Letters to the Editor

Your views in 200 words or less

CATS: Beloved pets are decimating wildlife

Letter by Dana W. Burt, Tacoma on Feb. 13, 2012 at 1:57 pm | 13 Comments »
February 13, 2012 2:12 pm

Re: “Dial C for cat” (Bill Hall column, 2-11).

I normally enjoy Hall’s column. Unfortunately, this one is so far from reality that I must respond from a naturalist’s point of view.

To be blunt, cats directly kill 500 million wild birds a year in America alone. They also kill millions more indirectly. All the proof you need is to observe any meadow adjacent to a new housing development.

Before people and their cats arrive, a meadow is a healthy environment that provides much-needed habit and forage for birds. Before long (a few years) trees will have filled in the meadow. This is because of the loss of rodents which the cats happily eradicate.

Mice eat the new shoots of trees that will otherwise grow to maturity. This assures the change from meadow to forest which assures the loss of many species of wild birds that find their living in open meadows.

It is happening everywhere. It is one of the reasons that the Western bluebird is in serious decline.

We love our pets. We love nature. We, as stewards of the earth need to find a more reasonable balance.

(Burt is a volunteer naturalist with Metro Parks Tacoma at Snake Lake Nature Center.)

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