Cats: good or bad

Just reminding everyone again, (thanks @jdmore!) that this conversation has covered many of the points being brought up here:

https://forum.inaturalist.org/t/should-cats-be-culled-to-stop-extinctions/1628

thoughts from the community on combining topics with an adjustment to the topic titles?

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Some conversations lend themselves to archiving as FAQs. Other conversations, such as this, are of the sort that people want to interact in real time, exchange ideas, hear contemporary opinions, etc. It seems a shame to relegate everyone to an archive search or reference a prior conversation if they want to materially participate in one in the here-and-now.

That being said, there are cases where the keeping of outdoor cats, neutered and/or spayed, are acceptable. On the farm, we have always kept a couple of barn cats for rodent control, as I have considered it preferable to the use of poisons. These cats are well-fed and receive veterinary care, and have kept the rodent population in check, helped out by a couple of lovely rat snakes. I would never consider doing this anywhere else, especially not in a community setting.

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Not suggesting that there be no more conversation just that two virtually identical topics be merged into one continuing conversation so people aren’t repeating themselves in two places.

edit: realizing that perhaps you are unaware that we can re-open conversations as needed.

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For pets, yes, indoors with a catio or harness is best.

What about “working cats” like barn cats, though?

[Addendum: just saw @annainok already brought this up]

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I personally enjoy having a separate thread to read because I don’t have to scroll through everything. However, I’d understand completely if they were combined.

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For rats, one study found that cats don’t actually reduce the population as they don’t catch very many, but they do change the rats’ behaviour so that you don’t see as many: https://www.wired.com/story/rats-vs-cats/
I don’t know if anything like that has been studied for mice.

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Responsible pet ownership is the answer. Look at this website for a very successful ‘bird protection’ collar for domestic cats https://www.birdsbesafe.com/collections/all plus see the Responsible Pet Ownership brochure developed on Waiheke Island www.forestandbird.org.nz/what-we-do/branches/hauraki-islands

I feel strongly enough about this issue that I am quoting myself from the cat culling topic:

None of the proposed collars, bells etc. deal with the larger issues of environmental destruction as they are geared to “prevent kills.” Birds’ behavior changes when predators are in the area. They may be less successful nesting because instead of finding food they’re guarding nests or watching out endlessly for cats (and dogs have the same effect!) and may not even nest in areas that have been successful in the past. Even without death they are impacted and their behaviors change. These items are to me just a way for humans to feel better about the destruction they could personally prevent. I’m horrified when the people doing this are scientists but maybe I need to stop assuming they would somehow have higher standards for their own personal behaviors.

If you need your cat to go outside to feel better somehow, build an outdoor exclosure with chicken wire and netting that prevents bird entry. The cats can play without wanton unnecessary destruction and disease spreading.

Other thoughts: Having cats outdoors is often terrible for the cat’s health as far as diseases that couldn’t otherwise be contracted if they had been kept indoors. Also, they may be attacked and suffer greatly at the paws/claws of other cats, dogs, and all manner of wildlife. Picture a society where pet and feral dogs are free to roam around without rabies vaccinations, defecating in your garden, near your well source, terrifying animals and humans and causing traumatic road hit situations with cars, while killing and heavily impacting the behavior of native (and sometimes seriously threatened) wildlife. Would you be okay with this taking place in your yard?

This is me treading lightly and trying to keep my emotions in check. I have very strong feelings about this issue. As someone with plenty of health issues the thought that a neighbor’s choices could sicken me or destroy my property makes me just as irate as if they were intentionally dumping toxins in my water and I believe it should be dealt with similarly.

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Thanks, it was not a text link, so there I go again, ignoring symbols and looking for text. Thank you. https://www.npr.org/templates/transcript/transcript.php?storyId=733456435

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Sometime in the future there will be large areas of the planet cleared of cats and declared cat free zones. The sooner the better! It has started already on small wildlife sanctuary islands and the areas will get bigger as technology allows.

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Welcome to the forum, @dave_holland!

What about places like Egypt, where feral cats have existed for hundreds or even thousands of years?

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This is mainly about domesticated/pet cats @youssefelnahas

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Speaking as someone who lives a block away from a subway statrion in a 90 year old apartment building. Cats are the best rodent control solution to an urban rodent problem in your home. My cat never even seems to want to go out into the hall and after a half dozen mice caught in the first month or so, and an occasional one after a cold snap we live nearly mouse free. This is in contrast to all of my cat-less neighbors who use mousetraps and poison to deal with their rodent problems much less effectively. Again she is a strictly indoor cat, but I feel that where I live in the Bronx is so heavily impacted by human activity, she would effect the wildlife in the area little if at all.

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Didn’t we just have a discussion like this Lol…

About cats

Welcome to the forum @duckdodgers!

I understand your points but there are still plenty of wild bird species in urban environments that need protection from outdoor cats. Plus, other birds, if protected and supported, could be assisting in the control of the rodent population. For me, mice come with the natural territory while domestic felines do not. There is also the toxoplasmosis issue to contend with in the soil even if reservoir/aqueduct systems are used instead of wells.

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Yes, it is linked in the 2nd post in this thread.

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Sometimes, it could just be the rats are seen less often (e.g. those in open areas are captured and killed by cats, while those with a more cryptic behaviour are still around). See https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fevo.2018.00146/full for more details. (Of course, the effectiveness is context dependent)

This post made me think of this article I saw recently in Wired Magazine. I would have voted for Inside Cats if I noticed this sooner - but I think inside cats is not a solution when you have huge feral populations.

https://www.wired.com/story/cats-australia-bushfires/

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