War Against Feral Cats Part 5

Feral cat

Photo by Michael Newton

This is the latest installment of the war against the feral cat in the United States. The instigators of the war – the aggressors – are the ornithologists and bird conservationists (“the bird people”) and the defenders are people who are concerned about cat welfare and who practice trap-neuter-return (TNR) as a way of humanely controlling feral cat populations.

The aggressors are waging their war in a particular way. They are not overtly lobbying government bodies to create legislation that might reduce feral cat populations through forcing improvements in the quality of cat ownership. Instead, they are waging a publicity campaign that maligns the feral cat and which paints the people who care about feral cats as crazies; people who treat TNR as a religion.

“You can’t sit down and reason with most of these people.” (biologist Fern Duvall)

The aggressors are trying to paint a picture of themselves as sensible scientists versus crazy cat ladies. It is all wrong and nasty, in my opinion.

The nastiness has reached new heights and it all comes from the aggressors, the bird people. The bird people are indulging in acts of desperation borne out of acute frustration at the lack of change. Recently we had the Smithsonian declaring false science in saying that cats killed billions of birds and other animals, all of it based on guesswork and estimates.

Another recent article from an aggressor comes from the other side of the world, New Zealand. It was written by an economist who wants all stray cats killed, which, incidentally, is what the bird people in general want.

Ted Williams Audobon Society

Ted Williams Audobon Society

Now, the editor-at-large for Audubon magazine, Ted Williams, has waded into the battle with grossly misleading and inflammatory remarks, the worst of which is that he advised readers that Tylenol is “a completely selective feral-cat poison.” Apparently, he was advocating poisoning feral cats, a crime. Note: he appears to have deleted this poisonous remark after a stunned reaction by animal welfare writers.

Ted Williams recently wrote an article that was published in the Orlando Sentinel. The article raises the game in the war because it is so tainted with bile and hatred for the feral cat that he loses the plot, somewhat.

Here are some of the statements (as quotes) from the article together with my comments:

“Feral cats are maintained in the wild by a dangerous, cruel, and illegal practice called trap, neuter and return..”

Is TNR illegal? It may be in certain parts of the USA but not generally. Ted’s argument that it is cruel comes from the concept that it is less cruel to kill these cats than to let them live. Is TNR dangerous? Perhaps he is frightened that feral cats are a danger to the fabric of America society. I think he does.

“One intact male can impregnate dozens of females..”

Yes, but if they are neutered and spayed it won’t happen, will it.

“Feral cats are now the most common domestic rabies vector..”

Feral cats are not domestic cats so I don’t understand this sentence. Also, Mr Williams makes no reference to the source of his information except for the biased Smithsonian report. Also it is extremely rare to acquire rabies from a feral cat in the USA.

“In Florida, where rabid cats attack people…”

To Mr Williams, Florida is awash with marauding, rabid feral cats roaming the streets and beaches leaping on retired people and infecting them with deadly rabies. Yes, rabies is a series disease but this is gross exaggeration in a transparent attempt to malign the feral cat to encourage people to kill it either legally or otherwise.

Mr Williams wants trap and euthanize (TE) rather than TNR for all feral cats in the USA. He isn’t alone in that idea. This is a sign that the government should do the right thing and tackle irresponsible cat ownership, something that Mr Williams never mentions.

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Comments

War Against Feral Cats Part 5 — 8 Comments

  1. This post is important because it really is about cats in general and how we relate to them.

    In a better world there wouldn’t be feral cats. They are the “waste” product of humankind’s irresponsibility.

    This is the most important topic in the cat world.

  2. Yes this is a very important article Michael!
    It seems that cat haters in the USA are becoming more desperate than ever to blame feral cats for anything they can think up, in the hopes it will get people on side to have them eradicated.
    Have they nothing better to do with their time and energy?
    TNR works, we have proved that here in England, feral colonies neutered can’t breed any more and they die out in time.
    If ferals were killed it wouldn’t be long before a new colony started up, so how much more sensible to work with these poor cats rather than against them, neuter them and let them live out their lives in peace.
    What is wrong with some people that they are so cruel and bitter and think cats have no right to their lives?
    People created this problem and people are to blame, not the cats!
    Education about cat welfare is sorely lacking in the USA and I’m sorry for the people there who struggle against the odds to make their country a better place for animals.

  3. Interesting update pointed out by Dorothy. Ted Williams is in trouble with a lot of people including the Audobon Society.

    His remark that Tylenol can used as a feral cat poision has caused a lot of backlash and rightly so. It must be a crime or an incitement to do a criminal act.

    You can read about the problems stacked up against Mr Williams on this website:

    http://www.voxfelina.com/2013/03/audubon-editor-suspended-pending-further-review/

    I might do a follow up post on this.

  4. Yes I was pleased to see this and thought you might do another article Michael because as you said this is very important about cats in general.

  5. Pingback: Beware of Cat Haters in Influential Positions | Pictures of Cats

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