University of Nebraska study on feral cats stirs controversy
LINCOLN, Neb. — A report that recommends killing feral cats as a way to control the animals, including a primer on how to shoot a cat, is stirring emotions among bird and cat lovers.
The University of Nebraska at Lincoln's study (PDF) found that neutering or spaying is ineffective at eliminating feral-cat colonies, though useful in reducing colonies' expansion.
One official from the American Bird Conservancy calls the report "a must read" for communities with a feral-cat problem.
But critics note that the wild cats help control rodent populations, and say habitat destruction, herbicides and other issues are a bigger threat to birds.
They also question the report's finding that feral cats' killing of birds costs the U.S. $17 billion, when accounting for how much bird watchers, hunters and others spend on the hobbies.
Pennsylvania airport with feral-cat problem announces plans to trap, neuter and release cats
A catfight over neutering program (January story by Times reporter Kimi Yoshino)
-- Margery A. Beck, Associated Press
Photo: Feral cats eat in a Torrance parking lot in 2008. Credit: Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times