I read it in the Washington Examiner magazine and so it has to be true.
The bird population in the U.S. and Canada has decreased by nearly three billion over the past fifty years. There are several culprits, but one caught my eye: cats. It seems we humans are keeping more and more feline pets, and these purring companions, who deceive us with their softness and their air of knowing sophistication, are actually bloody-minded in a way that is harming our environment.
Let your cat outdoors, and it goes for the birds.
Other causes have led to the diminishment of the bird population: poisons that we use to kill bugs end up being digested by birds, who then die; large glass windows also lay low many of them. But the increase of household cats remains itself a significant factor in the birds’ demise.
How many birds have survived? This the article doesn’t say, although it suggests the total decline since 1900 is about 30%.
The author quotes a suggestion from the Audubon Society to counter this sad trajectory: “growing native plants is an easy and effective way to provide food, shelter and safe passage for many of the birds in decline.”
But then the author showed her cards, and I knew I had found a kindred spirit.
“Another solution, of course,” she wrote, “is getting rid of all the cats.”
I wish I could blame the membership decline in the Episcopal Church on the growing number of cats.
Even if the correlation (Episcopalians down, cats up) isn’t causal, it is clear the cats will outlast us.
Out & About. The next “Good Books & Good Talk” seminar will be on The Warden by Anthony Trollope, the first of his Barchester chronicles. Trollope is a delight and funny and sometimes painfully sharp. In Dallas, at Church of the Incarnation, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 17. If you read the book you’re welcome to the conversation.
(The subsequent book will not be The Cat in the Hat.)