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Thread: Invasive species discussion (split from cat thread)

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    Opinionated Rae'ya's Avatar
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    Invasive species discussion (split from cat thread)

    Quote Originally Posted by DanieMarie View Post
    Ours is NOT happy indoors. He's lived his whole life indoors, but he just doesn't like it. He has a secured terrace (our roof terrace is as large as our living room), but it's not enough. We'll let him out when we move to a place with a yard. But, in Germany the ecosystem is a bit different. We've already pretty much destroyed all of our natural habitats around anywhere with people and there are pretty much no predator species left. He's neutered, so he's not a threat to native wild cats (they interbreed, which is killing them out. Not that there's many of those left, either).
    Yeah, as I said, I've met a few who aren't happy indoors. I've even met one or two who I actively told people to let outside if they couldn't change their situation (which they couldn't, because part of the issue was the three kids under 5 who terrorised the poor thing!).

    On the topic of native wildlife, there's an organisation here which does catch, spay/neuter and release of stray cats. They've done some studies that show that cats killing wildlife is a) not as common as people think and b) not enough to actually create that much change to populations. They release rather than euthanise because removing a cat from the community completely can actually create further issues. I know that there are similar programs in the US, so I imagine there is also some support in Europe. The point there is that an outdoor cat is actually not that detrimental to the environment or to native populations (a thousand might be a different story though... hence desexing them all so they can't interbreed and create more).

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    lady sings the blues DanieMarie's Avatar
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    Re: Cat Hazards

    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    Yeah, as I said, I've met a few who aren't happy indoors. I've even met one or two who I actively told people to let outside if they couldn't change their situation (which they couldn't, because part of the issue was the three kids under 5 who terrorised the poor thing!).

    On the topic of native wildlife, there's an organisation here which does catch, spay/neuter and release of stray cats. They've done some studies that show that cats killing wildlife is a) not as common as people think and b) not enough to actually create that much change to populations. They release rather than euthanise because removing a cat from the community completely can actually create further issues. I know that there are similar programs in the US, so I imagine there is also some support in Europe. The point there is that an outdoor cat is actually not that detrimental to the environment or to native populations (a thousand might be a different story though... hence desexing them all so they can't interbreed and create more).
    Yeah I think they might do something similar, but it doesn't totally solve problems. I think pet owners here tend to be problematic. Some people have issues with neutering male pets (more dogs than cats, but some still won't do it to cats) because they think it's ruining their masculinity. It drives me crazy.

    There are some major, major conservation issues in Germany, but most are due to land use. Bird populations really suffer when the fields and forests that they call home are totally wiped out in favour of agriculture. Still, non-neutered or spayed cats do threaten wildlife, it just tends to be due to interbreeding rather than their hunting patterns. I'd never let an unneutered cat outside!

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    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: Cat Hazards

    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post
    On the topic of native wildlife, there's an organisation here which does catch, spay/neuter and release of stray cats. They've done some studies that show that cats killing wildlife is a) not as common as people think and b) not enough to actually create that much change to populations. They release rather than euthanise because removing a cat from the community completely can actually create further issues. I know that there are similar programs in the US, so I imagine there is also some support in Europe. The point there is that an outdoor cat is actually not that detrimental to the environment or to native populations (a thousand might be a different story though... hence desexing them all so they can't interbreed and create more).
    We have feral cat colonies that number over a hundred...on a good weather day, you can see dozens of them lounging in the parking lots on base . Some studies show the average 5 to as high as 9 native birds (as oppposed to birds in general) killed each year. Because of where the birds are, that tends to be nesting shorebirds...US studies estimake the number of birds killed by cats annually at something like 1 billion, give or take a few million (apparently newer studies are even higher)...and that's not counting reptiles and amphibians. Despite being an urban ares, the sheer number of waterways and flood areas make this fairly wildlife rich for an urban landscape. Feral cats compete with foxes, skunks, river otter, etc. You cant possibly steralize the problem away. From an ecological perspective, they are a nightmare...and only slightly less so in an urban environment (due to people feeding them and scavenging, and the number of other invasive species--non-native mice and rats) than in rural areas (my undergrad thesis was on the ecological impact of pet ownership....dont even get me started on pet waste and watershed ecology, lol).
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    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: Cat Hazards

    Out here in farm-land, you'd expect to have a feral cat problem, what with barn cats and all, but we actually see very few feral cats. Between the 'coons, coyotes, and eagles (to say nothing of the wild cats, like bobcats), as well as the diseases that will wipe out an entire barnfull of cats in a week or so, we generally only see a wild cat or two every now and then.

    And those cats tend to be "dumped" cats (I HATE pet dumpers! The pets would be bettor off euthenized) who live miserable lives then disappear after a couple months.
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    lady sings the blues DanieMarie's Avatar
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    Re: Cat Hazards

    Yeah, I don't think feral cats are a huge issue here. I barely even see them in Berlin, despite all the massive rats they could be eating (we have a lot of very fat rats here). I think they must come pick them up or they get hit by cars really quickly.

    My hometown in Canada is on the water and there was always a healthy population of feral cats living at the harbour. I think they lived off the castoffs from fishing boats.

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    Re: Cat Hazards

    Vegas depends on its feral cat population for pest control. We've got roof rats, brown rats, black rats, plain ol rat-rats, field mice... and Hanta virus. Luckily fleas aren't much of a problem here, or we'd have bubonic plague like some other cities do. So the huge feral cat population (we also have TNR programs here) controls the rodents (and to an extent, the pigeons & our native grackles), and the coyotes, foxes, mountain lions & cars control the cat populations. If it wasn't for the cats I'd hate to see what some of our buffets & back alleys would look like.
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    lady sings the blues DanieMarie's Avatar
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    Re: Cat Hazards

    Quote Originally Posted by Ophidia View Post
    Vegas depends on its feral cat population for pest control. We've got roof rats, brown rats, black rats, plain ol rat-rats, field mice... and Hanta virus. Luckily fleas aren't much of a problem here, or we'd have bubonic plague like some other cities do. So the huge feral cat population (we also have TNR programs here) controls the rodents (and to an extent, the pigeons & our native grackles), and the coyotes, foxes, mountain lions & cars control the cat populations. If it wasn't for the cats I'd hate to see what some of our buffets & back alleys would look like.
    Yeah a lot of places in the Mediterranean seem to as well. Athens has cats everywhere.

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    Opinionated Rae'ya's Avatar
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    Re: Cat Hazards

    Quote Originally Posted by thalassa View Post
    We have feral cat colonies that number over a hundred...on a good weather day, you can see dozens of them lounging in the parking lots on base . Some studies show the average 5 to as high as 9 native birds (as oppposed to birds in general) killed each year. Because of where the birds are, that tends to be nesting shorebirds...US studies estimake the number of birds killed by cats annually at something like 1 billion, give or take a few million (apparently newer studies are even higher)...and that's not counting reptiles and amphibians. Despite being an urban ares, the sheer number of waterways and flood areas make this fairly wildlife rich for an urban landscape. Feral cats compete with foxes, skunks, river otter, etc. You cant possibly steralize the problem away. From an ecological perspective, they are a nightmare...and only slightly less so in an urban environment (due to people feeding them and scavenging, and the number of other invasive species--non-native mice and rats) than in rural areas (my undergrad thesis was on the ecological impact of pet ownership....dont even get me started on pet waste and watershed ecology, lol).
    Here, a higher percentage of the 'average cat kills per year' are introduced species rather than native species. And a high percentage of THAT is rats and mice, rather than birds. In most suburban environments, there are no native predators to help control the invasive introduced species. So we have feral cats competing with foxes (both introduced and invasive), meanwhile the native quoll is out bush with very little competition (and foxes compete with them moreso than feral cats). Urbanisation and habitat destruction is far more detrimental to our native wildlife than cats are. Our feral cat population isn't anywhere near as high, and their impact on the environment is, ironically, not as detrimental (which is not to say that it's not detrimental, just that it's not quite as drastic as most people think it is). It goes to show the differences depending on where you live though. I'm talking about urban and suburban Adelaide here (there are also studies done in Melbourne and Canberra) but it will be different in other places. And I've seen documentaries on feral cat 'colonies' in places in the US... where there are literally hundreds of cats hanging around in a park. There's nothing like that here.

    I prefer indoor only cats, but I also spend a lot of time having to politely listen to cat-haters who rant about cats killing wildlife in my consult room. Yes, people will spout vitriolic hatred about an animal to a vet, at the vet clinic. And expect us to join in.

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    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: Cat Hazards

    At any rate, it's not the cat's fault. They do what animals do when they need to survive.

    Pointless to hate them for being what they are. In the right place (a home) they are marvelous creatures.

    You know, I could hate ferrets - they kill our livestock. But why? It's what they are, and, from what I've been told, they are interesting pets,
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rae'ya View Post

    ...So we have feral cats competing with foxes (both introduced and invasive), meanwhile the native quoll is out bush with very little competition (and foxes compete with them moreso than feral cats).
    Wilpena NP just reintroduced quolls. They used to be native there, but died out. The bought some over from WA in an effort at re-population. We have less fox problems here than down south, so cats our here are monsters. They are the only animal I aim to run down in my cat at night lol.

    Also dingos, too many holes in the fence. We've started having dingo problems.

    And B., ferrets are awesome. Super clever little things. I could have ferrets as pets.
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