Target: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services Director Daniel M. Ashe
Goal: Take action to educate the public on the impact of feral cats on wildlife
Cats are among the most popular companion animals, kept as pets and valued for their ability to destroy pests, but it is this very quality that has made them a devastating invasive species. Beloved though they may be, cats are responsible for mass slaughter of native bird, rodent, and reptile populations. They are an invasive species in many regions, and feral and un-owned cats wreak the most damage. Demand that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services take legislative action to address feral cats, and educate the public about the threat they pose.
The domestic cat is a highly accomplished hunter, and feral cats are one of the most successful killers of birds and small mammals. With tens of millions of feral cats in the United States alone, their impact on wildlife is huge, especially as cats kill out of instinct, and not necessarily hunger. Feral colonies kept under management through spay and neuter programs may not breed more cats, but they still hunt wildlife. Endangered species are particularly hard-hit, as in the case of the Key Largo woodrat, an endangered species that is under threat from feral cats.
The true impact of cats is largely unknown, but several studies have shown it to be extensive, and in some areas, cats have effectively wiped out ground-dwelling animal species. Feral cats are not the only problem: free-ranging domestic cats kept as pets account for billions of animal deaths a year according to a study published in Nature Communications. The opportunities provided by free ranging offers cats the mental and physical stimulation of the outdoors, but can be quite dangerous for them and allows them to attack and kill wildlife.
The public must know the true extent of devastation caused by cats, both unowned and feral. Outdoor cats may not contribute in equal numbers, but they too are responsible for wildlife killings. Sterilize-and-release programs may help manage populations and lower the amount of wildlife deaths, but do not remove invasive cats from the environment. We must protect wildlife from endangerment and mass killing.
Dear Director Daniel M. Ashe,
Feral and free-ranging domestic cats have had a huge impact on wildlife populations. They are responsible for billions of small mammal and bird deaths annually, and place pressure on endangered species already struggling in the face of other invasive animals. Though cats are typically seen as pets, and feral populations may even be considered natural, their numbers must be reduced in a humane way so that the threat to wildlife can be addressed.
I ask you to begin an awareness campaign to educate people on the environmental impact of feral cats and those allowed to freely range. I also urge you to take legislative action to cut down on feral cat and free-range populations. Wildlife is suffering mass and unmitigated slaughter, and you must take action to protect it from a species introduced and allowed to flourish through human, not natural, actions.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Eddy Van 3000 via Wikimedia Commons