Cat Bird Wars

Dogs have owners and cats have staff. Well, we must enjoy being staff to our cats because cats are the world's most popular pet. There are 50 million pet cats in North America and another 50 million homeless cats. I watched a great documentary called Cat Crazed which profiles the environmental impacts of the world's cat over population crises. (It's available to view on line). 


Those cats  - both the ones with homes and the ones without - are wreaking havoc on native flora and fauna and forcing their human companions to take sides in a cat-bird war. 


While cats aren't the only animal that eats birds (snakes, raccoons, and rats are culprits) and birds are subjected to decimation through urbanization and decrease in wilderness areas, cat's aren't helping matters. 
  
In Dead Bird through the Cat Door the director of the local bird sanctuary Aviary Finch is stealing cats to kill birds. Little did I know when I wrote the book that he'd have 50 million homeless cats to choose from, and that it wouldn't take him long to decimate the bird population. Good thing my technology loving twin protags, Cyd and Jane, with a little help from Macbeth, a little old lady and their own cat, stopped Finch and his cohort Souris Vole in their tracks. 


My books are funny and non-didactic or theme heavy. And if there is a larger message for kids to take from reading them, I hope it's the interconnectedness of humanity and the environment. 


There are many approaches to this issue (unfortunately one of them is cat killing). One group called Alley Cat Allies, advocates the capture, spaying and releasing feral cats back into the environment (but they also encourage feeding so I'm not sure how feral they are). 


My cat Sprite (who starred in her own video destroying my rejection letters) has taught me a lot about writing. She was a rescue cat - I imagined that she lived with the coyotes in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains because she was a bit wild when I adopted her. I can't imagine she'd still be alive if she was sent back to live with the coyotes. Right now she's dipping her paw into my cup of tea, sitting beside me at my computer, and licking it off! 


The City of Calgary (my town) has been held up as a worldwide example of how to manage the cat population without euthanizing stray cats. It has to do with cats being licenced like dog, so cats get returned and the licensing fees are used to provide low cost spay and neutering for those who can't afford it. 


It was an interesting documentary and it shows how fragile, and changeable, the eco-system is with all the elements needing to co-exist in harmony. 

You want me to pack for my trip to visit ... the coyotes!

Comments

Deb said…
My gosh, I had no idea on the number of feral cats. No idea.

Love the name of your kitty. Haven't had a cat for a few years now and must say I do miss having one in my life.
Jan Markley said…
I didn't realize it either Deb until I watched this documentary. I tried to think of a different name for her when I brought her home from the shelter - but Sprite stuck!
Angela Ackerman said…
W-O-W. This was a real eye opener.

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse
Jan Markley said…
Yes, Angela, it was an eye opener for me as well.
Lynda Young said…
wow, that's a lot of homeless cats! I had no idea the number was so high. I love all the cat pics you have on this post. Gorgeous.
Jan Markley said…
I didn't either Lynda until I saw the documentary. Glad you love the cat pics!