Wisconsin Feral Cat Hunt

WolverineGuns and kitties – PETA is going to have a field day with this one.  There is a serious problem of feral cats driving other predators out of their eco-niches, thus limiting biodiversity and pressuring prey populations to an extent that native species do not.

On April 11th the Wisconsin State Department of Natural Resources (DNR) will hold public hearings on whether or not to off the kitty.  Here is the question:

Studies have been done in Wisconsin concerning effects of free
roaming feral domestic cats. These studies showed free roaming feral
domestic cats killed millions of small mammals, song and game birds.
Estimates range from a minimum of 47 million up to 139 million
songbirds are killed each year. Free roaming feral domestic cats are
not a native species in Wisconsin. The above mentioned cats do however
kill native species therefore reducing native species.

present free roaming feral domestic cats are not defined as a protected
or unprotected species. Thus Wisconsin should move to define free
roaming feral domestic cats, as any domestic type cat which is not
under the owner’s direct control, or whose owner has not placed a
collar on such cat showing it to be their property. All such defined
free roaming feral domestic cats shall be listed as an unprotected
species. In so doing Wisconsin would be defining and listing free
roaming feral domestic cats.

Do you favor the DNR take steps to define free roaming feral
domestic cats by the previously mentioned definition and list free
roaming domestic feral cats as an unprotected species?

Consider the weasel.  No, consider the family mustelidae:
    Martes americana, Pine Marten
    range map
, Michigan site
    Martes pennanti
, Fisher, 
    range map
, Michigan site
    Mustela erminea
, Ermine or Short-tailed Weasel, 
    range map
, Michigan site
    Mustela frenata, Long-tailed Weasel,   
    range map
, Michigan site
    Mustela nivalis, Least Weasel,   
    range map
, Michigan site
    Mustela vison, Mink, 
    range map

    Gulo gulo, Wolverine, Michigan site
    Taxidea taxus, Badger, 
    range map
, Michigan site
    Spilogale putorius, Spotted Skunk, images
    Mephitis mephitis, Striped Skunk, 
    range map
, Michigan site
    Lutra canadensis, River Otter

With the exception of the wolverine (Gulo gulo) and the Badger (Taxidea taxus) your common house cat can kick all of these natives’ asses.   A feral cat will kill a weasel just because it can.  A cat hunting in the woodlot will deplete the shrews, voles, mice, and other small birds and mammals that the native carnivore species require to survive.

Consider the fox and his buddy the coyote.  Consider the wolf, consider the timber wolf.   Consider the bobcat, consider the lynx.  These wild cats and canids exist in small enough numbers that they represent no significant threat to the feral house cat population in Wisconsin.  Feral cats breed quickly and their kittens have a high survival rate.  Of course a litter of kittens makes fine hors d’oeuvres for coyotes, but unfortunately the canids seldom find them when at they’re at their tenderest. So the kittens grow up to compete with their wild brethren for food and territory.

In the city live the insipid cause of the feral cat cat problem.  These people, the ones who will release Pussy-puss on a country road when she’s just too much to care for anymore, have a complicated solution to offer.  They think the feral kitties should be live trapped, spayed and neutered, and released into the wild to kill again.  Applying voodoo population dynamics principles, the urban kitty-liberals assert that removing the cats merely makes the remnant population breed faster, whereas simply neutering as many as possible is the humane approach and will somehow address the problem.

Here’s what I propose:  shoot them, trap them, poison them, remove them.  Drown them, club them, hang them, crush them, skin them and sell their little pelts on the feral fur market.  Hunt them with dogs, with trained lions, with domesticated wolverines, stampede buffalo through their habitat, befoul their kitty litter and deprive them of kibble.  Poison their prey and watch what happens in their feral food chain.

More moderately, there is no law against controlling them now and if the resolution declaring an open season fails to pass, there will still be no law regarding their control.  The Dane County Humane Society will continue their trap, neuter, and release program.  I have enough domestic animals of my own and too few native species so I probably won’t be offering them a home in the country.  But this is a classic case of live and let live.

I wonder why the matter is being brought forward to the DNR.  Everyone handles the problem in his own way in the country.  On our road there used to be a black and white tribe of ferals.  John Herm moved in down the road, poisoned them all out of his buildings and we don’t see many of them around here any more.  We see more bobwhites though.  And the year after the doctor poisoned the kitties we had a Norway rat explosion.  I poisoned them.  We seem to have reached some kind of balance of carnage here these days.  I don’t want to add the humane society’s ferals back into the mix.       

Posted in Farm Almanac
19 comments on “Wisconsin Feral Cat Hunt
  1. liz says:

    I love my kitties but I’m with you — domestic animals gone feral (see Wisconsin pig damage)


    Terminate with extreme prejudice.

  2. RageBoy says:

    Nothin I like better’n a bloodthirsty Quaker. Damn, Frank! Ya ever get together a king-hell pussy hunt, you let me know. I be right on up there with my 30-aught-6!

  3. fp says:

    RB — you leave that pea shooter at home. I’ll loan you one of my .458 Winchester single shots and we can shoot 400 grain handloads after dark with a starlight scope. Tabby puree at 500 yards!

    Liz — what do we say to the PETA people?

  4. Harry says:

    We used TNR here, Frank, but ran into trouble when the ferals we released came out of anesthesia. All I can say in our defense is there was no clear way to know they were actually loved and cared for, but had the misfortune to be indistinguishable from wild beasts. We tried everything, needless to say. Education, incentives and outright subsidies only made the problem worse. Now, sadly, we’ve been forced to follow the sensible program you outlined before you got “serious”.

    The cat problem, on the other hand, was stablized nicely by reintroducing the larger predators where possible, draconian fines for animal abuse — jail, in some cases — regulation of breeders and an education program for new pet owners with a focus on preventive spaying and neutering. TNR for the abandoned cats helped quite a bit, but by itself had limited success.

  5. Scratchings says:

    The Good People of Wisconsin

    Have a feral cat problem. So?

  6. Scratchings says:

    The Good People of Wisconsin

    Have a feral cat problem. So?

  7. Watermark says:


    A slice of a very cool cat photo from elvis1967 on flickr. .m notices that there are several similar black jungle cat photos on flickr [Black Cat 1; 2; 3 ] There are cats, and then there are Cheetahs. [via Life In The Present] There are even cheetahs …

  8. Watermark says:


    A slice of a very cool cat photo from elvis1967 on flickr. .m notices that there are several similar black jungle cat photos on flickr [Black Cat 1; 2; 3 ] There are cats, and then there are Cheetahs. [via Life In The Present] There are even cheetahs …

  9. Anonymous says:

    For 10 years I have trapped-neutered and released feral cats in my community. The cats are fed and given water, and are doing great. The population of Feral cats has gone from over 300 to below 100. In some areas in my community rats have become an even bigger problem than what was a cat problem. If people would neuter their animals-dogs included we could humanely manage this problem. As for the cats killing off birds-Cats fed regurlarly rarely go for birds. Since cats sleep at least 15 hours a day, and do their primary hunting at night, the idea of them killing off birds is obsurd. Let the kitties live. The ferals deserve to live-we just need caring people to handle the colonies. Mary

  10. fp says:

    I don’t disagree with you Mary. Both my dogs and my kitty are neutered. Based on your community program, I suspect you live in a town, or suburb, or otherwise thickly settled area, and for towns I think capture/neuter/release programs are reasonable. I live in the country and don’t like the idea of releasing cats – neutered or not – into the wild.

    Cats do kill birds. They kill rodents too of course. Mine likes to bring home her prey and leave it on the doormat for us.

    I used to have a kitty named Jerry Lee. He was aptly named.

  11. jo says:

    shoot the cats i dont care who you are the cats are terrorizing this great country.
    SHOOT THEM!!!!!

  12. johnny says:

    your state will be the laughingstock of the entire country if you open a cat season to hunters.

    wheres the challenge in popping a cap in felix?

    with love

    a michigander.

  13. Lynda W. says:

    Well, I find it funny that we are angry at cats for killing off native species when it’s us humans that have done the lion’s share (if you will) of that task. I heard a gentleman on tv bemoaning the fact that there used to be a bunch of rabbits on his grandma and grandpa’s land before the cats came in. I wonder what lived there before grandma and grandpa moved in? Shall we declare open season on them, too? Frankly, I applaud species that adapt to a world we are mucking up.

    It is actually true that a managed feral population will stabilize. Consider that the life expectancy of a feral cat is quite a bit shorter than that of a domestic cat. They face far more perils in the wild: disease, infection due to cat fights, starvation, poisoning, cars, dogs, larger predators, and mischievous humans (YES they exist). If you cut off the breeding of these cats – which can multiply geometrically – it does make a huge difference within just a couple of years. We should teach humane and responsible treatment of animals to our communities. Such an absurd problem should never be allowed to germinate in the first place. It is not the cats’ fault that they have proliferated so easily. That being said, wild cats should not be returned to the colony if: the land is being managed for wildlife (sanctuaries), they test positive for feline leukemia or aids, they are socialized and can be adopted out.

    You are absolutely correct in that the problem does begin with people who do not take their cat ownership responsibilites seriously. Spaying and neutering should be mandatory like rabies shots. And releasing a cat into the wild should never be the answer to behavior problems or landlord disputes. Yet people who would do such a thing are hardly likely to care enough about cats to be outraged by the idea of hunting them. If they couldn’t care enough to protect their own charge when they were in their possession, I doubt they are lifting a finger or a voice to protect them now. But I further doubt that declaring open season on cats is going to teach compassion or responsibility to anyone.

    Before you accuse me of being who I’m not… I am intimately aware of this problem. I have just begun a feral cat initiative in my area due to a run-away population… and I live on the bayou.

  14. paul says:

    I have 125 units of bird housing placed on the property surronding mine. I run a song bird factory.One day I caught fluffy in a hava heart trap. I was alerted by 7 chickadees in the small tree above it, I carried the trap to the front of the house which is secluded. The chickadees leaped frogged ahead to watch the execution. It was the damndest thing.
    Wildlife is our natural heritage not entertainment for your fucking cat or dog

  15. ralphie says:

    Yeah I caught a cat in my racoon trap. I took fox urine and mixed it with a product called sticker, that is used to keep pesticides on my fruit trees, and liberally poured it on fluffy as he tore around the inside of the cage.What happened was this. Sticker will not wash off. You can shave the cat but, the scent will have to wear off. Tough shit fluffy. I have not seen that cat or another in my yard for three years. This may seem mean spirited. But, It is better than shooting them as my friends Paul and Roger do. These God damn “anti’s”{anti trapping people} come from the city and let their pets run loose.Yup, when I’m feeling better I’ll be trapping skunks and letting them loose on the anti’s lawns. Then when the skunks get into their houses I’ll charge them 50 bucks to take them out of their houses. There is no charge if they spray in the house. Then the skunk will be released in another yard. Shit , A guy could get rich that way.So all you city folks that have come to my town with their asshole kids on dirt bikes can kindly kiss my senior citizens ass

  16. NiceButSliced says:

    I have a cat here in Michigan. I was offered a free kitten some time ago about a year and three months. The cat matured very fast as I notice cats do. The cat became very feral and is not appropriate for any home. I live in the city and the cat became accuainted with a cat colony within the nieghborhood. I see her running with about 5-10 other cats on a good night.

    About 5 months ago (estimated time of pregnancy and birth to date) and had her kittens about two months ago here in my home. I can already see the mothers feral traits meshing with the kittens personalities and I fear, now, I not only have one feral cat but six.

    I do not want to kill them by my own hand, I don’t have the heart. And I have tried the humane societies of Michigan but every single home I have tried is filled with felines and the shelters have no more room. No one will take my felines and on top of it all I don’t really think they are suitable for pets.

    I have taken the animals into consideration, I have had the mother for over a year now. As time progresses the mental state of the feline gets worse and worse. I can’t help myself anymore. I feel the strain of being in a situation I know nothing about. I am now suffering physically and mentally as the animal pokes and prods me for its own freedom.

    I have decided to take all of the animals to state grounds and release them all to the wild. I fear for them all but I believe the animals will have a better chance of survival as a pack rather than on ones own. The kittens will grow very fast now as they reach the final stages of thier infancy and enter the juvinille stage of thier life.

    My main concern right now is the fact they have never been in the actual wild. The mother, as far as I know, has never been a hunter. I fear the kittens will suffer the recourse of this situation as they will have no one to hunt for them.

    I also fear the cats abilities to den up and hibernate for the winter. I see the animals are strong enough to cut me, but do they have the keen intution to fight and survive on thier own.. or will they simply waste away trying to survive??

  17. Harry says:

    There are some things only partially recounted in that story. One is the reasoning behind why you didn’t get your cat spayed. Another is any sort of explanation of what inspired you, as a city dweller, to let a cat out of the house. If your story is true, you have created a cat that is now neither fully domesticated nor fully feral, and increased the problem you’re looking to wash your hands of by an additional five cats. Again assuming the story is true, they probably don’t stand a chance no matter what you do.

    That said, I can give you some advice on the best way to handle this. The first is to get the cat spayed and then the kittens spayed as soon as they’re old enough. The second is to get yourself a vasectomy or tubal ligation, whichever is appropriate, and a job that will let you support the cats. You have to keep them inside and make sure they get to the vet on a regular basis. If you’re trolling, you can omit the steps regarding the cats.

  18. nicebutsliced says:

    Of course, being a cat lover, shelter owner, doctor or whatever you are, you feel it is your duty to protect cats where ever or however. Your fist step was to take cats in to your own home. You waddled through feces urine and kitty litter for the first few years of your life until you graduated college. Once you earned a degree you decided you would go ahead and give advice to cat owners and make yourself feel better about the cats you had when you were younger.

    You think I’m an ignorant to bad person obviously. I would give you the satisfaction of personal information regarding myself but I don’t think its any of your business. I will tell you that money is not an issue. I have given my cat a home for over a year and have tried to get rid of it on many occasions because of its plateaued intolerance for humans. She doesn’t like me. No one will take her and no one wants her.

    Condecendingly, making such a claim as to wether or not I would make a good parent is absolutely absurd. I know a little about psychology and people who seem to make claims like that.. are generally the same type of people who say ” never judge a book by its cover.” Its just you people who consider yourselves perfect by your own measure. In other words, I am offended completely by your crack, If your trying to be a commedian I would have to say please save us all from slitting our wrists and take up another profession.

    My cat is in no way similar to any cats I have ever seen. I believe my cat is what humanists call feral. A puny brain within a sharp toothed skull. A feline, which has several ways of life It would much rather live, completely unhappy in its environment.

    One way of life which my cat seems to enjoy is the outside life. Which it seems to convey perfectly to its young. Another passtime my cat seems to enjoy is systematically prodding me to set her free. Third is a keen shrill hiss it addresses to me when she knows she has done something bad. Last is a strategically placed ten clawed attack and bite. Attacking when she is uncomfortable, when my approach has become common and more common when she is doing what she wants rather than obeying the rules, she becomes aggrivated with my presence and agrees it is her turn to take control of the situation.

    The presence of this animal in my home has become absolutely rediculous. My home is a stinky mess. She has had 5 kittens which spot everywhere. And she has become very messy. Knocking over things in the middle of the night, even though; I leave lights on. Digging her cat litter out of the box onto the floor, This her kittens seem to have picked up. When I tell the kittens what to do now they go directly to the box and dig the litter out onto the floor.

    I now have a ten inch cut that runs down the length of my forearm along with several other claw marks from her last attack on me. When I proceeded to pick her up by her neck ( to keep her from biting me ) she became enraged hissing urinating and pooping. She turned on me and I knew what was coming. A four legged attack and bite (as I discribed in the above paragraph) which left my arm and opposite hand a bloody gore.

    I am fearful of this animal now, but I love her. I would hate to see her youthanized. I suppose I would rather see her attempt to survive the trials of nature rather than send her directly to her death.

    The cat has taken on a trait… heavy breathing which she seems to direct toward me. I assume this is a warning telling me not to approach. She is now a large muscular cat and common to popular belief is a little dangerous to be handling. I have also bagged the cat inside a pillowcase, tempted to call the animal control, because of a rare feral rage she preforms when I dicipline her.

    Dicipline I have introduced has escalated from nurturing over the past year. When she was young I fed her treats to encourage good behavior. I had to keep her in the bathroom for a few weeks because the animal would meow in the middle of the night and was too much to bear. The animal ceased to cry and found a bed at my fathers side upon his bed in the night. This ceased the night time meowing.

    Next the animal became very active in the night time. Climbing the counters, eating the plants, knocking things over, entering the cupbards, and tearing open boxes and bags of food while we sleep. I tied the cuppbards closed and this stopped the night time feasting on my boxed goods. ( she had been smacked on the rear with a spoon for getting into the cuppbards I admit, but it kept her out.)

    Third at maturity the cat decided it was her duty to escape from the house. She would escape at my foot at times like cats do. I would have to lure her to the house with cat treats which I jingle in the box to get her attention ( this is the only thing that gets her attention.) I would then spank her on the rear for escaping but that had no effect other than the beginning of the hissing and turning claws on me.

    If she crys at the door she will not stop and it will go on all day. I try to ignore her, she will cry for hours, get tired, take a nap, and start all over after she has eaten. (This begins every day at around ten AM, and had been the same way for over eight months.)

    I read cat collumns and try to find solutions to my answers. I have even tried psycological approaches suchs as curving my dialect to appease her mental state. ( this does not work, actually it confuses the cat and the cat seems to take the curve very insultingly.)

    If you have ever had a heart for any of the animals you said to be absolutely feral you would see the animal is not content on living with a human, but enjoys the comfort and food. I can see with and end to this match of wits you would say after physically altering and mentally altering the animal I would have a perfect little sterile, mind warped kitty. I do not want a vet shaped kitty and I think veteranary advances in kitty moral and splendor may just be more inhumane than setting them free alltogether.

    I would be happy if she was content with living indoors but she is not happy and has begun ritually altering our relationship. Especially now, she is a mother and is feeling the urge to run away from home more and more. Her feral nature is affecting me and my household. I cannot have a conversation on the phone because she sees it as a time when she can become very vocal (since I am not paying direct attention to her.) I have freinds over and she is the same way.

    I cannot sleep she becomes very vocal. She is a sibling of the cat colony which runs my neighborhood and now has kittens which belong to the colony. I do not believe she sees herself as my cat, much rather a captive who has yet to escape my home to return to her clan. I am confused with her behavior, she returns home for food, but she returns to escape mode as soon as she hass finished feeding… she doesn’t go to sleep unless it rains.

    The behavior is not subceptable to any other weather conditions, she will escape in heat or snow… but since the cats are young seems to want to stay indoors with them as my house is a safe den. She wants to escape now with the kittens leading them to doorways where I enter, and sneaking quickly into closing doors (such as the bathroom) and hissing at me when I block the kittens and her from entering behind me.

    I believe she is teaching the kittens to sneak out now.. The kittens hiss at me when I pick them up sometimes if they are around thier mother.. When she is not around it seems they are scared of me and cower toward the ground and let me pick them up only to turn on me with thier claws and teeth to be released.

    The kittens are very mean to eachother, biting and clawing eachothers faces and eyes. Especially at feeding time the animals hiss, bite, and claw eachother for places at the bowls. This usually results in there being a runt left unfead until they are all full. I do feed them enough and they are the proper weight and very healthy.

    Like I said I am fearful of the mother now and do not approach her unless I have to, which means when she is doing something I consider bad.. like clawing my speakers, (she has a scratching post which she pays no attention to.) I fear now only to start another bad relationship with the 5 feral kittens.

    I mean in no way to sugar coat my own behavior in the situation either. I have become enraged on account of the biting and clawing and pummeled the cat quite a few times for it. I have seen this as wrong, and in no other state of mind would I just go off and beat my kitty. I just see it as she deserves it and since she knows no better I have to show her who the boss is.

    Please, tell me why you choose to insult me? Tell me also how much longer should I have to indure this obviously sour relationship cat lovers PREACH to be normal cat behavior? I am at my wits end and on my last nerve. How can you try to publically humiliate me when you know nothing of my cats behavior ( especially to me?)I feed her, love her, and protect her and she has no respect for me at all. She desires no attention from me (other than to feed her or clean her litter box.)

    My freinds think I am weird because the feline shows a different side to her or him. When I show them the cuts while the cat hops on thier lap they think I am nuts. I try to explain the ordeals I go through with the animal and they say… ” Oh. thats how cats are.” I dont like the behavior, the defensiveness, or the selfishness of the animal altogether.

    I actually feel like a captive in my own home. Captive to the cats needs and protection, but subcepted to the inability of the cat to accept its own home. I want to get rid of the animals, no one will take them, I won’t be stuck slaving over 6 insepid cats.

    Note to Harry… Please dont reply, I don’t have any desire to argue with you. If you post another snide comment I will only report you to the moderator of this page. I am sorry but I see no help coming from your immature one sided remarks.

    P.s.s. Please only respond if you have a sincere educated remark to make about my posts.

  19. nicebutsliced says:

    Just for converstaions sake I would like to voice my oppinion. Jurisdiction over wild animals such as cats, squirrels, rabbits and such should be at the sole discression of the town or city which the overpopulation is involved.

    One- of course some people will be opposed because they own cats of thier own. When I heard a local woman here in michigan say she had a cat- trap I was astounded. At that time I knew several friends of mine who live near by who allow thier cats to run outside.

    Two- Cat Colonys. Cat colonies can turn a good cat bad, as I have seen in my own feline. I believe cat colonies within city structures should be contained and eliminated. Cats as well as rodents can carry disease which can be spread to good dogs if in a fight. I have seen all of the traits of the feral cat colony type cat in my cat and I would love to rid myself of the problem right now.

    Three- Cats breed like rats.. even if you killed a local group of say ten wild cats for tearing up your garden, spraying the outside of your home, or making a bed in your engine compartment you would see, within months, the population would be just as thick as it was b4.

    Four- A hunting season… you will never see that happen unless the cats provoke plague which just wont happen. There will never be any laws against killing wild cats because wild cats are a danger to young animals, and children as well. Trappers will always be able to trap wild cats and youthanize them, and farmers will always be able to shoot a cat that makes a nuisance of itself. I don’t think laws are needed.
    p.s. I wouldn’t consider barnyard cats wild because they serve a purpose..

    I don’t know exactly what the original poster was trying to do with this coulumn, but if you want my oppinion… people who have good house broken felines have no business even posting conversation on this page. Pet owners who have never experienced wild cats (Read “Where the Red Fern Grows”,) have no valid arguments for such a light subject.

    If a guy want’s to shoot a large, hungry, pack cat I think he should do just that. I can only imagine how big kitty would get out on the back 40…I have seen some large cats who are outside cats.. Males especially.. They could be dangerous.

    Now, your talking about semi urban areas, but Im from a completely urban area. I live in detroit. The cats are needed around here because we have such a large sewer system.. so you get sewer cats.. sewer rats.. back alley cats..street cats.. the hiders, the roamers… everything. You even get cats which are like rats.. making homes in small holes which might just be ont the side of your house..

    I dont see a real reason for killing these kittys because I dont see any harm coming of them other than garbage rampaging, annoying cat matings, oh and cats like to tear up your garden. With all of the above said.. dont try to pick up a wild cat with your hands if you must know a well placed cat claw is like a razor. Combined with trianed muscles a cat could tear your eyeball out through your eyelid, or cut you deep enough for doctor’s aid. Dont even get me started on the teeth.. a cats cirated rear teeth could shave the skin clean to the bone not to mention the half inch needle sharp kanins of an adult cat.

    Handle traumatized felines with great care! A thick thick pair of leather gloves can be suggested to prevent clawing. If you can grab the cat quickly you can subdue it by grasping it by the back of the neck..Not too hard or you will enrage the already pissed off animal. Quickly get hold of both of the rear feet and firmly stretch out the animal so it can not thrash and bite you. You should have complete control of the animal. Otherwise use a profesional pole nuse.

    Lastly, on the subject of spaying and releasing.. I think this is inhumane. You dont see guys going out catching squirls and cutting out thier reproductive organs just to release them to collect nuts. I think if you have cats in your city which should be further out in the wild you should take them to the wild. Dont deplete the country of such a beautiful wild creature because of selfish desire. Trap them and send them back to a nice woodland natural habitat.



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