Troublesome Cats 2

JellyfireJellyfire SuffolkPosts: 252
As it seems that the problem with discussing the pros and cons of responsible cat ownership is because it is in the 'problem solving' section, I thought it might be useful to start a new thread in 'The Potting Shed'.

Fire said:
I would say that the RSBP are a big part of the problem. So many of their members are avid cat lovers that the organisation refuse to take a strong line on cats. They state that "Despite the large numbers of birds killed by cats in gardens, there is no clear scientific evidence that such mortality is causing bird populations to decline." It's just not true. As a along standing RSPB member I am pushing for them to change their position. They can't ignore the problem any longer. 

There are wide ranging studies in the US that suggest domestic cats kill up to 4 billion birds and 22 billion mammals a year. This article in the science journal Nature  states that domestic cats "cause a substantial proportion of total wildlife mortality... [and are] among the top sources of anthropogenic bird mortality;"

In my view the law clearly needs to change. Under British law owners have a clear legal duty of care for their dogs and their dogs' actions. This has to be extended to cats. The idea that cats are somehow inherently wilder has to be let go. It's time to take responsibility for all our domestic animals.

I couldnt agree more Fire. I think there needs to be an attitude change in how we view cat owneship and the responsibilties that should entail.

debs64 said:
Jellyfire I didn't mean you were ranting but some people wereand more than one person said cats were the easier option so my comments were not directed at you personally just you were the latest person to post. I agree the post was hijacked and I do realise that people have problems with other people's pets but it's such a touchy subject maybe we should all think twice about what we write. I wanted some helpful advice for my sister and got more than I bargained for but worse things happen at sea! 

Thats absolutely fine Debs, apologies you felt your post was hijacked. New one started instead. I dont agree that we shouldnt discuss it because its a touchy subject though, all the more reason to In my opinion!
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  • debs64debs64 Posts: 494
    Well done jelly lets hope everyone moves onto this thread soon and us kittycat lovers can avoid it. Everyone is entitled to their opinion aand after all if we all liked the same things there wouldn't be enough to go around would there? 
  • Singing GardenerSinging Gardener EssexPosts: 542
    The scientist in me can't resist pointing out that the RSPB statement and the US studies statement are not necessarily mutually incompatible. Given the number of young produced by many birds and rodents there has to be significant mortality in order for the population to remain stable.
  • philippa smith2philippa smith2 Posts: 6,217
    A thread entitled "troublesome Cats" is only likely to attract more controversy isn't it ?
  • a1154a1154 Posts: 605
    It’s not controversial that some cats and some cat owners are a problem. Certainly some dogs and some dog owners are a problem, and I would be horrified if my dog caused upset for anyone. I think it’s good to have this discussion. 
    I don’t see why microchipping isn’t mandatory for cats. Surely that’s the start of responsible ownership. This surely can not offend sensible owners, but may hopefully put off people who just haven’t thought it through. 
    Im still reeling from information on the other thread (wild edges?) about charities doing catch neuter release. Can’t believe it. Cats are pets and someone should own and be responsible for them. I think once caught they shouldn’t be allowed to release again. They aren’t native!
  • paul_in_surreypaul_in_surrey Posts: 144
    I don't want to fire this debate up again .... but do please try to look at it from that charity's point of view:
    - There are a lot of feral cats out there. They didn't put them there but they are there.
    - As animal lovers they do not want to go around killing cats day after day, and a large proportion of the population (though not on this website) would not want a cat-cull anyway.
    - They want to reduce the numbers or at least reduce the rate of their population increasing and the damage they cause.
    - In the absence of anyone else doing anything they implement a neutering scheme to try and control the numbers, and where possible re-site the animals where they'll do less damage. You cannot just put a feral cat in a family home and the resource it would take to securely and humanely house those cats would be huge.
    - You get no money or council assistance. If you're lucky the RSPCA and some local vets may help a bit, but otherwise it's a dirty and at times dangerous business done completely by volunteers often funding the neutering with their own cash.
    - You then get criticised by people for your madness and blamed for causing billions of deaths of birds and animals and told what terrible people you are.

    Of course no-one wants all these feral cats roaming around, but you can either sit on your sofa complaining how terrible it is, or you can try to do something practical and LEGAL to improve or mitigate the situation. Changes in the law regarding neutering and micro-chipping to reduce the source are clearly the way to go, but that would have to be accompanied by police and magistrates having the will to enforce those laws, which I'm afraid is even less likely in the current climate.
    “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill
  • JellyfireJellyfire SuffolkPosts: 252
    edited 16 May
    A thread entitled "troublesome Cats" is only likely to attract more controversy isn't it ?
    sorry just carried on the title from the previous thread to bring people over to this one in the correct category.

    I don't want to fire this debate up again .... but do please try to look at it from that charity's point of view:
    - There are a lot of feral cats out there. They didn't put them there but they are there.
    - As animal lovers they do not want to go around killing cats day after day, and a large proportion of the population (though not on this website) would not want a cat-cull anyway.
    - They want to reduce the numbers or at least reduce the rate of their population increasing and the damage they cause.
    - In the absence of anyone else doing anything they implement a neutering scheme to try and control the numbers, and where possible re-site the animals where they'll do less damage. You cannot just put a feral cat in a family home and the resource it would take to securely and humanely house those cats would be huge.
    - You get no money or council assistance. If you're lucky the RSPCA and some local vets may help a bit, but otherwise it's a dirty and at times dangerous business done completely by volunteers often funding the neutering with their own cash.
    - You then get criticised by people for your madness and blamed for causing billions of deaths of birds and animals and told what terrible people you are.

    Of course no-one wants all these feral cats roaming around, but you can either sit on your sofa complaining how terrible it is, or you can try to do something practical and LEGAL to improve or mitigate the situation. Changes in the law regarding neutering and micro-chipping to reduce the source are clearly the way to go, but that would have to be accompanied by police and magistrates having the will to enforce those laws, which I'm afraid is even less likely in the current climate.
    Agree that its better to do something than nothing. I think re-releasing them is terrible, but completely understand why they do, as  they are basically cat lovers so the idea of rounding them up to then destroy them isn't going to help them get much in the way of funding or volunteers. 
    In terms of microchipping. This would seem a very sensible thing to do. It would indeed be unlikely to be enforced by the law very often, but then many laws exist, of which offenders go unpunished. The very fact there is a law is more than enough to encourage most people to abide by. After all it is law for dogs to be chipped, and all the same constraints would apply there
  • wild edgeswild edges The bottom of Wales (literally)Posts: 324
    For balance I should point out that charities have to put animal welfare first when dealing with situations like that. Not all charities release them back and some still put them down. This is thought to have its own issues as well though.

    http://www.saferpets.co.uk/are-feral-cat-colonies-dangerous.html

    I read somewhere recently that the eradication of stoats on Scottish Islands was halted during the stoat breeding season so no young stoats in the nest were allowed to starve. This is obviously very counter productive as it allows the stoat numbers to recover and the food being fed to the young stoats is made up of the animals the cull was intended to protect in the first place. I can't find the article now though so don't take this as gospel. I just cite it as an example of how careful charities have to be when it comes to pleasing all parties with this type of work. It does cost them around £1000/stoat to run an eradication program though so it must be frustrating and costly to allow their numbers to multiply.
  • JellyfireJellyfire SuffolkPosts: 252
    For balance I should point out that charities have to put animal welfare first when dealing with situations like that. Not all charities release them back and some still put them down. This is thought to have its own issues as well though.

    http://www.saferpets.co.uk/are-feral-cat-colonies-dangerous.html

    I read somewhere recently that the eradication of stoats on Scottish Islands was halted during the stoat breeding season so no young stoats in the nest were allowed to starve. This is obviously very counter productive as it allows the stoat numbers to recover and the food being fed to the young stoats is made up of the animals the cull was intended to protect in the first place. I can't find the article now though so don't take this as gospel. I just cite it as an example of how careful charities have to be when it comes to pleasing all parties with this type of work. It does cost them around £1000/stoat to run an eradication program though so it must be frustrating and costly to allow their numbers to multiply.
    Interesting, and yes that must be incredibly frustrating. It often seems a fine line between animal welfare and 'the greater good' in terms of wildlife 
  • wild edgeswild edges The bottom of Wales (literally)Posts: 324
    I think once people are aware of the wider issues then most of them can understand that tough choices need to be made. The stoat eradication programs involved a lot of public engagement with the local communities to explain what they were doing and why. It certainly had less opposition than things like the badger culls anyway.


  • paul_in_surreypaul_in_surrey Posts: 144
    And do bear in mind that every time you propose to kill a feral cat (even if it is in pain) you have to be absolutely positive it is not someone's stray pet, otherwise you could be sued for criminal damage or have to go through all the legal work to gain permission in every single case. Again a big argument for chipping, but sadly it's generally not the people who obey laws and responsibly care for their pets who dump their animals in the wild. And just because an animal has had a terrible start in life, and probably had a history of abuse, it is not a moral reason to kill it or its offspring.

    I'm sorry to sound so negative about the legal process, but people have been calling for a cull of grey squirrels for god knows how long, and look at the battles over badgers. So, I'm not and haven't been arguing with the principles any of you suggest (except for the one about only rich people being allowed pets) it's the approach and lack of realism I have a problem with.
    “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.” Winston Churchill
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