Pennsylvania Game News - August 2018 - 62

one by one, they disappeared. They were
always replaced with others that migrated
in. Finally, I started catching them and
taking them to the local Humane Society.
After a couple trips, we were scolded
for not getting them spayed, as responsible pet owners would. I explained we
hadn't asked for these animals, and I had
no intention of becoming a cat lady like
my mother-in-law.
I loved birds, and while I rarely saw
any kills from these free-ranging cats, I
knew they preyed on wildlife. Eventually,
I refused to feed any more cats. It was a
difficult decision because they are beguiling creatures. Today, I rarely see a cat on
our mountain, perhaps because eastern

62

coyotes prey on them.
But when we drive in rural valleys, we
often see cats hunting the fields or killed
on the roads.
Many of these cats are feral or tame
strays that don't belong to anyone. Others
are household pets allowed to roam outdoors.
In the United States, there are as many
as 80 to 90 million cats owned as pets. Of
these, 60 to 70 percent go outside. In addition, scientists also have estimated there
are perhaps 80 million ownerless cats that
freely roam outdoors.
Stan Temple set off a firestorm with
his 1993 paper published in the Wildlife
Society Bulletin, which stated his research
on Wisconsin farms indicated cats were
killing as many as 7.8 million wild birds
a year in the state, and that at least 10
percent of small to medium-size birds in
a cat's range were preyed upon.
The research punctuated concerns that
the U.S. Department of Agriculture's
Conservation Reserve Program, which
paid farmers to replace erodible croplands
with permanent grasslands to help dwindling birds such as bobolinks, Henslow's
sparrows and eastern meadowlarks, would
be marginalized by the many free-ranging
cats that would roam those grasslands.
Temple's study was the first of dozens
examining the impact of non-native cats
on our native birds.
Authored by Smithsonian Migratory
Bird Center director Peter Marra and
associates, a 2013 paper in the scientific
journal Nature Communications estimated cats killed 1.3 billion to 4 billion
birds per year, in addition to small mammals, reptiles and amphibians.
Specifically, each free-ranging cat
annually killed an average of 30 to 47.6



Pennsylvania Game News - August 2018

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Pennsylvania Game News - August 2018

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Pennsylvania Game News - August 2018 - Cover3
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