The Lies and Deceptions of Alley Cat Allies

Alley Cat Al-LIES: Feral Cat Favoritism Runs Amok

Warning, the nature of this article is a bit ranty, which I find impossible to not do when discussing this subject.

While it is very understandable that people want to protect the feral counterparts of the personal pets that they bond with on a daily basis, the sheer lack of empathy for wildlife that they have and their attempts to suppress scientific information is unethical and irresponsible.

Simply put, the feral cat advocacy group Alley Cat Allies is an agenda-driven, special-interest group, not unlike the website DogsBite (anti-bully breeds) or the popular animal rights organization PETA.

The organization deliberately misleads, misconstrues, and blatantly denies every piece of information available that might suggest that domesticated feral cats are invasive predators that urgently should be removed from the environment or controlled to the fullest extents possible.

Feral cats in Hawaii

Source

Since one of the main tactics of this group is to attempt to discredit their detractors by labeling them as ‘cat haters’, I will introduce myself and my so-called agenda. I may not be the hugest fan of cats, but I’m certainly no ‘cat hater’. I wouldn’t mind owning a few cats of my own. I would like to see healthy, adoptable cats not euthanized in shelters by the hundreds each day just because there aren’t enough homes for them, and I’m vehemently against breeding cats for this reason.

I am also not a bird watcher or heavily invested with environmental issues. Yet there are very few things that infuriate me more than ethical obstructions that shouldn’t even exist because they have such preposterous reasons for occurring in the first place. Therefore, I might project my disdain toward the cats when I view them with dead and dying prey, and the subsequent nonchalant attitude that people tend to have toward this.

The ‘Cat Person’ Mentality

Now don’t get me wrong, many cat lovers and owners are very nice people who also have an appreciation for wildlife and a scorn for unnecessary animal suffering and death.

Many cat owners realize that not only does allowing their cat outside expose their beloved pet to danger, but that it also endangers small animals that will be indiscriminately hunted, tortured, and killed by their cat regardless of any appetite. Some cat owners who leave their pets outdoors are also surprisingly naïve or ignorant to the fact that their cats are likely doing these things regardless of whether or not it is seen.

But then there’s a very unfortunate group of people that know about it and simply do not care-- even going as far as to commend it and brag about it. This attitude is unfortunately very common. It shocked me at first; I thought song birds and bunny rabbits were beloved by most of the public. Yet apparently, domesticated cats reign supreme for human appreciation. I mention this here as a potential suspect that might be the driving force behind individuals who perpetuate the offenses that I am describing.

Alley Cat Allies is a group that deals with protecting feral cats, not personal pet practices, but they also support the practice of free-roaming housecats that result in the unnecessary torture and destruction of animals. Given this, it is amazing that this group demands that wildlife proponents accept their counterarguments against wildlife research.

The Preposterous Petition

In an unlikely wonderful turn of events, major news distributors like the New York Times and the BBC began reporting on and featuring a new finding conducted by the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the Fish and Wildlife Service. The results of the study revealed that domesticated feral and stray cats are, unsurprisingly, the biggest threat to birds and small animals, beating out other human-caused conflicts like car collisions and pesticides. The findings were stated to be "two to four times higher" than previously believed.

Predictably, Alley Cat Allies immediately responded with their usual nonsensical retorts.

They began to circulate a petition entitled: "Tell the Smithsonian: Stop Spreading Junk Science that will Lead to the Mass Killing of Cats". They claimed that the study was based on "biased research", that it "recklessly perpetuates a bogus debate", and most annoyingly, it was stated that "it’s time for the Smithsonian to disavow this research, stop funding this junk science, and turn their attention to remediating the real threats to wildlife populations".

Another article immediately emerged by the organization's president with the title 'How Important is the Cat vs. Bird Debate When Millions of Cats Are Dying in Shelters?'

This is enough information to make an obvious conclusion about Alley Cat Allies, because declaring cats as a significant threat to wildlife as "bogus" is nothing short of malicious lying that can be debunked by kindergarten-level common sense.

Accusing the researchers of being biased or of cherry-picking facts to support their claims is devastatingly ironic for Alley Cat Allies, as they are a group committed to suppressing information that might paint the tremendously invasive and destructive feral cats in a bad light, defying common sense at every turn, and even suggesting that the cat problem be ignored because other human activities are more harmful (and it is likely that they are not).

This is an actual quote from Alley Cat Allies horrendous website:

"Humans, not cats, are responsible for bird and wildlife species loss."

Uh, wrong. Untrue. Incorrect. Erroneous. Negative. They are.

Alley Cat Allies Does Not Give A Rat's (Partially Eaten) Behind About Wildlife

The fact of the matter is, even if the estimates of the animal deaths from cat predation were lowered to their conservative estimates, cats would still be a massive conflict against the survival of many small animal species.

Not only is it common sense that cats prey on animals, and this is especially true of feral animals that have no choice, but this is readily observable to any person with eyes. I have observed pet cats chasing and killing wildlife. I have rescued wildlife from these animals. I have observed a TnR cat hunting wildlife as well.

Given that the populations of these animals are so numerous, the results of the study make perfect sense. Yet Alley Cat Allies would like us to believe that all of these reports are untrue because they said so, and that they have all the answers on the real threats against wildlife, even though they have NO interest in the welfare or existence of wildlife, and would love to see a society where feral cat colonies and roaming, owned, pet cats make up 95% of outdoor vertebrate life.

When an organization is devoted to protecting feral cats and nothing more, it is a wonder that any news article run their useless, blatantly biased commentary.

Lies About Public Safety

Alley Cat Allies on rabies:

"Even in the unlikely event that a feral cat develops rabies, it can't spread the disease to people without biting them, and feral cats rarely seek direct contact with humans. The idea that cats will unexpectedly jump out of alleys and bite children is just as ridiculous as it sounds."

The threat of rabies from any pet is not a serious concern relative to other zoonotic diseases, yet out of all pet animals, domesticated cats are by far the highest concern. While they may not be directly spreading the virus to people, they offer convenient vehicles for the transmission of the disease (and other diseases) to wildlife (the most common source of rabies).

In addition, cats certainly do attack unprovoked sometimes...not that so-called 'provoked' attacks mean there is no problem. This puts small children who may naively approach these cuddly-appearing animals at a high risk for an altercation with one. Cat bites are a serious concern and aside from the grueling pain they cause, about 80% of them will become infected.

Bird Advocates are 'Cat Haters'?

Bird and environmental enthusiasts do not have an evil vendetta against cats. They may often recommend euthanasia as a means of preserving an irreplaceable species, not as a trivial revenge against felines that cannot control their behavior.

If they did not believe that these methods were effective, it would serve no purpose to support them. It's possible that TNR methods can have a place in the never ending battle to control the populations of invasive felines, but other options should not be eliminated because of the emotional and irrational sentiment of people perpetuating from cat favoritism.

Birds, reptiles, and even the small rodents that people typically dislike, are feeling vertebrates just like cats. No true animal lover will elevate the status of one over the other, but a reasonable, logical person must take into account the irreparable damage that is unnecessarily occurring in the already heavily damaged ecosystem that we inhabit.

Still not enough evidence for some that cats kill wildlife

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Comments 71 comments

Don 3 years ago

I still don't get why we even have to show that the cats are killing wildlife. If I don't want your pet on my property, it shouldn't be on my property.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Precisely Don. It is an unfortunate entitlement complex, and it's bizarre that I have to fight for my right to keep certain animals completely to myself while I have other people's animals running across my lawn.


Shaddie profile image

Shaddie 3 years ago from Washington state

I can't wait to have my own home. I'm going to live trap the hell out of any cat that wanders in the yard, and then it's straight to the animal shelter! Collar or not.

Also this is the stupidest quote: "Even in the unlikely event that a feral cat develops rabies, it can't spread the disease to people without biting them, and feral cats rarely seek direct contact with humans. The idea that cats will unexpectedly jump out of alleys and bite children is just as ridiculous as it sounds." Obviously Alley Cat Allies has never seen an animal suffering from rabies. Rabid animals are dangerous for a reason. All their inhibitions are gone. A typically skittish, reclusive, or even friendly animal will turn violent, actively seeking out fights with other animals or humans. That's why rabies is so dangerous and is spread so quickly. I can't tell you how many stories there are of raccoons with rabies charging people on the street, pursuing even after they've been beaten. Raccoons are more afraid of people than cats ever will be, yet people are terrified of THEM getting rabies.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Yeah, and I've seen two videos where rabid foxes literally charged people. These animals are normally petrified of humans. It's likely that feral cats can aid the spread of the disease to wildlife, even if the cats themselves aren't directly doing the biting. I agree that all cats found on one's property should be removed at the discretion of the property owner. I don't think anyone has the right to infringe on another person's right to not have property destroyed just because they're trapped in the past on how cats should be treated as pets.


Mel Carriere profile image

Mel Carriere 3 years ago from San Diego California

Here here! I am a supporter of wildlife, and the wild tabbies are out of control. I know a lady who has been feeding the wild cats in a vacant lot for about twenty years now, and I feel sorry for the extra stress she is giving the wild birds that are nesting out there. I am sure she has good intentions, but if she could feel the pain of the wild creatures that these animals torture and kill maybe her viewpoint would change. Keep fighting the good fight.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Thank you Mel. It's too bad that the pro-feral cat advocates possess so much power.


John 3 years ago

In Australia, the Companion Animals Act was introduced so that cats can legally wander and roam onto another property.

I often find dead, mauled native animals strewn all over my yard.

It amazes me the arrogance of some owners, they seem to think it's their right to allow their pet to roam and kill other animals.

If it was a dog, the council would be over to remove the animal, but cats are treated differently.

The solution is to lobby your local politician to change the law, and in the meantime invest in an animal trap.

Usually, after having to pay the pound's release fee, most owners will find it's cheaper to keep their cat indoors.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Unfortunately until the laws change it is their 'right', but this is clearly wrong no matter which way you look at it. It is sickening and appalling but cat owners and those who support them consist of a huge percentage of the population. It seems as though pet laws are shaped by which group has the most members. Glad that there is a 'release fee' in your country.


desolatefox 3 years ago

I'm surprised Australia would allow outside cats at all. They already have a problem with cane toads (and IIRC wild pigs and rabbits?), I would have thought they'd do something about cats.

I hate the idea of cats being trapped and taken to the shelter (where they almost certainly will be put down, since they're feral), but I can't think of any other option other than some random celeb deciding to setup a feral cat rescue house.

My two cats are strictly indoor, though it's mainly for their own safety. I don't know why any cat lover would risk cars, poison, traps, predators, evil people, etc.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

Thanks desolatefox . That common logic seems to evade most cat lovers.


deb calvert 3 years ago

all of the above are uneducated and cat haters. I wonder how many bratty kids they all have running all over the neighborhood if I see them I will shot them with a be be gun ha ha!!


Julie 3 years ago

The Smithsonian article WAS debunked by the Smithsonian shortly after it came out. The man who wrote it poisoned a colony of ferals. Managed feral cats do not spread disease; TNR includes vaccination with the spay/neuter and colonies are continuously monitored and revaccinated. There has never been a single reported case of a cat to human transmission of rabies. It IS humans that have caused many species to become endangered through deforestation and pollution and traffic. The reason there are feral cats is because of losers that dump their cats and never get them fixed. Allie Cat Allies is working to control and reduce the population of feral cats by catching them, fixing them, and taking in kittens and socializing them so they can be adopted. They do not want there to be feral cats, but they don't think they should suffer and die either. The best way to reduce the number of feral cats is TNR. Eventually, the colony will grow old and no longer exist. Often, there are cats that will warm up to people, at least somewhat, and these cats get adopted into a home or into a barn situation for the more feral ones. If you don't want more feral cats around, then support TNR and encourage your city or town to heavily penalize people that dump animals, and encourage your local shelter to start a low cost spay/neuter program. These programs work when implemented correctly. Going around and killing cats is not going to fix the cause of the issue.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 3 years ago from New York Author

"The Smithsonian article WAS debunked by the Smithsonian shortly after it came out. The man who wrote it poisoned a colony of ferals."

I'm waiting to here your reason why the study was "debunked". I don't care if Hitler says the sky is blue, that doesn't make it purple. And frankly, I don't see anything so horrendous about removing invasive species.


Sickofyourbullshit! 3 years ago

All you are is a bunch of cat haters. You all should be terminated!


debbie 2 years ago

if you use pesticide on your lawn you are killing birds, how many are killed by cars, hitting windows, clear cutting. Bread and other things a bird my eat. All contribute to bird death!. Cats keep rodents , snakes and other cats away. Get your facts straight before you as a cat hater and probably hate yourself before you go mouthing about an organization that makes a difference what are you doing????


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Thanks for admitting that your blind devotion to this animal is the result of your lack of logic. Funny that you should mention that cats keep snakes away, yet your crew always tells me I need cats for rodent control. What do snakes eat?? We've substantially screwed up our environment and cat lovers insist that cats (or more cats) are the answer. Yet rodents remain in areas where there are cats. How can that be? Alley Cat Allies certainly makes a difference, they are reprehensible.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

^ What he said.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Thanks, I saw that ridiculous post before and voted it 'low quality' (which it also is). Arguments are not well-accepted occurrences around here so it's likely that the authors will delete your comments. It's also OK to post links in the comments here. I picked toxoplasmosis for my immunology paper.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9477489?dopt=Ab...

http://scitizen.com/neuroscience/parasite-hijacks-...


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

To be fair something comes up if you put 'Notre Dame College" in South Euclid, Ohio' without quotes, not that having a BS qualifies her for anything. I will later add the info about the money they rake in.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Thanks, you should start a blog too.


Shelly Nun-Chucks profile image

Shelly Nun-Chucks 2 years ago from worldwide

I think the real truth of knowing how to really save animals, we do it ourselves.

Well, maybe lucky enough in my life, getting animals, they just show up, or maybe they think I'm a sucker who will feed them.

Truth be told, my kitty, who I named after one of my idols..Jackie Chan, hence her name, Jackie Chan Kitty, was left behind and running around in my back yard.

Slowly she got use to me, kept feeding her, next thing I knew, I had a cat and she has been with me ever since.

I can only speak of any foundation for myself, don't really where money that is donated goes to for foundations, or what are truths about any foundation charity, unless you are part of them.

The solution, when we take matters into our own hands, then we know exactly what goes on, so maybe in my own way, things I do might not be huge, but do things in my own backyard. :)


he shall rename nameless 2 years ago

The absolute ignorance on this article is beyond mind boggling. It amazes me Melissa, how quick you were to read the position of one advocacy group against feral cats but couldn't bother your superior self to actually research every entity or advocacy rebuttal in the debate. How about asking real experts about the studies, their findings, the indisputable facts that feral cats are not as much a threat to wildlife as a miriad of other environmental factors, including pollution, human encroachment, natural disease, virus outbreaks, industrial and ecological erosion in all shapes and forms and other predators? Wow, way to research your personal AGENDA.

Me also thinks Woodsman001 has gone just a tad bit rabid...spouting off cherry-picked data all by his little lonesome.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Nameless, only a person looking for excuses to keep invasive species in the environment makes asinine 'comparisons' over which human-caused threat is 'worse' than the other. There is NO scientist with a functioning brain and a moral compass that would ever advocate ignoring cats because other bad stuff occurs as well. The last time I checked, no one celebrates, ignores, or tries to keep pollution in the environment. We have ample advocacies to REMOVE these human-caused threats and littering is illegal. The same should apply to feral cats. Feral cat advocates hate nature advocates. They fight with every bone in their bodies to keep cats even in areas designated for wildlife. It is cretinous behavior, to say the least.


he shall remain nameless 2 years ago

Invasive species? Did you take science in school?

Asinine comparisons? Whatever are you alluding to?

Since when is natural or viral disease a "human-caused" threat"? Where did I make that comparison? I didn't, you did. Your ignorance and illiteracy is showing something awful.

I consider invasive species equal to native species who also happen to be invasive, do you understand that concept?

It must be warm and cozy on your planet. Here on my planet, sane people, and especially real scientists, explore every available reasoning, rationalizing, theorizing, proving vs disproving in order to discover the truth - science is an unbiased method, if there are biased scientists out there, they have already admitted their bias and either attempt to discard the bias in their search, or they remain biased and go down a deep and dark slippery path to pseudoscience and deception.

You really do not know how to evaluate credible information vs credulous information, you've gone into this with your mind already made up and refuse to evaluate facts that do not support your personal beliefs, that's pretty closed-minded, wouldn't you say? I'm willing to guess you don't have the guts to review the points from the other side, who have provided far more facts than the audubon society and bird watcher's society et al. They are also continually gathering more facts and information, unlike your advocates who can only seem to keep propagating the same old misinformation over and over and over...


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

"I consider invasive species equal to native species who also happen to be invasive, do you understand that concept?"

Really? OK I think I'm about done with this looniness.


been there, seen that 2 years ago

Thank you for your ranty post! I so appreciate running across someone who can see the fallacies connected to this so-called advocacy group.

My husband and I are wildlife rehabilitators who have spent almost 20 years patching up the victims of cat attacks. We have seen some of the most gruesome sights imaginable: legs ripped off, wings twisted backwards, intestines dripping from gaping wounds...so many wild creatures literally ripped to shreds by cats. We've heard every excuse: "Fluffy was just playing," "It's Nature's way," or the time-honored, "That's just what cats do." To which we respond, "When Fluffy plays, something invariably dies. It's not Nature's way. Nature has nothing to do with it. And yes, sadly, that's exactly what they do. Shame on you for letting them do it. "

Lately, we've begun to see a new trend. With all the bad publicity the feral cat colonies are finally beginning to receive, the cat apologists are starting to feel the heat. But, rather than curb their furry demons, they're less inclined to take injured wildlife to someone who might be able to save them. Apparently, too embarrassed to admit they let their cat(s) run loose, they'd now rather let the animals DIE than admit their stinking cats actually did harm something, thereby providing more ammunition to those (like us) who keep actual statistics on these things. So much for animal lovers.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Hi, thank you very much for your comment and the work you do. The behavior of some people is beyond appalling, and I shudder to think of the prolong suffering that many small animals endure because of their ridiculous denial. I honestly feel that there are certain mental illnesses associated with many cat keepers.


karmatowatchfor 2 years ago

Killing other people's pets is evil. You will get yours, you self-satisfied, smug jackass. I guarantee it.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 2 years ago from New York Author

Typical hysterical, insane comment types that 'cat people' make to me for common sense ethics. Thanks for stopping by.


youareallhypocrits 23 months ago

So you think it's so bad when a cat kills an animal, but I'm sure most of you eat animals that were raised just to be slaughtered. Isn't that really hypocritical? So if your child wanders into someone's yard does that man that mean that the owner of the house should kill them? No. Of course not! They would be in prison for the rest of their lives. Why is it so much different for cats? At least they don't cut down trees and dump their trash into rivers. been there seen that you act like people are so perfect. According to your thoughts, we should all walk around killing each other because "Oh, sorry, I had to kill him because he killed the pig that I'm eating right now. He so deserved it!"


youareallhypocrits 23 months ago

and why should you care so much if a cat is on your property? If a squirrel is in your yard "oh, look at the sweet like wildlife" if a child steps in your front yard " Oh, look at the little darling, isn't she so cute?" But if a cat is in your yard " We have to kill it because it might want to feed its self to survive! Kill it kill it kill it!" That really doesn't make any sense. please explain to me why that makes any sense at all. I would really like to understand how you see the world. Maybe I will suddenly be like " I understand now! Of course we should kill all cats be nothing else! Why didn't I think of it before!?"


Iagreewithyouareallhypocrits 23 months ago

It's not really the cats fault. It's the humans, further more if the cat population is out of hand its peoples fault in the first place by abandoning their cats. Cats are not the monsters humans are.


youareallhypocrits 23 months ago

MAY THE CATS DEVOUR YOUR SOULS AND YOUR GARDENIAS!!!!! mwahahaha!!!!!


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 23 months ago from New York Author

youareallhypocrits-- Farmed animals are not a part of our (extremely compromised) ecosystem, and ethical farmers dispatch them quickly. The rest of your rant shouldn't be dignified with a response.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 23 months ago from New York Author

Iagreewithyouareallhypocrits-- Alley Cat Allies are HUMANS, not cats. I was obviously condemning them, and people like you and "youareallhypocrits".


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 23 months ago from New York Author

Gardenias are not hardy in my region, but many species of lilly are: http://vetmedicine.about.com/od/toxicology/a/Lily-...


idonotlikeyou 23 months ago

some cats yes, need to be put down because they have attacked a child or someone. That dose not mean we have to hate on all cats. if a cat attacks a small animal it is usually because its hungry or because maybe it does it for fun and then eats it. If a human kills an animal its usually because they need food or because they are out with their hunting buddies and shoot the poor animal because they feel like it. if an animal is on your lawn and you don't like it just chase it off, don't kill it. i mean really what kind of person does something like that!?


OBXconsumer 19 months ago

I feel everyone is wrong, especially AlleyCat Allies. I feel that all cats outside are actually there due to human neglect and irresponsibility, and that, if they (the alley cat groups) would use the money donated to actually put cats into Protected sanctuaries, feed them, house them, maintain their health, following responsible pet owner rules, then it would solve the problem for all concerned, especially the cats who -DO want a loving home. Make Alleycat Allies put their donated money where their big mouth is and actually humanely care for the cats by opening and staffing cat sanctuaries. Then the cats will not be running around fending for themselves. They like to go outside but don't want to be homeless - bunch of moronic idiots running the cat groups. They abandoned hundreds of cats here on Hatteras island and the few feeders - us who actually care for the cats - are totally being stuck with the bill. The cats are suffering and need our help.


rondon 16 months ago

Wow, Woodsman001!! That guy must have a lot of time on his hands...and you guys call cat fans crazy.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 16 months ago from New York Author

Anyone who finds it crazy to keep cats inside is more crazy than Woodsman.


Jordan 15 months ago

It's amazing when a small, special interest non-profit decides to call the smithsonian on its research methods without any evidence


Al Hajj Frederick H Minshall 15 months ago

'Community cats' are a community hazard and don't deserve special treatment

Al-Hajj Frederick H. Minshall

Alaska Dispatch, Commentary, July 6, 2014

The terms “feral” and “stray cat” are no longer politically correct. “Trap-neuter-and release” advocates demand we henceforth refer to abandoned and wild-born Felis domesticus as “community cats.” For honesty’s sake, I propose they be called “invasive species” — because that’s what they are. TNR proponents argue it’s our duty to assume “community ownership” of established populations of deleterious invasive predators.

Feral cats worldwide have caused 33 bird extinctions, are the primary cause for 14 percent of insular wildlife extinctions, and are the principal threat to 8 percent of critically endangered species worldwide. Hawaii’s state bird—the semi-flightless Nene’ goose — was nearly wiped out by introduced cats and mongooses, its population reduced to 30 by 1952. Today most Nene’ geese live in zoos.

Hawaii has more endangered species than any other state. Amazingly, TNR activists foster feral cat colonies there, members of which were caught on tape destroying Hawaiian petrel nestlings, an endangered seabird — population 50. This brings to mind the late R. A. Heinlein's admonishment to "never underestimate the power of human stupidity."

Cats kill more birds and mammals in the U.S. than do automobiles, poisonings and collisions with human structures combined. A Smithsonian Institute study found that 84 million “at-liberty” house cats and 30-65 million feral cats destroy from 1.4 to 3.7 billion birds and from 6.9 to 20.7 billion mammals in the U.S. annually.

I recently asked “Mojo’s Hope” founder Shannon Basner, a proponent of TNR here in Anchorage, to provide ONE example of successful feral cat colony attrition via trap-neuter-release. She admitted she couldn’t. The only “data” she offered were testimonials from fellow TNR proponents who claim it’s working. I wasn’t impressed.

Every spayed cat returned to a colony enhances survival of un-spayed colony members’ kittens by reducing competition for resources. Thus TNR can actually INCREASE the growth rate and persistence of feral colonies, particularly if they’re fed. It also allows colonies to exist in densities far beyond the carrying capacity of any natural predator dependent solely on the cyclical availability of prey.

The heartwarming stories of fewer kittens turning up in shelters thanks to TNR are wishful thinking at best. With less competition, smaller, weaker animals—i.e. kittens of cats NOT trapped, spayed and released — risk baited traps less often, so they don’t show up in shelters as much. And those un-trapped, un-spayed cats? They have between one and five litters of up to 12 kittens a year.

Most importantly, TNR advocates utterly ignore that a released spayed cat continues merrily destroying wildlife as long as it lives regardless of whether or not humans feed it. Each feral cat kills from 23 to 46 birds and 129 to 338 mammals annually. One of my two cats is 16 years old. If instead of keeping her inside I’d “spayed and released” her, she could by now have consumed up to 736 birds and 5,408 mammals.

There are, however, numerous examples where eradicating invasive species not only succeeded, but halted and reversed environmental damage. The following are examples from among 41 peer-reviewed scientific studies listed on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature website:

Long Cay Island, British West Indies — re-introducing endangered rhinoceros iguanas into their native habitat became possible after the feral cats which extirpated them from Long Cay were eliminated. The iguanas are now thriving. TNR advocates may not find iguanas as “cute” as cats, but that’s no basis for wildlife stewardship.

Northwestern Mexico — the Island Conservation and Ecology Group, Instituto de Ecologia del Universidad Autonoma de Mexico, Centro de Investigationes de Biologias de Noroeste and offices of the Areas Naturales Protegidas in 1994 aided local people in eradicating feral cats from 26 islands off the northwest coast of Mexico. By 2001 they’d succeeded on 16 of them. Twenty-six endemic reptile, 21 endemic mammal and one endemic bird species recovered once the cats were gone. For two other endemic birds it’s too late — they’re extinct.

Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge personnel started eradicating introduced foxes from 39 Aleutian Islands in 1949. Native waterfowl, ptarmigan, shorebird and seabird populations quadrupled or quintupled. Endangered Aleutian cackling geese were reintroduced to those islands and by 2000 had rebounded from near-extinction to more than 35,000 birds.

Felis domesticus, the "house" cat, is a selectively-bred hybrid bearing little resemblance to its wild parent species, the European and African wild cats, Felis sylvestris and F. lybica. Therefore F. domesticus isn’t a “natural” part of ANY environment, including that of its wild forebears.

Want proof? European and African wild cats are critically endangered because they’re being displaced and genetically swamped by their own selectively-bred, “domesticated” hybrid descendants.

Feral cats are an ecological disaster even in the home ranges of the species from which they were BRED. When they’re introduced into regions were NO wild cats naturally occurred, their impact on native fauna is incalculably worse. 100 species of native Australian mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians are threatened with extinction by 80 million feral cats that destroy an estimated 75,000,000 animals each NIGHT.

I ask TNR advocates — why do feral cats deserve special treatment? Why not feral Norway rats? Why not feral pigeons? Why not feral Burmese pythons, brown tree snakes, snapping turtles, African clawed frogs, cane toads, lionfish, grass carp, northern pike?

All those species were introduced outside their native ranges by humans and have adversely affected wildlife populations, human populations or both, where they became established. Why should feral cats be treated differently from other harmful invasive species?

TNR apologists flail and screech that killing feral cats is “cruel,” but say nothing about the cruelty of allowing their precious outdoor “pets” to destroy billions of wild animals. Former Alaska Dept. of Fish & Game Biologist and columnist Rick Sinnott called TNR “cat hoarding without walls.” It’s worse than that — this selfishly irresponsible, hypocritical practice constitutes cat hoarding without commitment, cost, or inconvenience. Wild animals and birds pay the cost in blood, and human communities through exposure to disease.

Al-Hajj Frederick H. Minshall is a U.S. Navy veteran with a degree in fisheries biology who has lived in Alaska since 2004. He's an Ithna-Ashari ("Twelver") Shi'a Muslim whose chief hobby is overindulging his five grandchildren. "Al-Hajj" (Arabic root "Hijr"—"journey") means "the Pilgrim," and is a traditional title for one who has made pilgrimage to Mecca.

The views expressed here are the writer's own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, e-mail commentary@alaskadispatch.com


Al Hajj Frederick H Minshall 15 months ago

Here's how TNR works--rather, doesn't work:

TNR can and does increase growth rate and perpetuate feral colonies, particularly if they're fed. Why? Firstly, because it allows these populations to exist far beyond anything close to a natural mesopredator carrying-capacity, because their density isn't dependent on the cyclical availability and non-availability of prey items.

Secondly because it enhances survivability of un-spayed colony-members' offspring by reducing competition for available resources. With less competition smaller, weaker animals--i.e. kittens of cats NOT, trapped, neutered and re-abandoned--risk baited traps less often so they don't turn up in shelters as much.

TNR advocates claim this is 'evidence' their program works. They're lying through their teeth, not to put too fine a point on it.

The dynamics of a house mouse-infestation work precisely as described above. The one little mouse you see creeping along your baseboard when you turn on the light is the smallest, weakest mouse in a population of hundreds or even THOUSANDS infesting your home behind its walls and beneath its floors. The one you surprised 'in the open' was kicked out of one of those overcrowded refuges by its stronger brethren because it's at the bottom of the pecking (nibbling?) order.

"Community" cat colonies work the same way. When you reduce competition for kittens, it's easier for them to stay under cover, just like it is with mice. Meanwhile the un-trapped cats continue to breed, and irresponsible 'pet owners' find it easier to abandon unwanted cats with an untroubled conscience because there's an established colony waiting for them. For both reasons colony recruitment is perpetuated and in most cases enhanced.

And that's what these maudlin, obsessed TNR advocates want. TNR isn't about colony attrition or about reducing colony size. They're CAT-HOARDERS. The more the merrier--waxing all warm and runny over their precious outdoor 'pets' gives these selfish, mewling simpletons' stunted, circumscribed lives some sort of meaning.

Peruse their websites! They boast of maintaining 'community cat' colonies for over 20 years! They're not trying to reduce their numbers--they want MORE! That's what hoarders do!

But foisting their precious, disease-ridden invasive vermin on their neighbors and defenseless wildlife? No problem. And even less problem for Alley-Cat Allies and their ilk to lie about it. Those of us who object are condemned as 'cat-haters.'

And meanwhile their precious outdoor 'pets' continue merrily torturing and destroying every songbird, rabbit, lizard, vole and frog they can catch. They do this despite being spayed/neutered. They do this despite being FED. They do it despite regular visits by doddering, hormone-flushed spinsters who bring them blankets and toys and talk baby-talk to them on a regular basis.

And these organized cat-hoarders shrug their shoulders with indifference when confronted with the reality of their carnage. These alleged 'people' love animals the way Ted Bundy loved women.

And like any and all sociopaths, the problem is never their fault. They blame those who originally abandoned their cats as the cause of the problem. I have yet to encounter a TNR apologist who will admit that their program COMPOUNDS the irresponsibility of the selfish idiots who released the cats in the first place. Einstein's definition of insanity comes to mind.

Among the egregious lies promulgated by these people (term used in its broadest possible sense) is that Felis domesticus has been a part of the natural environment for at least 10,000 years, i.e. since their first breeding by humans.

What they fail to mention is that they were never a part of the 'natural environment in North America, Central or South America, Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii, Fiji, Jamaica, the Galapagos or any islands of the Caribbean, eastern Atlantic or western Pacific.

What they fail to mention is that F. domesticus has through displacement and genetic swamping pushed their parent species--the African (Felis lybicus) and European (F. sylvestris) wild cats--to the brink of extinction. Domestic cats are an ecological catastrophe (no pun intended) in the natural ranges of the species from which they were bred. In environments where NO mid-sized cats evolved their impact on wild animal populations and diversity is incalculably worse.

But the MOST egregious lie organized TNR cat-hoarders tell is that they have 'studies' that prove their ill-conceived, destructive program 'works' for anything other than ensuring the perpetuation of feral cats. To date I've seen them refer to--but never quote--ONE 2003 study by TNR advocate J.K. Levy.

The reason they won't quote it is that Ms. Levy's study wherein she tried to claim 66% colony reduction, and tried to cook the numbers by translocating and euthanizing some of her subjects, proves exactly the opposite--in her own words that "...population-level effects" by TNR alone were "...minimal."

Anyone who actually READS the report of her study will quickly learn that 47% of her colony 'reduction' was from feral kittens placed in homes. This proved that--in this case--trap-neuter-ADOPTION worked. In a Trap-Neuter-RELEASE study that 47% doesn't count.

She also euthanized 11% of her colony, and at least 6% more were either killed or deliberately moved from the study area. But TNR sure took care of the remaining 2%, by gum! It only took 11 years...

Problem is, in terms of the rapid rate of extinction brought about by these invasive predators, particularly in insular situations, 2% reduction in 11 years is too little, too late. And the increasing fragmentation of wildlife habitat even on major landmasses creates survival challenges to native animal communities that resemble those of island populations under dire threat of elimination by feral cats.


Texastrong 15 months ago

Melissa and Woodward waste of time and life. Woodward killing cats and burying in backyard, there is a name for people like that, it's a psychopath serial killer. It's the circle of freaking life. Who is caring for the poor flies and nats that die by the thousands because they are eaten by birds. Get the hell out of here.


Jen 15 months ago

@Melissa & her ilk. Name calling those who have opposing views does not garner you credibility. Nor does the endorsement of correlational studies that admit their studies do not prove causation. Plus, there is sheer hypocrisy in how you advocate the imprisonment of wild species for personal entertainment. How does the support of wild animal poaching, so you can own wild species as pets, protect the ecological systems?

Your point of view based on specism and retributional, sadistic violence is disturbing. Owning property does not entitle you to kill any animal that may wander there. It is also an obfuscating tactic to pit dog lovers against cat lovers. The idea that dogs may not defecate a certain parasite is completely irrelevant to this discussion. If you want to compare actual, quantifiable harm between species, dogs will not fare much better, especially on the level of harm to humans (a neighbor of mine is on life support after being mauled by a pack of dogs while walking).


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 15 months ago from New York Author

Jen, I take offense to being called a 'poacher'. I buy captive bred animals, some many generations removed from the wild. I am not doing anything illegal. A real poacher native kills animals that are protected by law, either with their own means or by releasing non-native predators into the environment, aka cat nutters like you. Owning a cat does not entitle you to release it into the environment, and loving cats does not entitle you to protect prominent invasive species. How does that protect ecological systems? It doesn't, it undermines it in every way. I know you are suffering from 'cat-nutter vision', so you want to focus on dogs, humans, ect. being worse, over such blatant should be-criminality of destroying native species for the benefit of cats. Demanding studies to protect the deaths of wildlife is what a cat nutter does.


ManNewt 15 months ago

"Name calling those who have opposing views does not garner you credibility"

Well Jen, that statement could have been a little bit justifiable if you hadn't tried to imply that the author of this hub is a poacher just because she advocates something that opposes your ideology-that-is-better-as-an-idea-than-a-forced-life-style.

And specism, really? Your comment is trying to make cats look like some sort of saint while trying to make dogs look like d-bags. (Besides if it weren't for specisim the ammount on living creatures in this planet wouldn't be diverse and humanity [something you and other pro-outdoor-cat people are sadly a part of] wouldn't really exist today)



lauren hoover 15 months ago

Hello, (Melissa?)

I wasn't sure who wrote this article.

You did say that TNR could have a place in controlling feline populations, but what other "options" are you suggesting, if any.

Also, I don't like any small rodents or birds to be killed either, but have you heard of the food chain? . It is unfortunately embedded deep within our ecosystems throughout the world.

I think what "Alley Cat Allies" is pointing people toward is education about a more humane option to control kitty pops (TNR for feral communities). than what we currently use.

You seem to be very emotionally against the organization, but fail to come up with realistic alternatives that brim with humane ethics!


Janice Foraker 15 months ago

So.....because I live cats, and have cats as pets, I lie, and am a horrible person contributing to the destruction of the planet. Thank-you for the eye-opener. I necer would have guessed.


Janice Foraker 15 months ago

Oh! Now, I have a mental illness, just because I have cats. I'm finding out more & more about myself!


charles donnelly 15 months ago

Janice, this site is for cat haters and rat lovers, for blaming rabies on it's true cause, cats... it's the same as one of those sites that attract gun freaks


ManNewt 15 months ago

Charles, birds are not rats you dope.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 15 months ago from New York Author

Lauren, have you heard of 'invasive species'? They don't belong there, period. They should be removed.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 15 months ago from New York Author

Janice you might want to get checked out if that's what you got from this article.


catsrnumber1aps 15 months ago

This is the first & last I will visit this site. I am disgusted by all of the comments. In truth, those of you that advocate the deatb of cats are no better than the cats you vilify. At least cats were born with the instinct to hunt by nature from the beginning of time while those of you that hate cats wish to kill for your own agendas. In reality, you are all "The Black Death" to society. You are hardened & inhumane. What goes around comes around eventually & you will reap what you sew. May God bless this country & protect us from all aggressors like you. Oh & by the way, your site came to me & not me looking for you! How sad!


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 15 months ago from New York Author

Our 'agendas' are to prevent the killing of other animals but of course a cat nutter wouldn't comprehend that.


Emmy Traub profile image

Emmy Traub 15 months ago

I love all animals! I've worked with wildlife and domesticated animals for years now. I live in the country and love seeing the birds, squirrels, rabbits, deer, and other wildlife that visit my yard every day. I also have a German Shepherd, 9 cats, and a pet cockatiel. All are rescues and most of the cats were feral! I know that the TNR program works because I volunteer with a group that does low cost spay and neuter clinics for owners and we help with feral cats. These cats are taken care of by someone that cares and wants to keep them healthy and keep the numbers down. That's why we spay/neuter them. We also get them up to date on their vaccines. That takes care of rabies! Then they are marked (like an ear tip) and released back at the place where they came from, after a couple of days of recovery. Some are young enough to be fostered and adopted into a home. They are just cats that have never known the love of a human. Alley Cats group has people all over that spend countless hours and lots of money to give these cats food, water, shelter, and vet care when needed. How do I know this, because I've worked with people that work with the group and alone. I worked with feral cats myself. And as far as killing wildlife, that is the cats that are not cared for by a caretaker or a pet that is allowed to roam outside and is not taught that it no longer needs to hunt and kill. I try to educate owners on the danger of letting cats outside, but they are stubborn! All my 9 are inside only! The only thing they hunt is a toy! Hunting is natural for cats and many farmers keep cats around their barns to keep rats away, but I encourage them to keep them fed and healthy as well and not feral. As a group, we are trying to educate pet owners to keep their cats spayed/neutered, up to date on their vaccines, and inside where they are safe and so are wildlife. Alley Cats volunteer are trying to save and help the ones that were failed by their owners. They feed them, spay/neuter them, get their vaccines, medical treatment, and shelter. These cats don't deserve to be killed. They pose no threat to the public or to pets. And remember wildlife has other wildlife that hunts and kills it. So don't blame it all on the cats.


vonnie dunn 15 months ago

I didn't read all of this but I'd like to comment on some parts that I did read. Birds have dealt with predators for as long as there have been birds, mostly other birds but also native cats. The native cats are gone except in a few isolated pockets as are the other natural predators. Domestic cats have filled the niche left by those. They cull weak,sick birds that native predators are no longer there to cull. That actually makes bird populations healthier. In areas where there are still numerous native predators cats have but days to live because they themselves are on the menu. A healthy bird can put a hurt on a cat as Ive seen times.

most experts agree that the number one cause of loss of species including birds is loss of habitat. My back yard is full of birds because it is not mowed. It is full of native plants which also make it pretty difficult for my neighbors cats to catch birds. I heard one woman ranting about cats killing all the "native lizards'. The "lizards" turned how to be non-native Mediterranean geckos. Those geckos were eating the bugs that would have been food for the birds. So the cats were also helping the birds in that case. cats are a deterrent to rodents and snakes which also kill birds. I have pictures of a snake which climbed into the very tiny limbs of a tree and killed every baby bird in the nest. It ate two and killed the others by knocking them out of the nest. No normal sized cat could have gotten on those thin limbs but a cats presence might have discouraged the snake from being there.

During the Black Death that killed millions of people in Europe cats were also killed. They were present in hard-hit plague areas so those uninformed people assumed they were to blame. Of course we now know killing cats was the worst thing to do during an epidemic spread by rat fleas.

I have no pets outside. I don't want them hurt or bothering anyone. I want my pasture to be a small haven for wildlife and I can tell you dogs do far more damage than cats. They kill Everything -even fawns. Why aren't you complaining about them?

All that said I need to say that I too want to remove cats from our streets. It would be an ecological disaster for humans as the rodent population would boom and there would be other negative effects. I want them off the streets because they do not deserve the irrational cruelty inflicted on them by psychos and numbskulls and that is why I do TNR. Removing and killing cats from various areas has NEVER worked in all the decades its been going on. It just creates a vacumm effect and more move in. TNR HAS reduced the population in areas but trap and kill never has. We also need to educate people about being responsible pet owners. Lastly and most importantly WS need to pass and enforce sterilization laws for ALL non native pets. Look at Florida.


·⋆·Ṭåηḳ✩Gïяℓ·⋆· 15 months ago

You want to know what kills wildlife more than cats? HUMANS! Humans are the ones who are tearing down all of the trees that were once homes to birds of all types,and ripping into wooded areas where deer,and any other wildlife you can think of use to live.why?to build sub divisions,housing developments,super markets,railways,highways,malls,bike/walking paths,sky scrapers,fast food joints,massive factories & plants,restaurants,movie theaters,businesses,air ports,amusement parks,companies,and distribution centers for every man made product out there.not to mention all the human caused pollution from vehicles you drive every single day to get to and from these places.and the billions of semi trucks being ran 24/7 so humans can have everything distributed to these wear houses.and you're blaming CATS for killing off wildlife? Give me a f✩ckin' break and Use your God d✩mn brain. If anything is killing off wildlife more,it's HUMANS!


Meshanum1 15 months ago

Agree with tank girl..by the way all my cats are vaccinated and spayed and nuetered indoor .As for killing things my dog kills MORE Wildlife than any of my cats. She's also vaccinated and spayed .Just thought id let you guys know ..Since you guys know everything .the cute birds in a nest .Who killed them ?Not my cats .. my dog and i was upset .In my yard in my fence. So should i kill the dog too ? Cat haters?????


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 15 months ago from New York Author

"Domestic cats have filled the niche left by those"

No they do not, a bunch of cats is nowhere near comparable to native cats, they barely specialize in the same prey. Are you naive enough to believe that millions of cats would fill in the niche of bobcats, lynx, and mountain lions? Nature is not so simplistic that any carnivore at any density will balance things out.

"Those geckos were eating the bugs that would have been food for the birds."

And the "weak,sick birds" would have been food for a bird of prey or a fox, if you can see how you only apply your logic in favor of cats.

"I have pictures of a snake which climbed into the very tiny limbs of a tree and killed every baby bird in the nest."

So? Why do cat people think that native animals do not belong preying on prey as they should? The snake BELONGS and the cat DOES NOT. Get it now?

"I can tell you dogs do far more damage than cats. They kill Everything -even fawns. Why aren't you complaining about them?"

Maybe because I have never seen people release dogs to free roam nor have I ever seen a dog kill wildlife in my entire life but I'm always chasing after cats stalking and killing. Maybe that's why.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 15 months ago from New York Author

I care about gnats but if they die as a part of nature there's nothing I can do about it. Hopefully you will have the same attitude when your cats are taken by coyotes.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 15 months ago from New York Author

Meshanum1, the nest was in your yard. If you cared about the nest you wouldn't allow your negligence to cause its destruction. But the nest was in your YOUR yard. I don't care what happens on one's property. They have the right to be amoral on it but when someone's cat is killing anywhere it wants that should be criminal.


Melissa A Smith profile image

Melissa A Smith 15 months ago from New York Author

Tank girl, this is NOT a human vs. cats article, if you had at least an iota of intelligence you wouldn't make such an asinine argument. Cats are just as much a human impact as the saws that chop the trees. Are you going to tell me to stop blaming saws because humans do more damage?


Frederick Minshall 11 months ago

INVASIVE SPECIES ESSAY

OK—concerning the claim that feral domestic cats are part of ‘nature’, ‘the environment’, ‘the circle-of-life’ or whatever Disneyesque label you want to use for ecological systems:

There seems to be a misperception that sudden introduction by human agency of non-native organisms into ecosystems where they didn't naturally occur is 'no big deal'—that natural systems weather such changes all the time without sustaining significant loss, and the novel organisms will insert themselves into their new habitats with minimal disruption. This is at the very least wishful thinking, and when promulgated by those with a 'pet-centric' agenda, it's downright self-serving, to say nothing of irresponsibly short-sighted.

There are perhaps—if one conveniently ignores the attendant risks of introduced novel and/or unknown pathogens—examples where this might actually be true, particularly with respect to organisms introduced into regions where said organisms' biological niche is unoccupied. As will be demonstrated below such risks are ignored at great peril.

A possible example of 'benign' introduction might be that of two diurnal arboreal lizards introduced into Hawaii—the green anole (Anolis carolinensis) and the gold-dust day gecko (Phelsuma laticauda), from the continental US and Madagascar, respectively. There were no native diurnal arboreal lizards in Hawaii—only terrestrial skinks and nocturnal geckos. The result may be that these two species, although ‘invasive’, might engender minimal disturbance to Hawaiian ecological systems because they established themselves in a heretofore unoccupied niche.

The above is merely the exception that proves the rule. Far more often the exact opposite is true—invasive species have proved to be CATASTROPHICALLY disruptive to established ecosystems and caused irreparable harm. For example:

(1) There were once billions of American chestnut trees in the eastern US–they were nearly as big as California redwoods and comprised 25% of the original forests covering the eastern half of this continent. Today only about a hundred remain in southeast Canada, and most of their saplings don't survive to reach sexual maturity.

Early last century they were wiped out by introduction of Cryptophonetrica parasitica, an invasive sac fungus that causes chestnut blight (or Dutch elm disease). Anglo-Americans brought it to this continent on CHESTNUT trees imported from Japan for—get this—‘ornamental’ purposes. It killed over four BILLION trees. Their loss was ecologically catastrophic to eastern North America, and they’re but one of SEVERAL native tree species all but wiped out by the blight. North America’s old-growth forests didn’t end up as log-cabins for ‘little houses on the prairie’, they were wasted by disease.

The destruction of American chestnuts was one of the nails in the Passenger Pigeon's coffin. There were once billions of those, too. And here's the rub: this fungus DIDN’T kill chestnut trees in most of the Old World, because they had evolved with the fungus and developed resistance to it. Not so New World trees. There were no natural controls for the fungus in the New World, either. Today botanists continue struggling to keep alive a handful of American chestnut saplings growing from the stumps of vanished groves.

(2) In the 1950s the African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis) was used in laboratories throughout the western world to perform pregnancy tests. When urine from a pregnant woman was injected into a female clawed frog, it induced her to expel eggs. With subsequent advances in testing methodology, the frogs were no longer needed. Kind-hearted lab techs didn't want to kill them, so they dumped them in local creeks. Big mistake.

African clawed frogs are asymptomatic carriers of Batrachochythrium dendrobatidis, a deadly fungus that has rendered amphibian species extinct in Australia, Panama, Costa Rica, northern South America and elsewhere, and is responsible for drastic amphibian population declines in the US and Europe. These completely aquatic frogs are also voracious predators. Coastal streams in Orange and Los Angeles Counties in southern California now contain nothing but clawed frogs and the likewise invasive red crayfish (Procambarus clarkii). The frogs have eaten everything else, and now have little to eat but each other. Live possession in California is now illegal.

But it gets better! The American bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) has proved to be resistant to the fungus too, but like the clawed frog it's become an asymptomatic carrier. And it can travel over land further and more easily than the aquatic African species to spread the disease. Bullfrogs were introduced into California as a meat-animal from east of the Rockies in 1905. It's the largest North American frog. Not only has it spread the chythrid fungus to several species of amphibians in western North America, it readily eats them.

Anybody remember Mark Twain's famous 'Jumping Frog of Calaveras County'? That was the California red-legged frog (R. draytonii). It's now extinct in Calaveras County, and from 75% of its former range, because invasive bullfrogs ate 'em all. They've consumed native amphibians—and reptiles and occasionally small mammals and waterfowl—over much of western North America. And on top of that they've transmitted the deadly chythrid fungus to mountain yellow-legged frogs (R. muscosa) and lowland leopard frogs (R. yavapaiensis). Both species are now critically endangered—indeed the yellow-legged frog, extremely common in Yosemite when I was a teenager, has disappeared from 99% of its former range.

I’ll mention in passing concerning the red-legged frog—it was introduced into southeast Alaska by a school teacher, and now it’s genetically swamping the native Columbia spotted frog (R. luteiventris).

Ever hear of the Tarahumara frog (R. tarahumarae)? It was found in extreme southern Arizona. Emphasis on WAS. The last US specimen was found dead from the fungus in 1983. The critically endangered Santa Cruz long-toed salamander (Ambystoma macrodactylum croceum), found at only two ephemeral ponds in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties, California and nowhere else in the world, is also infected.

The chythrid fungus is now recognized as the worst infectious pandemic ever recorded among vertebrates. And we have it here, thanks to irresponsible human introduction of two invasive species.

Note again that the fungus doesn't kill African clawed frogs, or the other amphibians that live where it naturally occurs—over thousands or millions of years they've developed resistance to it, and the frogs themselves are kept at sustainable numbers by a host of natural predators in their environment, so they don't EAT everything like they do in California streams.

Are we starting to get the idea here, folks? Invasive species—NOT GOOD! That includes feral CATS, for many of the same reasons it does Japanese Chestnuts, African clawed frogs and bullfrogs, in brief:

(1) There are few—or no—‘natural' predator controls to suppress feral cat numbers, either because no apex predators had evolved, or because humans have exterminated them, in areas where cats have subsequently been introduced

(2) Domestic cats are vectors of pathogens that kill non-resistant species, including the few native mammals and birds that prey on them

(3) They're voracious predators of a wide variety of native species, particularly in regions where no native cats evolved and the native species are therefore ill-adapted for avoiding predation by them

(4) They reproduce very rapidly—a single female producing 4-8 kittens annually. Multiply by about 16 million, as there is a 2:1 male-to-female ratio in reproductive age feral cats. ASPCA estimates their current population at 47 million.

(5) They're domestic animals—urban, suburban and rural populations are subsidized by human feeding, thus they can attain numbers far exceeding environmental carrying capacity for any natural mid-sized predator

(6) Even under 'natural' conditions, they kill when they're not hungry—for sport. Few other species do that besides ourselves. Cats were selectively-bred, and were ruthlessly culled


Frederick Minshall 11 months ago

(Continued from above): ...Cats were selectively-bred, and were ruthlessly culled, to reinforce their inborn predilection to kill anything that moved and was small enough to overpower in order to protect grain stores (and possibly tombs) in ancient North Africa.

Today we have breeding populations of Burmese and African rock pythons, boa constrictors and Nile monitor lizards stalking wild and domestic animals in south Florida, dangerously venomous lionfish plaguing inshore waters and reefs along the eastern seaboard, feral swine overrunning Texas and eating everything in their path, and feral cats and mongooses destroying Hawaii’s rapidly dwindling native bird populations. Yet no one is suggesting we ‘humanely’ trap-neuter-release these invasive species so they can ‘happily live out their natural lives as part of ‘nature’. Except for the cats, that is.

Such an insane policy is a recipe for ecological collapse. What we’ve yet to hear from Alley Cat Allies, the Humane Society of the United States, Animal Best Friends, PETA and other maudlin, emotion- (and/or profit-) driven ‘humane’ organizations is why this, along with egregious zoonotic threats to public health, are acceptable costs for maintaining ecologically destructive, invasive disease-vectors in our midst. I suspect it’s because their lawyers have advised them not to provide such explanations.


cathy sims 9 months ago

It was a matter of time before Charlene Pedrolie had to boost Becky’s ego and decide to make a fake post on this website. Clearly, the ONLY positive review of this organization and of the CEO (in fact, reading it sent shivers down my spine) This woman is an evil troll.

Let’s take a quick journey into the facts:

Charlene:

doesn’t know what a feral cat is. She thought it could just stay in her office. One time when a kitten was playing with a toy she looked up and asked “is he feral?” I kid you not. In another instance—a kitten was sleeping and she asked, “is he alright? What is he doing?”. She once thought that fraudulent donations (who another staff mentioned might have been made using a ‘bot’) were made by a ROBOT (she proceeded to call the police, ask for the FBI and say that the reason they were able to make these fraudulent donations so quickly was because “ROBOTS HAVE LONG ARMS AND CAN TYPE FAST”. We all felt sympathy for the police officer that was sent to the office. Her trips to her house in NJ—are all paid for by using Alley Cat Allies credit card (they are just coded as trips to the Boardwalk—where ACA has a program). She uses her credit card to order miscellaneous things from Amazon (at one point for thousands of dollars).

Becky:

Where do we begin? Her trips to the mental health specialist are all paid for by ACA. She spends hundreds of donor’s dollars on frames to make herself feel better (some of these end up at her house). She buys treats for herself with the ACA credit card, we pay for her parking, she expects staff to clean-up her dirty dishes. She has thrown a laptop at an employee during an interview. When everyone has to submit receipts for purchases—she doesn’t have to.

DONORS: YOU SHOULD REALLY TAKE ANOTHER LOOK BEFORE YOU MAKE DONATIONS TO THIS ORGANIZATION. BASICALLY, YOU ARE FUNDING THE LIVELIHOOD OF TWO GREEDY, SELF-RIGHTEOUS WOMEN.


Frederick Minshall 8 months ago

I try to look for the positive in any situation--think how much more damaging Alley Cat A$$holes would be if they had someone less psychotic and more competent at the helm? My hope is that Ms. Robinson will run her misguided, fraudulent enterprise onto the shoals of bankruptcy and scandalous exposure. The more we hear from people like Cathy, who have seen these criminal "cat-pimps" up close, the closer to reality that hope will become, and we can begin to turn the tide of public sentiment back in favor of CONSERVATION and concern for PUBLIC HEALTH, rather than prioritizing the lives of individual castoffs of a debased, domesticated animal as if they were more important than everything else. Good on ya, Cathy!


Jean 4 months ago

Wow. Most of these posts are just as despicable and outrageous as their extreme counterparts. Yes, feral cats pose a problem. I for one have no issue with humane euthanization; drowning & poisoning using household chemicals is NOT humane, and the fact that is advocated on here is extremely distressing and makes me believe that few people on here are capable of compassion.

HOWEVER, there are many low-cost spay clinics that also offer TNR, but that is definitely not their primary purpose. For instance, the clinic in my area only allows TNR if you house the cats on your property and feed them. I know an individual that lives next to a park & has gotten a number of strays over the years (probably from drop offs). They live in her garage, almost never leave the yard, are neutered, vaccinated (thanks to the low cost clinic) and cared for. Large cat colonies are another issue, and it is neither humane for a cat colony, even neutered, to face a life of disease and starvation if not properly cared for. These groups also pose the biggest threat to wildlife, which is a very real issue. A well cared for cat MAY hunt, but it is likely to not be nearly as pervasive as a feral, hungry one.

There is a way to handle this without MURDERING healthy, well taken care of pets, instead of returning them to their owners, or killing ferals in a excruciating way. You stated that you don't even like them that much, proving you are not a neutral party, so I wouldn't expect to you understand cat behavior. But many a cats behavioral & health problems, often due to understimulation inside, can be fixed by having controlled time outside. Much different then a irresponsible owner who does not vac, neuter or neglects. You lost all credibilty with me by siding with that extremism. You're as bad as Alley Cat Allies and their awful founder.


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Melissa A Smith 7 weeks ago from New York Author

Jean, I don't like birds that much, ESPECIALLY American robins, but that doesn't mean I'm going to permit wildlife to be taken out by an invasive species because people have a delusional attachment to them. I don't support TNR, unless it WORKS. And that means it will make cats disappear from the region in 5 years. If that were happening we wouldn't have any reason to be against it.

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