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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
- Cat Ownership is an Environmental Disaster
Out of the many types of animals being kept as pets in the United States, domesticated cats take the prize of being the biggest threat to the environment as a carnivorous, invasive species.
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.