Crusade Against Cats Book: Critical Review of Domestic Cat Predation Impact on Wildlife

cat predation, cat prey, cat eradication

Introduction

There is a is a lot of misinformation making its rounds in internet articles, blog posts, scientific studies and on social media regarding cat predation. Proponents would have you believe in the narrative that domestic outdoor cats (pets and ferals) are wreaking havoc on ecosystems and wildlife populations, especially those of birds and endangered or threatened species. These narratives then go on to align with agendas for the lethal eradication of feral cats and kittens by inhumane means, such as traps, poison and hunting. Swiftly followed by the persecution and vilification of pet cats and their owners.

As a scientist and cat guardian I was disheartened by all the misleading science and inconclusive results, which were used to make irreversible decisions regarding ecosystem management. Even more disconcerting; is the downstream repercussions of such rash decision based on poor science with knock-on effects at various socio-economic levels, including food security, public health, and even the same environment that the misinformation is seemingly ‘trying to protect’.

Thus, the following book is my contribution to the discussion; to provide balance to the investigation by discussing both the negative and positive impact(s) of cat predation. With the latest scientific research, I highlight that the solution to cat predation is far from simply using extreme eradication techniques (which often results in catastrophic consequences, sometimes years later) and that it is critical to evaluate the context of cat predation within the ecosystem it resides. Only then can we fully understand its impact and subsequently design ethical, effective and successful cat management strategies to the benefit of wildlife, cats and humans.

In the book I specify that I’ll list the links to the charity organizations mentioned in the book as well as the references and resources used. These can be found at the end of the article.

Ebook & Print Books

Crusade Against Cats will be available in eBook and print formats (both paperback and hardcover) from September 2021 onwards!

Crusade Against Cats

kitten, blue eyes, cat, sweet, book cover, art-verse, Tanzelle Oberholster, nature conservation, ecology, ecosystem, management, control, TNR, Trap Neuter Release
  • Available on Amazon starting September 2021:
    • eBook USD $4.79
    • Paperback USD $9.79 – Coming October 2021
    • Hardcover USD $17.79 – Coming November 2021
  • At-a-glance, the Crusade Against Cats discusses the following key topics throughout the course of the book:
    • Evaluation five main myths about cat predation, dispelling them with well researched science to the contrary and discussing their implications for ecosystem management.
    • Illustrating the identification and critical evaluation of misinformation, even in the form of scientific articles.
    • Discussing the effectiveness of Trap Neuter Return (TNR) programmes and what we can do as to minimise feral cat overpopulation and mitigate domestic cat predation risks to wildlife.

Charities, Organisations and Programmes

spay and neuter, animal lover, cat, human, cat and woman touching hands, gift

United States of America

Canada

United Kingdom

Australia

New Zealand

South Africa

adopt don't shop, give them a home, kitten in a box

PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE ANY TNR OR OTHER ANIMAL RESCUE LINKS IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!

Open-Source Scientific References

  1. Doherty et. al. (2016) Invasive predators and global biodiversity loss. PNAS. 113 (40): 11261–11265.
  2. (2019) Nature’s Dangerous Decline ‘Unprecedented’ Species Extinction Rates ‘Accelerating’. Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Summary and Full Edition
  3. (2019) Unsustainable fishing and hunting for bushmeat driving iconic species to extinction – IUCN Red List. International Union for Conservation of Nature.
  4. Wilcox., Van Sebille, and Hardesty (2015) Threat of plastic pollution to seabirds is global, pervasive, and increasing. PNAS. 112 (38): 11899–11904.
  5. Roman, Hardesty, Hindell and Wilcox. (2019) A quantitative analysis linking seabird mortality and marine debris ingestion. Scientific Reports. 9: 3202.
  6. Rutz et. al. (2020) COVID-19 lockdown allows researchers to quantify the effects of human activity on wildlife. Nature Ecology and Evolution. 4: 1156–1159
  7. Searle, Turnbull and Lorimer. (2021) After the anthropause: Lockdown lessons for more‐than‐human geographies. The Geographical Journal. 187: 69 – 77
  8. Stokes et. al. (2020) COVID-19 pandemic impacts on global inland fisheries. PNAS. 117(47): 29419 – 29421.
  9. Burton and Doblar (2004) Morbidity and mortality of urban wildlife in the midwestern United States. Proceedings 4th International Urban Wildlife Symposium. 171 – 181.
  10. Erikson, Johnson and Young (2005) A Summary and Comparison of Bird Mortality from Anthropogenic Causes with an Emphasis on Collisions. USDA Forest Service Gen. Tech. Rep. 1029 – 1042
  11. Barker et. al.(2008) Cats about town: is predation by free‐ranging pet cats Felis catus likely to affect urban bird populations? Ibis. 150 (Suppl. 1), 86–99
  12. Kauhala, Talvittie and Vuorisalo (2015) Free-ranging house cats in urban and rural areas in the north: useful rodent killers or harmful bird predators? Folia Zool. – 64 (1): 45–55
  13. Elliott, Jeff. “The Accused.” The Sonoma County Independent 3 Mar. 1994: 1 & 10. Print
  14. Krauze-Gryz, Żmihorski and Gryz (2017) Annual variation in prey composition of domestic cats in rural and urban environment. Urban. Ecosyst. DOI 10.1007/s11252-016-0634-1
  15. Santos et. al. (2016) Carcass Persistence and Detectability: Reducing the Uncertainty Surrounding Wildlife-Vehicle Collision Surveys. PLoS ONE 11(11): e0165608. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0165608
  16. Kikillus et. al. (2017) Research challenges and conservation implications for urban cat management in New Zealand. Pacific Conservation Biology 23: 15–24
  17. Morgan et. al. (2009). Urban cat (Felis catus) movement and predation activity associated with a wetland reserve in New Zealand. Wildlife Research 36: 574–580
  18. van Heezik et. al. (2010). Do domestic cats impose an unsustainable harvest on urban bird populations? Biological Conservation 143: 121–130
  19. Flux J. (2007). Seventeen years of predation by one suburban cat in New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Zoology 34, 289–296
  20. Wood et. al. (2015). Movement and diet of domestic cats on Stewart Island/Rakiura, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Ecology 40, 186–190
  21. Loss et. al. (2013) The impact of free-ranging domestic cats on wildlife of the United States. Nature Communications. 4: 1396
  22. Gordon, Matthaei and van Heezik (2010) Belled collars reduce catch of domestic cats in New Zealand by half. Wildlife Research 37(5) 372-378
  23. Mall et. al. (2015) Assessing the effectiveness of the Birdsbesafe® anti-predation collar cover in reducing predation on wildlife by pet cats in Western Australia 173: 40 – 51
  24. C.R. Veitch, M.N. Clout, A.R. Martin, J.C. Russell and C.J. West (eds.) (2019). Island invasives: scaling up to meet the challenge, pp. 1 – 752. Occasional Paper SSC no. 62. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN.
  25. Hughes et. al. (2019) Predation pressures on sooty terns by cats, rats and common mynas on Ascension Island in the South Atlantic. IN: C.R. Veitch, M.N. Clout, A.R. Martin, J.C. Russell and C.J. West (eds.) (2019). Island invasives: scaling up to meet the challenge, pp. 295–301. Occasional Paper SSC no. 62. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN.
  26. Preston et. al. South Africa (2019) works towards eradicating introduced house mice from sub-Antarctic Marion Island: the largest island yet attempted for mice. IN: C.R. Veitch, M.N. Clout, A.R. Martin, J.C. Russell and C.J. West (eds.) (2019). Island invasives: scaling up to meet the challenge, pp. 40–46. Occasional Paper SSC no. 62. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN.
  27. Bergstrom et. al. (2009) Indirect effects of invasive species removal devastate World Heritage Island. Journal of Applied Ecology. 46: 73–81.
  28. Ortiz-Alcaraz et. al. (2019) Ecological restoration of Socorro Island, Revillagigedo Archipelago, Mexico: the eradication of feral sheep and cats. IN: C.R. Veitch, M.N. Clout, A.R. Martin, J.C. Russell and C.J. West (eds.) (2019). Island invasives: scaling up to meet the challenge, pp. 267–273. Occasional Paper SSC no. 62. Gland, Switzerland: IUCN.
  29. de Klerk et. al. (2016) Treatment and outcome of unusual animal bite injuries in young children. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. 106(2): 206 – 209.
  30. Dorethy and Richie (2016) Stop Jumping the Gun: A Call for Evidence‐Based Invasive Predator Management. Conservation Letters, January/February 2017, 10(1), 15–22
  31. Silmi et. al. (2013) Using leopard cats (Prionailurus bengalensis) as biological pest control of rats in a palm oil plantation. Journal of Indonesian Natural History. 1(1): 31 – 36.
  32. Crawford et. al. (2019) A Case of Letting the Cat out of The Bag—Why Trap-Neuter-Return Is Not an Ethical Solution for Stray Cat (Felis catus) Management. Animals. 9(4): 171
  33. Wolf et. al. (2019) Reply to Crawford et al.: Why Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) Is an Ethical Solution for Stray Cat Management. Animals 9(9): 689.
  34. Calver et. al. (2020) Response to Wolf et al.: Furthering Debate over the Suitability of Trap-Neuter-Return for Stray Cat Management. Animals 10(2): 362.
  35. Boone et. al. (2019) A Long-Term Lens: Cumulative Impacts of Free-Roaming Cat Management Strategy and Intensity on Preventable Cat Mortalities. Front Vet Sci. 6: 238.

Additional References

  1. The Most Successful Hunters on Land, Roaring Earth
  2. Number of cats in the United States from 2000 to 2017, Statista
  3. Human Attitudes and Behavior on Keeping Cats Indoors, American Bird Conservancy
  4. 2019, List of countries by road network size, Wikipedia
  5. Harper (2005) Numerical and functional response of feral cats (Felis catus) to variations in abundance of primary prey on Stewart Island (Rakiura), New Zealand. Wildlife Research 32(7): 597 – 604
  6. Socorro Tree Lizard Picture, La Jornada Ecologica
  7. Barbieri et. al. (2020) Yersinia pestis: the Natural History of Plague. Clinical Microbiology Reviews

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