Feral Cats — A Big Threat to Wildlife


How bad is the problem of feral and stray cats disrupting an ecosystem in which they do not belong? Cats are included in the category of invasive species which is the second most serious threat to birds. Habitat loss is the first.

Cats are NOT part of our ecosystem. They compete with natural predators, they transmit diseases to wildlife, and can wreak havoc on a protected area surrounded by human development.

The American Bird Conservancy started a program in 1997 called Cats Indoors! Campaign for Safer Birds and Cats to educate cat owners, decision makers, and the general public that cats, wildlife and people all benefit when cats are kept indoors, in an outdoor enclosure, or trained to go outside on a harness and leash.

Freelance writer Rosemary Drisdelle from Nova Scotia wrote an aticle on the problem of feral cats killing wildlife. One of her sources is called Cats and Wildlife – A Conservation Dilemma, who conclude that “we must make an effort to limit in a humane manner the adverse effects free-ranging cats can have on wildlife”.

Sibley Guides Bird Conservation – Mortality

One big debate was Wisconsin fighting to make feral cats an unprotected species. (They could then be hunted). The American Humane Association did not agree. “The feral cat problem is a human one not a feline one.”

If you want up-to-date information, check out The Bird Advocates, it is very interesting.

5 thoughts on “Feral Cats — A Big Threat to Wildlife

  1. All cats should be indoor cats–for their sake and for the sake of the wild animals they would otherwise endanger. We have a very bad situation (one of many, many across the continent) in Arizona right now, where cats dumped at the Gilbert Water Ranch have established a large feral population and are currently dining on the birds and other animals the town of Gilbert has done such a great job of attracting.
    Thanks for the outstanding post.

  2. Thanks everyone for your support. It is such a shame that cats have become such a problem. I love our pet indoor cat and it is a disgrace when people allow their cats to roam freely.

    That really sucks about Gilbert Water Ranch’s feral cat problem. I’ve heard about the good birding there and I would hate for it to be ruined by feline pests.

  3. Rick, don’t give up the fight in Arizona, Brother. Those townspeople need to wake up and see the light. Feral cats are a dismal excuse for our wildlife and only a few tourists will travel any distance to see them.

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