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While it is tragically true that outdoor cats both feral and domestic kill billions of birds annually, birds and also cats have other predators such as hawks, eagles, ospreys and great horned owls, as well as dogs running loose singly or in packs and drivers who fail to see cats in the road in time.
On the plus side, cats kill countless numbers of harmful rodents in and outside of homes.
I take issue with Luke Guzelis’ assertion in his recent column in the BDN that “there is no significant or reliable evidence that trap-neuter-return (TNR) reduces outdoor cat populations.” On the contrary, it’s a highly successful program involving thousands of volunteers nationwide, especially here in the Northeast, who TNR both males and females in colonies, transporting them to participating vets who also vaccinate the cats against rabies.
Reference Best Friends Animal Society in Utah, Alley Cat Rescue, Inc, based in Maryland, and here in Maine the Bangor Humane Society, Midcoast Humane Society in Brunswick, Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland and many more.
Of course cats still have kittens but statistically many of those little ones don’t make it to adulthood.
We humans have a long way to go to reduce and eventually eliminate the feral cat population worldwide, but we’ve made a hopeful beginning and I say hurrah to everyone who cares enough to get involved if they can.