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Ease up on cat exterminator

November 24, 2010 - Dear Editor,

(In response to, 'Reward offered for info on twp. cat shooter,' The Citizen, Nov. 20, page 1):

I remember exterminating cats in my younger days, in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, to increase our wildlife habitat. I thought it was still legal until I read your article. It's a little slow this time of year and I figured I'd test the waters to see who's paying attention.

Without getting into too long of a history lesson, it is well known that the common house cat, when left to its own devices, is a terrible killer of wild animals, both game and non-game. So much so, that not only was it legal to take feral cats, it was also encouraged by game departments. They are even credited with the final drive to extinction of the Heath Hen from America. In Michigan, it was completely legal to take feral cats until Gov. Milliken signed an executive order in the early 1980s.

My question is, when did our society wimp out on this topic?

Feral cats do the same damage they always did, yet it is completely taboo to even discuss what should be done. Wisconsin voters decided several years ago to re-legalize culling feral cats, why don't we? When I catch an obviously feral cat, two to three miles from the nearest residence, aren't I doing more harm than good to the animal world by releasing it? For the record, yes, I always release my feline incidentals, no matter how asinine it seems. No cat is worth my privileges. And for the record, I've always had pet cats in my home.

By the way, I found an interesting book from the Massachusetts State Board of Agriculture (1916) titled "The Domestic Cat: Bird Killer, Mouser, and Destroyer of Wild Life, Means of Utilizing and Controlling it."

I somehow doubt they continue to use any of the same methods these days.

Robert Hillier

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