Jim Williams has been watching birds and writing about their antics since before "Gilligan's Island" went into reruns. Join him for his unique insights, his everyday adventures and an open conversation about the birds in your back yard and beyond.

City Council to vote on a really bad idea

Posted by: Jim Williams under Bird biology, Bird conservation Updated: September 15, 2013 - 5:01 PM

Minneapolis has a chance to become seriously bird friendly, but a motion that goes to a council vote Friday is a big step in the opposite direction. A council committee has given approval to an ordinance allowing people to maintain feral cat communities. The ordinance would allow people to provide food and shelter for feral cats. Included in the ordinance would be the trap-neuter-release scam that some cat people insist is actually beneficial to wildlife. That is seriously wrong. There is strong scientific evidence to the contrary. Feral cats no matter how well fed, well sheltered, neutered, vaccinated or whatever kill billions of birds each year in the U.S. They kill not because they are bad kitties, but because it is their nature. Pet cats belong indoors. Feral cats have no place in the North American wildlife hierarchy. Cats are an introduced species, not native to this country, the very same status as European Starlings and House Sparrows. Read some of the published research at http://www.nature.com/ncomms/journal/v4/n1/full/ncomms2380.html and http://www.nature.com/ncomms/journal/v4/n1/full/ncomms2380.html] 

Contact city council members with telephone and email information found at

http://www.mpls.dfl.org/elected-officials.

People supporting the feral cat community proposal are vocal, determined, and persistent. People who favor birds over free-roaming feral cats need to make themselves heard. Right now. If this ordinance is approved it will be very difficult to change. One city council member said while not a solution to the cat problem the ordinance would be a step in the right direction. The right direction is to license cats and make it illegal for them to wander freely. Why are cats treated differently than dogs? 

Presently, Minneapolis Animal Care and Control, a city department, kills feral cats it catches or cats trapped by city residents and brought to it. Trapping is legal. More than 2,500 cats have been removed from the feral cat population in this way since 2010. That number of cats, however, is a small fraction of the feral cat population in the city. 

I have a fat file of photos of feral cats. Feral cats are not hard to find. Here's a sleek, fat, handsome example of a cat on the hunt.

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