CATS are killing billions of birds. To save birds, should we kill off cats? A fan of both animals seeks a better solution.

FIRSTLY Cat proliferation by the numbers :

Left unfixed, Oliver and Bella - America's favorite cat names - get frisky by six months old and can produce multiple litters each year and with predictable results.

In the U.S. about 90 million cats live with their human caretakers; another 30 million to 80 million  roam wild, from back alleys to remote deserts.

IN AUSTRALIA cats have become such deadly and prolific predators that they threaten to extinguish whole species of indigenous birds reptiles, and small mammals.

To prevent that, the Australian government launched drive in 2015 to kill to two million feral cats by 2020.

Worldwide, approximately half a billion cats - give or take a couple hundred million - populate six continents. 118 of the world's 131 main island groups, and the farthest reaches of the Internet. To find a more successful invasive species, you'll need a mirror.

MY CAT, BERNSTEIN, likes bird-watching almost as much as I do. Bernstein is an easygoing  three-year short-haired tabby whose other passions include laser pointers, elastic hair bands, and dental floss.

And me, I'm a 33 year old short-haired blond who has always been, petwise, a cat person.

Bernstein was a tiny kitten, unable to eat or open his eyes, when he was rescued after being abandoned in a barn. [His littermate, Woodward, remains with the journalist friend who rescued them.]

He's one lucky cat - and I've wondered if his general personality might be due, at least in part, to everlasting gratitude for having dodged a lifetime of starvation, shelters and other feral fates.

But no nature or nurture can override the feline instinct, as I was sadly reminded last spring. on a warm afternoon.

I left Bernstein onto the patio for some sun. After slinking off for a few minutes, he proudly returned, clutching a ball of feathers: a one-ounce, beautifully shade-dappled Swainson's thrush had just flown several thousand miles from Central America to Oregon to sing for a mate in my backyard. Dead as a doornail.

I couldn't blame Bernstein. He was just putting his instincts and ninja skills into practice. Still, as the little thrush went cold in my hands, my heart sank.

The honor and serving of this beautiful content, continues. The World Students Society thanks author Noah Strycker.


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