Feral cats and domestic cats (who are allowed to wander outside) can provoke two opposing points of view with respect to the cats’ prey.
It could be argued that cat owners who let their cat go outside are placing more value on the life and needs of their cat than that of the prey that they catch.
Alternatively, people who wish to eliminate feral cats and who would prefer that domestic cats are kept inside, arguably are placing a greater importance and value on the prey of these cats than the cats themselves.
Therefore, it could be argued that a lot of the time when people say that feral cats should be eliminated because they prey on native species, they are exercising their personal preferences and ethical beliefs about the relative importance of non-human animals rather than expressing a genuine concern for the animals upon which domestic and feral cats prey.
That being the case, I would hope that people who argue the case for the elimination of feral cats look in the mirror and ask themselves whether they are actually concerned about prey animals and conservation or whether they are simply exercising their personal preferences. If it is the latter then their argument is substantially weakened.
In Australia, we all know by now that the authorities are very concerned about feral cats preying on native species. What they are presenting to the world is a concern for the conservation of Australian wild animals other than feral cats. But perhaps they are heavily biased because they simply feel that native species are more important than feral cats. Is it possible or is it fair to value one animal above another because one of those animals is native to the country?
It could be argued that all animals are equal. In fact this should always be the case. Just because an animal happens to have evolved in a certain country does not, in my opinion, necessarily make it more valuable or more important than another species of animal.
The concept of native species is a human one. It is a label which we place upon certain animals, no more no less. It is pure chance that an animal is native to a certain place. It should not, arguably, affect the importance of the animal species in an absolute sense.
The preservation of native species is trying to freeze the state of affairs that existed many years ago. If we want to do this we should focus on the human destruction of the habitat of native species as a first priority. That is a more ethical approach.