In this Friday, April 1, 2016 photo, a feral cat hides in a wooded area near a beach parking lot at Jones Beach State Park in Wantagh, N.Y. The American Bird Conservancy has filed a lawsuit against the New York parks department seeking to have the feral cats removed from Jones Beach because they claim they are a threat to an endangered bird species called the piping plover. (AP Photo/Frank Eltman)

Nature-Haters Head To Court: It’s Cats v. Birds

The nature-haters have gone to war with each other.

Once again, they’ve huffed and puffed and filed a lawsuit  to protect the birds of New York. The bird-lovers want the cat-lovers to stop helping feral cats at Jones Beach State Park, because those cats, you know, eat the federally protected piping plovers which nest in the sand.

Nature being what it is, the plovers make their annual trek from the Caribbean to New York, and do their nesting thing at the same place every year. And the cats feast on them, because that’s what cats do.

Friends of the plovers have long complained that the Jones Beach cats prey on plovers and their chicks. This month, the American Bird Conservancy sued state parks commissioner Rose Harvey, alleging she is violating the federal Endangered Species Act by allowing the cats to stay and creating “the likelihood of injury” to the birds.

“This is a natural nesting habitat for piping plovers, and unfortunately it has been invaded by introduced predators,” said Grant Sizemore, director of the conservancy’s program on invasive species, which is what many environmental advocates consider cats to be. “They should be removed by New York state parks.”

Perhaps the nature-hating bird-lovers should sue Mother Nature, or God. Cats, by nature, create “the likelihood of injury” to birds. Any cat owner who has received the gift of a half-eaten bird on their porch knows this.

The nature-hating cat-lovers somehow believe they can feed the feral cats and keep them from hunting birds. These must be the same people who adopt baby Burmese pythons and release them into the Everglades. If you feed the snakes, they won’t become uber-predators and kill everything in the largest natural sawgrass habitat in America, right?

But the piping plovers are endangered. Not necessarily because of the cats, but because humans have devastated their habitat until all that’s left is a small spit of beach that makes them easy pickings for the feral cats. Maybe the bird-lovers should get the state to knock down all those human habitats to make room for the birds.

That’s the kind of thinking you see in more progressive California, where water wars have been going on for a century. The nature-hating delta smelt-lovers who wouldn’t last a day working in the fields of Central Valley somehow fail to understand that water is kind of crucial for things like growing crops. But the swimming pools of Bel Air continue to be full and the lawns of Beverly Hills continue to be green.

The Jones Beach solution really should be a slam dunk: Get rid of the cats.

But nature-hating cat-lovers who have constructed a shelter for the feral felines are horrified at the thought.

“They’re going to be put down,” cat caretaker Marion McKenna told CBS 2 New York. “Why don’t you just take a machine gun and kill them all now?”

A machine gun is actually a pretty inefficient way to do it, but removing the cats, versus providing them with food and shelter, is probably not a bad idea. But the cat-lovers hate nature, or they wouldn’t build all these human-style structures for the cats (who are happy living outdoors) to live in.

Cat problems are nothing new in modern society. Israel has struggled with a feral cat problem for decades. The latest solution: deportation. (I’m being totally serious.)

In Texas, the piping plover versus ferocious feline war escalated to cold-blooded murder, a courtroom and the state legislature.

In 2006, Jim Stevenson, the executive director of an ornithological society in Texas, fatally (and remorselessly) shot a cat that he said was stalking a piping plover.

Now in Texas, shooting a “varmint” should not be a crime, but Stevenson was charged with animal cruelty. He was not convicted due to a hung jury–apparently the state decided not to retry him. The legislature responded by classifying feral cats as “critters” instead of “varmints” and everyone knows you can’t kill critters.

In New York, the court is being asked to order the cats to vanish.

Ideally, the cats would get “forever homes,” Sizemore said.

“Forever homes” to me is a euphemism for a dirt nap, but he really meant a loving adoptive home where Fluffy is welcome and accepted.

But feral cats are, umm, feral, meaning wild. They really don’t domesticate well. If you take them into a home, they mark their territory and randomly attack their human tenders. If you spay and neuter them, they scratch everything and destroy nice furniture. They are not Fluffy the lap cat.

And this one statement characterizes every attitude that makes these animal-rights advocates nature-haters:

“It would be fantastic if the animals could be placed in a sanctuary, or some enclosed,” space, Sizemore said. “The key point is that they must be separated from the environment.”

You see, it’s not the environment, or natural, God-created behavior that these animal avatars love, it’s the cute little birdies nesting in the sand (as long as they keep to their little spit of beach and not interfere with that condo development over there). Or it’s the cute little kitties crouching in the sea oats waiting to pounce on them and eat them.

Maybe the only solution that would please both sides is to bring in a few hundred owls, or falcons, or other predators who eat feral cats to control the cat population. Or bring in some Burmese pythons from the Everglades.

After all, what could go wrong?

About the author

Steve Berman

The old Steve cared about money, prestige, and power. Then Christ found me. All at once things changed. But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!

I spent 30 years in business. Now I write and edit. But mostly I love. I have a wife and 2 kids and a dog and we live in a little house in central Georgia.

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