People love cats. Unfortunately, cats are not just cute and cuddly felines, they are also predators by nature. Cats are one of the few animals that hunt for sport, meaning they kill only for the pleasure of killing. Once released into the environment cats can create considerable amounts of damage. Cats have been responsible for many bird species extinctions on islands. Lyall’s Wren in New Zealand, for example, was killed off by Feral Cats.
Just one feral cat can destroy an ecosystem. In Australia, an entire colony of Fairy Terns was destroyed by just one cat. The most devastating part about tragedies like this is that sometimes the cats are not even strays, rather pets that are allowed to roam free by their owners. Many people believe that it is natural to let their cats outdoors, however they are wrong. Letting a cat outdoors is both dangerous to local wildlife and the cat itself. Cats can be hit by cars, get lost, or contract diseases and parasites from other cats.
Fortunately, there are a few solutions to this problem. The first is to keep cats indoors. The second is to spay stray cats. Unfortunately, the third and most effective solution is to use eradication programs to lower the feral cat population. These programs may seem brutal, but when instituted they have helped bring many endangered bird species back from the brink and are one of a few reasons why certain species still survive today. If you want to help, join local groups that are helping to remove or spay the feral cats in your neighborhood, and talk to your local officials about your views on this issue.