It is currently Thu May 24, 2018 2:15 am

All times are UTC - 6 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 150 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10  Next
Author Message
 
PostPosted: Wed Feb 14, 2018 3:19 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun Apr 30, 2017 12:17 pm
Posts: 206
Location: Darlington UK
We have two cats, a tabby queen and a white/black moggy. Theyre mad, chalk and cheese. But I miss the big ginger tom we used to have. He is legend!

_________________
You don't stop playing when you get old, you get old when you stop playing!
My musical endeavours on my blog https://mymusictree.blogspot.co.uk/


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 4:06 pm 
Offline
Moderatorer
User avatar

Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2002 6:00 pm
Posts: 33014
Location: Minneapolis
benhall.1 wrote:
Predators are useful. Billions of birds killed? So what? There are still billions of birds. Besides, what Dan is doing is helping to control that colony of feral cats. It's got to be better than doing nothing. We don't have such programmes here in the UK (or if we do, they're not well known about), but my understanding is that control is one of the principal aims.

I've been thinking about this, and it seems to me that the question of cat predation is usually treated too broadly by us armchair ecologists because our emotions are involved. The way I see it, there are two main conditions: 1) Settings where wildlife are accustomed to predation in general and have developed a number of strategies to avoid becoming dinner, and 2) Small island settings where the wildlife are ecologically naive due to having evolved with no predators, and/or such places serve as seasonal breeding nurseries. Cats in the latter instance are always a disaster, and I think we should do our best to rid those places of cats, without exception, and better yet never introduce them in the first place. But in the other instance the negative impact of cat predation is less certain. Here's an interesting bit of info I got from Wikipedia:

Quote:
In 2002, feral cats introduced to a flower market in Los Angeles, California, were noted to have helped lower rat populations. In Chicago's 47th Ward, feral cats were introduced in 2012 to help the city deal with the rat problem there.

Efforts to eradicate feral cats in Ventura, California, were noted in 2002 to have resulted in increasing numbers of rats, which were being monitored for health problems such as bubonic plague.

This suggests to me that feral cats can even have a beneficial place in the local ecology - if the conditions are right. That last has to be taken into account. We can see that it's not enough to simply say that feral cats are always and without exception a bad thing. It's also been noted that managed feral populations tend not to stray from their home territory, and that counts.

Further, cats cannot rightly be singled out when it comes to surplus killing. This also from Wikipedia:

Quote:
Other than humans, surplus killing has been observed among zooplankton, damselfly naiads, predaceous mites, martens, weasels, honey badgers, wolves, orcas, red foxes, leopards, lions, spotted hyenas, spiders, brown and black and polar bears, coyotes, lynx, mink, raccoons, dogs, and house cats.

There are many documented examples of predators exhibiting surplus killing. For example, researchers in Canada's Northwest Territories once found the bodies of 34 neonatal caribou calves that had been killed by wolves and scattered—some half-eaten and some completely untouched—over 3 square kilometres (1.2 sq mi).

In Australia, over several days a single fox once killed eleven wallabies and 74 penguins, eating almost none. One leopard in Cape Province, South Africa killed 51 sheep and lambs in a single incident. Similarly, two caracal in Cape Province killed 22 sheep in one night, eating only part of the buttock of one carcass. Up to 19 spotted hyenas once killed 82 Thomson's gazelle and badly injured 27, eating just 16%.

Such dramatic examples cannot simply be chalked up to caching behavior alone. And for what it's worth, I've never known or heard of any Felis s. catus to match, much less come close to, any of those.

_________________
"Time is the wisest counselor of all." - Pericles

"I remain not entirely convinced of it." - Nano


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 5:01 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2001 6:00 pm
Posts: 7367
Location: East Coast US
Almost totally unrelated, but since we're talking about small predators: I've seen three struck foxes by the side of the road in the last couple of days. I think in the 25 previous years I've lived here, I'd seen a total of three. That indicates to me that the fox population is unusually high. There has certainly been a plethora of rabbits the last couple of years.

We had a fox family in or very near our yard maybe five years ago. Spring and fall when I was going to/arriving from work in the crepuscles, I would often see one or two. I love foxes.

_________________
Charlie
Whorfin Woods
Don't blame me, I voted for Cthulhu


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 6:55 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2004 12:17 am
Posts: 10069
Location: The Inside Passage
Nanohedron wrote:
Further, cats cannot rightly be singled out when it comes to surplus killing.


Who's "singling out" cats for surplus killing? I've no problem with wild animals displaying natural behaviour in the wild. Nature has been balancing that equation for millions of years.

The problem with supporting colonies of feral cats is that this dramatically raises the carrying capacity, and thus the predator population, of a given piece of territory. A place that might have supported one or two cats now supports 30 or 40. We know that being well-fed doesn't deter cats from killing, so that huge cat population has a massive negative impact on the local wildlife.

~~

And I suspect everyone with a que sera attitude about their cats preying on other folks' birdfeeders would see things very differently if someone moved in next door with a cat killing coyote-dog hybrid.

_________________
And now there was no doubt that the trees were really moving - moving in and out through one another as if in a complicated country dance. ('And I suppose,' thought Lucy, 'when trees dance, it must be a very, very country dance indeed.')

C.S. Lewis


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:00 pm 
Offline
Moderatorer
User avatar

Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2002 6:00 pm
Posts: 33014
Location: Minneapolis
chas wrote:
Almost totally unrelated, but since we're talking about small predators: I've seen three struck foxes by the side of the road in the last couple of days. I think in the 25 previous years I've lived here, I'd seen a total of three. That indicates to me that the fox population is unusually high. There has certainly been a plethora of rabbits the last couple of years.

Could be a case of as goes the prey, so goes the predator.

Rabbit population where I live is pretty stable. I attribute that mainly to an urban setting with limited consistent resources. In all my time in this neighborhood - 12 years, now? - I've seen only one fox, and I never expected to see even that much. There is the odd pocket of wild growth about, but they're few, small and very widely scattered. Best bet is that fox came up all the way from the Mississippi banks where there's plenty of productive riparian habitat, but that's a quarter mile away with a lot of asphalt in between. My rabbits must be especially toothsome. Dining out - that's city life. :wink:

But there's been urbanization one never used to see. I never used to see cardinals, bald eagles, opossums, beaver, wild turkeys, deer or foxes within the city proper. Now it's not all that unusual. On the one hand I welcome it, but on the other I wonder if it points to something other than simple eventual adaptation.

_________________
"Time is the wisest counselor of all." - Pericles

"I remain not entirely convinced of it." - Nano


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:08 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2004 12:17 am
Posts: 10069
Location: The Inside Passage
benhall.1 wrote:
Besides, what Dan is doing is helping to control that colony of feral cats. It's got to be better than doing nothing. We don't have such programmes here in the UK (or if we do, they're not well known about), but my understanding is that control is one of the principal aims.


No, what Dan is doing is supporting a colony of cats. Absent the food, there's no need for the spaying: litters will be smaller and excess kittens will starve, and thus will the population be controlled naturally, just as with every other wild creature.

Feed'n'spay programs spay because they have to. With unlimited free food, the feral cat population will explode in Malthusian abandon, until it bankrupts the organizers or gets shut down by the city.

And Ben, you likely don't hear about similar programs in the UK because you have a much higher urban fox population culling your feral cats naturally.

_________________
And now there was no doubt that the trees were really moving - moving in and out through one another as if in a complicated country dance. ('And I suppose,' thought Lucy, 'when trees dance, it must be a very, very country dance indeed.')

C.S. Lewis


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:37 pm 
Offline
Moderatorer
User avatar

Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2002 6:00 pm
Posts: 33014
Location: Minneapolis
s1m0n wrote:
Who's "singling out" cats for surplus killing? I've no problem with wild animals displaying natural behaviour in the wild.

Never said you did. But I've had people say it, and that's why I pointed it out.

s1m0n wrote:
The problem with supporting colonies of feral cats is that this dramatically raises the carrying capacity, and thus the predator population, of a given piece of territory. A place that might have supported one or two cats now supports 30 or 40. We know that being well-fed doesn't deter cats from killing, so that huge cat population has a massive negative impact on the local wildlife.

Colonies exist first because the locale could naturally support them without human agency. I don't know enough to say but maybe you should ask those who manage colonies for their own observations. You'll remember that management includes spaying and neutering. I should think that feeding would be the last priority.

s1m0n wrote:
And I suspect everyone with a que sera attitude about their cats preying on other folks' birdfeeders would see things very differently if someone moved in next door with a cat killing coyote-dog hybrid.

Well, a couple of things. First of all I don't know of any cat owner with a que sera attitude about it. In my experience we would all rather our cats didn't hunt at all, but short of lobotomizing them there isn't a lot to be done about basic nature.

Secondly, I don't get where you're coming from with the Frankendog. Barring the rare exception, dogs don't run free nowadays hereabouts, and that's by law, so there isn't a lot to worry about on that end. But let's say the odd killer did get loose: all I can do is hope for the best. Back when dogs did run free, one night a pair of them teamed up, cornered my cat Tucks, and killed him right there on my own porch. When I caught up with it they were stomping on him, and they were clearly enjoying themselves. They broke his back. So it doesn't take coyote genes, I can tell you that. Even if someone did move in next door with a coyote-dog hybrid - coydogs, they're called - I wouldn't be so super-alarmed about the coyote part itself; rather, I'd be far more curious what kind of dog was part of the mix.

_________________
"Time is the wisest counselor of all." - Pericles

"I remain not entirely convinced of it." - Nano


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:46 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2004 12:17 am
Posts: 10069
Location: The Inside Passage
Nanohedron wrote:
Colonies exist first because the locale could naturally support them without human agency.


Then why do they need extra food?

_________________
And now there was no doubt that the trees were really moving - moving in and out through one another as if in a complicated country dance. ('And I suppose,' thought Lucy, 'when trees dance, it must be a very, very country dance indeed.')

C.S. Lewis


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 7:51 pm 
Offline
Moderatorer
User avatar

Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2002 6:00 pm
Posts: 33014
Location: Minneapolis
s1m0n wrote:
Nanohedron wrote:
Colonies exist first because the locale could naturally support them without human agency.

Then why do they need extra food?

I couldn't tell you. That's why I said that I should think that feeding them would be the last priority.

_________________
"Time is the wisest counselor of all." - Pericles

"I remain not entirely convinced of it." - Nano


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:03 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2004 12:17 am
Posts: 10069
Location: The Inside Passage
Nanohedron wrote:
I couldn't tell you. That's why I said that I should think that feeding them would be the last priority.


In reality, it's almost always the first impulse.

_________________
And now there was no doubt that the trees were really moving - moving in and out through one another as if in a complicated country dance. ('And I suppose,' thought Lucy, 'when trees dance, it must be a very, very country dance indeed.')

C.S. Lewis


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 8:10 pm 
Offline
Moderatorer
User avatar

Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2002 6:00 pm
Posts: 33014
Location: Minneapolis
s1m0n wrote:
Nanohedron wrote:
I couldn't tell you. That's why I said that I should think that feeding them would be the last priority.

In reality, it's almost always the first impulse.

Well, it is for the ill-informed, anyway, and they are the majority. Imagine the campaign it took for me to get word around the neighborhood not to feed Lester (to say nothing of convincing them why my reasons were good and sound), and that by complying they were actually participating in his welfare. That last was a clever angle, if I do say so myself - :D - but completely true. The paradigm appealed to their emotions in a legitimate way, and that made the tactic effective. It all eventually worked, but because it had to go word-of-mouth, it took many months.

_________________
"Time is the wisest counselor of all." - Pericles

"I remain not entirely convinced of it." - Nano


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:07 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:19 pm
Posts: 191
Location: Bitter-cold Michigan
s1m0n wrote:
Absent the food, there's no need for the spaying: litters will be smaller and excess kittens will starve, and thus will the population be controlled naturally, just as with every other wild creature.

Counterpoint: if we are somehow able to get the entire colony spayed and neutered (as I've said before, that will be a difficult task at best), litters will be nonexistent. Spaying and neutering also help keep the cats healthier.

One of the little kittens was hit by a car last year. Never mind that said kitten was feral; it tore me up to grab a shovel and bury the poor little thing.

And I maintain that they are not a serious threat to the bird population.

_________________
Whistle No.1: Walton's Irish, soprano D
Whistle No. 2: green Feadóg Original, soprano D


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:18 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 06, 2004 12:17 am
Posts: 10069
Location: The Inside Passage
Nonexistent litters are irrelevant when the food you're providing quadruples the size of the colony.

From an ecological POV, it is far better for a given habitat to have 3 or 4 adult cats and a mom struggling to provide for 2 or 3 kittens than a colony of 20 sterile adult cats.

In any case, you'll never sterilize them all.

_________________
And now there was no doubt that the trees were really moving - moving in and out through one another as if in a complicated country dance. ('And I suppose,' thought Lucy, 'when trees dance, it must be a very, very country dance indeed.')

C.S. Lewis


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:21 pm 
Offline

Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:19 pm
Posts: 191
Location: Bitter-cold Michigan
s1m0n wrote:
In any case, you'll never sterilize them all.

Yes, that is a pie-in-the-sky expectation.

I guess you and I will never see eye-to-eye on this matter.

_________________
Whistle No.1: Walton's Irish, soprano D
Whistle No. 2: green Feadóg Original, soprano D


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Thu Feb 15, 2018 10:28 pm 
Offline
Moderatorer
User avatar

Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2002 6:00 pm
Posts: 33014
Location: Minneapolis
s1m0n wrote:
Nonexistent litters are irrelevant when the food you're providing quadruples the size of the colony.

How does a colony quadruple with no, or fewer, litters? Immigration, because they hear tell there's a land of plenty?

_________________
"Time is the wisest counselor of all." - Pericles

"I remain not entirely convinced of it." - Nano


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 150 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1 ... 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10  Next

All times are UTC - 6 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
[ Time : 0.084s | 11 Queries | GZIP : On ]
(dh)