Domestic cats an invasive species

Originally published at: Domestic cats an invasive species | Boing Boing


I like cats, but I also like other animals too. Please keep them inside.

edit: catch and spay programs are also very important for curbing the feral cat population which is many cities is out of control.

edit2: urban coyotes are also helpful in dealing with feral cat populations.


“Bad Tibbles. BAD kitty.”

Of course for the sake of parity, we should probably designate humans as an invasive species and impose strict controls on when they’re allowed out.


“Don’t let it in!!”


Sneaky Susan!!


My city has rats, mostly in the sewers but occasionally in my neighbour’s compost bin. There’s still grain grown in city limits, so there are lots of mice around.

When we lost our big boy and hyper-skilled rodent killer Max, rats tried to move into our house. Our current mouser, weighing in at only 8 lbs, is about a third of Max’s lean weight, but can get a rat with a bit of help.

We train our kittens on mouse toys, never feather or bird toys, and although they do get the very occasional bird, the cats are key to keeping mice and rats out of our house, shed and yards, and giving squirrels at least a reason to contemplate being elsewhere.


My current neighborhood has more outdoor cats than I’ve ever seen before. My indoor cats (one of whom was feral at one point) are jealous.

We’ve also got coyotes, so…


You saw the part where most of the time they don’t take their prey back home, right? Your cats may well be taking out more birds than you realize, which was one of the main points of this article.


That you know of. As the OP points out, they also get far more, prone as they are to kill anything they can.


Taylor Swift Cat GIF


In the US, cats kill more than 2 billion birds a year. People driving cars kill 200 million. Building windows kills 599 million. Power line collision kills 25 million. Communication towers kill 6.6 million. Power Lines Electrocution kills 5.6 million. Wind turbines kills 230,000.

Alone, cats kill more birds than direct and indirect human action.


My local animal shelter always advises people to keep their cats inside. Besides the impact on wildlife, there are just a long list of bad things that can happen to outside cats, including fights with other cats, encounters with other unfriendly animals, and being hit by cars. However, quite a few people are just unconvinced by this and believe their cat has to be outdoors. Lots of people too have a backyard cat they feed without really adopting it as a pet, spaying/neutering it, or getting it vet care.


Even when kept indoors they are a very invasive species.

Of your personal bubble, at all times, but especially when you are trying to do something or have food.


Here in the UK, I was slightly surprised to see this article on the RSPB (Royal Society For The Protection Of Birds):

TLDR: Meh. Quite a lot but it’s not really a big deal.

I honestly would’ve expected the RSPB to put a more cautionary spin on these figures! They didn’t bother, though, which I do find quite interesting/surprising.

We’ve got two cats, only one of whom has any interest in going outside. He’s double-belled and we now keep him inside from dusk to dawn, which is when his most successful hunting had previously taken place. I doubt he’ll never kill again, but as far as we know it’s been a very long time since it last happened.


Historians tell us that their willingness to commit pint-sized murder is how they won their way into our hearts to begin with, several millennia ago. It’s not their fault that we either figured out how to protect our grain, or more likely figured out how to make so much that the losses to pests became acceptable.

Cats need to secure their status by figuring out how to kill mosquitos. I actually had a tabby that put his paw on my arm some years ago, and I discovered that he had plopped it on top of a mosquito doing its business. Maybe there’s hope…


Yea, I had an “argument” with a co-worker about this one time. She was saying how much she hated the local shelter because they have a strict policy about them wanting people who adopted cats to keep them inside. I explained it to her, same as you just did above, but she was having none of it.
We have a lot of coyotes in Southern CA and not just in suburban or rural areas. So aside from the excessive bird murdering, many a neighborhood cat has been lost to a coyote.
I mean, I appreciated our next door neighbor’s kitties that they adopted from feral and the fact that not one rat or evidence of a rat (or mouse) was ever seen around our house. But these two inside/outside cats would even kill squirrels. They were neutered, so there was that. When they moved, I had to trap rats in our shed. She told my wife when they moved they switched the cats up to be inside only…


Being inside is better for the cat, as well, as any veterinarian (least of all the two in my family) will tell you. They catch no diseases, they won’t be hit by cars, they won’t get in fights, and they have less anxiety trying to constantly patrol and defend a large territory full of chaos.

Keep your furry murder-mittened friends inside for the benefit of all!

People have a lot of fallacious “noble wild animal” ideas about their domestic pets. People think dogs should eat raw meat because that’s what wolves do (guess what- wolves get tape worms and E.coli too) and people think domestic cats are mountain lions that must roam wild and kill game to be happy. Chasing a string gives them all the joy without the anxiety and constant threat of death and disease.

Wild animals live short miserable lives, lasting just long enough to reproduce. That’s what nature does. Put down the Disney movies and back away slowly.


Subsidized predators.

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There’s work done to get doggos trained to detect human disease (cancers, Parkinson’s, covid), the utility is still a work in progress. The article jokes that cats maybe could, but do they want to The dogs learning to sniff out disease


Sometimes the birds get their revenge. When I worked at a mine in northern Manitoba the biggest threat to pets in town were ravens.