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It was the birder, in the conservatory, with the gun.
November 14, 2007 10:49 AM   Subscribe

Metafilter's many cat lovers know that many kitties like birds. But bird aficionados aren't so fond of the cats. James Stevenson, founder of the Galveston, TX ornithological society, is accused of using a .22-caliber rifle to kill cats that he claims were stalking endangered birds. He admits to shooting the cats.

Stevenson isn't alone is his quest to protect birds from cats. But it seems that some of the less violent methods might be preferable. Still, the headlines are punny.
posted by bassjump (127 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
>.<
posted by Artw at 10:51 AM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Christ, what an asshole.
posted by porn in the woods at 10:52 AM on November 14, 2007


If we don't fight them there, we'll have to fight them here.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:53 AM on November 14, 2007


Endangered birds > Feral Cats
posted by BobbyDigital at 10:56 AM on November 14, 2007 [12 favorites]


At least he didn't have it declawed.
posted by Citizen Premier at 10:58 AM on November 14, 2007


Hell, he should shoot the house cats too while he's at it.
posted by baphomet at 10:58 AM on November 14, 2007


I would play that video game.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:58 AM on November 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


[This should be good]
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:59 AM on November 14, 2007


I'm having a hard time with this, because I love both cats and birds (and have several of both), but if he was, in fact, protecting his property, is he really in the wrong?

I think it's a deplorable method of solving the problem, particularly in how effective live trapping is. But is what he did really illegal?

I think the best solution here is to put him in a room with a couple of hungry, endangered vultures.

We'll just let nature sort it out.
posted by quin at 11:00 AM on November 14, 2007


Kitties > Suspicious looking type from central casting
posted by Artw at 11:00 AM on November 14, 2007


So, a dick was shooting pussy.
posted by fandango_matt at 11:03 AM on November 14, 2007


Seconding asshole. I mean, really. What a cock. People kill lots more endangered birds than cats do. I guess it'd be ok for me to go shoot him now?

Sheesh. Wacko.
posted by Aquaman at 11:03 AM on November 14, 2007


I just want to mention that the picture at the top of the New York Times article is hilarious.
posted by Kattullus at 11:05 AM on November 14, 2007


in the 1950s, the illinois legislature passed a law about leashing cats and otherwise controlling them outdoors. governor adlai stevenson vetoed the law, and here is a link to his classic veto message, first one on the page.
posted by bruce at 11:05 AM on November 14, 2007 [8 favorites]


From the article: “I did what I had to do.”
posted by jquinby at 11:12 AM on November 14, 2007


but if he was, in fact, protecting his property, is he really in the wrong?

Endangered birds, even on his property, do not belong to him. That justification is not going to stand up.

Much as I love cats, this may well be another example of us screwing up the natural world by allowing alien species to exist in an environment unprepared for them and unable to defend themselves. A cat if not the natural predator of the Plovers and shorebirds that he was protecting, and so the birds are not equipped to deal with the threat - a threat that WE (as humans) created by bringing cats to the area and allowing them to live wild.

Again, much as I like cats, the fact that it is a cat is pretty much irrelevant - it is only inappropriate emotion that gives the cat any more importance than the bird, a rat, or an insect. The issue should be about why a private citizen felt he had to protect a wild animal from a predator, and whether or not we, as a species, had failed the birds that are getting killed by our unnatural intervention.

I think I'll summarise my position as follows:
1: I think it is bad the cats are killing the birds.
2: I'd rather the cat had been removed and not killed.
3: If he WAS going to kill it, he should have been a better bloody shot and killed it outright and not let it suffer - I hope he didn't wound it deliberately. That'd mean he deserves prosecuting, in my mind.
posted by Brockles at 11:14 AM on November 14, 2007


What a disgusting story. From the guy who goes out and shoots a "feral" cat right next to its freaking food bowl and toys to the lawyer who says the police officer on the scene "[is] not qualified to know what the cat was feeling" (um, maybe just possibly like it just got shot? Bit of a stretch, I know...)

Ugh. We get it, you like birds... too bad you don't have the slightest regard for anything else, including human decency.
posted by vorfeed at 11:14 AM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think those cats deserved to be killed.
posted by kuatto at 11:14 AM on November 14, 2007


Give him the chair.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:14 AM on November 14, 2007


Bruce, that's awesome.

The problem of cat versus bird is as old as time. If we attempt to resolve it by legislation who knows but what we may be called upon to take sides as well in the age old problems of dog versus cat, bird versus bird, or even bird versus worm.
posted by bassjump at 11:16 AM on November 14, 2007


Cats are bad. Birds and mice are good. Haven't you people seen the cartoons?
posted by fleetmouse at 11:19 AM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


but if he was, in fact, protecting his property, is he really in the wrong?

What property was he protecting? Does he own the endangered birds? The bridge the cat was living under?

The asscock wasn't protecting his property. He went out of his way to shoot a cat that was allegedly stalking endangered birds (like the cat knows the difference). The guy is making money off of tours of the endangered species. He was protecting his business.

If I ran a shelter for cats I guess I would be in the right to go there and kill every single endangered bird I find. After all, I have to protect my business, and if a dumb conservationist wants to kill the cats because of his business being threatened, I should have the same right as him.
posted by splice at 11:23 AM on November 14, 2007


This thread is a test to see which Mefites have been infected by toxoplasmosis.
posted by drezdn at 11:23 AM on November 14, 2007 [12 favorites]


cats > some jerk with a gun
posted by contessa at 11:26 AM on November 14, 2007


In 1990 Jimmy Carter killed his sister-in-law's cat with a shotgun blast because it was poaching squirrel food. But then he wrote a nice note of apology, which is what separates the statesmen from the common cat-killers.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:27 AM on November 14, 2007 [4 favorites]


poaching squirrel food

whoops, make that stalking birds
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 11:29 AM on November 14, 2007


Fuck him and the birds. Let's put him in a room with his 22 and a hungry, irritated tiger and see what happens. Also, given that birds can move in three dimensions and cats are restricted to two (to a first approximation), I'd say it's a more than fair contest. If they can't win with that advantage, let Father Darwin call them home.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 11:31 AM on November 14, 2007


Also, given that birds can move in three dimensions and cats are restricted to two...

The emptied nests in our trees would indicate otherwise. And yes, I saw one of the little bastards slinking away with a mouth full one night.
posted by jquinby at 11:34 AM on November 14, 2007


If only the birds would have some sort of advantage against the cats.
posted by drezdn at 11:35 AM on November 14, 2007 [6 favorites]


I just want to mention that the picture at the top of the New York Times article is hilarious.

Agreed. It looks like the first frame of a video depicting a carnival game. That head bobs down; another bobs up center frame, etc. "Hey, asshole, see if you can shoot one of us now."
posted by ericb at 11:36 AM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


cats > some jerk with a gun

Apparently not, I think the jerk with the gun ended up pwning the cats and not the other way around.
posted by baphomet at 11:37 AM on November 14, 2007


That Chicago Tribune spinning phone ad needs to die.
posted by 517 at 11:37 AM on November 14, 2007


Brockles : I hope he didn't wound it deliberately. That'd mean he deserves prosecuting, in my mind.

I was so wrapped up in the idea of his perceived protecting of the wild birds that I had not considered this aspect. Yeah, if he intentionally mortally wounded the animal and then let it suffer, than he most definitely should be prosecuted.

splice : If I ran a shelter for cats I guess I would be in the right to go there and kill every single endangered bird I find. After all, I have to protect my business, and if a dumb conservationist wants to kill the cats because of his business being threatened, I should have the same right as him.

Ok, wow. That seems like a lot of misdirected hostility. I'm not defending the guy, I'm just wondering if what he did was actually illegal.

But let's reframe your question so that it makes more sense; You run a feline shelter, and there is a potentially feral dog or coyote stalking the cats. Do you have a right to shoot the animal on your property that is threatening the animals you chose to protect?
posted by quin at 11:38 AM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


I recall these NPR stories:
Web Site Tracks Birds' Worst Enemies: Cats

Shooting Domestic Cats to Save Wild Birds
posted by ericb at 11:43 AM on November 14, 2007


People kill lots more endangered birds than cats do.

If mean in terms of habitat encroachment? Sure.

But remember a BIG part of the impact of habitat loss IS the introduction of competitive and hostile species.

And in this case — the cat — has immense impact. There is nearly no such thing as "urban birding" anymore becuase most of the song bird populations have been eradicated by domesticated cats.

I sympathize with this guy. People refuse to take responsibility for their animals and municipalities either don't care or don't have the budgets to control predating pets.

I have been to neighborhood association meetings where the issue of cats killing birds has been discussed. "Discussed" is a euphemism for cat owners going ape shit at any attempt to control the hunting. "That's just nature!" They will say.

Then a few weeks later, when coyotes are eating THEIR cats, suddenly "OMFG! NATURE MUST BE CONTROLLED!" Somebody must go out and shoot those coyotes!

Birds in cities do perform a vital function, and are not JUST cute. They eat bugs, mosquito's, and other pests and do far more than city cats in this regard.

People make these mistakes repeatedly. The law of unintended consequences. Like filling in "swamps" to get rid of mosquitoes. Then come to find that it kills amphibians, and animals that keep mosquito's in check and the blood suckers can reproduce just about anywhere there is standing water... like old tires and rain gutters.... there are ample city repositories available for mosquitoes to reproduce. And nothing to eat them. Suddenly you got West Nile virus in Manhattan.

Shooting cats. Well maybe over the top. But what else can you do? Trap them? Fine owners? De-claw? All these things people go ape shit over.
posted by tkchrist at 11:44 AM on November 14, 2007 [7 favorites]


Humans > Domesticated animals > Animals with fur > Animals with feathers > Animals with scales.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:44 AM on November 14, 2007


Actually, he should have focused on shooting out peoples' windows:
Windows: A Clear Danger to Birds.
posted by ericb at 11:44 AM on November 14, 2007 [4 favorites]


I'm buying my cats their own 9mm. Levels the playing field.
posted by bhance at 11:45 AM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


If I ran a shelter for cats I guess I would be in the right to go there and kill every single endangered bird I find.

Agree with Quin. The birds are not killing the cats, are they? A poor analogy.

Also, given that birds can move in three dimensions and cats are restricted to two (to a first approximation), I'd say it's a more than fair contest. If they can't win with that advantage, let Father Darwin call them home.

That's a pretty daft thing to say. Some birds that have not evolved alongside predators of that type haven't evolved fear for them. They do not recognise a cat as a predator, just a funny looking bird or something. The cat knows it can eat them, the bird doesn't. It is not a level playing field at all.

This is why the introduction of alien species is so wrong and so damaging.
posted by Brockles at 11:45 AM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Do you have a right to shoot the animal on your property

Again, what was his property, exactly? The cat lived under a bridge and allegedly stalked endangered shore birds. So the guy owned the bridge? The shore? Doubtful. Try again.
posted by splice at 11:49 AM on November 14, 2007


Sterilize feral cats and dogs. And cranks with .22s.
posted by pracowity at 11:49 AM on November 14, 2007


This is why the introduction of alien species is so wrong and so damaging.

That is why a Predator species must be introduced at the same time!

But not a Species species, because that movie sucked.
posted by Artw at 11:49 AM on November 14, 2007


sexyflanders, jimmy carter did a dumb thing with his shotgun that one time, but he has nothing on former tennessee senator/presidential hopeful bill frist.
posted by bruce at 11:50 AM on November 14, 2007


So the guy owned the bridge?

His mugshit does look kinda troll-like.
posted by Artw at 11:50 AM on November 14, 2007


We had this lovely event this past summer here in Boston
Suspect Wraps Cat in Rag, Sets Bundle Afire.

Cat Burning Suspect in Custody.
posted by ericb at 11:52 AM on November 14, 2007


I'm buying my cats their own 9mm. Levels the playing field.

Be sure to provide a telesite with the guns.
posted by ericb at 11:54 AM on November 14, 2007


Sometimes it's interesting to plunk an angry, ineffectual douchebag into a random environment and see what he starts shooting at. Sure, it's birds now, but if he lived somewhere else, he'd be slashing the tires of illegally parked cars or poisoning dogs for pooping in the park.
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 11:54 AM on November 14, 2007


Can't we just turn loose a bunch of feral dogs to take care of the cats?
posted by hermitosis at 11:56 AM on November 14, 2007


And by "we", I mean us, personally.
posted by hermitosis at 11:57 AM on November 14, 2007




Them cats had it coming to them.
posted by Joeforking at 11:58 AM on November 14, 2007


Feral cats in Australia are a serious problem. John Wamsley made one into a hat.
posted by zamboni at 12:00 PM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


John Wamsley made one into a hat.

What an asshat!
posted by ericb at 12:01 PM on November 14, 2007


We've all got it coming, kid.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 12:08 PM on November 14, 2007


(I think I screwed that line up, my apologies, please correct, etc.)
posted by Crabby Appleton at 12:09 PM on November 14, 2007


Cat Burning Suspect in Custody.

It used to be a very common and acceptable form of entertainment. Maybe he was bringing it back.
posted by tkchrist at 12:11 PM on November 14, 2007


Are you qualified to know what the cat was feeling? ARE YOU?
posted by found missing at 12:16 PM on November 14, 2007


Cognitively, I understand that it is very important to preserve endangered bird species, and that their lives have more value ecologically than the lives of feral cats.

That said, if I saw someone shooting a feral cat, I would brain that person with a 2x4.
posted by everichon at 12:16 PM on November 14, 2007


jquinby, I've seen cats in trees—it's not exactly their natural habitat (well, unless you think all the calls to fire departments to extract cats from trees are due to the cats' enjoying the attention). If a cat's head pops up over the rim of the nest, all Mama Bird has to do is give it a good peck and it will probably go away (or fall out of the tree).

Brockles: Some birds that have not evolved alongside predators of that type haven't evolved fear for them.

I think that's happening now.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 12:16 PM on November 14, 2007


Cats poop in a box.
Birds poop on my car.
Enough said.
posted by thewalrusispaul at 12:18 PM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


> > If I ran a shelter for cats I guess I would be in the right to go there and kill every single endangered bird I find.

> Agree with Quin. The birds are not killing the cats, are they? A poor analogy.

Definitely a poor analogy. What you do have the right to do in that case is go over there and shoot that guy to death. Problem solved.

Besides, a real man wouldn't have shot that cat. A real man would have figured out a way to make those birds less delicious.
posted by Brak at 12:24 PM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


drezdn writes: If only the birds would have some sort of advantage against the cats.

By the way, the piping plover (the bird that Stevenson was aiming to protect) is a sitting duck for a cat. They nest in the rocks and sand on beaches, and they tend to run around on the beach rather than fly. There are so few of them left because their nesting habits make them vulnerable to being run over by humans in their recreational vehicles, and to predators, including the domestic cat.
posted by found missing at 12:25 PM on November 14, 2007


There are two perfectly separable issues here. One is the impact of feral and indoor-outdoor domestic cats on birds. If you give a shit about things like ecology and endangered species, then you acknowledge this is a problem. Among other things, if you own cats you keep them inside.

The other is how you deal with this problem. Arming random psycho-looking dudes and sending them out on kitty revenge missions is not the answer. This guy was not doing what he "had to do," he was doing what his anger and frustration over a widespread and fairly intractable issue made him WANT to do. From a solution perspective, his actions (in the context of all the random things that kill outdoor cats all the times) were completely irrelevant.
posted by nanojath at 12:26 PM on November 14, 2007 [6 favorites]


I'm buying my cats their own 9mm. Levels the playing field.

Apparently you've never heard of Lasercats.
posted by Totally Zanzibarin' Ya at 12:28 PM on November 14, 2007


Maybe if the birds weren't such pussies...
Pussy birds have no place in Texas.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 12:36 PM on November 14, 2007


This is why I teach my cat to respect life.

Now if I can just get him to stop starting fights with dogs.
posted by effwerd at 12:38 PM on November 14, 2007


Heh heh heh.
posted by stinkycheese at 12:45 PM on November 14, 2007


It always irks me when people obsess about any species that can't survive on its own being wiped out. This artificial habitat we've grown so accustomed to is undoubtedly part of what the natural order is getting more and more fucked up every day.
posted by dflemingdotorg at 12:48 PM on November 14, 2007


Fuck off, pandas. It's not my fault you can't survive on your own.
posted by found missing at 12:54 PM on November 14, 2007




Nanojath brings up a very good point.

I'm a cat owner, but mine don't go outside at all.

If you absolutely must let your cats outside, it supposed to help to put a collar with a bell on them. In theory, the birds will hear the bell and flee before the cat can get them.
posted by drezdn at 12:58 PM on November 14, 2007






This quote from the Catbibs page had me chuckling:

"While the sample size was small, only two of the 11 cats injured in fights were wearing CatBibs. Possibly the CatBibs make a cat look larger and more formidable, discouraging aggression. Alternatively, cats wearing them may be less inclined to pick a fight. "

I'm gonna go with option #2 here, doc...
posted by bitmage at 1:04 PM on November 14, 2007


One is the impact of feral and indoor-outdoor domestic cats on birds. If you give a shit about things like ecology and endangered species, then you acknowledge this is a problem. Among other things, if you own cats you keep them inside.

It would appear I don't give a shit about ecology and endangered species, cuz my cat will continue to go outside. I admit, I have anthropomorphized my cat, and I try to put myself in his place, I.E. I would not appreciate being denied a whole different world to roam, hunt and play in. The whole "If he never goes outside, he won't know what he's missing" argument is one I could never quite believe in.
posted by boymilo at 1:09 PM on November 14, 2007


wow. Although not all cat owners are dicks.
posted by found missing at 1:12 PM on November 14, 2007


Catbib.
Getting shot.
Tough choice.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:12 PM on November 14, 2007


An awful lot of people passionately believe their cats are a lot like people, and therefore deserving of special treatment, which no other animal or pet is.

Sorry folks, it's just another animal, no matter what clothes you put on it. If you looked in your backyard & saw a dog killing your cat, how would you feel then?
posted by stinkycheese at 1:19 PM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


An awful lot of people passionately believe their cats pets are a lot like people, and therefore deserving of special treatment...

Fixed that for you.
posted by bitmage at 1:21 PM on November 14, 2007


Can't we just turn loose a bunch of feral dogs to take care of the cats?

I think your idea has real merit, hermitosis:

A SOUTH-WEST Victorian chicken farmer known as Swampy and his dog Oddball may have found a way to save some of Australia's endangered wildlife from predators.

After Warrnambool's once-flourishing penguin population was decimated by foxes and dogs until only 27 remained, Allan "Swampy" Marsh hatched a radical plan to save the birds.

His four maremma sheepdogs had been protecting his chickens against predators for a decade. He figured they could do the same for the penguins.

...

Oddball's stint as guardian of Middle Island's colony last month was a success.

At the end of the month, 70 pairs of happy feet were counted returning to the island. About 2000 penguins inhabited the island in the 1990s.

I doubt feral dogs would do the trick, but I think bird lovers could very easily organize special corps of dogs to protect vulnerable populations of birds.
posted by jamjam at 1:22 PM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


“cats > some jerk with a gun”

cats :>O *blam* X>P - some jerk with a gun (]:-{|
posted by Smedleyman at 1:23 PM on November 14, 2007


Wrong, bitmage. You might want to read the rest of the sentence.

Name me one other pet that is allowed to roam free and wander in and out through other people's property.
posted by stinkycheese at 1:23 PM on November 14, 2007


Dogs, if you live in the country.

Cows, if you live in the country, have really crappy fences, and a weird relationship to your livestock.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:26 PM on November 14, 2007


Well, in my neighborhood (suburb, in city limits) dogs and on one memorable occasion a pet rabbit. Sure, there are leash laws. Amazingly enough there are irresponsible people that ignore them and some of them even have pets other than cats. Incredible, I know.
posted by bitmage at 1:27 PM on November 14, 2007


A cat is baffling his owner by wandering off at night before expecting to be collected by car every morning at exactly the same time and place.

Methinks Sgt Podge. might have a 'lady friend' whom he likes to visit with every night and doesn't want to do "the walk of shame" home the following mornings.
posted by ericb at 1:28 PM on November 14, 2007


Sure, there are leash laws.

And therefore dogs aren't allowed, are they?
posted by stinkycheese at 1:33 PM on November 14, 2007


Well, they apply to cats too. "...requires that all dogs and cats be on a leash or lead if they are not on the owner’s property..."
We get it. You don't like cats/cat owners. But really, owners of any species of pet can be irresponsible/prone to demanding special rights for their chosen critter.
posted by bitmage at 1:40 PM on November 14, 2007


I'm making a point, bitmage, which, so far as I can see, still stands. Cats are the only pet allowed to wander in this fashion.

Most of my friends are cat owners FWIW so no, I've nothing against them. You are right on one point at least, I don't like cats.
posted by stinkycheese at 1:49 PM on November 14, 2007


fuck cats, they should be de-clawed (more effective than anthropomorphising IMO) if allowed out at all.

Cat lovers seldom take responsibility for cats. A 22 bullet is a fairly humane method of dispatch.

We had a cat that bought in a beautiful wattle bird, cat was a refugee of a share house I once belonged to. Next day the cat was at the RSPCA being euthanased.
posted by mattoxic at 1:52 PM on November 14, 2007 [2 favorites]


YOU SHOWED THAT WATTLEHATING LITTLE BEAST MATTOXIC!1!!1
posted by everichon at 1:56 PM on November 14, 2007


Next day the cat was at the RSPCA being euthanased.

You must have been so happy when the bird came back to life.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 2:03 PM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


We had a cat that bought in a beautiful wattle bird, cat was a refugee of a share house I once belonged to. Next day the cat was at the RSPCA being euthanased.

...and the bird came back to life!
posted by Artw at 2:04 PM on November 14, 2007


No, no, he had it euthanized so that other cats in the area would know the consequences of eating Wattle birds, and so be deterred.
posted by everichon at 2:05 PM on November 14, 2007


Here's a revolutionary way to keep cats from killing birds: Keep them inside! How can cat owners get incensed by something that happens to a cat that is irresponsibly left outdoors? I love my pets, so I don't let them wander.

That being said, and at the risk of being labeled a hypocrite, I wonder what Jeff killed...
posted by VicNebulous at 2:08 PM on November 14, 2007


I for one don't understand why it's allowed for cats to wander and poo in my yard. Dog poo sucks, but at least my dog doesn't eat it. Eeew!!!
posted by jimmietown softgirl at 2:09 PM on November 14, 2007


No no no, the cat didn't come back to life. The cat was dead.

The vet stuck a syringe into its arm and injected green liquid into it, cat closed it eyes and went into uncuncounsness.

Wattle bird was dead too, but it had a wing missing and blood coming out of its beak.
posted by mattoxic at 2:10 PM on November 14, 2007


Here's a revolutionary way to keep cats from killing birds: Keep them inside!

Definitely. It also keeps them free of fleas, out of fights, and out from under the tires of cars...
posted by bitmage at 2:10 PM on November 14, 2007


We had a cat that bought in a beautiful wattle bird...

But, at least the cat paid for the bird!
posted by ericb at 2:18 PM on November 14, 2007


Ah, but to rejoice in the day in the life of an outdoor cat. Take Mr. Lee, for example. [Previously].
posted by ericb at 2:20 PM on November 14, 2007


Sgt Podge ought to be put down, for killing birds passively with motor exhaust.
posted by everichon at 2:28 PM on November 14, 2007


"The cat lived under a bridge"

OH HAI YOU CAN ANSWR QUESTONS THREE NOW?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 2:49 PM on November 14, 2007


Um, if this guy wants to save the endangered birdies, shouldn't he be shooting members of the species that actually made the birds endangered in the first place? I wonder who that might be -- oh, wait, that'd be the same species that negligently and irresponsibly lets its domestic cats and dogs wander about wreaking havoc.

Naw, makes much more sense to blame a cat.

This sort of reminds me of the people who were killing the raptors tor prevent them from eating their mutant roller pigeons.
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:53 PM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


tor = to
posted by FelliniBlank at 2:54 PM on November 14, 2007


I love cats but I can't eat a whole one.
posted by C17H19NO3 at 3:19 PM on November 14, 2007


My cat was all about killing those mean, invasive starlings. And yeah, I cheered him on.
posted by snickerdoodle at 3:37 PM on November 14, 2007


You can't swing a dead cat around here without ...
posted by ericb at 3:44 PM on November 14, 2007


I love cats but I can't eat a whole one.

What you can eat? What about what your cat can eat?
posted by Brak at 3:45 PM on November 14, 2007


No no no, the cat didn't come back to life. The cat was dead.

The vet stuck a syringe into its arm and injected green liquid into it, cat closed it eyes and went into uncuncounsness.


Your reading comprehension is as bountiful as your compassion and spelling. Maybe you shouldn't have let the cat out, moron.
posted by Snyder at 3:51 PM on November 14, 2007


This could all have been avoided if only the cat had been circumcised.
posted by RussHy at 4:03 PM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


That wattlebird looks delicious.
posted by boymilo at 4:18 PM on November 14, 2007


I one found a dying grackle on the doorstep of a house I was renovating. There were puncture wounds in its chest that looked cat-inflicted (though one can never tell for sure) and the bird's curious placement, right in the middle of the doorsill, also pointed to feline culpability.

Whatever. I don't care who kills what, as long as they do the job right. I've wrung the necks of plenty of chickens in my time, but this dying grackle, pink foam frothing from its lung wound, had a neck that no matter how I twisted never cracked. I realized in my effort to kill it mercifully I was causing at least as much trauma as I would have if I left it to die, and more than if I had left it on the stoop.

So I put it in a paper bag and stepped on its head.

I sort of resented that the conscience-less cat had left this mess for my conscience to clean up, but then, it was a grackle, a trash bird, an invasive species, just like the cat that wounded it.

I've killed scores of animals in my life, most of them damaged birds; every time, I went into it thinking it was a mercy killing, and every time I came out of it thinking what I had done might have been worse for the animal than leaving it alone.

But here it gets tricky: the anguish I felt at seeing a hurt animal needed to be answered, and the only way to answer it was to take the weight of nature's cruelty into my own hands, which caused me more anguish, since I had just killed a bird with my bare hands (and booted feet).

Yeah, cats are cruel, and they don't mind inflicting pain, and they like to toy with their victims and sometimes even leave them to die a slow and painful death. All the love and nurturing and vanity that we invest in them as pets, which is real and which I believe is returned in kind, isn't going to take that streak of animal cruelty out of cats.

Maybe part of humanity lies not in avoiding cruelty, which we certainly don't do, but in justifying our cruelty, which we do all the time. I justified my killing of the grackle to shorten its pain, this man in Texas justified killing the cat to save the birds, and folks in this thread justify their cruel fantasies about hurting this man to stick up for their pets, of whom they see so much of the love and nurture cats reflect and so little of the base cruelty that lies in their natures.

The birds are endangered; domestic cats are not, and are an invasive species like the nest-robbing grackle I stomped. There should be cat traps near the plover sanctuary; owners of captive cats should be charged a hefty fine to redeem their pets, and the feral ones should be neutered or speyed and released somewhere without endangered shorebirds, or, if the state's conscience allows, they should be killed.

There is a great value to keeping alive endangered species, as biodiversity is not only about having extra color in the world, but about human survival as well; if we have fewer species around, we might have nowhere to turn to if blight takes one we depend on, and though we have made gains in determining how animals and plants relate and depend on one another for survival, there's a lot we don't know.

I feel bad for the cat, and the birds, and the guy, too. That's humanity talking, and though I may take on a great weight by doing so, I listen. But cruel nature carries on, whatever my feelings may be -- nature, red of tooth and claw.
posted by breezeway at 4:48 PM on November 14, 2007 [5 favorites]


At the Minnesota Zoo, creatures check in to the Siberian Tiger enclosure but they don't check out. Woodchucks, peacocks, waterfowl, etc. Canadian Geese are such a nuisance up here that I have heard anecdotes of the tigers being applauded for "taking one out".

But the best story of all is a troop of girl scouts who paused to check out two beautiful swans swooping onto the tiger pond. They're used to predators but not ones with a 30' leap and a love of water. When I was told the story by a former zoo employee, they used the term "a fountain of blood". Some of those girls are probably in counseling.
posted by Ber at 4:50 PM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


Snyder --- ouch. I'll lose sleep, over that typo.


pwomise
posted by mattoxic at 5:07 PM on November 14, 2007


“But the best story of all is a troop of girl scouts who paused to check out two beautiful swans swooping onto the tiger pond. They're used to predators but not ones with a 30' leap and a love of water. When I was told the story by a former zoo employee, they used the term "a fountain of blood". Some of those girls are probably in counseling.”

Maybe. But many people pay thousands of dollars for a first-class education, or spend years in meditation in isolated mountain retreats, just to have the opportunity to learn as much about life as those girl scouts did in thirty seconds.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:17 PM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


I just watch Planet Earth.
posted by found missing at 5:51 PM on November 14, 2007


I'm on the fence here too. Feral cats kill more birds than hunters and bad weather combined. And there are lots of "help the poor kitties!" groups out there that feed the ferals, but have them spayed and neutered. It's kind their view that "It's just 'natural' for the cats to kill birds..."

While I don't condone shooting them, they are an alien invader species that really decimate indigenous biological populations. If you go to one of the areas where the do-gooders feed the feral cats around here, there are absolutely no birds around...and no small mammals either.

So yeah, don't shoot 'em, but this is outta control in many areas of the US...and elsewhere.
posted by PhiBetaKappa at 6:11 PM on November 14, 2007 [1 favorite]


I just can't wait to eat those dogs, cats, and birds.
[/most of the rest of the world]
posted by Balisong at 6:25 PM on November 14, 2007


I just can't wait to eat those dogs, cats, and birds.

Screw turducken for Thanksgiving next week.

We're having Meotweetwoof. The joy of being near the top o' the Food Chain!
posted by ericb at 7:23 PM on November 14, 2007


Feral cats are not only a problem for birds, they're a problem for pet cats. Alas, I love cats. But I have to say, trapping and euthanising seems reasonable, given the seriousness of the problem. This assumes the accuracy of the notion that cats kill that many birds. I have a bit of a hard time with that, as the cats I've known clearly preferred mammals as prey.
posted by Goofyy at 4:56 AM on November 15, 2007


Dogs, if you live in the country.

No. Not true. Not many state laws mention the word "leash" but It is generally illegal to let your dog roam free except in under populated states like Alaska. Even then there are restrictions in wildlife areas and cities.

In Maine, Wisconsin and Connecticut it is illegal entirely to allow your animal to roam. In New York it's illegal at night.

A statute may look like this:

"No person shall suffer or permit any dog in his possession, or kept by him about his premises, to run at large on any unenclosed land, or trespass upon any enclosed or unenclosed lands of another."

In places where the State has not specified a restriction the cities certainly do. And counties usually enforce the same charters. Many places have a sunset to sunrise provision it's just that enforcement may vary from county to county.

Cats do have special privileges that do not apply to dogs. It's perfectly legal in most places to let your cat roam.
posted by tkchrist at 10:53 AM on November 15, 2007


Apparently there is an enormous feral cat colony in the area surrounding JFK airport which is being quietly exterminated by the MTA. They say the cats' food draws birds, which are a hazard for the planes. (NY Post article)

Today I ran across a group of several dozen people protesting in Greenwich Village. It seems the public is being misled about the fate of these cats, when it's pretty obvious they are going to be exterminated.
posted by hermitosis at 1:03 PM on November 15, 2007


It seems the public is being misled about the fate of these cats, when it's pretty obvious they are going to be exterminated.

The ones that don't end up in a lab, anyway.
posted by jamjam at 2:45 PM on November 15, 2007


Shit, I see cats running around my neighborhood all the time and I'm not a half-bad shot, I think I need to get a .22.
posted by baphomet at 3:35 PM on November 15, 2007


They're just fucking cats. Get a grip, people.
posted by signalnine at 4:24 PM on November 15, 2007




I just heard some interesting debate about this on NPR this week. It is a difficult decision for anyone to make. I think they made some great points about the fact that destroying the cats is not the only way. There are many groups of individuals who would relocate the cats or keep them away from the birds. Some bird lovers may take unnecessary violent measures just because it is quicker and easier.

signalnine- one could say the same thing about the birds
posted by Inside Out Girl at 6:59 PM on December 2, 2007 [1 favorite]


Salvia, I came in here to post the same article.

The cat killer’s trial lasted a full week. Jurors heard testimony for three days and then retired to consider Jim Stevenson’s fate. On Nov. 16, the jury returned to the courtroom and addressed the Galveston County district judge, Frank Carmona. After two days spent struggling with Stevenson’s act and the problem of cats and birds, the 12 jurors pronounced themselves hopelessly deadlocked. They simply couldn’t decide. The case was dismissed.
posted by bassjump at 9:31 AM on December 3, 2007


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