Chicago unleashes huge army of feral cats to take on the rats

I was gonna say, never hire a cat to do a mink’s job!

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That might work for a very specific area (though even there it’s going to be far more effective vs. mice), but they’re trying to deal with rats on a city-wide scale, so this would do nothing. It won’t deter the rats from existing, nor living in the city, nor even in specific neighborhoods.

So in other words, they were still around, but you didn’t see them. They didn’t disappear, they just went somewhere else (nearby) at best. Plus, outdoor cat feeding causes rodent problems. You probably had some neighbors wondering why the fuck they were suddenly over-run with rodents.

Again: This isn’t a solution to a city-wide problem, and it causes a whole lot of other problems. Cats kill far more birds and wildlife than they do rats or even mice. Cats are great if you want to commit ecocide, but not so great for vermin control.

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Cats attacking pigeons (the most ubiquitous bird in Chicago) would be a good thing. They are invasive and a nuisance.

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In the case of deer, there is a fairly good argument that there is a distinct lack of remaining predators to sufficiently control the population in many locations. So leaving some leavings in the hope of encouraging more predators in that case may make ecological sense. (note I have no idea if coyotes would be the desired predator in that location, or if the environment would be better served by more wolves, bobcats, or mountain lions). You did not say if the ranger indicated if leaving the butchering waste was an actual problem, or if it was something the park rangers actually encouraged.

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Costco just notified me of this in today’s e-mail:
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I wonder how this would scale for a city-sized problem?

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Yeah. The OP described the cats as an alternative to “rat poison that can harm other wildlife,” but, as much as I love cats, in this circumstance they are basically functioning as living breathing “rat poison that can harm other wildlife.”

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coyote

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You know, they also make rat traps that do not require batteries, or an internet connection as well. Cheaper too.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Victor-Metal-Pedal-Rat-Trap-M210/100336757

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The ranger thought it was unfortunate but not too concerned. The same area has wolves and cougars, indeed it may been one of those guys that got the meal (although there are lots of coyotes so probably them) Yeah, lots of ungulates about. My understanding of how the predator/prey relationship works with them is it’s more thrive/starve starve/thrive but I don’t know. I think there is a considerable underestimate of of some categories of predators…For instance, in Canada, apart from B.C. where there are said to be 3500 mountain lions, all the rest of Canada is said to have 500 mountain lions.
Without making any special effort, I personally have seen four different cougars. Of the 500 distributed across Canada. How likely is that? :slight_smile:

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Chicago hosts a lot of native birds, which are far more likely to be targets of cats.

Yeah. Rat poison should be banned, honestly, given the enormous damage it does. So should outdoor cats. “We’re using this thing recognized to be terrible as a substitute for this other thing we recognize as terrible” is not a great argument (or defense) on their part.

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Now I just need something do deal with the voles, whose population is starting to go critical. (Tried Juicy Fruit, but I think they like it.)

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Snakes! Just kidding, just kidding

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Head over to the Field museum for info on Chicago’s birds.
They’ve documented 285 species seen in Grant Park alone
https://birds.fieldmuseum.org/experiences/go-birding/birding-downtown-chicago

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Yeah, but they aren’t sending their best.

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I’m not familiar with Chicago’s rats, but if they’re the same variety as the rats over here in Boston then they’re going to need bigger cats.

We’ve had an uptick in coyotes recently, which seems to help with rats, but I also see notably fewer stray cats.

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Would they be willing to come and collect some of my neighborhood’s feral cats? They are adept at killing chipmunks and songbirds but I’m sure that with a bit of on-the-job training they could be convinced to go for rat. At least after they wipe out all of the local chipmunks and songbirds.

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We have plenty of feral cats. They don’t do much for the rats. For those who suggest minks: we also have plenty of feral mongooses, which were brought here by farmers in 1893 to deal with the rats. Turns out they prefer chickens (in the country) and garbage (in town). I expect minks would be the same.

There have been some notable successes with rat eradication from ecosystems; they mainly involved rodenticide.

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Effectiveness against both airborne and terrestrial rats sounds like a 2 for 1 deal to me.

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rat wash GIF

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Oh no! I know how this ends!

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