Let’s be consistent on issue of feral cats

Another letter writer arguing for trapping, spaying and releasing feral cats argues that we should respect cats’ “will to live” by keeping them healthier and keeping the population down. Let’s be consistent. By the same argument, we should trap, spay and release Norway rats, the big brown ones. True, rats do a lot of harm, but feral cats cause more deaths among wild birds than any other cause. Forget windmills, signature bridges and plate-glass windows, which kill relatively few birds. And cats won’t take on Norway rats, preferring more harmless creatures like mice, chipmunks, squirrels, chickadees, cardinals and songbirds, all of which also demonstrate a “will to live.”

Norway rats, like feral cats, are an invasive species that threaten native animals and have, in many parts of the country and indeed the world, driven indigenous species to extinction. There are not a lot of ground-dwelling birds on Pacific islands anymore, for example. Rats and cats are largely responsible for the extinctions. I don’t see how you can favor one invasive pest over the other. Cats have fuzzier tails than rats, but that shouldn’t make the difference between life and death.

Robert K. Dentan