There is a rumble brewing the animal advocacy jungle, pitting claw against beak.
It started with a very mundane and not terribly enlightening study from the University of Georgia (paid for, I’m sure, by U.S. taxpayers) which found that outdoor cats in the ALT are straight-up, cold-blooded, gangsta thug killas. Particularly when it comes to lizards and frogs.
“Results indicate that a minority of roaming cats in Athens (44%) were witnessed stalking or chasing prey; and 30% captured wildlife. Reptiles, mammals and invertebrates constitute the majority of suburban prey. Hunting cats captured an average of 2 items during seven days of roaming. About 41% of the prey were lizards, snakes and frogs; mammals such as chipmunks and voles accounted for 25%; and birds only 12%.”
OK, so only 30% of the 55 participating Georgia cats were actually gangsta-killas. But I personally have seen Petunia attack a bowl of Meow Mix and let me tell you, it is chilling. Nothing gets out alive. There are remnants (kibble crumbs) all over the place. It’s carnage, I tell you. Absolute carnage.
I’m actually afraid to sleep around her, which is why I make sure I’m hugging her tightly to me when we sleep together at night.
So based on my own research (call me Dr. Obvious), I’d like a government grant now, please and thank you very much. It costs a lot of money to keep Petunia in kibble. And I’d like to buy one of those tiny cameras to put around her neck like those other kitties have.
By the way, that University of Georgia website? Pretty lame. I think even thePoeLog is more technologically advanced. You guys have partnered with National Geographic on this CritterCam thing (does anyone else smell a NatGeo reality show out of all this footage?). You can go ahead and hire some student from the computer department to build you a better-looking website. You could even pay him in pizza, Mountain Dew and Clearasil.
Anyway, so of course, with all these startling statistics of a whole 5 birds being killed over the course of a year by cats, the folks over at the American Bird Conservancy got their feathers all ruffled. And, seriously stretched the numbers.
“If we extrapolate the results of this study across the country and include feral cats, we find that cats are likely killing more than 4 billion animals per year, including at least 500 million birds. Cat predation is one of the reasons why one in three American bird species are in decline,” said Dr. George Fenwick, President of American Bird Conservancy, the only organization exclusively conserving birds throughout the Americas.
How do we get from 5 birds per year to 500 million? I mean, I know its math, which I don’t trust anyway, but seriously?? Also, I know a lot of people let their cats outside, but are there really enough cat thugs running around out there to kill 4 BILLION animals. I think I would notice 4 BILLION animals being left dead in the streets.
The bird group also pointed out, for no apparent reason, that feral cats kill pregnant ladies.
“Most feral cats (between 62 and 80 percent) tested positive for toxoplasmosis (a disease with serious implications for pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems).”
So pregnant ladies, take note: don’t eat cat. It will kill you.
Then, the crazy cat-lady crew over at Alley Cat Allies (which I donate to each year. Because I’m a crazy cat lady), got all in a hizzy and issued this press release:
“Alley Cat Allies, the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats, today criticized the American Bird Conservancy for grossly misinterpreting new research being done at the University of Georgia and using it to support misleading claims that cats are one of the main reasons for bird species decline.
“The American Bird Conservancy’s propaganda is just more of the same–spreading fictions about outdoor cats and making wild ‘extrapolations’ about their imagined impact on other species,” said Becky Robinson, president of Alley Cat Allies. “They’ve used unpublished data to fuel their extremist agenda of killing cats. But there just isn’t evidence that shows cats have any negative impact on bird populations.
Robinson noted that the American Bird Conservancy’s campaign to eradicate cats is shortsighted and ineffective. “Killing one species to save another can never be the answer,” she said. “People are interested in humane approaches for cats, and it’s time that everyone in the animal-loving community acknowledges that.”
And then Becky snapped her fingers in the air in a Z formation and flounced off, her cat-t-shirt billowing behind her.
Stuff that might ACTUALLY be killing birds:
- Glass windows
- Wind energy tax credits
- West Nile virus
- Newcastle Disease (which I thought was going to be some kind of thing where birds were falling out of the air because of the football hooligan chanting, but actually turned out to just be a virus.)
- Slingshot USB controllers
- Random weirdos with metal pipes
- The Olympics (particularly the trampoline and pole vaulting events, but potentially, also skeet shooting and archery. Basically, anything with airborne projectiles, including one’s body)
OK, you’ll notice I couldn’t find an actual link for that last one, but come on. The Olympics are lame. They could use the spicing up.
To sum up: Birds are definitely under attack. But they aren’t in danger from the Petunia’s of the world. However, they should be safe and avoid the Olympics.