Killing Feral Cats: Do Australians Know What They Are Doing?

Killing feral cats australiaIt is well-known in the cat world and even outside of it that the Australian authorities wish to eradicate the feral cats of Australia because they consistently say that feral cat destroys precious native wild species. They sometimes hunt them. Australians also have been hunting down dingos for donkey’s years –  actually about 70 years. They dislike the dingo as much as they dislike the feral cat. Both are predators. The dingo is descended from the Asian wolf and the feral cat is descended from the domestic cat which was brought to the country by settlers.

Both the dingo and the feral cat are part of the Australian ecosystem. Both have been around in Australia, living in the wild, for a long, long time. They are fully integrated into the wildlife of Australia.

In all studies on the prey of the Australian feral cat, mammals have consistently comprised the major part of the diet throughout the year with other vertebrates especially birds comprising only a minor component. Rabbits and rodents appear to be the favoured prey. So we can conclude that the Australian feral cat mainly kills Australian rats. I’m not sure why Australians want to protect the Australian rat. The usual species of rat attacked by feral cats is the brush rat and the swamp rat. Can an Australian please tell me why these rodents require protection?

As for the dingo, a recent study argues that this sinister and despised predator should be nurtured rather than killed in an effort to raise their numbers because the study concluded that killing them is damaging Australia’s ecosystem.

The study was conducted by the University of New South Wales. It was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society. By killing the dingo Australians are harming Australia’s smaller native wildlife. This includes some endangered species. The argument goes as follows:

When you kill the dingo, their prey, which are kangaroos, foxes and possums flourish. As a consequence the prey of kangaroos foxes and possums decline in numbers. The prey of these animals includes bandicoots. Also, Kangaroos, in large numbers can destroy vegetation.

There is also a conflict between the two policies of killing dingos and killing feral cats. When you kill feral cats the rodent population should rise. When you kill dingos the rodent population will decline because as mentioned rodents are killed by the prey of the dingo.

I have to conclude, therefore, that the Australian authorities do not know what they are doing and they are operating on an emotional level. In addition they are failing to address the main killer and the main barrier to the flourishing of wildlife, namely Australians themselves. Probably the primary reason why certain Australian wildlife species fail to flourish or are endangered is because of a loss of habitat due to the activities of people.

The whole process seems to me to be tortured, distorted and upside down and needs a complete rethink.

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Killing Feral Cats: Do Australians Know What They Are Doing? — 28 Comments

  1. I am Australian but I live in the USA. I work with a trap-neuter-return program here. Why TNR isn’t more prevalent in Australia I don’t know. There has been a lot of biased Australian press about cats’ destruction of the native bird and small marsupial population, but my opinion is a lot of it is hype and fear-mongering. People are pressured to keep their cats indoors or in enclosed cat runs. Give me a break. Cats are the scapegoat for bigger human problems. The biggest problem in Australia is ignorant people at all levels of society and decision-making. The general public doing whatever the hell they want and ignoring the consequences (roadkill of native wildlife, air, water and soil pollution, habitat destruction etc) and politicians giving in to big business (esp. the money hungry multinationals who don’t give a rat’s a$$ about the welfare of the country) which is destroying native habitat nationwide (e.g. housing tracts, strip malls, mining etc).

    • Please don’t read my comment to mean that everyone is ignorant, lol! I just meant a certain measure of the population at each level simply hasn’t thought deeply, critically, and independently about these issues. Decision making, especially legal or governmental, should not be based on knee-jerk reactions, emotion, ignorance, or force.

    • There speaks a person of good sense! We have been saying for years that it’s the ignorance of people at fault, not the cats. Humans have created all the problems but the cats are the ones suffering.
      TNR does work, we’ve proved it in England, but it’s too much trouble for some authorities, they would rather just kill the innocent victims.

  2. Your ignorance astounds me! U are wrong on so many levels, that it almost makes what u say a complete joke! Keep to patting your little cuddly little domesticated pet cat & leave serious ecology & environmental Australian issues to the experts & scientists. Feral cats are supreme killers & eat/kill whatever they can catch, like all predators. To say they just eat rats is a complete deception on your part & only fools like yourself would believe such complete nonsense!

    • Thank you but I totally disagree. Are you Australian? You sound like it. I am not ignorant. Don’t insult me. I know far more about cats than you can imagine.

      Australian issues to the experts & scientists.

      These people are biased and scientists should be objective. Australians have a problem with being objective towards the feral cat.

    • Totally agree with you Peter.
      Michael, you say that by killing dingos, the prey of kangaroos, foxes and possums decrease. Do you know what Roos and possums eat? It ain’t mammals!
      do you kiwis still kill possums over there and make socks out of them? I guess you do because they are considered a feral pest.
      I have seen cat guts content with a dozen skinks inside and beaded dragon parts and fat tailed dunnart. In the one stomach! and this cat was still hunting for food.
      They are devastating Australia’s native wildlife and I make no apology for hating the feral cat.
      I applaud those who are responsible cat owners, microchip, desex and keep them inside or in a cat run, especially at night if not all the time.

      • Hi JD, but do you hate feral cats because of what you have been fed by the Australian authorities through the media? There are no clean and clear facts on the feral cat’s impact on Aussie wildlife despite what the authorities proclaim.

        • no, I take with a pinch of salt information heard via media. I don’t like them because of what I have seen personally and the effect they have on wildlife.
          like I said I have seen the stomach contents of feral cats and what they eat. same goes for foxes.
          as I also said, I have no problem with cats that are kept responsibly. and respect those owners who are responsible owners. all animals have their place in the world. it is only when they become feral because of irresponsible people that steps should be taken to control/irradicate them from the wild.

          please answer this question.
          what do you do when you have flies in your house? 1 or 2 you can probably live with. what about 100 or 200?

          • You exterminate flies as you imply but feral cats are not flies. They originated from domestic cats and became feral because of people’s irresponsibility. Therefore we have a duty to treat them humanely. One follows the other. Also as mentioned we don’t know how many feral cats there are. Also, it is impossible to exterminate them totally. The only way forward is as stated: nationwide TNR carried out consistently for years and funded properly. Organised nationally. In other words do the thing properly and humanely and in a decent way. All this talk about mass slaughter is bass (poor quality) human thinking.

            • so a cats life is more important that a fly? flies cause horrific injuries in livestock, have you ever seen a flyblown sheep? but that’s another argument altogether.

              flies and cats have their place. but when numbers are out of control the results are devastating.

              your choice of language is inflammatory and provocative. “mass slaughter, Australians being ignorant, chauvinistic, etc etc”

              your language shows ignorance, bias and complete misunderstanding of the effect ferals have on wildlife. not just feral cats, but foxes, rabbits and goats, not to mention camels, buffalo and pigs.

              • My language is truthful and represents what I read and see. If it is inflammatory so be it. God knows why you are comparing flies with companion animals. That is a very unhelpful comparison. It is not about the value of various animals in this case, it is about the fact that we created feral cats and therefore we have a moral duty to fix the problem humanely. You don’t get that which encourages me to believe that what I have written earlier is correct.

  3. Yea ruth theres always many haters of cats out there in this world. But then tehres people like us who will protect them no matter what. I do feel totally disgusted by my neighbours even though its a whole country away.

  4. Good question Michael.

    It’s unbelievable how ignorance plays a part in the process.

    The real serious actual fundemantal question here for the advocates of killing feral cats is:

    Why do you choose not to research the problem 100% thoroughly and what is the real reason you want to get rid of cat?

    • I think the Australians have a problem with the domestic cat in general and they are also highly protective of their “country” and very proud of their country and therefore there native wildlife. They are chauvinistic ultimately. Sometimes I wonder whether the percentage of Australians who dislike the domestic cat is higher than in the West. If it is true I wonder whether is because there are no native wild cat species in Australia. There have never have been because there was a water barrier between Asia and the Australian continent. They also may have a problem with British settlers establishing the country and bringing cats with them. There may be some sort of psychological problem going on there!

  5. well as a new Zealander im disguested but i hate to say it but i guess that is true of australians. Theres been a situition here in new zealand of a southland city in south island where i live.
    a couple have 38 cats in one house. Im imagaging they possible have a hordering addiction but its unsure. just saw it on the news last nite. was absutly amazed. THe council down there want to restrict about of cats and it seems our nice lovely friend—Not Garath Morgan wants to help decrease about of felines in big or large areas. So the council will prob have a bylaw. Which is sad for people who have fereal or colonys of cats. Just thought id say how things were over here. 🙂

  6. This is far too emotional for me to respond to, Michael.
    There’s nothing inside of me that can make sense of this.

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