Cats are one of the most beloved pets to humans beings. Though they provided a sense of comfort and love, there is a dark side to these soft, adorable, felines. Cats, both domestic and feral, poses a serious threat to native bird populations in the United States and health risk to both people and other animals. It is important that people realize the impact that feral cats have in the environment that they inhabit and how it not only effects other species, but us humans as well. Feral cats have no form of human interaction and therefore are difficult and or nearly impossible to assimilate as a regular house pet. There appears to be limited options on what can be done to help assist in the reduction of feral cat populations without sparking controversy from cats lovers and animal rights groups.
Unlike dogs, cats retained their predation instincts. It is because of this trait that the concern for the native population of birds has risen. In the United States alone, there are about 95.5 million owned cats, this is excludes feral ones. Cats were introduce to the North American continent in 1498 by the Spaniards; so cats have only been on this continent for about five-hundred years; in retrospect, cats are considered an invasive species. Because cats are an invasive species, other species such as birds and small rodents did not develop and adaptation of instinctual strategies to survive against this new predator; “Feral cat populations have been linked to reduction in bird diversity, extirpation of insular species and toxoplasmosis infections in otters, monk seals, and dozens of species of birds”(Lohr,Linda,Christopher).
According to Smithsonian colleague Scott Loss and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, about a billion of birds have been reported killed by feral and domestic cats. The main perpetrators are feral cats; cats that either roam free solo, or live in what are known as cat colonies. It is important to note the difference between stray cats and feral cats. Stray cats are cats that were once owned and then later abandoned or lost. Feral cats are cats that grew up with no human contact. Cat colonies are not some big happy cat family like “Cat Warriors”
According to this article, in the 1980’s, the population of Brown Pelican colonies decreased as the population of feral cats increased, “Feral cats could depress Brown Pelican productivity in local areas…” (Daniel, James, Gene, Franklin, Leopoldp). Brown Pelicans constructs their nests close to the ground. Their natural predators when it comes to eating their offspring’s have been black rats. However, this relationship between pelicans and rats have always existed before the introduction of cats. With cats interring the game, Brown Pelicans not only have to defend their eggs and hatchlings from rats, but also a new, and skilled predator; cats having the ability to attack and kill both parents and offspring will surely lead to the extinction of Brown Pelicans along the California coast. Piping...