large capital expenditures for recovery efforts in remote areas).

In fact, the UNL authors claim, though not cited, is sourced from a study authored by Professor David Pimentel and several graduate students (2005). Notably, the UNL study authors insert their own assumptions for the number of feral cats and then calculate the total “cost” incorrectly.

The cost of an invasive species really ought to be based on reliable estimates of economic losses and ecological impact, but basing the “economic cost” of the cat on bird depredation is neither. Irrespective of the accuracy or inaccuracy of cat population or predation estimates, the literature on the subject provides little evidence of environmental loss to cat predation on native wildlife other than in isolated or fragmented habitats, thus the premise of a nationwide impact is unfounded. The $30 per bird valuation, as it turns out, is subjective. This renders the entire valuation meaningless. The publications are replete with errors. Cats do not belong everywhere, but misguided management policies driven by flawed or oversimplified science do not serve the public or our native populations of wildlife.

More information is available here: http://www.straypetadvocacy.org/PDF/17reasons.pdf

June 18, 2011 at 8:33 pm
(2) Woodsman says:

Trying to argue of the numbers of wildlife killed, or their perceived monetary value is ludicrous. Because …

IF EVEN ONE NATIVE ANIMAL IS KILLED BY AN INVASIVE-SPECIES CAT THEN IT IS ONE TOO MANY.

If only one water-way is clogged by Zebra Muscles, should we let them be because, after-all, it’s ONLY ONE waterway?

If only one lake is destroyed by Eurasian Water Milfoil should we let it be and allow it to spread everywhere? Because, after-all, it is only ONE lake. Right?

CATS ARE AN INVASIVE-SPECIES, PEOPLE. IT NEEDS TO BE DESTROYED EVERYWHERE IT IS FOUND OUT IN NATURE. THERE IS NO OTHER SOLUTION, NO OTHER ALTERNATIVE.

June 18, 2011 at 8:33 pm
(3) Al D. says:

Trying to argue of the numbers of wildlife killed, or their perceived monetary value is ludicrous. Because …

IF EVEN ONE NATIVE ANIMAL IS KILLED BY AN INVASIVE-SPECIES CAT THEN IT IS ONE TOO MANY.

If only one water-way is clogged by Zebra Muscles, should we let them be because, after-all, it’s ONLY ONE waterway?

If only one lake is destroyed by Eurasian Water Milfoil should we let it be and allow it to spread everywhere? Because, after-all, it is only ONE lake. Right?

CATS ARE AN INVASIVE-SPECIES, PEOPLE. IT NEEDS TO BE DESTROYED EVERYWHERE IT IS FOUND OUT IN NATURE. THERE IS NO OTHER SOLUTION, NO OTHER ALTERNATIVE.

July 24, 2011 at 11:27 am
(4) ClarkP says:

Here’s another Fun-Fact that trap-advocates fail to realize, in their infinite ignorance of how animal-behavior and evolution works.

Those cats that have learned to avoid and evade all trapping methods are the next generation to survive. Ever hear the old adage, “If you invent a better mousetrap nature will just invent a better mouse.”?

So now, thanks to the supreme stupidity and ignorance of trap-advocates, we have a race of freely roaming cats in all countrysides of every continent which are passing on their “how to survive” behavior to all their offspring, both genetically and behaviorally. Now the next phase of millions of feral-cats won’t even be able to be trapped. This is just how amazingly stupid trap-advocates are. You thought 150,000,000 feral cats was bad? In colloquial terms, “You ain’t seen nuthin’ yet!”

There’s a reason the phrase “hunted to extinction” is so well-known in all cultures across all lands. It is the ONLY method that is faster than a species can breed and adapt to.

Stick that in your TNR-pipe of deceptive and deceitful ignorance and smoke it. You might as well, because you all have obviously been smoking something.

July 24, 2011 at 11:29 am
(5) ClarkP says:

Moral of the Story:

I wasted 15 YEARS of my life arguing with demented cat-lovers. During which THEIR CATS DESTROYED ALL WILDLIFE ON MY LAND.

It wasn’t until I STOPPED arguing and did what needed to be done — SHOOT ALL CATS — that my land, all the wildlife on my land, and my life itself started to return to normal. I no longer have to go out twice a day on cat-patrol to shoot more cats nor waste more time and energy burying them to protect wildlife from the diseases they carry.

I hope the rest of you learn from this lesson. You can argue with the Toxoplasmosis parasites in the cat-lovers’ brains until you are blue in the face and your whole planet is destroyed by their cats, but it’ll never get rid of the cats that have destroyed your life and all wildlife.

JUST DO WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE — DESTROY THEM.

Only later, AFTER your land and life are 100% free of cats, can you have fun educating the ineducable. Use the time you got back from their cats taking over your life to share the best ways to destroy all cats. (Without harming any other wildlife nor humans.) Then if you want, make YOUR life THEIR problem. Just as they made THEIR cats YOUR problem for years. It’s only fair! Because that’s what it’s really all about, it’s not about cats at all. THEY ONLY WANT TO CONTROL YOUR LIFE WITH THEIR CATS. You put a stop to that immediately BY DESTROYING THEIR CATS. And there’s not ONE THING they can do about it if you do it right. They’ll no longer have any part of your life.

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