Mary Cummins Animal Advocates Los Angeles California Wildlife Rehabilitation Real Estate

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Blaming cats for bird deaths won't save birds. Mary Cummins, Animal Advocates


Blaming cats for bird deaths won't save birds. Neither will blaming humans. We all must work together.

Mary Cummins, Animal Advocates

This is a particularly controversial and heated subject. Some bird, wildlife, environment organizations such as American Bird Conservancy, Audubon would like cats to stay indoors. They state cats kill some birds and this is true. It is also true that humans, wildlife, dogs, other birds also kill birds. Those are the facts.

Cat organizations for some reason think bird, wildlife, environment organizations want to kill all cats. That is blatantly false. I am pro bird, cat, dog, wildlife and environment. I don't want to kill any animal. I'm starting to think this is propaganda so some cat people can dump cats outside and feed them. This debate has become a big "bird people verses cat people" battle when it shouldn't be. We are all pro-animal. Let's first review some facts.

I just received this flyer below in Facebook. It's from Alley Cat Allies. Let me first correct some misinformation. They state "cats have been living outside alongside humans for 10,000 years as a natural part of the ecosystem." This is absolutely false. 

The domestic cat was bred by humans. They are believed to have been descended from a small African wild cat approximately 10,000 years ago. Humans then continued to breed cats for tameness and various physical features. Humans spread the domestic cat all over the entire world. 

"Domestic cats are a major predator of wildlife in the United States killing an estimated 1.4–3.7 billion birds and 6.9–20.7 billion mammals annually. The bulk of the predation the United States is done by 80 million feral and stray cats." Outdoor cats are killing birds and mammals. Many research studies have been done which prove this beyond a shadow of a doubt. As a wildlife rehabilitator we get in many birds and small mammals that have been injured or killed by cats and dogs though mainly cats.  

For some reason cat people think bird, wildlife, environment people want ALL cats killed. That is most certainly false. They actually just want domestic cats to be kept enclosed in a home or sanctuary so they can't kill birds, wildlife or negatively affect the environment. They'd also like to see the outdoor population of feral and tame domestic cats to be reduced over time. 

Domestic cat proponents developed TNR programs to try to control the cat populations. The theory behind the Trap Neuter and Return theory is if you spay and neuter all cats in a colony, their population should be reduced to zero within one generation or approximately seven years. They state the current cats would not allow new cats into the colony. This would be fantastic if it actually worked but it doesn't. TNR only works in a vacuum. Many research studies have shown it does not work in the real world. The problem is implementation.

A proper TNR colony would be a group of cats located away from wildlife areas or sensitive ecosystems and waterways. The colony should be hidden so the public cannot see it. If people see the colony, they will dump un-neutered pets and the population will increase. ALL cats must be spayed and neutered. This is sometimes impossible as some cats are trap shy. The caretaker must clean feces and urine so as not to cause a nuisance. They also must not leave food. They should feed once a day for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes they must remove all food or wildlife will be attracted to the food and cause a nuisance besides spreading disease. All cats must be properly microchipped, vaccinated and receive proper veterinary care. These things don't happen in the real world.

I am frequently called to failed TNR colonies. The caretakers don't neuter all animals due to cost. They instead only feed them. The cat population has increased. Feces, fleas and unwanted wildlife create a public nuisance. Cats need veterinary care and are dying from disease. They are killing birds and wildlife, spreading disease to wildlife. This causes members of the public to petition their city to trap, remove, kill the cats. And this is when the cat people yell foul and go running to politicians with their misinformation. 

TNR does not work in the real world. The only "studies" were anecdotal and written by the colony caretaker. What then is the solution to cat overpopulations and the increased demise of birds and wildlife? Bird, wildlife, environment organizations would like all domestic cats to be kept indoors or enclosed. This is also better for the cat as they are protected from predators, cars, mean people, disease and fights. That is of course impossible to do in large numbers at the moment. A better sterilization method that could permanently sterilize all cats via an oral dose would be ideal. We are getting closer to that every day. I'm sure the cat people also want to humanely reduce the cat population. Cats are being killed in the shelters by the millions every year. Unwanted outdoor cats are being poisoned or shot.

The flyer I received said go to http://www.alleycat.org/SaveTheBirds to learn how to save the birds. Flyer also said "blaming cats won't save the birds. If we want to change the statistics, we have to change our actions." I went to the page and there were no suggestions to solve the problems. It just said that humans kill birds. Humans, wildlife, cats, dogs, other birds ALL kill birds. Bird people aren't asking to kill cats. I hope cat people aren't asking to kill humans. We all must work to solve the problem. I have some suggestions to calm the bird vs cat war. 

Cat people must do everything they can to do a better job with TNR. They should also focus on spay and neuter for all cats. Perhaps they can find a way to build some inexpensive cat sanctuaries and make it easier for people to have cat sanctuaries. More research needs to be done on a one dose permanent sterilant and ways to keep cats from killing birds and wildlife. 

Dog people who have dogs that kill birds and wildlife should not leave dogs unattended outside. If that is not possible, they should make sure they don't have a bird feeder or any plants that birds like to eat. They should not have a bird bath either. They should make sure to secure trash cans, pick up dropped fruit so skunks, opossums, raccoons won't enter their yard. Dogs should be walked on a leash. 

Bird people should continue to find ways to decrease the number of birds killed every year. They have made a glass that birds can see so they won't fly into it and die. They are monitoring pesticides, human development and are working to improve wind power turbines. Everyone is working on climate issues. 

If cat people think that "blaming cats won't save birds," well, blaming humans also won't save birds. Bird, cat, dog, wildlife people must all work on this project together. Bird and cat people would both be happy to humanely reduce the number of cats and outdoor cats. We are on the same team and need to stop the fighting. The fighting is impeding progress.
Mary Cummins of Animal Advocates is a wildlife rehabilitator licensed by the California Department of Fish and Game and the USDAMary Cummins is also a licensed real estate appraiser in Los Angeles, California.

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Mary Cummins of Animal Advocates is a wildlife rehabilitator licensed by the California Department of Fish and Game and the USDA. Mary Cummins is also a licensed real estate appraiser in Los Angeles, California.


Google+ Mary Cummins, Mary K. Cummins, Mary Katherine Cummins, Mary Cummins-Cobb, Mary, Cummins, Cobb, wildlife, wild, animal, rescue, wildlife rehabilitation, wildlife rehabilitator, fish, game, los angeles, california, united states, squirrel, raccoon, fox, skunk, opossum, coyote, bobcat, manual, instructor, speaker, humane, nuisance, control, pest, trap, exclude, deter, green, non-profit, nonprofit, non, profit, ill, injured, orphaned, exhibit, exhibitor, usda, united states department of agriculture, hsus, humane society, peta, ndart, humane academy, humane officer, animal legal defense fund, animal cruelty, investigation, peace officer, animal, cruelty, abuse, neglect #marycummins #animaladvocates #losangeles #california #wildlife #wildliferehabilitation #wildliferehabilitator #realestate #realestateappraiser #realestateappraisal #lawsuit

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