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April 17, 2014 - Harry Eagar
There’s a hot cat fight going on here on Maui. But ours is just the local edition of a cat fight that is making fur fly all across the country.
You may have been following the controversy about the Maui Humane Society, its departing executive director and the strident campaign of cat (but not bird) lovers to introduce a “no-kill” policy at the society, which gets most of its money through a county animal control contract.
And still more about the situation in New York City, just to show we are not alone. (follow link)
In theory, cats can be controlled by having cat lovers capture and spay or neuter feral cats, then return them to their happy hunting grounds, feeding and watering them, until they die of old age. Problem solved.
This is not how it works in real life. There was a cat colony at Iao Valley State Park, and a few years ago if you went up there after dark and shined your headlights into the forest, you would see hundreds of cats’ eyes looking back at you. During the day, scores of cats patroled the parking lot.
You cannot go into the park after dark any more, so the spooky cat crowd is not on display; and the last time I was at the parking lot it was not overrun with cats. I don’t know if that means the cat colony has diminished, but I doubt it has.
Colonies of Jackson’s chameleons, nene and pueo do die out. Cat colonies and cattle egrets, hardly ever. Usually, it seems that people who are dropping off their unwanted cats (instead of drowning them, which was customary in bygone times) look for existing cat colonies, presumably so their cat will have company and three squares a day.
On Maui, there is the issue of ground-nesting birds, especially seabirds. Some of these are endangered. All of them are slaughtered by cats. Few seabirds even try to nest on the island, and when they do they are usually mauled.
Even well-fed cats will hunt and kill for pleasure.
The upside of this is that without our thousands of blood-crazed cats, there would be even more feral chickens everywhere.
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