Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cats Kill Birds, so do You, Deal with it

Sometimes I encounter people who are very angry at cat owners who allow their cats outside. One of the reasons for this is the fact that house cats who go outside kill birds. I am certain even the cat's owners are not particularly thrilled with this behavior, but to be fair human activities kill a lot more birds than do house cats.

Cats are carnivores, by their very nature they have a high prey drive, we consider this an advantage if they kill a mouse, and a disadvantage if they kill a pretty little songbird. It is not that the cat is doing something intentionally evil, it is doing what is natural to do. People argue that house cats are not a natural species, and they have been introduced to areas where they did not exist, well... the same can be said of humans.

Why don't we take any blame for our own actions on killing birds? I am not even talking about the billions of chickens we slaughter, but am referring to the millions the song birds we kill. Do we dare measure how many songbirds are killed in a year by our own actions and see how that compares to how many birds cats kill?

How many songbirds die when their nesting area in the rain forest is cut? How many songbirds die when they smash into skyscrapers as they migrate in the night? How many songbirds die as the result of pollution or chemicals? How many song birds are consumed as delicacies in countries such as Cypress? How many songbirds die as the result of human activities every day?

Sure, cats kill birds, it's what they do, they are carnivores, prey hunters. Humans kill birds all the time with no thought of eating them. People come around and clean up city streets in the wee hours of the morning to remove bodies of birds killed on their migration, tossed in to the garbage. Why are we always blaming the cats?

Has anyone who is mad at cats changed their own lifestyle so as to harm no other life forms? Have they stopped having children so we no longer need to destroy forests to make houses or toilet paper? Hmm?
Good luck getting people to blame themselves when they can blame cats instead.

Cats kill birds, well... deal with it.

As a note, concerned owners who want to reduce the likelihood of their cat killing birds could put a collar with a bell on their cat but these are not very effective as cats learn how to move without ringing the bell. Keeping the cat indoors is the best way to prevent it from killing songbirds, or by confining it a fully fenced cat section made out of chicken wire so birds do not get in. Cat owners should not entice birds into their yard with bird feeders.