Oakland Animal Services staff plus other likeminded individuals from other likeminded organizations went searching for the survivors of a cat culling. They found a total of 20 cats, which included some that were microchipped. One excellent example was a male cat named Orange, who has since been reunited with his family after a separation of three years’ time. The whole thing was kicked off by a cat culling, which is to say, bringing an overpopulation of feral cats under control by killing them. There are a number of reasons why people will sometimes choose to conduct a cat culling. For example, they might see the feral cats as a nuisance to the human inhabitants. Similarly, they might be concerned about the potential for the feral cats to spread diseases to their domestic counterparts. However, the one that was cited in this case was the protection of endangered species.
For those who are unfamiliar, cats are excellent hunters. Furthermore, cats are excellent hunters that engage in surplus killing, which is when a predator kills prey without intending to eat the resulting carcasses. The exact cause for surplus killing is unclear. It has been speculated that predators engage in surplus killing because the resulting carcasses can be either eaten later or shared later. Similarly, it has been speculated that predators engage in surplus killing because the predator becomes more and more experienced by doing so. Whatever the case, the phenomenon seems to happen when there are a lot of easy prey within convenient reach, which is connected to why cats engaging in surplus killing is so problematic even though cats are far from being the sole species that engages in surplus killing.
Simply put, humans have spread throughout most of the world, which in turn, means that humans have brought cats with them throughout most of the world. This is a huge problem for two reasons. One, cats are an invasive species in a lot of these locations. As such, the native species have no familiarity with them, thus making them much more vulnerable to cats than their counterparts in ecosystems that have become accustomed to the presence of cats. Certainly, it is possible for ecosystems to become accustomed to the presence of cats with the sufficient passage of time. However, there is no guarantee that the species that are vulnerable to cats will manage to make it through the accustomization period, particularly since humans tend to put a wide range of other pressures upon them as well. Even worse, the fundamental nature of ecosystems means that the loss of a single species will be felt far beyond its particular niche, thus resulting in even more damage done.
Two, cats are fast breeders. A single female cat is capable of having five litters on an annual basis. Each litter will have an average of four kittens, which is a huge increase in the number of cats within a very short period of time. Granted, not every single one of those kittens will manage to make it to maturity. However, the increased availability of food will increase their chances. A small number of cats can be very bad for an ecosystem that isn’t used to their presence. Unfortunately, if they are permitted to run unchecked, that small number can become a much bigger number with surprising speed.
Thanks to this, there is an enormous interest from a fair number of eco-conscious people to bring the population of feral cats under control, which is particularly strong in places where they can see endangered species straining under the pressures being placed upon them. Sometimes, said individuals will push for cat cullings, which are the most straightforward method by which to bring about their desired ends. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there are also people who oppose cat cullings, particularly since we have become more and more accustomed to seeing cats as pets. In this case, there was a cat culling that resulted in the killing of some 13 feral cats. However, there was a considerable uproar, particularly because people opposed to the method argued that they weren’t given enough time to trap the cats before relocating them. As a result, they were given a chance to do so, though much later than what they would have preferred.
What Is Being Pushed In Lieu of This Particular Method?
Pretty much everyone agrees that the overpopulation of feral cats is a real problem. After all, it is difficult for even the most sympathetic individuals to disagree when animal welfare organizations get flooded with kittens during kitten season every single year. However, there is a wide range of other methods being used to bring this problem under control. For instance, spaying and neutering is a big one. Animal welfare organizations have put a lot of effort into convincing people to either spay or neuter their cats. By doing so, they ensure that even if their cats get out at some point, they won’t be worsening the problem too much by making it impossible for them to breed.
Simultaneously, animal welfare organizations are also working on trapping feral cats, either spaying or neutering them, and then releasing them back into the local environment. They don’t have the resources needed to take care of every single feral cat out there, which is why animal welfare organizations will either euthanize animals or have very selective standards for the animals that they take in. However, the fewer the number of feral cats out there, the less the pressure on available resources. Something that can make an enormous difference in the quality of life that the feral cats can expect.
Of course, a wide range of other methods are also being used. For example, more and more cat owners are choosing to keep their cats indoors, which is meant to protect them from potential threats as well as prevent them from being potential threats to local wildlife. Similarly, there are some animal welfare organizations that are recommending more independent cats as working cats rather than pet cats, thus providing them with a place in human society without forcing them to interact with humans too much. Ultimately, the problem is society-wide, meaning that the solution has to be society-wide as well.