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Old 10-14-2019, 06:27 PM
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You’re wrong about your outdoor cat


It is killing birds. Why don’t you believe that/ care?


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Old 10-14-2019, 06:28 PM
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Actually, I suspect a bird (Bald Eagle) killed my outdoor cat.
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Old 10-14-2019, 06:38 PM
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The OP is going up against a pervasive belief that it is cruel/unnatural to confine a cat to a house or apartment and that it "needs" to roam.* Countering this is the serious risk to the cat from dogs, other wild creatures, disease or vehicular accidents, and as you noted the large number of birds and other critters killed by cats.

Tackling the problem is probably not best served by posting "Why donít you believe that/ care?", but on the other hand there doesn't seem to be a really good way to get through to recalcitrant cat owners.

*there are exceptions to this scenario. In our case, a cat we adopted when we moved into a house (the owners had abandoned it ) had to stay outdoors except on the coldest winter nights, because Mrs. J. who likes cats is also highly allergic to them. We provided regular food, outdoor shelter with heating pad and vet care. The cat which we were very fond of ultimately died after being attacked by some other free-range beast, probably a dog.
I wish people wouldn't let their pets roam if there's any alternative. Bad things happen.
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Old 10-14-2019, 07:13 PM
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"Tackling the problem is probably not best served by posting "Why donít you believe that/ care?", but on the other hand there doesn't seem to be a really good way to get through to recalcitrant cat owners."

I'm sure you are correct (and if I hadn't just witnessed a neighborhood calico's routine hunt in my backyard perhaps I would have phrased my original post differently) but I have no real expectation of getting through to folk's that let their cats roam.

Because:

1. They don't believe their cats kill birds
2. And/ or they don't seem to care.
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Old 10-14-2019, 07:20 PM
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I need proof that the average overfed house cat could catch a full gown, healthy flighted bird. Now ferals are another thing.
I had a bird fly in my french doors one time. My cats went berserk but they never got anywhere near the bird. Birdy had the best defence, a pair of wings. YMMV.

(My Siamese are strictly indoor cats)
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Old 10-14-2019, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by Beckdawrek View Post
I need proof that the average overfed house cat could catch a full gown, healthy flighted bird. Now ferals are another thing.
I had a bird fly in my french doors one time. My cats went berserk but they never got anywhere near the bird. Birdy had the best defence, a pair of wings. YMMV.

(My Siamese are strictly indoor cats)
Our cat would leave us presents, usually mice, sometimes birds. Perhaps he didn't actually kill the birds himself. Not all house cats are overfed. However, ferals probably kill more birds than pets do. Still, the birds could use a break, they don't need extra cats killing them for sport.
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Old 10-14-2019, 07:36 PM
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i do fucking care, its fucking killing me, i thought about killing them.

no more cats for me after these three
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Old 10-14-2019, 07:39 PM
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There are a lot of coyote sightings every day within the city of San Francisco, on the actual streets where we live, and yet cat owners still have cat doors and let their cats roam at will. Then we see weeping moaning posts on Nextdoor about how their cat hasn't been home for 3 days, and has anyone seen Whiskers?

I would think if they didn't care about the birds, they would care about the cat. I would think that, but apparently I would be wrong.
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Old 10-14-2019, 07:47 PM
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I have no dog in the fight as I have no pets, but does it matter that pet cats kill birds?
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Last edited by pool; 10-14-2019 at 07:47 PM.
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Old 10-14-2019, 07:47 PM
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It is killing birds. Why donít you believe that/ care?
Hey, cuts down on cat food costs.
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Old 10-14-2019, 07:59 PM
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I have no dog in the fight as I have no pets, but does it matter that pet cats kill birds?
Yes. Wildlife biologists estimate that cats kill between one and four BILLION birds a year in the US. Bird populations are plummeting everywhere, direly. Habitat loss, pesticides, and pollution are also to blame, but cats do enormous damage as well.

It is the main reason I no longer have a cat.
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Old 10-14-2019, 07:59 PM
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I have no dog in the fight as I have no pets, but does it matter that pet cats kill birds?
Oooh, yes. A relatively small number of cats can kill thousands of birds. They are very hard on local bird populations and can entirely remove birds from local ecosystems.
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Old 10-14-2019, 08:02 PM
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Quote:
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I have no dog in the fight as I have no pets, but does it matter that pet cats kill birds?
Many species of birds are seeing substantial declines in their population in recent decades. I believe that this is largely due to non-cat factors (loss of habitat, declines in insect population). However, given that domestic cats, in the U.S., likely are responsible for killing billions of birds every year is likely not helping matters at all.
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Old 10-14-2019, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by pool View Post
I have no dog in the fight as I have no pets, but does it matter that pet cats kill birds?
It's estimated that cats kill over 3 billion birds every year.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/...study/1873871/

That's one of those numbers that many people refuse to believe so lets say it's only 3 MILLION. Is that too many? Isn't that something to be concerned about?

Particularly because of this recent news about a massive decline in bird populations:

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/09/19/s...ca-canada.html
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Old 10-14-2019, 08:14 PM
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It is killing birds. Why donít you believe that/ care?
My outdoor cat is half blind and has a heart condition. He moves approximately six steps off the front porch, and only does that if he is walking toward a human who will give him scritches and cuddles. Thanks to his crappy eyesight, I don't think he even sees the birds in my yard, and he sure as hell couldn't catch them.

As a general rule, I don't approve of keeping cats outside, and the only reason this cat lives outdoors is because he could not get along with my other indoor cat. My reluctant plan was to take him to the shelter, but my veterinarian recommended making him an outdoor cat instead. I felt great trepidation about this strategy, but figured if the vet I trust recommended it, I should give it a try. It has resulted in greater happiness for all the souls, feline and human, at my house, and no dead birds.

So I do care, but no, in my particular case I don't believe you.
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Old 10-14-2019, 08:14 PM
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Google tells me that the global population of birds is around 400 Billion, I see birds every time I go outside in the morning, which doesn't mean there population hasn't been in decline, just anecdotal observation. Ok cats kill birds, I accept that, my next question is does it matter, is the world going to end or something?
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Last edited by pool; 10-14-2019 at 08:16 PM.
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Old 10-14-2019, 08:19 PM
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We had two cats growing up one was a flat blob who couldn't catch a cold and the other a stone cold killer who I watched snag a humming bird out of the air despite wearing a bell. I couldn't believe the fat one was killing bird if you showed me a video so I guess that answers the OP. The killer eventually got eaten by a great horned owl who moved into my parents backyard.

My wife and I are debating getting a mouser for inside the house to help deal with the mice that sneak into our 75 year old house from the surrounding field but we only want a killer and a 50/50 odds is too much for my wife who doesn't really like cats.
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Old 10-14-2019, 08:23 PM
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A word of advice to the OP: if you actually care about saving birds and want to do so by educating cat owners, you are going about it all wrong. Open hostility and zero facts are not generally successful strategies for convincing people.

ETA: You did add some informative links in a second post, so the "zero facts" accusation is not entirely correct. But a friendly OP that included them would have been much better.
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Last edited by CairoCarol; 10-14-2019 at 08:26 PM.
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Old 10-14-2019, 08:30 PM
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I don't let my cat go outside. But this restriction doesn't have anything about wanting to prevent birth deaths and everything to do with me wanting to protect my cat. I don't trust him not to get his fool self to get hit by a car or eaten by a dog.

I know killing animals that are raised solely for the purposes of human consumption leaves a different kind of ecological footprint than killing wild animals. But it still feels hypocritical for me to hate on cats who kill birds while I munch on my two-piece and a biscuit.
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Old 10-14-2019, 08:38 PM
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Apparently those figures for the decline in bird populations are not so easy to interpret and are possibly blown far out of proportion: https://baynature.org/2019/09/26/a-s...decline-study/

I know exactly how many birds my cat kills, because she brings each one home to me. About 2 a year. Sometimes she brings them home completely unhurt and I have to shepherd them back outside.
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Old 10-14-2019, 08:43 PM
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Quote:
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Ok cats kill birds, I accept that, my next question is does it matter, is the world going to end or something?
The decline in bird populations is part of a much, much wider decline in populations of both larger animals and insects. As mentioned in both of those articles, we may be in the early stages of a mass extinction event.

As species decline (or disappear entirely), the ecosystem is damaged, and that makes it more difficult for remaining creatures (including homo sapiens) to survive.

On a micro scale, it may not seem to matter much if there are fewer birds than there used to be. But, on a macro scale, anything that we do, by choice, that further harms the populations of wild creatures is a foolish choice.
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Old 10-14-2019, 08:44 PM
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Putting a bell on the cat does nothing to protect birds, but putting a brightly colored scrunchy on the cat in lieu of a regular collar absolutely does. The birds will see the bright colors moving around and react appropriately, whereas a bell means absolutely nothing to them. A scrunchy on the cat is pretty safe even if it gets caught on something cuz the cat can then wiggle out of it. Hit the dollar store and stock up on the brightest, gaudiest scrunchies you can find, the birds will thank you for it.
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Old 10-14-2019, 08:50 PM
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Cats in my family have killed a few birds and a lot of mice. I'm sorry about the birds. The mice? Not so much.
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Old 10-14-2019, 09:01 PM
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Habitat loss, pesticides, and pollution are also to blame ...
Note that one important effect cats have is to reduce the habitat suitable for birds.

In particular, the success of ground-nesting birds goes way down when cats are in the area.
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Old 10-14-2019, 09:11 PM
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Modern birds are supposed to have evolved from dinosaurs right, cats have been around for a while. Buildings and such kill more birds than cats from what I've just read. Sorry I'm not convinced that the death of birds is terribly important they will evolve or a different organism will fill that ecological niche, Im not seeing how it's terribly important.
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Old 10-14-2019, 09:24 PM
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Modern birds are supposed to have evolved from dinosaurs right, cats have been around for a while. Buildings and such kill more birds than cats from what I've just read. Sorry I'm not convinced that the death of birds is terribly important they will evolve or a different organism will fill that ecological niche, Im not seeing how it's terribly important.
Did you actually read the articles to which I linked? It's not just birds, it's animals at all levels. Sure, something may, *eventually*, fill that ecological niche, but in the meantime, the Earth may become a very unfriendly place to live for many of its current species, including us.

And, several of us have already said that cats are likely NOT the PRIMARY reason for the decline in birds. But, when birds (among many other species) are declining at a rapid pace, and people insist on sending their cats outside, that's just exacerbating the situation.

Last edited by kenobi 65; 10-14-2019 at 09:25 PM.
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Old 10-14-2019, 09:33 PM
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Cats on Hawai'i are a serious problem.

Quote:
Feral cats on islands have contributed to the extinction of 33 species and are the principle threat to 8% of critically endangered birds, mammals, and reptiles.
Cats host Toxoplasma parasites.

Quote:
A single cat may excrete hundreds of millions of infectious eggs into the environment through its feces. Humans, especially pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems, are vulnerable to infection by this parasite.
Toxoplasmosis infections killing sea otters and monk seals, both species are at risk.

From the American Bird Conservancy:

Quote:
Outdoor domestic cats are a recognized threat to global biodiversity. Cats have contributed to the extinction of 63 species of birds, mammals, and reptiles in the wild and continue to adversely impact a wide variety of other species, including those at risk of extinction such as Piping Plover.

The ecological dangers are so critical that the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists domestic cats as one of the world’s worst non-native invasive species.
Cats, in other words, kill billions of birds, they are tied to extinctions, and there is no good reason to have them outdoors (other than vermin/rodent control. Conversely, cats live longer, healthier lives if they are indoors.

As far as whether you should care if species go extinct, I would argue yes. Removing animals from the ecosystem contains risk. It's hard to know when the species that goes extinct is the one that eats all of the disease-bearing mosquitoes in your area, for example.
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Old 10-14-2019, 09:33 PM
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Perhaps the OP was thinking of the Stephens Island Wren. That being said, I think humans have had a lot more to do with decimating (and extinctivizing) bird populations than Felis catus.
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Old 10-14-2019, 09:38 PM
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House cats have just recently moved into an environmental niche that was formerly filled by young boys with BB guns.
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Old 10-14-2019, 11:04 PM
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I'm quite sure my indoor-outdoor cat doesn't catch birds because a) I've seen her try and she was crap at it, b) why wouldn't she bring them in proudly like she does with mice? How is it we never see any bodies?

Also, 'all cats are perfectly happy not being let out' is an extraordinary claim, thus requiring extraordinary evidence. It's not true of all humans, so why would it be true of any other naturally-roaming species?

Happy to keep her in when we're visiting summer that has native wildlife. But that's about it
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Old 10-14-2019, 11:11 PM
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In some cities people think of the pigeons as "flying rats", and are pleased that the cats take them out along with the actual rats and mice.
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Old 10-14-2019, 11:22 PM
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My kitties have always been indoors -- my mother had too many cats lost when she was a child. (One a neighbor hit with a rake and broke its back. Another that I remember from when I was little was shot with a bb gun. She survived, but had a pin in her hip for the rest of her life)

One other thing to remember is that cats live longer and healthier when they're indoors.

Last edited by Guinastasia; 10-14-2019 at 11:23 PM.
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Old 10-14-2019, 11:50 PM
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Nope. The outdoor cat kills mice and ground squirles and pack-rats and maybe a bird or two. Who the fuck cares? That's what cats do. Life, man. It ain't what city-folk want.
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Old 10-15-2019, 12:01 AM
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birds kill worms though so my cat is saving the worm population
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Old 10-15-2019, 12:21 AM
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Do all these dead birds have an adverse effect on humans?
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Old 10-15-2019, 01:22 AM
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Iím skeptical. Our cats are indoor cats but Iíve had outdoor cats and, yes, they killed birds. Sparrows. But are they not native? What was the pre-sparrow population? Compared to what it has dropped to?
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Old 10-15-2019, 02:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beckdawrek View Post
I need proof that the average overfed house cat could catch a full gown, healthy flighted bird. Now ferals are another thing.
I had a bird fly in my french doors one time. My cats went berserk but they never got anywhere near the bird. Birdy had the best defence, a pair of wings. YMMV.

(My Siamese are strictly indoor cats)
My neighbor has a sweet cat who was born and raised indoors. She has a catio so he can enjoy the outdoors safely. Birds sit 9 feet up on the chicken wire and poke their heads in to tease the cats. Score so far: overfed house cat: 2, birds: 0. I swear that cat has developed a swagger.
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Old 10-15-2019, 03:18 AM
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Quote:
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Google tells me that the global population of birds is around 400 Billion, I see birds every time I go outside in the morning, which doesn't mean there population hasn't been in decline, just anecdotal observation. Ok cats kill birds, I accept that, my next question is does it matter, is the world going to end or something?
From that point of view, nothing matters.Climate change? Doesnít matter, the rock called ďEarthĒ will continue on until the sun swallows it.

On the other hand, a lot of people are uncomfortable with the effect one species, humans, have on the planet. From their point of view, domestic pets killing lots of birds is a bad thing because it changes the environment we live in. In countries like New Zealand, domestic cats are a big threat to native birds. Will the world end if some New Zealand native bird species go extinct? No. But thatís not the point.
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Old 10-15-2019, 03:29 AM
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My current cats are indoor only but my previous indoor/outdoor cats did not kill a lot of birds. They tried, but they were not that motivated.

But I gotta say, we had these birds that took over one of our hanging baskets to raise their family, and those birds were very irresponsible parents. Kept knocking the babes out of the nest. We put them back. (Maybe it was just one, over and over. Maybe they didn't like that one.) Our cats watched in fascination from the front window. These birds don't seem to have a lot of faith in glass when they're flying, but they sure trust it when there are cats behind it.
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Old 10-15-2019, 03:47 AM
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Modern birds are supposed to have evolved from dinosaurs right, cats have been around for a while. Buildings and such kill more birds than cats from what I've just read. Sorry I'm not convinced that the death of birds is terribly important they will evolve or a different organism will fill that ecological niche


Evolution does not work that way.
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Old 10-15-2019, 08:37 AM
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Our previous cats were indoor/outdoor. The only gifts they ever tried to bring home were mice and voles and once a rabbit. If only they had brought home starlings.....
That said, our current cat is strictly indoors as will be any future cats.
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Old 10-15-2019, 08:59 AM
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Nope. The outdoor cat kills mice and ground squirles and pack-rats and maybe a bird or two. Who the fuck cares? That's what cats do. Life, man. It ain't what city-folk want.
I live in the country and they keep the rodent population down. I don't want to poisen other animals.
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Old 10-15-2019, 11:24 AM
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I'm not a "pet" person, and I particularly dislike cats as I am allergic to them.

My wife and kids however, love them. We have two outdoor cats that are forbidden to come inside. I have told my family that if I ever witness either of them inside, the cat will be "disappeared" Paraguay-style.

Occasionally, we'll find birds in the yard that the cats have killed. It makes me mad. I like watching birds, and they keep the insect population down.

Both of our cats are fixed, so there's that. A feral male used to come through my backyard every evening. Its route got somewhat predictable, so I've set up at the window with my .22 waiting for it.

I've taken two shots at it, both missed
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Old 10-15-2019, 11:53 AM
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1. We don't let our cats be outdoor cats -- we have coyotes around here (in Massachusetts!)

2. We do, however, walk our cats. Sometimes we take them both out at the same time. We don't use leashes (you CAN herd cats, it turns out.) But our cats don't go out unsupervised. It's not just the coyotes -- I've had to rescue our cats from dogs.

3. Our cats aren't contributing to the death of birds. I've watched our cats stalking birds and small furry animals. They've been singularly unsuccessful*



*Midnight, our old arthritic cat, caught and ate toads and moths, and near the end of her life actually caught a live chipmunk. Wanted to bring it into the house to show it off to the other cats, too. She was pissed when we wouldn't let her.
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Old 10-15-2019, 11:53 AM
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why wouldn't she bring them in proudly like she does with mice? How is it we never see any bodies?
She likes birds better than mice. So she keeps all the birds and you get all the mice.

It's just a theory but you have to admit it's consistent with feline behavior.
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Old 10-15-2019, 12:16 PM
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Putting a bell on the cat does nothing to protect birds, but putting a brightly colored scrunchy on the cat in lieu of a regular collar absolutely does. The birds will see the bright colors moving around and react appropriately, whereas a bell means absolutely nothing to them. A scrunchy on the cat is pretty safe even if it gets caught on something cuz the cat can then wiggle out of it. Hit the dollar store and stock up on the brightest, gaudiest scrunchies you can find, the birds will thank you for it.
Ours brought in birds until we belled her; she hasn't caught a bird since, so I'm assuming the bell is doing something. Mice, on the other hand, are still on the menu (and there seem to be an endless supply). Sometimes she brings them in alive, which is always "fun".

Also: she is the nemesis of large moths. Oh the crunching sound they make...
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Old 10-15-2019, 12:21 PM
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I know my cat has killed a couple of birds. Living in Houston there was a species (grey body, white undercoat) that got real aggressive around nesting time, I saw them dive bombing her. First year she hid, next year she killed a couple. But I don't feel too bad about her generally as she's much more into catch and release- into the house. She could spend a sunny day bringing live geckos into the house and the evening bringing these giant tree cockroaches. Just last week, I was sitting on the toilet and she brought and released a live bird into the bathroom. I think I set a personal record on buttwiping speed.

I know cats can be a problem but my fixed cat will help keep feral cats from moving into the territory and breeding.
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Old 10-15-2019, 12:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Dallas Jones View Post
House cats have just recently moved into an environmental niche that was formerly filled by young boys with BB guns.
As a kid (age 6-12) I put a pretty sizeable dent in the bird population around our home, with a pellet gun. We had a an indoor/outdoor cat. Whenever he would see me with the pellet gun, he'd jump up and follow me around. He became more of a retriever in some sense. He'd just lay down near me when I was looking for birds to shoot, and when one would hit the ground, he'd run and pounce on it like he'd killed it. My primary target was blue jays, but I wasn't too discriminatory.
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Old 10-15-2019, 02:16 PM
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Nah...I've always known it. Forget sharks...cats are Nature's perfect killing machines. Birds, snakes, mice, moles, chipmunks, and even fish are ALWAYS on the menu. I had one cat who would bring me at least a fish every day when he went down to the creek during the summer.
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Old 10-15-2019, 03:47 PM
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So if I do a cursory look on Google, the US has 96 million house cats but a second site shows 50 million feral cats. I don't think you can assume a house cat is going to eat the same number of birds as a feral cat. So the real approach would be to encourage spaying/neutering, and feral cat colony elimination.
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