‘Cat Wars’ Book Calls for Elimination of Free-Ranging Cats

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Image source: Kunal Mukherjee via Flickr
Image source: Kunal Mukherjee via Flickr

There’s a controversial new book out, and it has cat lovers outraged. The book, ‘Cat Wars,’ is written by Peter Mara, the head of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. Mara’s book examines the effect that free-ranging (unowned feral or stray cats) have on the wild bird population. With the estimates of the number of feral and stray cats in the United States and Canada ranging between 70 to 110 million, it’s obvious that there’s a cat overpopulation problem. These stray cats kill as many as 2.6 billion birds in the United States annually. Clearly, there’s a problem.

So why the outrage? Mara suggests that, in order to protect the birds, we remove the free-ranging cats “by any means necessary.” It is this no-holds-barred approach that has animal and cat lovers concerned. Sure, efforts in bird conservation need to be made. But a certain degree of humanity also must be maintained. By leaving the method of cat removal up to the imagination, it seems that Mara condones inhumane practices such as poisoning and shooting cats. Mara also takes issue with owned cats which are allowed to roam freely outdoors. Is there a line where the cat control issue will stop in Mara’s eyes?

‘Cat Wars’ raises concern about a very real issue, but the solution to that issue still needs some defining and refining. What do you think we should do about the overpopulation of feral and stray cats?


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