Despite his hit, Cat Scratch Fever, the Motor City Madman, Ted Nugent is no lover of feral cats. Indeed, he kills them on sight.
In his column for the Washington Time, Nugent discussed a report from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln which concluded that the way to control the feral cat population was to kill them. Or as Ted would say, whack them.
With regard to the feral cat population and their impact on wildlife, Ted says:
The reality of the situation is that the feral cat population has exploded across the United States (except on my property) and in other countries as well, in large part because of irresponsible cat owners who dump their unwanted pets out in the country when Precious wears out his welcome in short order by killing every songbird and assorted wildlife by the millions. Estimates of the number of feral cats in the United States are well over 100 million. Strange, but not one of these destructive fur balls lives on my ranch.
The destruction feral cats have wrought on songbirds, other mammals and critters is catastrophic, no pun intended. Feral cats prey not only on songbirds but also on game birds, rabbits, squirrels, gophers, mice, shrews, voles and other critters that are food sources for wild predators such as foxes, birds of prey, coyotes and bobcats.
It isn’t often that you find the American Bird Conservancy, the Audubon Society, and Ted Nugent on the same page on anything. However, they all agree that trapping, neutering, and releasing feral cats does not solve the environmental impact of feral cats – the cat will just return to the wild and continue wreaking havoc on wildlife.
It is estimated that feral cats kill over 500 million songbirds annually and in Australia studies have shown that they have caused the extinction of 33 different bird species on some islands. The Nebraska study mentioned above put the cost of the environmental impact of feral cats at $17 billion.
Feral cats lead a Hobbesian life – nasty, short, and brutish. Studies indicate the life expectancy of a feral cat due to disease, malnutrition, severe weather, and other predators is 2-5 years. By contrast, a house cat raised indoors will live 15-22 years by some reports. Releasing a neutered feral cat back into the wild is doing it no favor.
When it comes to feral cats, Ted is right.
PS: While I am a dog lover and a cat tolerator, it is important to remember that wild dogs are also a conservation problem that needs to be dealt with.