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Cat Scratch Furor

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Keith Andersen's Aug. 27 letter ("Me-OW") regarding domestic cats killing wildlife is ridiculous and shows his lack of knowledge. Does he have any access at all to information regarding the subject he has written about? Maybe a computer?

It is a fact that domestic cats kill billions of birds and other species of wildlife every year. Andersen states that cats have been around for thousands of years. Not on this continent they haven't. They are not native to this continent. They came here with the European settlers. Cats (non-native) are indeed leading to the extinction of many bird species along with the problem of habitat loss and pesticides.

Our domestic cats, whether feral or housed, kill for fun. They kill anything that moves. It doesn't matter whether they are fed and have a home, most will kill when let outdoors. There is a leash law for dogs so why not a law that keeps cats on their owners' property? That way neighbors don't have to put up with non-native cats killing the native birds, digging up flower and vegetable gardens, leaving feces and spraying urine all over their property. Andersen's irresponsible attitude and his actions of letting his cat run loose and kill contribututes to the extinction of birds.

Ann White, Eureka


There's no science-based doubt that cats are a deadly scourge on any small animal they can find. Footage from body cams placed on cats showed 41 percent of the kill to be reptiles, mammals 25 percent, insects and worms 20 percent, with birds at just 12 percent. According to the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute, that 12 percent adds up to 3.7 buh-buh-billion birds a year in the contiguous U.S. They only bring home about a quarter of their prey; they eat 30 percent; and they leave the rest to rot.

According to the USDA's National Invasive Species Information Center, "Invasive species are plants, animals, or pathogens that are non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration and whose introduction causes or is likely to cause harm."

House cats fit this definition. There may be animal rights activists sufficiently single-minded to insist that zebra mussels have a right to infest non-native waters, but not many of them. Cats, on the other hand, are beautiful and furry, purr when we pet them, and do funny things that we can video and put on the internet. So their predations are overlooked, or denied outright ("My Fluffy would never do such a thing, just look how sweet she is").

Like other invasive species, cats have no natural predators. But there's hope: There are Nile monitor lizards infesting Florida now. They're five feet long and their favorite prey is house cats. Maybe what goes around does come around after all.

James W. Flower, Arcata


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