There’s a hot cat fight going on here on Maui. But ours is just the local edition of a cat fight that is making fur fly all across the country.
You may have been following the controversy about the Maui Humane
Society, its departing executive director and the strident campaign of
cat (but not bird) lovers to introduce a “no-kill” policy at the
society, which gets most of its money through a county animal control
contract. There’s more here (though behind The Maui News paywall).
And still more here about the situation in New York City, just to show we are not alone.
In theory, cats can be controlled by having cat lovers capture and
spay or neuter feral cats, then return them to their happy hunting
grounds, feeding and watering them, until they die of old age. Problem
This is not how it works in real life. There was a cat colony at Iao
Valley State Park, and a few years ago if you went up there after dark
and shined your headlights into the forest, you would see hundreds of
cats’ eyes looking back at you. During the day, scores of cats patroled
the parking lot.
You cannot go into the park after dark any more, so the spooky cat
crowd is not on display; and the last time I was at the parking lot it
was not overrun with cats. I don’t know if that means the cat colony has
diminished, but I doubt it has.
Colonies of Jackson’s chameleons, nene and pueo do die out. Cat
colonies and cattle egrets, hardly ever. Usually, it seems that people
who are dropping off their unwanted cats (instead of drowning them,
which was customary in bygone times) look for existing cat colonies,
presumably so their cat will have company and three squares a day.
On Maui, there is the issue of ground-nesting birds, especially
seabirds. Some of these are endangered. All of them are slaughtered by
cats. Few seabirds even try to nest on the island, and when they do they
are usually mauled.
Even well-fed cats will hunt and kill for pleasure.
The upside of this is that without our thousands of blood-crazed cats, there would be even more feral chickens everywhere.