Feral cats

EDITOR: Free-roaming and feral cats are an introduced non-native species, not much different than the giant pythons (once pets) taking over the Florida Everglades.

New research finds that cats, domestic and feral, kill 15 billion animals a year, altering our ecosystem ("That's not just a cuddly kitty," Feb. 1). This figure comes from extensive studies by scientists at the Smithsonian and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The study reports that domestic cats, both owned and feral, are one of the single greatest human-linked threats to wildlife.

Our country has an estimated 80 million free-roaming cats. A large percentage are feral cats, living in colonies cared for by well-meaning people. As manager of Petaluma Animal Services for 10 years, I found that there is no reasoning with the majority of feral cat advocates who value cats above our native wildlife. I was called a killer and animal-hater.

Now under private management, the Petaluma shelter has its own colony in the city's corporation yard. I urge everyone to read the results of this study. If nothing else, perhaps it will convince people to keep their pet cats inside.