A recent study has surfaced showing that domestic cats kill billions of mice and birds per year. That’s BILLIONS with a “b.” Pretty staggering statistic, and some bird enthusiasts are especially up in arms about it – not without justification, as the bird deaths total 500 million. The big question is: whose side do we take in this Cats vs. Birds war?
It’s a bit of a sticky situation. Bird-lovers call for less cats so less birds are killed, but the extreme solution is probably a lot of cat euthanasia, and no one wants to kill millions of cats to save millions of birds (or for any reason, for that matter). I’m sure cat-lovers aren’t shooting off fireworks at the thought of Whiskers biting the head off a dove every day, either. Neither side is happy to see the other side’s animal of choice suffer or die simply because they’re a danger to their own favorite.
It’s a shame that so many birds die at the paws of housecats, but we can’t just put down hordes of cats because they kill birds; that’s nature. As much as domestic cats may not be “of the natural environment” and there are certainly too many strays and feral cats in the country, it’s still their natural instinct to hunt birds and mice.
It’s like being upset at a dog for barking when another dog barks in the distance – yes, it’s understandably annoying when you’re trying to watching Downton Abbey and Rufus won’t shut up. But can you really be mad at the dog for doing what his ancestors have done for tens of thousands of years?
No one says we should put down lions for killing too many gazelles – would we suggest euthanizing lions if the gazelle population was being cut down by the same ratio as these birds? Maybe.
Or is it the fact that we keep cats as pets that’s the problem? Left out in the wild, maybe natural selection would do its job and there’d be far less cats in the world. Or maybe cats would adapt and become top notch bird assassins, and we’d never see a cardinal again.
A plausible answer is to neuter/spay all cats, even taking in strays to do so. That would keep cat populations from growing exponentially and would save some birds in the process. Having “cat runs” if you own felines is another answer – these enclosed, outdoor structures allow cats to enjoy the outdoors without killing the local wildlife (and it’s safer for the cats, too). Inevitably, some will think these solutions just don’t go far enough…
All I know is that no matter if you’re a bird-lover or a cat-lover, you can respect the other side’s arguments and understand why their precious animal isn’t any better or worse than your precious animal.
Or you could just buy a ferret and get out of the debate altogether.