Response to letter about feral cats
Bob Mount, a retired zoologist, recommends declawing feral cats, which he terms ‘alien predators,’ to protect billions of birds and small mammals. As a zoologist, he is surely familiar with components of the ecosystem. Hollywood depicts it in the movie “The Lion King” when Mufasa explains the circle of life to his son, Simba. The billions of small birds and mammals are killed each year by domestic and feral cats, as well as other predators, prevents the birds’ overpopulation.
A perfect example of overpopulation due to lack of predators is Oak Mountain State Park. The park has scheduled dates for bowhunters to reduce the population of deer because the habitat cannot support them. Health and necropsy results confirmed the presence of parasites and disease due to overpopulation.
Changes in predator or prey population can have drastic cascading affects on the equilibrium of the ecosystem. The absence of feral cats could result in a vermin control problem for Montevallo. Residents could find chipmunks overtaking their lawns or bird droppings — a serious health hazard.
Mr. Mount’s solution to the “serious threat cats are to the nation’s wildlife” troubles me. Declawed feral cats cannot protect themselves. Trapping, vaccinating and neutering free roaming and feral cats is an excellent way to control the feline population. Removal of their only source of self-defense is cruel.
As an animal welfare proponent, I would greatly appreciate Mr. Mount rethinking his solution to saving the millions of lives of rodents that cause extensive and expensive property damage. Cats are rarely trouble for anyone.