Bird group wants action on feral cats

Nov. 9, 2011 at 5:06 PM

WASHINGTON, Nov. 9 (UPI) -- A U.S. bird conservancy group has called on mayors of the country's 50 largest cities to help stop the epidemic of feral cats that threatens bird populations.

In a letter, the American Bird Conservancy urged the mayors to support responsible pet ownership and to oppose Trap-Neuter-Release programs that promote the feeding of outdoor cats, a conservancy release said Wednesday.

The conservancy called cat overpopulation a human-caused tragedy that affects the health and well-being of cats, native wildlife and the public.

Even when well fed, the group said, outdoor cats kill hundreds of millions of wild birds and other animals each year in the United States, including endangered species.

The domestic cat is an extremely effective predator introduced by humans into an environment whose native species are ill-equipped to defend themselves, the conservancy said.

The conservancy suggests communities concerned about feral cats consider mandatory licensing programs, using the fees to fund programs to help find homes for unwanted pets and educate pet owners about keeping their cats indoors.

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