Cape May Council Compromises On Feral Cat Ordinance

CatsIt’s been a year long battle between bird lovers and cat lovers.

Cape May, New Jersey is one of North America’s prime bird-watching spots, and bird lovers have been trying to protect the endangered shore birds like the piping plover from feral cats on the beach. Cat advocates wanted to leave the cats at the beach.

This week the City Council has made a compromise between the bird lovers and the cat lovers and have approved a plan to move the feral cat colonies 1,000 feet away from the beach.

Federal environmental officials had threatened to withhold funds for the beach if the city refused to protect the birds.

Councilwoman Linda Steenrod said, “It’s important to protect our beaches. At the same time, it’s important to protect life. That means all life. I think we have a good compromise.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had wanted the feral cat colonies prohibited from being within one mile of the beach. This move would have eliminated all wild cats in Cape May.

With the compromise, there will be a 1,000 foot buffer zone between the feral cats and the known nesting grounds of the birds.

Cape May will continue its trap, neuter and release program and will release the cats outside the buffer zone.

Becky Robinson, president of Alley Cat Allies, said, “To hold beach replenishment money over the heads of a city that has done everything right is simply misguided.”

Federal authorities are not entirely happy with the compromise because they believe the feral cats are still too close to the endangered birds. But they said they will try it for a few months and see how it successful it is.

Source: Fox News

Photo: Associated Press

5 Responses to “Cape May Council Compromises On Feral Cat Ordinance”

  1. Donna says:

    I care for several feral cat colonies. What I have seen over and over again is well fed feral cats, do not really have the drive to hunt and kill. They may chase and play. But to hunt to survive and eat, is decreased, because the “need” to eat has been met by suppling food for the ferals. Man kinds answer to every thing has always been to “kill it”.This is wrong. We must learn the answer is not violence. The answer is to learn to coexist with all life forms. I also feed the wild birds. The cats and birds………coexist. No willful killing has been noted. Hunger drives all species to kill to survive.It can be changed. All it requires,……….is some to care enough to make the difference.

  2. EmilyS says:

    well, Donna, that is certainly not MY experience with all my neighbor’s cats (not feral, but it’s hard to believe that their behavior is different). They catch/kill and sometimes eat many small mammals and birds though they are well fed by their owners.

    That’s what cats do: they are predators. They catch/kill and eat other animals. This is not “violence”.. it’s biology. I don’t blame the cats for doing what they do. But they don’t belong everywhere.

    Feral cat defenders lose all credibility in my eyes when they pretend that these cats don’t harm wildlife populations in cases like Cape May.

  3. Radcliff, Allie, Luna, & Ozzie says:

    It looks like the feral cat colony is safe, at least for a while.

    Now the squirrels, rats, seagulls, and the rest of the other predators can finish wiping out the piping plover in peace.

  4. Don Earl says:

    I have a special fondness for feral cats, but also have very mixed emotions on this kind of issue.

    The basic situation is one where a domesticated species of predator has been introduced into an environment where it has no natural enemies to strike an ecological balance. A 1000 foot buffer is worthless. Cats typically roam a teritory that covers around 1 square mile. The reason they hang out at the beach is because that’s where the food is.

    On the other hand, while I’m against the concept of allowing entire species to be wiped out, there are times I can’t help but wonder how useful it is when the species involved is so delicate it is unsuited to survival under any circumstances.

    It’s estimated the population of feral cats in the US roughly equals the population of domestic cats, or on the order of 80 million feral cats. Outside of rats, cockroaches, houseflys and people, you’d be hard pressed to find another animal more uniquely suited to survival. They really are amazing little animals and are very good at what they do. They certainly are not endangered.

    I’d be inclined to agree with Emily on this one. Rescue workers need to stay in tune with the big picture and do a reality check when a reality check is in order.

    I also wonder what the effect is on a community where feral cats are accepted as standard fare. Would it tend to encourage the abandonment of pet cats if people figured they can just leave them behind because the rescue groups will look out for them?

    As much as I like cats, I am well aware of the fact not everyone does, and that even some of those who do like cats find ferals to be a nuisance. I find the mindset of those who believe everyone in a community should put up with a potential nuisance, because they have a personal agenda, to be a little hard to swallow.

    Sure, save the ones you can. Find them safe places where they can live out their lives and not be a problem for others. Use TRN practices to keep the populations managable. Rescue adoptable kittens and find them forever homes. Those are all good things. But keep it in the context of the real world so it doesn’t involved stepping on everyone else’s toes to the point it creates negative sentiment for those kind of efforts.

  5. Donna says:

    I worry not for credibility in any ones eyes. I have mine and years of work that dictates truths. Birds are predators, too. Here, I have hawks and crows eating together. Pet cats, should not be allowed to be outside. Dogs are predators and kill livestock .But at the same time, trained working dogs help handle live stock. Biggest predator on the planet,…………..killing for no purpose. Look in to the mirror. People will always find an EXCUSE to kill some species , due too our false thoughts of “superiority”. My thoughts with thirty years of rescue work……..ferals exist because a human did not spay-neuter, a formerly domestic pet. The blame of ferals…..is a man made one. It is a very sad plight for all that care for any form of life. Stray dogs form packs and reproduce they will kill any thing do to their basic pack behavior. Man, cats, birds…….all fair game with wild dogs. Yet, I hear little of public complaint of killing wild dogs. Again, the wild dog issue……..man made problem. I will stand firm on my claim. Well fed animals are little danger. Ask the care giver of tigers. No training or work till these powerful predators are fed. Animals do co-exist in many situations.It’s people that can not co-exist with animals. Or for that matter each other. The real predators is man kind .Pick up a news paper, or turn on the TV. Up dates on attacking humans………..every day.


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