Unbeliveably stupid decision poised to allow unwanted cats to be released in Florida parks

Copyright Greg Homel

The battle between the so-called ‘feral cat activists’ (animal welfare activists who understandably don’t like to see animals euthanaised) and the conservationists who can point to numerous studies that prove the devastation to native wildlife caused by feral cats (an irony seemingly lost on the cat activists) has moved in almost unbelievably stupid direction as this press-release from the American Bird Conservancy details.

Cat-with-AmCoot_Debi-ShearwaterFlorida’s native wildlife is already under intense pressure from human population growth and associated habitat destruction, the regulation of once vast areas of free-flowing water, and a raft of introduced/escaped non-native animals and plants. To add officially sanctioned colonies of feral cats to these threats is bewilderingly dumb and shows a spineless abandonment of common-sense in the face of a vocal minority pressure group.

You don’t have to be either ‘pro’ or ‘anti’ cat to understand the impact that allowing large groups of feral predators to wander around parks would have. Releasing them in the name of ‘welfare’ is just ridiculous. It is also against all the science – somewhat, it has to be said, like the UK government allowing the culling of badgers to please a pressure group of dairy farmers…



  • (Washington, D.C., March 29, 2013) Despite public opposition, the Florida legislature is moving towards approving legislation that would authorize the public hoarding of cats by feral cat activists, in the face of potential public health and property value impacts, as well as predicted high mortality for native animals. The cost of cleaning up these areas could also fall on Florida taxpayers.

    The Florida House passed H.B. 1121 on Wednesday, March 20 and the Florida Senate Committee on Agriculture is set to vote on S.B. 1320 on Monday, April 1. Both bills remove a significant impediment to public cat hoarding by making it much easier for irresponsible people to dump unwanted cats in hoarding areas without penalty, and by suspending liability for individuals who maintain the hoarding areas.

    These public cat hoards are often cited by feral cat activists as an alternative to euthanasia of cats, but given the rate at which cats can reproduce, the result will likely be a rapid increase in Florida’s feral cat problem. Spay/neuter efforts will be unlikely to keep pace with the increase in cat abandonment and reproduction if the legislation were to pass.

    The State effort was opposed by American Bird Conservancy (ABC), a leading bird conservation organization; Florida Defenders of Wildlife, a leading Florida wildlife advocacy group; People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (who described the bill as a disaster for cats), and by the Florida Veterinary Medical Association.

    “This is shocking. Hoarding of animals in homes is prohibited in most places but we now have Florida encouraging it in public places such as city parks. There is no question that the health of local citizenry – including children – is being put at risk, property values in the hoarding areas will be impacted and local wildlife will continue to be devastated,” said Grant Sizemore, Cats Indoors Program Manager for ABC.

    Sizemore pointed out that studies show that 62-80 percent of all feral cats carry the parasite responsible for the very serious blood disorder, toxoplasmosis – a disease of special concern for pregnant mothers. It can be contracted by coming in contact with areas that the cats have defecated on. Even more seriously, cats are also the leading transmitter of rabies among domestic animals in the U.S.

    Sizemore pointed out further that: “Even if the threat of serious disease is not off-putting, the fact is that one in five Americans – about 48 million people – engage in birdwatching. None of those people will want to live in an area that has a state-sanctioned cat hoarding area. We continually get calls from people asking what they can do to get rid of the feral cats that kill the wildlife in their backyards that they so enjoy watching. It is not inconceivable that when word gets out to the wildlife community, birdwatchers may begin to avoid Florida as a birding destination with potentially significant economic impacts to small businesses.”

    Sizemore said that dozens of studies, mostly peer-reviewed and published in scientific journals document both the health and wildlife impacts of the 60 million feral cats and 60 million owned cats that have access to the outdoors. The most recent such study came from scientists at the Smithsonian Conservation Biology Institute and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service which named outdoor cats as the single greatest cause of direct, human-caused mortality for birds and mammals. The study, which is described as the most comprehensive analysis of information on the issue of outdoor cat predation, found that bird and mammal mortality caused by outdoor cats is much higher than has been widely reported, with annual bird mortality now estimated to be 1.4 to 3.7 billion and mammal mortality likely 6.9 – 20.7 billion individual animals.


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About the author

Passionate about animal welfare and conservation, veggie and dairy-free, I live in the Wiltshire (UK) countryside. I co-founded Birders Against Wildlife Crime and Birds Korea. Trustee of the League against Cruel Sports On Twitter @charliemoores


  1. Woodsman says:

    I was faced with literally hundreds of their cats that, after a 15 year invasive-species vermin nightmare, had all but annihilated every last native animal on my lands. From smallest of prey that was gutted and skinned alive for cats’ tortured play-toys up to the top predators that were starved to death from cats destroying their ONLY food sources.

    The moment I STOPPED trying to reason-with or engage the help of the cat-lickers who were creating and perpetuating the problem was the very moment the problem solved itself.

    I’ve not seen even one cat in over 3 years now, (Also disproving their oft-spewed and mythical “vacuum-effect” lie.) Rather than clutter up this board with one of my lengthy explanations, just Google for this complete search-string, as-is, including all quotes:

    “Licensing and laws do nothing to curb the problem” AND “I don’t see anyone dumping cats where I live anymore” AND “irreversible consequences”

    Therein you’ll find an answer that works, 100%, is permanent, is affordable by any individual, or any size of community, and all in less than 2 seasons of your effort.

    DONE AND OVER WITH. FINISHED. All you have to do is stop letting cat-lickers from manipulating you into wasting your valuable time and life with their invasive species vermin and just do what needs to be done. It’s THAT simple.

  2. Woodsman says:

    I think I found a solution for those who don’t want to take more direct and more effective measures. Anyone who has criminally irresponsible cat lovers in their area need only plant lilies on their properties. Cat-lovers always want neighbors to grow plants around the perimeter of their properties that will repel the cats (from their cat-owners’ own negligent behaviors and values). Well now you can brighten up your yard AND repel cats naturally — permanently.


    It has been reported that a cat even licking a little bit of the pollen from their fur will be fatal in short order.

  3. Woodsman says:

    Doing a little research on ASPCA’s toxic plants lists (Family: Liliaceae).

    Lilies (Lilium species) that are deadly toxic to cats ONLY, in even small quantities (even the pollen will do):

    Asian Lily (Asiatic Lily) | Scientific Name: Lilium asiatica

    Easter Lily | Scientific Name: Lilium longiflorum

    Red Lily | Scientific Name: Lilium umbellatum

    Rubrum Lily | Scientific Name: Lilium speciosum cultivar

    Stargazer Lily | Scientific Name: Lilium orientalis

    Tiger Lily | Scientific Name: Lilium tigrinum

    Wood Lily | Scientific Name: Lilium umbellatum

    (not of the Lilium species)

    Orange Day Lily | Scientific Name: Hemerocallis graminea

    Lilies (Lilium species) that may be toxic to dogs if the dog ingests enough:


    Just be sure they are from the Liliacea Family, has “Lilium” on the plant label or are common N. American Day Lilies. On further investigation I found out that all plant-parts if harvested and dried (for year-round use) they are just as deadly toxic to cats (if not more-so because of the unknown toxin being concentrated), and the drying makes them even more palatable to cats. What a great mulch for gardens!

  4. Hi Woodsman

    Thanks for your contributions. I should just say though that while I don’t want hordes of feral cats roaming around killing native wildlife, I’ve never suggested poisoning them. However, I don’t want to remove your comments as this is a hugely emotive issue and debate is useful: besides which if conservationists can poison rats for decimating wildlife, then is poisoning cats any different just because they’re also kept as pets? It’s certainly a question that needs to be asked – though while not have a feeling one way or another about cats per se if the poison involves pain and suffering then I should instinctively be against it and should prefer a more humane way of keeping numbers in check…

    Any more comments anyone?

  5. Woodsman says:

    I totally agree. Poison should only be used as a very last-resort. Unfortunately for most people, they live where there are firearms laws and they cannot use the method that is the most effective and most humane. (Dispatched hundreds of these destructive animals on my own lands with an accurate .22 with a laser-sight and good scope. Every last one expired in under 3 seconds, most often less than 1 second, not even enough time to make a sound. One moment they are happily stalking some innocent animal to torture, the next they are dead and don’t even know it happened. That’s even more humane than what animal shelters and vets do. When you love animals and respect animals’ lives as much as I do, even an invasive species, one bred by humans, you still do everything in your power to make sure an animal does not suffer.) And then there’s the problem with cats being able to out-adapt to any trapping methods used. Trapping is useless in those areas where the adults have already taught their offspring to evade traps. No trapping program in the world has been able to catch up to cats’ breeding rates and the rates at which criminally-irresponsible cat-lovers let more be born and dumped outdoors.

    However, in the case of poisons, then people have to weigh the amount of inhumanity to animals. Is a cat, who is going to suffer to death for weeks and months from parasites eating it from the inside out, being treated more humane than it dying in only a couple days from an effective poison?

    And what about all the inhumane suffering of all the animals that cats destroy by gutting them alive and skinning them alive, then keeping that animal alive as long as possible so its screeching, twitching, and writhing to death will entertain the cat the longest. When you ask a cat-lover to go to a pet-store and buy canaries and hamsters to throw at their cats instead, they never answer my question of “Is it because it’s just cheaper to use our wildlife for this purpose of yours to entertain your cats for your own selfish reasons?” Given all options, any cat dying from an effective poison is far far more humane than the hundreds and thousands of animals (billions and billions in total yearly, and that’s just in the USA) that are tortured to death from the deadly and inhumane poison that people freely and irresponsibly spread on all the lands — that deadly and completely inhumane poison to all animals commonly known as “1 stray cat”.

    (Been there, lived it up close and personal for 15 years. Where every other day I was drawn to some innocent animal’s screeching or screaming in the woods. To only find a cat running off, so I had to stomp that poor suffering animal to death with my own foot to put it out of the torment and misery caused by cats. My driveways used to be lined with the senseless suffering carnage caused by cats. I don’t think I’ll ever get the sound out of my mind of what it sounds like to have a small animal’s skull pop under your own foot, just to stop it from the suffering caused by someone’s cat. Maybe they need to hear that every other day for 15 years under their own feet, until they start comprehend just how cruel and heartless they truly are.)

  6. Woodsman says:

    The bill is now DOA


    Though the only part of that article which is true is the part about the bill being DOA.

    Alley-Cat-All-Lies, in keeping true to their 100% deceptive and dishonest track-record, reports that TNR is legal in Florida. When in fact it is anything but that. TNR is not legal in any county or state of the USA. And for good reason. It is always in violation of all animal-abandonment, animal-neglect, and animal-endangerment laws on every book in every state. As well as being in direct violation of all national and international invasive species laws on the planet. Laws that have been on the books in every state for decades, written into law by people with more than a home-schooled education. Though people practice TNR, they only do so until well-informed citizens have had enough and then enforce existing laws upon them to stop them. Bring attention to your cat-colony or cause problems for others with your cat-colony and it is eventually destroyed — by law. It happens each and every time.

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