AP NEWS

Suddenly we’re all feral cat authorities

March 7, 2019

I find it rather interesting that a few locals have taken it upon themselves to share their hollow and prejudiced point of view of feral cats while entirely ignoring the primary reason feral cats are so widespread at all. I’d also like to ask each of these experts just how much time or effort they’ve spent to personally address the matter in the past.

Unfortunately, unlike Renn, Hueftle or Trost, I can’t qualify myself as an authority on much of anything. However, I have spent a fair amount of hours over the past 10 to 12 years doing whatever I can to at least attempt to reverse the existing issue of feral cats living within our community. There are many, many individuals here, men and women, especially, I have discovered, senior and elderly women on scant fixed incomes, who sacrifice what little they have, of whom I can consider authorities. These individuals weather frigid temperatures, scorching heat, wind and rain, but most succinctly, generously volunteer their resources, because they are human.

So let’s review some of the statistics employed by Renn. Seven to ten billion mammals (notice he uses this description to allude to their link to humans rather than identifying the vast majority as mice, rats, voles, essentially vermin), one to four billion birds, one quarter billion to nearly one billion lizards, etc. These are variables each of which may be exaggerated by a factor of four! How many people live on the planet, is it seven billion, or twentyeight billion? I understand that these are government agency figures but they also are clearly estimates. No one is actually counting. And let us not forget Hueftle’s contention that perhaps as long as we’re trapping, spay/neutering, why not declaw and defang them? Genius! Why didn’t I think of that? Imagine, my wife and I have trapped, neutered and either adopted out or released over 500 feral cats and kittens over the past dozen or so years, maybe closer to 1000, we don’t have time to actually count them all, and not once have either of us ever thought to defang. My bad!

So here’s the long and the short of it. Cats do kill smaller animals, birds included, but so do pesticides. Neonicotinoids, pesticides widely used on soybeans, corn and potatoes have killed over 90 million songbirds yearly according to the same government agency used to gather Renn’s figures. And that is merely one pesticide. Water quality samples from across the country have detected traces of over 140 different pesticides in over ¾ of lakes and streams. How many more birds do they kill, not to mention the mammals Mr. Renn. And I needn’t go into the entirely human caused habitation loss do I? Or high voltage transmission towers. Or wind generating turbine fan blades. Or towering glass buildings along migratory flight paths. Or on and on. No, Mr. Hueftle, let’s not mention these substantial factors in your gratuitous, “very comprehensively and competently written” assessment of Renn’s article either.

But the actual point to be discussed here and entirely ignored by each of these rants is the onus of responsibility not levied upon the actual perpetrators of this problem, irresponsible pet owners. It is much easier to place the blame on the cats. Who, afterall, could reasonably argue that.

George Deeb,

Pocatello