Should City Keep Killing Cats?
They feast on endangered birds, and the city currently kills hundreds. Now, it might neuter them instead.
Cats are evil. At least, that is, according to a story that appeared on Slate.com last week.
Cats are a globally invasive species. They kill millions of birds each year in Wisconsin alone. Cats feast on endangered North American ground-nesting birds such as the California clapper rail, least tern, and piping plover, any one of which is cuter than a laundry basket full of kittens. A study in the D.C. area a few years ago showed that in some neighborhoods (neighborhoods in which a lot of people who really ought to know better let their beasts roam free), outdoor cats eat basically all juvenile birds as soon as they fledge.
To top it off, feral, and they're hard to adopt because they tend to fear and attack humans To deal with the problem, Minneapolis has historically euthanized strays that came its way. According to a city report, Minneapolis Animal Care and Control euthanized over 400 animals of all kinds in 2011, and MPR reports the city destroyed 260 cats in 2012. Many suburban police departments bring their stray animals to shelters like the Animal Humane Society, which euthanizes many of the animals it receives.
But now, a Minneapolis city council member wants the city to spay and neuter all the feral cats it comes across, according to MPR, saying the euthanasia approach hasn't kept pace with the feral cats' birthrate. City animal control officials also took a similar line in a report published in April 2012, saying euthanasia took up resources doing something that damaged the department's public image.
But absent firm details of the city's future spay and neuter plans, it's still possible to ask whether the city—and the Twin Cities' suburbs—ought to plow more money into euthanasia in order to address the environmental damage caused by feral cats. Where would you stand?