A Dietary Alternative for Feral Cats?
No Kea were harmed in the making of this story. (Image by Duncan)
Much has been made in these pages about the havoc that feral cats wreak on native birds. Just yesterday, Mike reported on a study finding that they are responsible for decimating populations of Hawaiian Petrels. And the TNR/exterminate debate rages on. (Maybe Daleks could be trained to focus on feral cats?)
A possible solution may be hidden in recent news from New Zealand. An abandoned kitten nicknamed Frankie had staked out a McDonald’s restaurant as its feeding grounds, and for more than a year, subsisted mainly on handouts from employees and customers. A kindhearted SPCA worker took Frankie off the streets (or, rather, out of the carpark) and helped him adjust to more traditional cat food.
While an all-junk food diet isn’t advised for anyone, it’s especially rough on cats, preventing them from getting vital nutrients; Frankie had health problems that, with a switch to healthy food, seem to have abated. But, as the penultimate paragraph of the story states, chowing down on all those Big Macs and fries meant that he didn’t have much interest in preying on birds. (Except, possibly, for Chicken McNuggets.) Hey bird lovers, maybe getting feral cats addicted to fast food is an idea worth considering!