Saturday, January 29, 2011

Killing Cats IS NOT the Answer

In a perfect world, all cats would live indoors where they are well cared for.  We don’t, however, live in a perfect world.  People still dump their cats when they no longer want them.  Even well educated people will allow their beloved cats to go outside for at least a few hours a day.  Other people leave their cats outdoors 24 hours a day, with no concerns for their safety nor what the cats might be doing, either to a neighbor’s yard or the local wildlife. 

Cats have been documented as a part of human society since the great Egyptian dynasties.  When Europeans began sailing the world, cats were on board those ships to control the rat populations.  As humans colonized/invaded other lands, the cats (and rats) came with them, and were often left behind.  Humans were the first invasive species, and to this day continue to be the most detrimental of any invasive species to all natural habitats.  We have created a swath of destruction wherever we have gone, and this continues to this day.  Yet, instead of placing the blame for declines in native species on humans, governments and wildlife agencies have chosen to place cats in their crosshairs.  If only they could simply KILL all of the cats, all would be right with the world.  At the very least, this is faulty logic.  At the worst, an unattainable goal has been set. 

The best way to work toward a solution to the concerns of governments and wildlife agencies about cats preying upon threatened and endangered wildlife would be to work with the people who KNOW the domestic cat and cat behavior.  Although a few, and mostly flawed studies have been done about cats and predation, scientists do not consider cats worthy of SERIOUS scientific study.  However, the much maligned, so-called Cat Lovers actually are experts on cat behavior and the issue of community cats. 

Choosing to KILL cats has NEVER worked.  There are plenty of examples to support this fact.  Community animal control agencies have been rounding up “loose” cats for many, many years.  Even so, the number of cats picked up and killed has increased, instead of decreasing over that time.  Government agencies have trapped cats on public lands for many, many years, yet there are still cats to trap.  The “supply” has failed to diminish despite these efforts.  Hundreds of millions of cats and kittens have been killed through these practices, yet estimates say there are still millions of cats out there.  WHY?  It certainly isn’t due to lack of will on the part of government employees – either city, county, state or federal – to kill each and every cat they can catch.  Put simply, it is because the real culprit and cause of this so-called problem has been ignored.  It’s not the cats – it is the humans. 

Our government, on all levels, has taught their lesson to the people well.  Cats, and animals in general, have NO VALUE.  Killing them is okay.  They are easily replaceable.  There are plenty more where those dead ones came from.  So, people continue to move and leave their cat(s) behind, or they drive to the “country” and pitch their cat(s) out of the car and drive away, or they dump them at a “shelter” and absolve themselves of their responsibility. 

Without a shift in our cultural values, there will always be free-roaming cats.  By working together with people who care about and understand cats, a campaign to change attitudes, to attack the problem at its source, a viable plan could be formulated.  Instead of working at odds with, or simply dismissing the concerns of those who are trying to humanely decrease the populations of free-roaming cats, it is time to work together.  

Yes, SOME cats kill wildlife.  SOME cats are more prolific hunters than other cats.  Some habitats cannot tolerate another predator.  But, not all free-roaming cats hunt, not all habitats are seriously impacted by the presence of cats.  There are HUMANE solutions and that is the choice that should be made.  

For more information about the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's proposed plan, go here: 

To send a quick and easy response, go here:


  1. Thank you for your insights. As always when it comes to this topic, you are right on!

  2. In many cases, cultural values have changed, which is why TNR can work where killing did/does not. People call for help because they have become attached to the cats, don't want to see them suffer, and don't want more cats. They aren't stupid people; they aren't irresponsible. And they'll open up their pocketbooks or put in a lot of work to help solve the problem via TNR. They won't if the only option offered is "bring 'em in and we'll put them down." So the cats will stay out there, stay fertile, and stay breeding.

    Thanks for this post. I linked you in mine!

  3. I agree that there are many folks who choose TNR over death. The cultural change I'm talking about: those folks who leave their cats behind. I think we need wall to wall billboards SHAMING them for the irresponsible SOBs that they are. Might not reach them, but it very well might reach family, friends & neighbors of these low lifes. Bad behavior needs to change and people need to be called out, publicly, for that bad behavior.

    Thanks for linking. I was spurred on this morning when the BBC World Service did a piece on the proposal by the Service to trap & kill cats (again) in the Florida Keys. I posted a link to that story on my Facebook page (Connie Graham).

  4. Here's the link to the One Planet (BBC) story from this morning:

  5. The government always seems behind in solutions. And so do scientists sometimes. It was that many years ago, Newsweek on their cover featured some animal and said, like it was brand newly discovered Animals Have Emotions. Most people could only ignore the "big news" just out of the scientific community, or shake their heads, "duh". Guess I"m avoiding the obvious, with your post. It's a "duh" thing to me and most people I know, like you, is why. And I'm tired.

  6. I meant to say, in above post "It was NOT that many years", left out the "not", typing to fast.