Apart from being a part of society, feral cats are vital to the ecosystem. Indeed, they are wild and difficult to tame, but with proper care, it is equally easy to befriend them. Being a part of local wildlife, a feral cat eliminates many problems, like freeing society from rodents and pests.
Thus, these feral cats are crucial in the natural habitat, ecosystem, and environment. Feral cats are part of our natural habitat and contribute significantly to the ecosystem. But along with bringing about a positive impact, we cannot ignore that they may negatively affect other wildlife species, from killing them to making them endangered.
The local wildlife and environment are deeply connected with feral cats. So, in this article, we will discuss it in-depth.
Positive Impacts of Feral Cats on the Environment and Local Wildlife
Feral cats are not entirely detrimental to the environment. There is some evidence that they can benefit ecosystems to a large extent.
Reduces Local Rodent Population
Feral cats are rodent catchers, and they help control populations of pests and invasive species that multiply superfast. Rodents are a threat to the environment as well as to human beings. Thus, feral cats can be the best solution to curb their growth in a society where mice and rodents are increasing.
It is not a hidden fact that rodents are one of the main causes of the spreading of numerous life-threatening illnesses and diseases. They live in litter and other unsanitary conditions that breed disease-causing bacteria, parasites, and other microbes. A rise in the population of rodents and mice is, thus, an indicator of underlying illnesses. Feral cats are, therefore, the most trusted source of keeping their population in check and eliminating the risks of contamination and sickness.
Enriches the Soil
There is no doubt to the fact that cats are the most hygienic and clean animals. Most of us have witnessed them digging in the ground to dispose of their excreted waste. Animal excretion is an excellent source of manure for the soil. Instead of leaving this in the open for flies and fleas, feral cats bury their waste in the ground. Primarily, these help in reducing health risks transmitted by flies. Also, it increases the soil’s aggregate stability, water filtration, and retention. As a result, plants receive the necessary nutrients and minerals for healthy growth and development.
Predicts Natural Disasters
Just like dogs and other animals, feral cats are also experts at predicting the approach of some natural disasters. These include tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, and cyclones. Thus, in a way, feral cats are life saviors for humans.
If a good bond is established with feral cats, they can become the most trustworthy feline companions. Not just during natural disasters, these felines also show their loyalty in regular day-to-day occurrences when their breadwinner faces dire situations. The best way to initiate this bond is by feeding these cats regularly and providing them with a safe shelter. The HiCaptain Outdoor Feral Cat House is one of the best shelter options available online.
Helps in Pollination
With trees being cut down daily for human needs, many environmental hazards have come into play. It has given rise to the need to plant more trees to reverse the adverse outcomes. While humans are strongly at play in igniting awareness worldwide, feral cats have also established their prominent role in contributing to the cause.
Pollen grains often stick to the furs of these cats. These are then dropped off at various locations where the cat takes its tour to. Those that land in places with suitable conditions grow and germinate into plants and trees over time.
Negative Impacts of Feral Cats on the Environment and Local Wildlife
Every animal influences their environment in some way or the other. Feral cats usually positively impact the environment, but they can also adversely affect nature and wildlife in a few ways.
Puts Endangered Species in Danger
Feral cats are natural predators. They stalk and kill small animals for food and fun because of their aggressive nature. As these cats stay in the wild, they do not care if the rodent or bird they are hunting is on the list of endangered species.
Besides, feral cats are also partially responsible for declining bird populations. As per reports, wild cats kill over 2 billion birds every year. To date, feral cats have impacted the extinction of over 60 animal species, including reptiles, mammals, and birds.
Spreads Parasites and Diseases
Intestinal worms, feline herpesvirus, and feline leukemia can pass quickly through the colony of feral cats and spread to other animals and even humans.
Feral cats have also led to the spread of infectious diseases to marine wildlife. These cats can contaminate the environment with the Toxoplasma gondii parasite that can later infect rainwater runoff.
Although feral cats threaten several other wildlife species, their positive influences on the environment overpower those adverse effects. The way they interact with nature is usual. Their combined positive and negative impacts help maintain the overall ecological balance.