Why Cats Should Be Killed

Feral cat Virginia cropHide your cats, feline fanciers, there’s a backlash against the mass killings by the furry creatures. Hannah Waters makes the case at Scientific American:

Every few months, the fact that domestic cats are ruthless killers hits the news. This past summer it was the Kitty Cam, memorably explained by webcomic The Oatmeal, which saw nearly one-third of cats kill 2 animals each week on average. In 2011 a study found that domestic cats were responsible for nearly half of predation on baby gray catbirds (Dumetella carolinensis), a shy bird common in the mid-Atlantic and named for its cat-like call. And this morning, Nature Communications published a large analysis estimating how many animals are killed by cats annually in the US: 1.4-3.7 billion birds and 6.9-20.7 billion mammals each year (1).

Let me repeat: every year BILLIONS of birds and mammals are killed by free-ranging domestic house cats, Felix catus. And millions of reptiles and amphibians on top of that.

This is not a cue for your to pat Fluffy on the head and congratulate her for being such a “natural little killer.” These data are no joke. Domestic cats are on the IUCN’s list of the top 100 World’s Worst Invasive Alien Species for their ability to decimate prey populations. Those razor-sharp claws strike the hardest on islands, where animal populations are relatively confined. A 2011 review found that, on islands, cats are the primary cause for at least 14% of bird, mammal, and reptile extinctions and the principal threat to almost 8% of critically endangered animals (2).

The new data drive home the point that, even on large continents, cats can do serious damage. Easily more damage than collisions with buildings or wind turbines do to birds. And, the authors hope, it’s a fact that wildlife management groups will not be able to ignore.

Feral cat populations are out of control–but what can be done about it? Unfortunately, most cat control is currently decided by our hearts rather than our brains. “Despite these harmful effects, policies for management of free-ranging cat populations and regulation of pet ownership behaviours are dictated by animal welfare issues rather than ecological impacts,” wrote the authors of the new paper…

[continues at at Scientific American]

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  • Raz

    Domestic cats don’t seem to be very ‘domestic’.

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    The fact is these are the most successful predators in the world and there is nothing anyone can really do about it at this point. You can’t wipe out feral cats. This is a weedy species that is here to stay.

  • BuzzCoastin

    My art has been commended as being strongly vaginal which bothers some men.
    The word itself makes some men uncomfortable. Vagina.
    The Dude: Oh yeah?

    • Matt Staggs

      Yes, they don’t like hearing it and find it difficult to say whereas without batting an eye a man will refer to his dick or his rod or his Johnson.

      • “Big” Richard Johnson

        You rang?

  • Oz

    This is the second article in week that makes we wonder if Disinfo is trolling. First an article purposing that Meth is no were near the harmful drug we are led to believe. Now syndicating this article that house cats are murderous monsters that need to be stopped. If not trolling, the quality control has reached an all time low.

    • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

      You must not read much. Birder type people have been saying this about cats for years.

    • Matt Staggs

      To say nothing about the methed-out kitty cats.

      • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

        at least they can’t catch the flu…

        • Kevin Leonard

          i lol’d

  • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

    Nature is not what you think it is Hannah. This romantic idea you have about something pristine that needs us to preserve it is mostly in your head. Just like certain weeds use animals and people to spread their seeds by hitch hiking, invasive species do the same things, opportunistically using humans to disperse around the globe. People hate invasive species, not so much because they harm pristine nature, but because they resist control. Nature is evolving to adapt to humans.

  • JohnFrancisBittrich

    Sure, get rid of the cats and all us city dwellers will be knee deep in rats and mice in no time. That’s how the plague got started!

    • kowalityjesus

      Its a beautiful circle of life. The dogs eat the cat poop, the rats eat the dog poop, and the cats eat the rats.

      • Calypso_1

        You forget T. gondii

        • kowalityjesus

          I’m pretty sure I’ve “lost” at least a couple family members to the cats.

        • kowalityjesus

          I’m pretty sure I’ve “lost” at least a couple family members to the cats.

  • Reuben_the_Red

    Loss of habitat (forests mowed down, replaced with corn fields), and pesticide/herbicide applications, account for an infinitely larger loss of bird populations, than those killed by our pets.

    • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

      They only kill the slow birds

      • Kevin Leonard

        and birds that sound like cats.
        those baby gray catbirds were asking for it.
        wtf, evolution?

    • wcarver

      Global warming will kill more critters than all of the world’s cats.

      • Reuben_the_Red

        Actually, I would put forward that nature is definitively more resilient to global climate change, than modern human civilizations, which are particularly vulnerable, myopic, and self-destructive. Certainly it’s a tragedy, as certain human activities would seem to be the incontrovertible cause of global climate change, and I would advocate all of those activities cease immediately, but while the natural effects would seem catastrophic in the short term, nature as a whole is always defined by minor and major adjustments to climate. I would be far more concerned about direct and irreversible human impacts such as widespread toxification of air water and soil, combustion of fossil fuels, deforestation, and the unleashing of unnatural hormones and genes, and general human-exceptionalist food production, than I would over the actual fact of climate change. Yay big words.

      • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

        Global Warming, if the projections are correct, of which I am skeptical, would eventually increase biodiversity. There is more biodiversity in the sea than on the land and also more in the tropics than in the arctic. The further you travel toward the poles the less biodiversity is encountered. The Boreal forest is a desert compared to tropical rainforest, mangrove and other tropical ecosystems.

        • Breshvic

          Mmm. Seafood.

          I can’t wait until we’re all dead and the algae and krill take over.

        • kcorb

          If projections are correct the oceans are going to become acidic, deoxyfied and lifeless.

    • lazy_friend

      but cat allergies are so annoying. And its not their fur its their dead skin cells. Perfect killing machines. Do I still like them? yes. Should their populations be controlled? probably. Is killing them the option? no.

  • Todd X

    So humans are responsible for killing roughly 9 billion animals in US slaughterhouses alone every year, most of those animals are raised in a factory style environment. The Cats are killing their food free range. This author’s anger is misdirected. When factoring in Hunting Fishing Roadkill, and the amount of creatures killed via industry these number s go even higher. I am certain that they go well beyond the number of creatures cats are allegedly responsible for.

    Cats? This is your pet project. In a science rag no less. Wow.

    With all the self righteous indignation this author is spewing about cats reducing the population of creatures many people do not want in their homes, gardens, or just about anywhere else they could commiserate with their children, crawl over their food, or bring disease. Heck I bet the alleged billions of animals that die at the paws and jaws of cats would become a larger problem than the circle of life.

    • Reuben_the_Red

      Why have sympathy for 9 billion slaughterhouse animals that wouldn’t exist if humans hadn’t created and bred and fed them as a human-exceptionalist food sources?

    • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

      Feeding cats keeps more alive to hunt whenever food is available. The amount of cats around are unsustainable without human support, and would die out, letting the rest of the animal populations thrive.

      Despite this I still love my 2 kitties… but they stay indoors :-P

      • echar

        Indoor cats live longer. Truly I think what they are trying to say is that we need to be more conscious of how we affect our environment. Something as cute as a kittie and an impulse buy can have huge effects on the cat and our environment. You’d be amazed at how many people think a goldfish can survive in a small fishbowl.

        • Apathesis

          How long is longer? My outdoor cat was seventeen when she passed.

          • echar

            Let me rephrase what I said. Indoors cats tend to live longer than outdoor cats, statistically speaking. According to what I read, it says that indoor cats can live up to 20 years, and outdoor cats typically only live 5 years. I think the later is impacted by motor vehicles, heart worms, etc…

            The indoor cats diet is regulated by their human companions, as well as the qulaity of water etc…

            So many variables!

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            Neutered indoor cats live longer but seem less alive.

          • echar

            From my experience, I can say a farm cat has a differing presence then an indoor cat. Also if the indoor cats are neutered too late, they get fat. As an aside, de-clawing cats is seriously cruel!

          • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

            yeah, its like the difference between Che Guevera and Steve Carell’s character on the office

  • Chaos_Dynamics

    Humans are already doing their part in the cat killing business:

    According to the ASPCA approximately 5 million to 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year, and approximately 3 million to 4 million are euthanized (60 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats).

    • http://twitter.com/TedHeistman Ted Heistman

      That’s pretty sustainable, actually. They’ll never catch all the feral cats. They maybe developing large size in Australia too since there are few other predators.

      http://scienceblogs.com/tetrapodzoology/2007/03/04/australias-new-feral-mega-cats/

      • Kevin Leonard

        They could use some cats in Bermuda. The place is overrun with chickens.

        • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

          You mean overrun with Food?

          • Kevin Leonard

            One would think that. But the number of feral chickens is actually somewhat comical. I don’t know why they don’t eat them.

            http://bermudasun.bm/main.asp?SectionID=24&SubSectionID=270&ArticleID=60052

            30,000 chickens
            21 square miles in Bermuda
            1429 chickens per square mile
            1760 yards in a mile
            Almost one chicken per square yard.

          • http://hormeticminds.blogspot.com/ Chaorder Gradient

            Well I dunno, if you’ve ever played a zelda game, it teaches kids not to attack a chicken when theres a number of others surrounding it. Could have a slaughter on your hands

  • Earth Star

    Sounds like maybe this scientist has a better mousetrap they want to market? Seriously, we’d have trillions of rodents over and under everything if it weren’t for cats. The agricultural revolution wouldn’t have happened.

  • valisopticus23

    LOL

    As if its the cats fault…Its our fault.

  • Dingbert

    I don’t really care “why.” Any pest animal on my property is fair game, as long as it’s not wearing a collar. I have already eliminated the squirrels. Deal with it.

    • Andrew

      Big man!

      • scabooba

        Show them tiny woodland creatures who’s
        boss!

  • http://twitter.com/mendigaga mendigaga

    How about killing only Iranian cats??? Way to start a new trillionaire war!!! That is a truly linear thinking… Is that another Illuminati Zionist idea? Wake up crazy fuckers…

    • Matt Staggs

      Looking for Google’s “Non-sequitarian to English” translator.

      • Apathesis

        Maybe he is the next brilliant satirist…

  • rus Archer

    humans
    number 1 invasive species on the planet

  • Calypso_1

    Stir fry.

    • kowalityjesus

      thanks for the suggestion i need to get some dinner…here kitty kitty!

      • Calypso_1

        May I also suggest a little garlic, truffle oil, celery & a garnish of mint.

  • Breshvic

    Hey now. Let’s not let cats off that easy. I love ‘em, but they are definitively evil.

  • “Big” Richard Johnson

    It always starts with an irrational fixation on harming small animals. It won’t be long before Hannah Waters is roaming the streets murdering drifters.

    • Calypso_1

      On the contrary. The fixation may solely be humans with animals accepted as a less troublesome substitution.

  • Tchoutoye

    Not content with driving small wildlife to extinction, kittehs are now hellbent on taking over teh internetz as well, one youtube video at a time.

    • Calypso_1

      Double post

  • Andrew

    My cat killed a gopher in my back yard, and I’m glad.

  • echar

    This could make a really interesting/bad short story. All stray cats to be killed on sight. It could be told from the perspective of the cat, and how some have chosen not to kill, while others hunt, because that’s what they do. *calls Disney*

  • Apathesis

    Another problem to be solved by the creators of said problem.

  • Mike

    Damn dogs and their anti cat propaganda. You dogs are dividing this country!

  • scabooba

    Another great solution brought to you by “science”!

  • jackvane007

    I’ll take cats over mice and rats any day…thanks!

  • davakins

    This is old news, really. The cat self-domestication theory is more interesting topic. Who know what lurks behind those cute little whiskers, how many baby squirrels tremble the nights away in dread? Mah leetle kitteh!

  • Harry

    LEAVE FLUFFY ALONE!

  • the_rocker

    I am already waging my one-man war against these trash animals. If you care about your cat, keep it inside. You have been warned.

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