For the birds? Or for the cats? Colony debate has Minneapolis council picking sides

  • Article by: Josephine Marcotty , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 11, 2013 - 1:02 PM

Inside, cats are beloved pets. Outside, they are invasive predators that collectively kill billions of birds and small mammals a year.

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ajnaguySep. 10, 13 9:58 PM

"Not ready" for a cat leash law? This dog owner is, particularly when free-roaming cats are doing their business in his yard and all over creation while he is (quite rightly) legally compelled to pick up after his pooch. What's more, attempts to politely ask the owners of said cats to at least take responsibility for their pet droppings is met with, "How do you know it was our cat?" "There's no law that says cats can't roam around!" etc., etc. I'm honestly tempted to do some trapping myself, since they don't seem to think their pets need collars or identification...

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teddygSep. 10, 1310:24 PM

If these cat-loving council-ers ever heard the nightime human-like wailing of a rabbit be torn apart by a feral cat, I think they would come down on the side of the small mammals.

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kkjerSep. 10, 1311:05 PM

I have cats to get rid of the birds and rabbits that eat my garden and flowers. That's what cats are for, not to be cooped up in house doing nothing. They also get rid of mice and squirrels.

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falcon1681Sep. 10, 1311:46 PM

We've got a few feral cats that roam around around the neighborhood and frankly, the neighbors domesticated dog is a bigger problem than they are.

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jkountSep. 11, 1312:14 AM

Cats are killing machines, which take out many birds in our area. I prefer to have the birds around since I can keep them out of my garden by mechanical means, while the birds help keep our insect problems more at bay, not a big fan of pesticides. Also I do agree free roaming cats can be a nuisance, neighbor had one kill a pet chicken a couple years back and now traps and kills them even if they're pets. Please keep your cats indoors in the cities. Farm cats are fine for keeping rats out of the barns but outdoor cats in the city don't have nearly as many benefits.

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mariezzSep. 11, 1312:59 AM

Honestly, the impact of HUMANS on the bird population is far greater than the impact of cats. We humans are always looking for someone else to blame for things we do.

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mariezzSep. 11, 13 1:01 AM

People should NOT allow their cats to roam outside if they care for them. Any vet will tell you that the average cat that goes outdoors will have a much shorter life. Cats get run over by cars, pick up various parasites from the rodents they might kill, can be poisoned (or have negative effects) from the various chemicals people use around their properties, and so on. Cats have been domesticated and thus, are not meant to roam. We've made a lot of progress in getting dog owners to not allow their dogs to roam, but far too many cat owners think it's ok. It's not.

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ruphinaSep. 11, 13 1:30 AM

Of course, back in the "olden days, there were very few stray cats, and the urban wildlife population was way smaller. Why? Because at 9 PM every night, there were hundreds of unleashed dogs in every town let out the back door to run around before bedtime. Loose dogs were much better at controlling bunnies, cats, fawns, and raccoons and probably fox and coyote. Mice and squirrels not so much (too small, not nocturnal respectively). It's called the law of unintended consequences. Bill G.

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cdjohnsoSep. 11, 13 3:42 AM

Too many people feel the world revolves around them. When a world becomes human-centric, then the things that are nature-centric fall victim. Does a feral cat eliminate garden pests, making (human-centric) people like Kkjer happy? Yes, but but there's a cost, because for every garden pest that is eliminated, countless songbirds die. I live in the country in rural Minnesota, and countless birds visit my feeders. I know my preference, and if a feral visits, he receives a visit from Dr. Winchester. Feral cats are just another example of invasive species that we Minnesotans are struggling with...a furry version of zebra mussels.

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animalwiseSep. 11, 13 4:59 AM

The fact of the matter is that free-roaming cats provide a service to our community. As we have pushed the native predators (largely) out of our urban areas, cats have filled the void. Generally speaking, few people will allow a coyote to live in their neighborhood. We have similarly pushed out many of the fox, weasels... and others. If the Audubon Society thinks we can roll the ecology of Minneapolis back to the time when the Conquistadors landed in North America, we would be curious to know how they plan to do it. And, we assume that doing so would require the removal of nearly all the humans from the City, along with the cats.

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