Speaking with an Australian lady about feral cats and Australia’s native species

Lilly a cat living with Sharon an Australian woman
Lilly lives with Sharon, the lady I interviewed.
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

This is an audio recording of my discussion with Sharon who is an Australian woman living in Melbourne, Australia. She also has a home on French Island which is not that far from Melbourne (see map below). French Island is largely a nature reserve and so it serves as a useful model to examine the conflict between feral cats and native species.

Sharon loves animals and has a particular passion for birds. Currently she lives with one cat, a calico, Lilly. Sharon believes in adopting from rescue organisations and disapproves of cat breeders.  She believes in confining cats to the home and the backyard in order to protect wildlife.

The main thrust of this discussion is that evergreen problem in Australia: how to deal with feral cats and their predation on native wildlife species. This is a subject which has occupied the Federal Government in Australia for a long time. It also concerns state governments. I was interested to try and find out whether Australians are as concerned about the “feral cat problem” as the government is.

As a consequence, my discussion with Sharon is about the feral cats of Australia and the difficulties that Australia is encountering in protecting wildlife. French Island is a nature reserve for bird species. It has a vital role in maintaining the population levels of several bird species in the region. As Sharon loves both cats and birds she has a natural conflict about how to deal with feral cats. We discuss this issue and you’ll find out her thoughts on this tricky problem.

The audio file runs for about 10 minutes. I hope that you can find the time to listen to the entire conversation. I have deliberately kept it quite short because I know how pressed people are for time nowadays.

Audio file

Please play by clicking the play button on the left-hand side.


 

French Island

Sharon is a thoughtful, intelligent citizen of Australia and I would hope that her attitude towards the continent’s feral cats is at least somewhat typical of mainstream Australia. The issue is how to deal with feral cats humanely. As I understand it, on French Island the method is to kill them using poison and shooting.

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There’s no doubt that there is a problem because feral cats do attack and eat wildlife. And the wildlife of Australia is understandably very precious to Australians.

However, one cannot avoid how Australians themselves, through habitat destruction, negatively impact the wildlife species of their continent. It isn’t just about feral cats and domestic cats who are free to roam attacking prey. I’m yet to see a comparison between the impact of humans upon wildlife compared to that of feral cats. The comparison should be made. At the moment Australians are prioritising the protection of the native species through the eradication of predators such as foxes and feral cats.



9 thoughts on “Speaking with an Australian lady about feral cats and Australia’s native species”

  1. There really is no logical reason to compare feral cat impacts with human impacts on native wildlife, for the simple and straightforward reason that feral cat impact IS human impact. Felis catus is a selectively-bred reflex killer which did not exist in “nature” until people bred and released it, and which people have inflicted on ecosystems around the globe. This is, therefore, an utterly UNNECESSARy human impact which should be eradicated from Australia permanently, with subsequent importation, breeding and possession of F. catus legally prohibited henceforth.

    Reply
    • You miss the major moral point. As we, humans, created the feral cat we have a moral duty to remove them humanely if that is what we want to do. I wouldn’t expect you to understand that.

      Reply
  2. We rarely hear how industrial farming decimates both wildlife and entire environments. It is time we did.

    Humans, Australian or otherwise have little ability to look at themselves and acknowledge how they have harmed all life on earth. We are a species who has forgotten that we too are mammals, destructive, incessantly breeding, self obsessed, hostile mammals.

    The domestic feline is one of the most powerful female icons that we have, this spreads across many cultures and continents as does grotesque violence & violation of towards girls and women of all ages, there is often no more hated species than the domestic cat. Coincidence? Methinks not.

    Reply
    • The last two words of your post constitute its only true statement. Characterizing cats as somehow “inherently female” is pure, self-serving anthropomorphism. Cats come in male and female genders. If you find it necessary to erect some animal as an “icon” of femininity, perhaps you might consider Teiid lizards of the genus Aspidoscelis. There are several parthenogenetic, all-female species. This would of course be idiotic, but no more so than your absurd, whinging twaddle-speak about how those who oppose the proliferation of invasive felines are somehow “misogynists”.

      Reply
    • Some people may not be willing to accept that violence against women by human societies is a logical extension of violence towards cats, which have historically been regarded in many societies as being a feminine icon. But the fact that we humans are a destructive, hostile, incessantly breeding mammal and our industrial farming and other activities which rape the environment of its natural resources thereby decimating both wildlife and entire environments is spot on. Human irresponsibility has created the feral cat problem and there has to be a better way than to violently and inhumanely attempt to wipe out an entire species. Genocide towards animals is no more acceptable than is genocide towards humans. Perhaps for the benefit of all the other species with which we are supposed to SHARE this marvelous planet, it is the human race which needs to be eradicated? If we humans keep on with our greedy, destructive, violent and self-obsessed agenda that may very well be the end result. We are not an endangered species, except by our own hand. But it is by our hands that many other species have become endangered or even extinct.

      Reply
  3. It would seem that French Island should not have any population of animals or non native animals. BTW it’s an island so did the feral cats fall out of the sky ?
    She would never kill a cat but is willing to let the government do it for her. She lost me there the rest was mostly whining. You cannot separate your cat from feral and stray cats because the intense hatred we see against all cats.
    Bells don’t work all my cats are belled in the house and know how to walk without making a jingle.
    Human beings must take responsibility but the cats will be shot and poisoned.
    Move off French Island because human habitation so you can live in the midst of what should have been kept pristine is the reason there is a feral cat issue to begin with.
    http://mpnews.com.au/2016/04/12/plans-to-end-reign-of-feral-cats/

    Reply
    • Agreed that we must take responsibility for our actions and not treat feral cats inhumanely which is what the Australian government want to do.

      Reply
      • Actually, the Australian government wants to preserve its unique wildlife and protect to public health of its citizens. Both sound like responsible courses of actions. And as long as they’re committed to taking responsibility, they’ll continue to cat-cull until they’ve removed cats from the continent permanently.

        Reply

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