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View Diary: [Update x2]Business Woman Faces Eviction For Feeding Pooties (88 comments)

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  •  Cats actually prefer rodents and insects over (19+ / 0-)

    birds, although they will kill a bird when there's nothing to eat and one is slow or low enough to attack.

    But, by far, their diet consists of rats and mice with some crunchy insects thrown in.

    "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

    by YucatanMan on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 09:51:46 AM PST

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    •  There may actually be a bias in most studies (6+ / 0-)

      because they try to extrapolate the number of birds killed from the number of birds owners report cats bringing home.

      If a cat hasn't been taught by its mother to pluck a bird before eating it, they don't always get how to do it - so they bring the birds home but eat the lizards and baby squirrels at the kill site.

      This place needs a PVP server.

      by JesseCW on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 10:18:45 AM PST

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      •  JesseCW: lizards, baby squirrels, mice, rats, (4+ / 0-)

        and a fair number of other creatures. I realize I'm coming off as callous, but there's a reason it's called the balance of nature. The cats do not do more harm than good.

        LBJ, Lady Bird, Anne Richards, Barbara Jordan, Sully Sullenberger, Ike, Drew Brees, Molly Ivins --Texas is no Bush league! -7.50,-5.59

        by BlackSheep1 on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 10:52:08 AM PST

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        •  In areas where we haven't totally destroyed (11+ / 0-)

          anything that looks like nature, in North America, non-native cats aren't an issue.

          They can't compete.  Yosemite and Yellowstone and Gran Tetons aren't over-run with cats.

          In our cities and suburbs, they're filling a niche we've driven the native predators out of.  

          If they weren't, we'd likely be spraying a lot more poison around.

          This place needs a PVP server.

          by JesseCW on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 11:11:14 AM PST

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          •  As coyotes become more familiar with suburban (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Amber6541, cany, marina, BlackSheep1

            housing, cats are the targets of predators.

            Our own development patterns have caused a lot of disruption in the world.

            Human originated disruption of natural prairies, woodlands, edge-environments, plus mono-culture suburban plantings and heavy pesticide/herbicide use for lawns, golf courses and farming is causing bigger disasters than cats, although yes, they are non-native.  But after about 400 years on the continent, it's a little late for us to make big changes.

            I do believe everyone should be planting bird and butterfly feeding gardens and doing what we can to mitigate the damage caused by rampant and out-of-control development.  Suburbanization has consumed far too much land.

            "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

            by YucatanMan on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 02:10:48 PM PST

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    •  Actually (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cocinero

      they tend to be hyper predators which will kill birds, even if they are not hungry.  This is a major issue.

      Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

      by Mindful Nature on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 01:26:56 PM PST

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      •  Don't cats sleep an awful lot? Sorry, couldn't (5+ / 0-)

        help myself.

        Here's what the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds has to say:

        No evidence

        Despite the large numbers of birds killed, there is no scientific evidence that predation by cats in gardens is having any impact on bird populations UK-wide. This may be surprising, but many millions of birds die naturally every year, mainly through starvation, disease, or other forms of predation. There is evidence that cats tend to take weak or sickly birds.
        ...
        It is likely that most of the birds killed by cats would have died anyway from other causes before the next breeding season, so cats are unlikely to have a major impact on populations. If their predation was additional to these other causes of mortality, this might have a serious impact on bird populations.

        Those bird species that have undergone the most serious population declines in the UK (such as skylarks, tree sparrows and corn buntings) rarely encounter cats, so cats cannot be causing their declines. Research shows that these declines are usually caused by habitat change or loss, particularly on farmland.

        Gardens: important habitat

        Populations of species that are most abundant in gardens tend to be increasing, despite the presence of cats. Blue tits, for example, the second most frequently caught birds, have increased by over a quarter across the UK since 1966. Of the birds most frequently caught by cats in gardens, only two (house sparrow and starling) have shown declines in breeding population across a range of habitats during the last six years.

        Gardens may provide a breeding habitat for at least 20% of the UK populations of house sparrows, starlings, greenfinches, blackbirds and song thrushes four of which are declining across the UK. For this reason it would be prudent to try to reduce cat predation, as, although it is not causing the declines, some of these species are already under pressure.

        Cat predation can be a problem where housing is next to scarce habitats such as heathland, and could potentially be most damaging to species with a restricted range (such as cirl buntings) or species dependent on a fragmented habitat (such as Dartford warblers on heathland).

        "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

        by YucatanMan on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 02:18:18 PM PST

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        •  Interesting (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          YucatanMan, JesseCW, CuriousBoston

          There's been research here in California documenting the hyperpredation effects, but we are very commonly in that housing-habitat interface given how our land use has worked.  Also, there's a fair bit of evidence from Australia and several islands about the destructive effects of cats.

          But this is a very good point that a lot of feral cat colonies probably do no harm if they are in urban or suburban settings ("gardens" in this example).

          I'll have to look into that more

          Hay hombres que luchan un dia, y son buenos Hay otros que luchan un año, y son mejores Hay quienes luchan muchos años, y son muy buenos. Pero hay los que luchan toda la vida. Esos son los imprescendibles.

          by Mindful Nature on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 02:23:40 PM PST

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          •  The biggest source of bird kills won't be ferals, (4+ / 0-)

            it will be cats owned by Jane and John Doe which are allowed outside. There are FAR more of these than ferals.

            Our cats are strictly indoors, both rescue and not, to avoid any damage they can do or have done to them via being a predator or from a predator. And we only adopt to strictly indoor homes.

            The latter allows for more relaxed vaccination protocols, far less parasitism (thus less treatment needed for fleas/tape worm thus allowing for more treatment for heartworm).

            I am sympathetic to the bird/predator issue, but I have seen studies all over the map on this.

            202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

            by cany on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 02:36:34 PM PST

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          •  Places like Australia, and more particularly (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            CuriousBoston

            remote islands, have been ravaged by introduced rats, pigs, and cats.  

            In that order - but that shouldn't obscure the fact that dozens of bird species have been wiped out in large part by feral cats (almost all on islands).

            North America is different.  Predators of similar size and hunting strategy aren't novel here.

            This place needs a PVP server.

            by JesseCW on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 02:48:33 PM PST

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        •  We need more outdoor cats. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          YucatanMan, JesseCW
          Populations of species that are most abundant in gardens tend to be increasing, despite the presence of cats. Blue tits, for example, the second most frequently caught birds, have increased by over a quarter across the UK since 1966. Of the birds most frequently caught by cats in gardens, only two (house sparrow and starling) have shown declines in breeding population across a range of habitats during the last six years.
          Both house sparrows and starlings are considered pest species in the United States.  Unfortunately the American outdoors, between cars and coyotes, is not a safe environment for working cats.

          "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

          by Yamaneko2 on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 02:37:26 PM PST

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        •  Remember - the European Wildcat was native (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FloridaSNMOM

          to all of Britain, although it's now been eradicated everywhere but in remote parts of Scotland.

          The domestic cat is part of the same species.  

          Blaming cats for falling bird populations anywhere in the Old World (outside certain remote islands and Australia) is like blaming Sea Lions for falling salmon stocks.

          This place needs a PVP server.

          by JesseCW on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 02:52:44 PM PST

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      •  Groups like ABC surely like to claim there's (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        cany, swampyankee, skyounkin

        billions (or tens of billions, or hundreds of billions depending on how much coffee they've had) of songbirds going under the claw every year.

        This really isn't the case.

        When cats are allowed out doors (about half of all domestic cats, sadly), 2/3rds don't manage or bother to kill anything.  Those who do kill average about 2 kills per week.

        12% of those kills are birds.  A lot of those are injured or sick, or have been abandoned by parents or orphaned.

        When cats don't eat what they kill, it's generally because they were never taught how.  That might seem somehow silly, but we're not talking about reptiles - we're talking about mammals with some pretty complex behaviors.

        Try eating a bird with all the feathers on.  Unless a cat is taught by its mother, it generally hasn't got a clue what to do with a dead bird.

        That aside, without being taught, many domestic cats don't actually fundamentally understand the difference between a toy they've broken and a lizard they've killed.  All they get is that it stopped moving.

        Food is moist glop out of a can.  That and breast milk is all they've ever had.  Why would they associate that with a dead scaly snake if mom never taught them?

        You won't see completely feral cats raised by cats outdoors fail to eat any critter they kill.  It's just that instinct only takes a mammal so far.

        This place needs a PVP server.

        by JesseCW on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 02:26:57 PM PST

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