By Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views
Okay, don’t let the headline frighten you. I believe cats make the best pets.
As a pet blogger, I get lots of press releases. Most don’t make it to the blog. This one, however, seemed of interest. Gareth Morgan, an environmental advocate in New Zealand, wants to ban cats as pets. His reasons have to do with feral populations and outdoor house cats and their impact on bird populations.
When I post stories on TNR (Trap Neuter Return), I always hear from birders who are against this practice because of the threat ferals have on wild birds. I live with two cats, and will always have cats in my life. I also have a deep love of birds and an appreciation of birding. So I was glad to receive this release from Bruce Kornreich, feline health expert and associate director for Education and Outreach at the Feline Health Center of Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.
“The effect of feline predation on native bird populations is an important issue, says Kornreich. “It is undeniable that cats do prey on birds, and that in some cases this predation can have negative impacts on native bird populations. It is important to point out, however, that some studies have shown that birds are much more adaptable to predation than initially thought, and that, in fact, in some cases feline predation may impart a survival advantage to native bird populations by controlling rodent or other potential predator populations.”
“While we are sympathetic to the emotions that may motivate some individuals to eradicate one species in order to protect another, we feel that this approach is a hasty one, and that it may result in unforeseen negative effects on the ecosystem that people with good intentions are trying to protect.”
“Issues such as the control of feral cat populations, optimization of habitat for native bird species, and education of cat owners about the potential effects of cats on bird species certainly warrant our support, but we feel that the banning of cats in this case would be a rash decision, and one that may have unintended consequences for the ecosystem that Mr. Morgan obviously cares so deeply for.”
Thankfully, I can safely state that cat parents agree with me that banning cats would be absurd.