The definition of a feral cat is basically a wild cat. It has usually never been touched by human hands, is born in the wild, and hunts small prey to survive. Small prey includes birds, lizards, mice, rats and baby rabbits. Any animal small enough that doesn’t stand much of a fighting chance the cat will kill. If the cat lives by a creek or stream it will kill fish, although cats don’t like to get wet, water won’t stop them when it comes to a kill.
Feral cats roam about in packs, but you will still find a feral cat roaming on its own. People tend to think a pet cat living outdoors is not considered a feral cat. They feed it and pet it so how is it feral? Any cat outdoors no matter how tame it seems to be is still wild. The cat will not stay in your backyard. It will breed with other feral cats and expand the cat population. It will hunt for sport no matter how much you feed it.
Cats in general are vicious predators. They have razor sharp claws and teeth. They are also becoming a huge problem few people want to acknowledge. They are wiping out the songbird population. The horny toad once a thriving species is endangered. This is due partly because of man and partly due to cats. Cats hunt lizards while man uses pesticides. Though the horny toad may one day be told as a myth allusive as the dinosaur, songbirds don’t have to be.
The great state of Wisconsin has an estimated two million feral cats alone. Each year they kill an estimated forty seven million to one hundred thirty nine million birds. Residents of Madison Wisconsin tried to get a law passed that would allow a person to be able to shoot feral cats as long as they had a small game permit. Cat lovers turned up and protested. The bill was turned down.
Feral cats have been caught spayed or neutered and then released. This is a bad solution to the explosion of feral cats. One cat has the ability to produce Four Litters a year and each litter consists of Four to Six kittens. One feral cat who has escaped being spayed or neutered could literally produce thousands of feral cats with the help of its offspring.
Since cats have very few predators, except the occasional dog, they are wreaking havoc in every available and unavailable area. Hunting feral cats might seem cruel, but it’s no different then hunting deer. They are hunted and killed every year while they pose no threat to other species.
While overpopulation of feral cats threaten a multitude of problems for other species; they play host to a multitude of diseases. Have you ever been warned about a cat scratch? Feral cats are carriers of rabies. If you’ve been scratched by a stray you may not know you have rabies until you start to show signs of the deadly disease and by then its too late.
If scratched by a stray you should immediately go to the doctor for a series of painful shots in the stomach as a preventative measure for rabies. Another disease feral cat’s carry is salmonella. Salmonella is a food borne illness that has the ability to produce Typhoid Fever and Paratyphoid Fever, but one disease caused by a parasite cat’s carry is already making the news.
Toxoplasmosis is caused by Toxoplasma Gondii parasites. Any animal could be infected, but the main carrier is the cat. Millions of the parasite eggs are shed in cat feces and can live in the ground for a year. If you accidentally touch any cat feces wash your hands immediately.
This will prevent you from getting the parasites, but keep in mind that walking barefoot in your yard might lead to contracting the parasite. Another place to watch out for is any handling of feces removal from the litter box. You may think that your pet housecat doesn’t have Toxoplasma Gondii parasites, but more then likely it does if it’s allowed outside.
Toxoplasmosis is now linked to Schizophrenia because the parasites have been found in the brain. Hunting feral cats should be legalized in order to control them and protect the wildlife they now threaten and to help control the spreading of diseases they carry. Cat owners should be held responsible for their cat and be made to cough up a heavy fine should their cat kill or hurt any bird, lizard, rabbit, etc. Feral cats should be caught and not released back into the cat population. We need to do what’s right for all species to survive and not allow one species to predate upon another until it is gone.