Feral cats and predation
While many studies have shown that cats do not have a detrimental impact on wildlife, there are several who feel that cats are to blame for the depletion of song birds and other animals. To study is often quoted are the Stanley temple study in the Churcher / Lawton study. Some groups use these studies in misguided efforts to discredit our work to humanely control feral cats. Over 60 studies have been done on different continents, all showing three very important points:
Cats are opportunistic feeders, eating what is most easily available. Feral cats are scavengers, and mainly rely on garbage and handouts from people.
Cats are rodent specialists. Birds make up a small percentage of their diet when they rely solely on hunting for food. Cats may pray on a population without destroying it. If it weren’t so, we would no longer have any mice around. Even though some cats can become efficient hunters and do kill birds, many international biologists agree that only on small islands do cats possibly pose a severe threat to the wildlife population. They agree with biologist C.J. Mead that “any bird populations on the continents that could not withstand these levels of predation from cats and other predators would have disappeared long ago”.
And finally, while many concentrate their efforts on blaming cats, the real culprit – homo sapiens – does free. It is people, who are responsible for destruction of habitat, hunting and killing and using pesticides and insecticides that endanger entire populations of wildlife, including millions of birds!