Saturday, May 28, 2022

Cats Kill Birds

 ...and Iceland is wondering what to do about the extinctions,


Thos. said...

I don't doubt for a minute that our cats take any number of birds.
On the one hand, I'd be perfectly happy to do without the cats if it will save some avian carnage - EXCEPT that, when we don't have cats, we get mice.

It's selfish of me, I know; but I'm just not willing to live with mice in the house. Not even for the sake of the little birdies.

Douglas2 said...

"And nowhere do cats, particularly unowned cats, cause more damage than on islands"

In just about every article I see on the problem of cat predation, it eventually gets around to pointing out that where there is really a problem it is feral cats that are the problem, so they propose banning (or banning outdoor access for) pet cats¹.

In the UK, conventional wisdom is that keeping cats as "indoor cats" is cruel. The RSPCA notes that indoor environments are predictable and boring to cats, resulting in stress, inactivity and obesity.

And the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) note that in the UK context it's highly unlikely for cat predation to have any effect on population size of any bird type, except in unusual circumstances such as local overpopulation of feral cats or isolated island bird populations unused to predation².

Like the UK context, the continental USA has always had many predators seeking the same prey as Felis catus, including other Felidae.

¹ It often looks like a motte/bailey situation. The line in Wikipedia's "Cat" article that says "Domestic cats are a major predator of wildlife in the United States, killing an estimated 1.3 to 4.0 billion" is quoting an article that uses "domestic cat" to refer to feral Felis catus
² (

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Good pickup, dammit. I was hoping for fewer cats in the world, but you saw my little game.

Douglas2 said...

I should note that "isolated island bird populations unused to predation" includes islands like Australia and New Zealand. So there are whole countries where science would support bans on outdoor Felis catus.

Thos. said...

I was in your area (Hillsboro, actually) yesterday and this morning. (My first time ever visiting NH.)

Anyhow, at the house where I was staying, there were some crows nearby that never stopped their racket the entire time I was there. I don't think that crows have much to fear from your average cat, but one can always hope.