Pin It

Not So Cute 


I commend Genevieve Schmidt for encouraging cat-owning gardeners to be conscious of their pets' potential impact on birds ("Fluffy and Fido in the Garden," Aug. 6), but she understates the problem and her remedies are inadequate. Cats kill literally billions of birds (and uncounted other animals) in the U.S. annually. The problem is especially acute for young, naïve birds. This is unsustainable and wildlife advocates, supported by a growing number of pet welfare advocates, are pretty much unanimous in opposing outdoor cats. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act actually makes it illegal to allow a cat to kill a native bird, but unfortunately the law is poorly enforced.

For those who insist on letting their cats out, collar bells don't work very well; cats learn how to move without ringing them and birds don't always associate the sound with danger. Much more effective are bibs, usually neoprene, that prevent cats from getting their catches into their mouths. Cats and bird feeders simply don't mix; putting them into the same yard is inviting carnage, which has the same root as "carnivore." And no amount of bird-friendly landscaping or conscientious feeder placement will keep an outdoor cat from leaving its yard to wreak havoc elsewhere, including other yards with bird feeders. Some cat-owning, bird-loving friends of mine have built outdoor runs so their cats can get out without interacting with wildlife or disturbing the neighbors.

In short, having a pet of any kind comes with the responsibility of preventing it from doing harm or bothering others, the same as with a child. Too few pet owners — and parents, for that matter — take that responsibility seriously. Creating a yard that is inviting to wildlife and then putting cats into it is irresponsible, as is inflicting them on neighbors who don't want them around.

Ken Burton, Arcata

Pin It


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Latest in Mailbox

Readers also liked…


Facebook | Twitter

© 2024 North Coast Journal

Website powered by Foundation