Here Kitty, Kitty!

Thursday, April 14, 2005 | 0 Comments

Well, the vote is in and Wisconsin is 6830 to 5201 in favor of considering a new law that would take feral cats off the protected species list. This means that anyone with a small game license would be able to hunt them. 51 counties in the state approved the measure while 20 rejected, and one county came up with a tie. Governor Doyle is opposing the measure saying that he doesn't want Wisconsin to become known as the cat hunting state. Well, Doyle, there are already two other cat hunting states- Minnesota and South Dakota, so we wouldn't be alone. In fact, I'm not sure why this became such a big deal, especially considering that we are not the only state to consider such a measure.

There are at least 1.4 million free-roaming cats in WI alone. A 1995 UW-Madison study found that free-roaming cats in the state had killed at least 7.8 million birds/year (other sources report 47 million to a whopping 219 million/year!). Other studies have shown that cats do not only kill for food, they also kill for sport. Many of these bird species are summering in WI from the rainforests of Central and South America where they play a very integral role in the very fragile ecosystems that they inhabit there. These birds don't stand a chance against these efficient, agile hunters.

This law is only being proposed to include any cat that is not collared and not under supervision so most non-feral cats will still be protected (meaning that if you shoot one you could be facing jail time as well as a $10,000 fine); plus you can't hunt any animal within city limits, so those cats are exempt also. This law is meant to take care of the feral cat population living in rural areas, which has been said to be one of the greatest sources of the over-all problem.

Although I really love animals and have worked my whole life toward protecting even the smallest creature, there is a justifiable reason to want to get rid of these cats that is also in the interest of protecting animals (animals, I might add, that might become endangered or worse if this problem isn't resolved). I wish there was a better way to handle the problem that has come from the irresponsibility of cat owners, but there really is none that can be as effective or even truly possible as far as I can see.

I don't blame the cats, I blame the owners. Other than farm cats who need to roam free to do their job, why would you think that it is OK to let your cat roam free, getting into other people's yards, soiling their landscaping and outbuildings, killing the songbirds they might be trying to attract, ripping open their garbage, attacking their cats that they responsibly tie up, among many other problems that free-roaming cats cause? Also, cats that are free-roamers have an average life span of only 3 years compared to the 15-18 years of an indoor-only cat. Free-roamers risk being run over by cars, being attacked by other animals, being poisoned, getting trapped, or even picking up diseases from other animals. So if a person really cares about their cat, they should keep them indoors or contained on a tie-out to help ensure a long, healthy life.

Oh, and spay or neuter your animals!


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Blogger Mike said...

I guess Bob Barker was right!

April 14, 2005 11:48 AM

Blogger Sask 1 said...

I love cats.Can't believe they want to hunt the little kittys.Saying that though i know they can be quite vicious if left to run wild.

April 14, 2005 5:29 PM

Blogger evilsciencechick said...

if anything, it would encourage people who don't collar their cats to do so. AND spay/neuther them!

it's not like people are going to be mounting stuffed cat heads on their den walls and boasting about the nasty tabby that almost got away.

and WHERE ARE THE BIRD LOVERS? favoring the INTRODUCED predator over natural wildlife is stupid. and...umm...speciest.

April 14, 2005 11:11 PM

Blogger Scott said...

My admins were horrified at the idea of cat hunting. But I think it's a good idea. It's no different than culling deer when they start to overrun the neighborhood, and deer don't have the same danger of spreading diseases to your children or other pets.
I have a cat, Tzeitel, who is neutered and declawed and is perfectly happy to live in the house. My neighbor lets her un-spayed cat run around the neighborhood, getting pregnant and pissing in my garage any time I leave it open for more than 15 minutes.
This whole thing reminded me of the cat herding commercial from the superbowl a few years ago.

April 15, 2005 10:33 AM

Blogger Sylvana said...

Think about the kind of damage a herd that size could do to an area! And that's a drop in the bucket as far as the amount of feral cats in WI.

April 15, 2005 12:59 PM

Blogger sideshow bob said...

Honestly, do these cats owners actually believe that their little kitties aren't crapping in other people's yards? Or do they just not care? All I know is the world is in even more trouble than I thought if we're listening to the "cat people".

April 15, 2005 7:19 PM

Blogger ARM said...

I agree that the owners are responsible. I'm glad that I'm not the only one out there with this though.

Good post - it presented both sides of the arugment. You aren't a Libra, are you?

April 17, 2005 11:13 AM

Blogger Sylvana said...

Not a Libra, I'm an Aries- the leader of the western zodiac PLUS I am a Rat- the leader of the eastern/Chinese zodiac. Yeah, I was born to take over the world! Kneel before me minions! Muhahaha! But as you have already pointed out, I actually would be a fair and just leader. You will prosper greatly under my even-handed rule.

April 17, 2005 12:15 PM