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Letter: Cats kill songbirds, but mostly nuisance birds, rodents
First Published Apr 14 2014 09:17 am • Last Updated Apr 14 2014 09:17 am

Re the April 9 Public Forum article, "Cat kills in the billions":

The author put word spin in her letter that a master politician would be proud of. She wrote that the number of cat kills per year were "2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion mammals."

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In order to demonize cats, she failed to mention that the bird kill was not exclusively songbirds. The 2.4 billion number also includes starlings, pigeons, crows and more, considered by many to be nuisances.

Of the 12.3 mammals, an overwhelming majority are rodents (rats and mice). This information was also available from the scientists at the Smithsonian Conservation and Biology Institute (but conveniently left out by Ms. von Allmen).

These mammals and some birds have caused crop damage and catastrophic disease. For example, over a third of Europe’s population was killed by the bubonic plague also known as the black death.

Historians agree that the rapid spread of the plague was due in large part to the persecution of cats. Cats were controlling the rats (mammals) who carried the plague-ridden fleas.

Remember this the next time you see a hard-working cat.

Brian T. Taskar


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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