RANT: Roaming cats

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    Thank you waterworld, I commend you so much for caring and respecting your neighbors’ yards by having an enclosure. I wish I could shake your hand.

    This whole concept is not hard, just takes initiative on cat owners part. I don’t have a cat so why should I have to deal with cat poop in my yard and garden? Simple as that. And nature is nature, ie. racoons et al but I have never seen raccoon poop in my life so don’t give me that…..

    *sigh*, wish they were all as considerate as you!


    Although I agree that enforcing leash laws for cats would be a waste of resources, and very hard to enforce, I don’t think that requiring cat owners to keep their cats under that direct supervision is a waste.

    Most cities don’t necessarily enforce the leash law, but if it is in place neighbors can file complaints, leading to fines. With leash laws numerous cities have clauses about Trap, Neuter, Release programs and exempt these colonies.

    As an owner of 2 indoor cats and having fostered a large number of feral and under socialized kittens, I think that pet owners should be more responsible across the board. It is my responsibility to keep my cat from harassing, maiming or killing wildlife, defecating on my neighbor’s property and breeding with other cats in the area. I don’t think that expectations for my cats should be any different than for my dog, just my personal opinion.



    Actually, freerange, essentially I am saying that it is the FOOD CHAIN, ill say it again, feral cats hunt. Do I like that there is an overpopulation of cats that are essentially a non native species that hunt the native population of birds, no, not at all. Do you have a problem with them hunting native mice, rats or squirrels? I am one of the biggest animal lover/advocates in my circle. I hate that humans are irresponsible but no matter what i do it doesn’t change the FACT that the feline as a species will hunt smaller prey.

    Should the feral cat starve because it isn’t native to seattle? That seems a little screwed up to me. The overpopulation is not the fault of the cat, it’s our fault, so it’s our problem that we created, not the cat – it’s just trying to survive.



    HunterG, here’s another FACT: most predation of wild birds is by very well-fed domestic cats, not ferals. They often don’t even eat their prey, as anyone who has ever found a beheaded mouse in their home can attest to. They are simply following their instinctive nature to hunt and kill.

    Let’s rephrase your question: should wild birds (which, btw, truly are part of the food chain, and responsible for controlling crop destroying insects) be decimated by the hundreds of millions due to human stupidity? Must it really be as black and white as that? Shouldn’t we look for a solution instead?



    Invasive species. Yes, cats I guess could be considered an invasive species in the United States. Unlike the dog who probably journeyed here over now vanished land bridges; cats arrived along with the first European settlers. So why have cats been so successful?

    There are some characteristics that seem to be more common among invaded areas:

    • They lack biotic constraints (natural predators or diseases) that the invading organism had to confront in its native environment

    • They are likely to present vacant niches that can be exploited by newcomers

    • Because they have vacant niches, these areas are generally lacking species diversity

    • Areas invaded by plants tend to lack a multi-tiered canopy

    • They are more likely to have been disturbed by fire, construction, agriculture, or other means prior to the invasion

    National Invasive Species Center

    Most invasive species are able to live side by side with those already established. It is only a very very small percentage that becomes lethal invaders.

    The human population continues to grow and with that growth it extends its impact on the environment more and more every day. We live in overcrowded cites, we have decimated the wildlife populations native to the area and in doing so we have allowed other species to occupy the niches left vacant for both predator and prey. Feral cats, coyotes and the Norway Rat are three of those species that have been able to successfully exploit several predator/prey niches left vacant by human activities here in our own backyard.

    As I read the articles and listen to various commentaries on the subject of cat versus bird, it occurs to me that it is not that way at all. It is in fact cat and bird versus humans.



    The famous Hawaii Mongoose forced introduction story should be re-told here….

    Back in 1872 a man named W.B. Espeut got the idea that Indian mongooses might take care of the rat problem in Jamaica if turned loose in the sugar cane fields there. So he sailed across the ocean to Calcutta on a ship called the Merchantman, captured four male and five female mongooses (one pregnant) and brought them back across the ocean to Jamaica.

    Twenty years later, in a journal article, Espeut gave the mongooses rave reviews. Besides killing rats, he wrote, “snakes, lizards, crabs, toads and the grubs of many beetles and caterpillars have been destroyed.”

    Espeut’s paper captured the interest of Hawaii sugar planters, but not everyone was convinced that importing mongooses was a good idea. In an 1883 issue of Planters Monthly, someone wrote, “Whether it would be wise to introduce the animal to these Islands may be a question. It would be important to first learn more of the nature of the creature, for they may prove an evil.”

    Unfortunately, no one heeded this anonymous writer’s advice. That same year, 72 Jamaica mongooses were loaded onto a ship and sailed to the Hamakua Coast of the Big Island. Later, offspring of these animals were released on Maui, Molokai and Oahu. One story says that Kauai people didn’t want mongooses on their island, and when a shipment reached there, the animals were thrown overboard in the harbor and drowned. To this day, Kauai hosts no mongooses.

    But the other islands have them and it’s been a disaster.

    Mongooses do eat rats, it turns out, but not enough to control rat populations. Sugar crops on Maui, Oahu, Molokai and the Big Island suffered as much economic damage from rats as those on Kauai. Far worse is the mongoose appetite for ground-nesting birds and their eggs. Our much-loved nene, or Hawaiian goose, nearly became extinct due to mongoose predation. Mongooses also wiped out Newell’s shearwaters on Oahu, Molokai, Maui and the Big Island.

    Because Hawaii hosts no natural predators for mongooses, they have to be trapped or poisoned to keep their populations in check. Getting rid of them completely is nearly impossible. They are as much survivors as the rats they were brought here to eliminate.

    All the mongooses in Hawaii today are descendants of those first nine animals brought to Jamaica. Females bear from one to three pups twice a year.

    Mongooses (and rats) can carry a potentially lethal disease called leptospirosis. The bacteria are transmitted to humans through infected animals’ urine that gets into ponds and streams — which, of course, all eventually run into the ocean.



    Time for some kitty treats in the shopping bag muah hah hah hah



    Thank you freerange for that informative piece, I really enjoyed reading it. I agree there are many examples of invasive species that have been introduced around the world by well-meaning individuals and self-serving ones as well.

    I think the ecosystems that have been negatively impacted the most are those that are relatively isolated. Australia immediately came to mind. Until the arrival of the Europeans, Australia I guess would have been considered a kind of closed ecosystem. This isolation and humans trying to control everything around them has had some pretty severe consequences. As your story sadly demonstrates, isolation does not readily promote adaptation because you cannot adapt (build a defense against) the unknown.

    That actually got me thinking. When (if) does an invasive (good or bad) species become native? Do they just remain invasive forever? I found an article I thought gave some excellent insight.


    If this piece is correct, then there is hope for cats, coyotes and the song birds that are making West Seattle their home.


    I’ve seen dozens of birds killed by well-fed neighbor cats, and it always breaks my heart. Many owners probably have no idea it is THEIR cat who is out there killing birds.


    Cat owners PLEASE be responsible KEEP YOUR CATS INDOORS. It’s safer for them and for wild birds!



    Spring Chicken: instincts for humans is TOTALLY different than for animals.



    hammerhead…yes, but humans have common sense and the ability to understand complex situations, most animals do not.



    Exactly: hence why they just breed and we have a CHOICE, it is OUR Responsibility to s/n those animals.

    A lot of humans do NOT have that common sense even education does not work. I SEE it everyday of my rescue life. I of course again think it is just common sense, but that would mean I would have to much “faith’ in the human race but sadly I do not.




    True, very true, BUT it seems to be working pretty well for dog owners. Not perfect for sure but much better than cats. So, this makes me think we need to “scare” people into acting with cats as they must with dogs with some laws in place and monetary fines if not complied with. Seems like money is the only way to motivate most people…



    Reply to post 31… freerange you better check your information on mongeese on Kauai again. They just recently made their way over to the Garden Isle. Read this link below please.. I’m originally from Hawaii and even had a pet mongoose I rescued when it was a baby. My cat was hissing at something one day when I got home and realized it was abandoned. No diseases after I took it into the vet were to get it checked where I took my cat. By the way, wild pigs are more destructive in Hawaii than mongeese are.





    Jiggers, that wasn’t my writing, just an article on the mongoose which evidently was written before the discovery of the mongoose on Kauai but your article show’s everyone that’s even worse than I thought! Just goes to show……..!

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