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A Golden Eyed Killer
One of the loveliest sounds to look forward to in the spring is the sweet sound of songbirds. There are however millions of stealthy killers stalking the streets who would have it be a Silent Spring. Who are these villainous characters who threaten our songbirds? They are the common house cat. Each year millions of song birds become prey for these bored housecats and hungry feral cats roaming the streets.
I sit watching my mother’s cat Aurora as she sits almost motionless in front of the window. Her large golden eyes are framed by thick, black fur and the only motion comes from quick head bobs accompanied by a strange half meow half chirp which seems to reverberate around her entire body. What has her so captivated are the birds hanging from the feeder outside the window. Although the shades are closed the shadows of the swiftly darting birds give her a tantalizing view of the tasty morsels right outside the window.
Every day millions of pet cats like Aurora are set loose into the wilds of our back yards where unknowing birds and small mammals fall prey to them each day. Growing up with cats I was forever tormented by small furry or feathered gifts placed around the house, on stairs, in slippers or under beds. These surprises ranged from rats and mice to birds and even one time a live bat!
These disgusting and unwelcome gifts are more than a nuisance to accompany your morning bowl of cereal. They represent a serious threat to our wildlife. Aurora is a well fed cat who has a comfortable life roaming from inside the house out into a backyard full of blooming flowers and fruit trees but she still has the instinct to kill.
You can read more stories about damage done by cats in the area in a publication by the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife here.
Keeping cats indoors is the easiest and most surefire way of helping to protect the birds and other creatures that populate our backyards. Of course this is a tough topic. Even my mother who is an avid bird watcher cannot bring herself to close the doors and keep the cats inside.
What do you think? Should cats be allowed to roam free or should we keep them indoors to protect our birds and other wildlife?