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Cat Wars by Peter Marra and Chris Santella

Published by Princeton Hard Back 212 pages Price £18.95

This is a book written in one direction – to remove feral and domestic cats from the countryside for killing birds. There is no mention or cost of the present day role cats play in reducing rats and mice from an urban or rural countryside or the effect on secondary poisoning of cats and especially birds of prey by rat poison or the slow death it causes. It actually mentions the effect of Coyotes on cats in the USA but then somehow forgets it! This is surprising given the effect of this larger predator. The book goes to town on the diseases cats can bring to anyone who has cats as pets but does show the good effect on people like the reduction in blood pressure. It would be interesting to know if any folk in the UK actually keep their cats indoors all the time other than urban areas as the damage to birds in the garden can be devastating especially if you provide food to bring the birds into the garden in the first place. The figures given in the book do relate to the USA but when the cats are blamed for making Stephen’s Island Wren extinct you have to ask yourself ‘Did the cats rely want to go onto this isolated island or were they taken there by man’! Too often the book blames the cats for the destruction of birds when again man has to take the blame. As a bird and cat lover myself the book should make you think about how you manage your garden according to the potential damage that can be done to the birds but when this year you have lost so much of your vegetables due to not having a cat present the value of having a cat certainly out ways not having one where I live.

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