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A Call to Arms - Cats Pass Disease to Wildlife, Even In Remote Areas

In case you've not heard of this yet:

Cats pass disease to wildlife, even in remote areas.

http://www.labspaces.net/view_news_comments.php?newsID=110760

You can't just use them just for target practice anymore, like all hunters do where I live, and then leave them there. Keep a folding camp-shovel handy or something, or transport the carcass safely sealed in a trash-bag to where they can then be disposed of properly. You need to bury them to prevent any wildlife from eating the carcass. If a wild animal eats an infected cat carcass it will die from it, as will anything that feeds on the one that died, and so-on and so-on.

Just as, or even more importantly -- permanently get rid of any strays you find in your yards and gardens. A cat just defecating on your property can be a death-sentence to your family members and your own animals. Wear gloves when transporting and disposing of the carcass -- by incineration or burying it deeply enough so no other wildlife or humans can come in contact with it again.

Thought you might like to know.

Please tell others.

And for those of you who think that destroying an invasive species, like cats, that are now responsible for wiping out whole portions of the natural food-chain, should not be discussed in a hunting forum ... GROW A SPINE FOR ONCE IN YOUR LIVES. You're just as much to blame for the problem we face today.

cowgal's picture
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feral cats

Feral cats are a problem and carry Toxoplasma gondii – a parasite, however it generally does not cause severe illness or death in people. Most people with healthy immune systems don't even know that they're been exposed or had the parasite. In fact some reports state that 1/3 to 1/2 of all people have had the parasite. It's also believed that most cats carry it, even domestic if they are allowed outside. 

I'm not trying to minimize the feral cat problem, but I don't think it's as dangerous as this article makes it out to be. 

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Toxoplasmosis

"Acute stage Toxoplasma infections can be asymptomatic, but often give flu-like symptoms in the early acute stages, and like flu can become, in very rare cases, fatal. The acute stage fades in a few days to months, leading to the latent stage. Latent infection is normally asymptomatic; however, in the case of immunocompromised patients (such as those infected with HIV or transplant recipients on immunosuppressive therapy), toxoplasmosis can develop. The most notable manifestation of toxoplasmosis in immunocompromised patients is toxoplasmic encephalitis, which can be deadly. If infection with T. gondii occurs for the first time during pregnancy, the parasite can cross the placenta, possibly leading to hydrocephalus or microcephaly, intracranial calcification, and chorioretinitis, with the possibility of spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) or intrauterine death."

That doesn't sound harmless to me. So, should I request that every woman who visits take a pregnancy test first before she steps foot on my land that used to be infested with feral cats to ensure that her child doesn't develop microcephaly, hyrdocephaly, or be still-born? Should I try to predict if some friend might need an organ transplant or skin-graft 20 years from now because if they have been infected then any use anti-rejection drugs during their lives means they'll die from a cat that defecated on my land? Should I get all friends and visitors to give me a full disclosure of their full medical history, have them take an HIV test, and then have them sign a waiver before entering my land?

Don't get me wrong. This isn't the only reason I want all cats gone. I've been battling a feral-cat problem in my woods for 15 years now. Only until recently, on advice of the sheriff to shoot them all, was I rid of all of them (until some nearby idiots introduced some more, their new cats' days are numbered). They had effectively destroyed the whole food-chain in my woods. All foxes, all owls, all predators, GONE because they starved to death from cats rampantly destroying (not eating) all their food sources. Now knowing they are spreading potentially deadly diseases too is just another reason to shoot-on-sight. I had no idea I was such a marksman until I started to deal with the cat problem the right way, I've not wasted even one bullet yet. (Anyone else that needs to hone their hunting skills would do well to put domesticated cat on their list, it's not as easy as you might first think.)

Owls, foxes, and other birds (ground-nesting birds, wild turkeys, grouse, etc.) and mammals that depended on the same food sources that all cats destroyed finally started to return to my woods this year. But I even had to raise and release native mice and voles to get the ball rolling in the right direction again.

Who do I send the bill to for 15 years of time and effort to fix what was caused by those who let their cats roam free? Who do I send the bill to for my time and resources used to deal with any future cats that are unlucky enough to walk on my land?

How many more reasons does a person need to know that ALL outdoor cats must now die? They are an invasive species. Bred by man for man's purposes. Genetic engineering through selective breeding. They have no more right to be out in the natural world than a genetically engineered insect that, if released out into the natural world, will devastate the countryside. Just as all cats are doing this very day.

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cats

Cats have always been a serious health threat to pregnant women, and they're made aware of it. That is not new. To the general public, it's generally not an issue unless your immune system is compromised.

I agree that feral cats are a problem, and you have the right to clear your property. However I would not go so far as to say that all cats need to be exterminated. There are many introduced species as pets, including dogs. What we need, is people to be responsible pet owners. Each community needs to take responsibility and step up the penalties for abandoning their pets. 

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Watch Out

I agree that wild cats can be a real proublem and have taken a few for that "long walk" myself.  In agricultural comunities they do actualy have a function keeping the vermin down since there tends to be a lot of food/grain around when talking cow's, horses etc.

You do need to be carefull when dispatching "wild" cats since they look just like domestic cates:\\\\:D/ .  Check your local state laws!

Here in NY it is against the law to kill a domestic animal unless it is threatining your life or health..  If you accidentally knock off little Janes, Fluffy it can cost you dearly;

Possibilities:

Restitution, Other fines for the state and "quality of Life"issues, hunting and fishing rights for 5 years, possibly your gun!

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A Call To Arms

Umm...don't rodents carry Hantavirus?  That's a lot harder on humans than Toxomplasmosis.  So some folks might take issue with raising and releasing mice.

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Just do what needs to be done now.

"Here in NY it is against the law to kill a domestic animal unless it is threatening your life or health..  If you accidentally knock off little Janes, Fluffy it can cost you dearly;"

That's only if they find out. And if they accuse you of it, any and all evidence should be long gone by then. That's "legal" everywhere in the world.

One friend had a feral cat attack him in his own garage. It took quite a beating with a 2x4 until that cat would stop trying to attack him, permanently. He grabbed whatever he could find to defend himself. He actually got scared of a cat for the first time in his life. He had never ran into an animal so persistent and vicious as that before. It died as it deserved. He was just glad that none of his kids were in the garage then to see what had to be done.

Here on my land it was done on advice of the local sheriff, after trying to reason with all those releasing their cats into the countryside had failed for years and years. All gone, collared or not. And not too surprisingly, not ONE of those shot were spayed nor neutered. I checked before I disposed of their carcasses. Problem solved. Nothing to complain about anymore. All wildlife returning to normal now. Not even any extra expense to other taxpayers, as their usual ineffective methods cost everyone dearly. Just do what needs to be done. The spineless leadership of all others is what has caused this ecological disaster today. It's time for everyone to take the problem into their own hands now and solve it the right way.

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p.s. "Here in NY it is

p.s.

"Here in NY it is against the law to kill a domestic animal unless it is threatening your life or health."

Any cat, stray or not, that is passing through your yard, unless you have been previously notified that it is free of all Toxoplasma gandii parasites, perfectly qualifies as it "threatening your life or health". Because that is precisely what it is doing. Cat owners will now have to get their cats tested daily to prove to everyone that their cat has not been infected by other cats or other cats' feces within the last 24-hours. If they cannot provide that proof their cats should be shot on sight. Case closed. Thumbs up

 


expatriate's picture
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Call to arms

I was raised on a farm with dozens of cats and never heard of a case of toxoplasmosis.  None of my friends on their farms did, either.  In fact, I've never heard another cat owner mention a case of toxoplasmosis...whether in his own cats or someone else's.

Never heard of a person being attacked by a domestic cat, either.  Even the wildest, most feral ones run away from people.

Not to say it's not possible.  But I'm not going to go on a vigilante spree to kill every cat I see.  Nor am I going to kill my neighbor kid's pet cat simply because he walked across my property.  If we eliminated every animal that could be a disease vector, we'd be the only species on the planet.

And I don't buy the argument that a cat is "threatening your life or health" because it could be carrying toxoplasmosis.  That's like saying you're justified in shooting a homeless guy because he might be infected with AIDS or hepatitis.  Or, for that matter, arguing that you were acting in self-defense when you killed that deer out of season because it might be carrying CWD.

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Call to Arms

I'm not disputing that feral cats can be a problem.  But I am calling BS on the toxoplasmosis hysteria.  According to the CDC, 22.5 percent of the US population has been infected with toxoplasmosis, but the human immune system typically prevents infection except for a handful of cases.  Cats aren't the only source...you can also get it from eating undercooked food.  In fact, half the cases of toxoplasmosis infection occur from eating infected meat...and I seriously doubt there are that many people eating cats.

Personally, as someone who's spent time in the west where rodents carried hantavirus or bubonic plague, cats are the least of my worries.  Rodents have killed far more people in history than cats.  From a disease vector perspective, I'm more concerned about a guy raising and releasing mice into the wild than a neighbor's cat getting out of the house.

I get it...you don't like cats.  I'm not too fond of them, either.  But there are far worse things in this world.

As for the armchair hunter comment...that's my glove in the profile picture.  It was taken on a riverbank in Alaska.  When you've stared down grizzlies within 10 yards, give me a call.  Otherwise, I suggest you not make assumptions about the people on this forum.

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Without healthy wildlife habitat, we are ALL the less for it.

expatriate wrote:
Cats aren't the only source...you can also get it from eating undercooked food.  In fact, half the cases of toxoplasmosis infection occur from eating infected meat...and I seriously doubt there are that many people eating cats.

Cats ARE the only source:  

"The life cycle of T. gondii has two phases. The sexual part of the life cycle (coccidia like) takes place only in cats, both domestic and wild (family Felidae), which makes cats the parasite's primary host. The second phase, the asexual part of the life cycle, can take place in other warm-blooded animals, including cats, mice, humans, and birds. The hosts in which asexual reproduction takes place is called the intermediate host. Rodents are the typical intermediate host."

Now unless all those farms and stockyards are being overran with bobcats and mountain-lions continuously, they can ONLY catch it from the species commonly referred to as house-cats (feral or not) and any other animals that have been infected BY CATS, from cats' feces or from eating infected cat-meat. Destroy the sexually-reproductive host (cats) and it disappears from that habitat within one generation of all animals that those cats have infected.

Quote:
Personally, as someone who's spent time in the west where rodents carried hantavirus or bubonic plague, cats are the least of my worries.  Rodents have killed far more people in history than cats.  From a disease vector perspective, I'm more concerned about a guy raising and releasing mice into the wild than a neighbor's cat getting out of the house.

Then you should concentrate on native predators that will keep rodents in check, not cats. They are an invasive species. No animals that *should* be predators of cats will even go near them. I've witnessed this firsthand myself by trying to feed dead-cats to some wildlife. After they have seen the cat they run away from it. Using it as a food-source, even when starving, is the last thing on their minds. Due to the varying coloring patterns bred into these cats (by selective breeding, a form of genetic engineering), wildlife perceives these bold patterns as warning signs for toxicity or having olfactory defense mechanisms. It would take eons of adaptation before native species put them on their preferred prey list, but ONLY if they didn't get sick from all the potentially deadly diseases that cats now carry too. Wildlife not eating cats might be the only thing that's saving wildlife from even faster mass-destruction by cats at this point. Cats have no more right to be out in nature than a genetically engineered insect that, if released into nature, will destroy all life.

Cats aren't even good rat predators. But you don't realize that by cats destroying all those native predators' food sources, they have destroyed (through starvation) the very predators that could keep ALL your rodents in check. Including destroying all the better predators that could also keep rats in check. For example: Contrary to an oft-told myth, the black-plague didn't happen by the destruction of cats (which are poor ratters to begin with, many cats run from rats), it happened because all those Europeans also destroyed all the larger predators of rats, by using them for their fur instead of their hunting abilities. Then finishing them off by bringing in cats that destroyed what little foods that those native predators still had left. They also didn't know about the dangers of keeping garbage around their homes. The black-plague would have happened, domestic cats or not.

Quote:
I get it...you don't like cats.  I'm not too fond of them, either.  But there are far worse things in this world.-

Maybe in your part of the world, but not in mine. Cats are the #1 problem to the balance of nature on my land and the diminishing quality of wildlife habitat, as well as my own. Without that, my whole world is all the less for it.

 

Now if only others could comprehend the vast damage that their "cute kitty" that steps foot outside is doing to their own world.

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