Skip to main content

Full text of "... The domestic cat; bird killer, mouser and destroyer of wild life; means of utilizing and controlling it"

See other formats

®l)e ^omtnonruealtl) of iHla60acl)U0Ctt0 






State Ornithologist 


From the collection of the 


Z ^ 


^ ^ Uibrary 
t P 

San Francisco, California 


f«r ■ t.' 



©be ^ammontocaltl) of iWassadiusetts 





State Ornithologist 






Questions regarding the value or inutility of the domestic cat, 
and problems connected with limiting its more or less unwelcome 
outdoor activities, are causing much dissension. The discussion 
has reached an acute stage. Medical men, game protectors and 
bird lovers call on legislators to enact restrictive laws. Then 
ardent cat lovers rouse themselves for combat. In the excite- 
ment of partisanship many loose and ill-considered statements 
are made. Some recently published assertions for and against 
the cat, freely bandied about, have absolutely no foundation in 
fact. The author of this bulletin has been misquoted so much by 
partisans on both sides of the controversy that in writing a series 
of papers on the natural enemies of birds it has seemed best, in 
justice to the cat and its friends and foes, as w^ell as to himself, 
to gather and publish obtainable facts regarding the economic 
position of the creature and the means for its control. 

The first publication of the State Board of Agriculture that re- 
ferred particularly to the natural enemies of birds was a special 
report on the "Decrease of Certain Birds and its Causes," published 
in the fifty-second annual report of the Board in 1904. A paper on 
the English sparrow appeared in the fifty-eighth annual report, and 
one on the starling in the fifty-ninth. These two papers, revised 
and enlarged, have been republished in 1915 as circulars 48 and 
45 respectively. Bulletin No. 1 of the present series, already in 
its second edition, treats of the rat as an enemy of mankind and 
birds, and deals with the means of suppressing it. The rat, al- 
though of less importance than the cat as a bird killer, was con- 
sidered first, for people who intend to dispose of their cats need 
first to know how to rid their premises of rats. 

This paper has been written in the hope that it will interest 
and inform not only cat lovers and bird lovers, but that large 
part of the public whose attention is engaged at times by both 
cats and birds. An attempt has been made to avoid unnecessary 
scientific verbiage and to set forth the facts plainly and con- 

The Houghton-Mifflin Company of Boston and the Lothrop, 
Lee & Shepard Company of New York have given permission 

respectively to quote from Miss Repplier's charming volume " The 
Fireside Sphinx" and from Miss Winslow's "Concerning Cats." 
Charles Scribner's Sons have granted a similar privilege regarding 
Shaler's "Domesticated Animals." 

Mrs. Huntington Smith, president of the Animal Rescue League 
of Boston, has kindly proffered the use of much material that she 
has gathered from friends of the cat. 

Edward X. Coding, Esq., has read that portion of the manu- 
script devoted to the cat in law, and has given valuable sugges- 

Mr. Alfred Ela has contributed the use of all his notes and 
clippings relating to the subject. 

The line drawings are from the pen of Mr. Walt F. McMahon. 

The author has received very material aid from the National 
Association of Audubon Societies and is indebted to many authors 
and to a host of correspondents, much of whose material could 
not possibly be utilized within the limits of this bulletin; never- 
theless, it has been given due weight in arriving at conclusions. 


History: . 

The cat in Egj-pt, 
The cat in Asia, . 
The cat in Europe, 
Fitness, Character and Intelligence:* 
Cruelty of the cat. 
The cat compared with the dog, 
Independence of the cat, 
Affections of the cat, . 
Fecundity of the cat, 
Natural enemies of the cat, 
Numbers of cats: 

Great numbers of vagrant cats in cities. 

Numbers of vagabond or wild house cats in the country 

Cats abandon owners, . 

Owners abandon cats, . 

Cats unfed by owners, 


Food: .... 
Vegetal food of the cat, 
Animal food of the cat. 

Destruction of insectivorous birds by cats 
The cat a birdcatcher in ancient times. 
The cat a birdcatcher in modern times. 
Birds cut by claws of cats may die. 
Cat poaching for owner. 
Active and intelligent birdcatchers. 
Cats enticing birds, 
Numbers of birds killed by cats. 
Cats versus spraying trees, . 
Bird slaughter by cats. 
Young birds the chief sufferers 
Statements from people in the countrj^ 
Cats allowed to roam at night. 
Correspondents report many birds killed, 
Number of birds killed per day, week, month and 
Number of birds killed in various States, 
Destruction of game birds by cats. 
Bob whites, .... 
Ruffed grouse, 
Heath hens. 

Pheasants and partridges, 
Snipe, woodcock and other game birds. 
The cat on the game preserve. 
Number of observers reporting game birds killed 
Destruction of poultry and pigeons by cats. 
Young turkeys, 
Bantam fowls. 
Full-sized fowls, 
Pigeons or doves, 
Cats eating eggs. 
Extermination of island birds by cats, 




Food — Concluded. 

Animal food of the cat — Concluded. 

Expert opinions on the cat's deetructiveness to birds, 
Destruction of mammals and lower animals by cats, 

Hares and rabbits. 
Moles- and shrews, 
Rats and mice. 
Bats, .... 
Reptiles and amphibians, 


Crustaceans and moUusks, 
The economic value of the cat: . 
Economic value of weasels, . 
Economic value of squirrels. 
Economic value of hares or rabbits. 
Economic value of moles. 
Economic value of shrews and bats. 
Economic value of amphibians and reptiles. 
Economic value of birds, 

Species of wild birds reported killed by cats, 
Cats and insects increase, . 
Injury by insect pests, 
Insect pests eaten by birds. 
Number of insects eaten by birds. 
Birds save trees and crops from destruction, 
Inutility of the cat, 
Animal substitutes for the cat, 
Is the cat a disseminator of disease, 
Parasitic diseases. 

Infections from cats' claws and teeth, 
Tetanus or lockjaw, . 
Rabies or hydrophobia, 
Septicsemia or blood poisoning. 
Means of controlling the cat: 
Catproof fence, . 
Killing the guilty cat, . 
Confining or tethering the cat, 
Keeping the cat indoors at night, 
Feeding the cat, . 
Belling the cat, . 
Cat guards. 

Keep only white cats, . 
Air guns, torpedoes, etc., 

Dogs, .... 

Training the cat not to catch birds. 
To prevent cats killing chickens, 
Legislation for the control of the cat. 
Methods of taking and killing stray or feral cats. 
Legal rights of the cat. 
Recapitulation and conclusion. 
List of those who contributed information. 



The cat, of all animals, is in some respects the most intimate 
companion of man. It is more closely identified with indoor life 
and the cheerful domestic hearth than is any other animal. 
It is, as St. George Mivart says, "the inmate of a multitude of 
humble homes in which the dog has no place." 

Its independent character and its graceful, quiet movements ap- 
peal particularly to women. Its elegance of form, beauty of color- 
ing, daintiness of habit, and, above all, the delightful, playful activity 
of its young make it a welcome fireside companion throughout the 
civilized world, and the playmate of innocent children in count- 
less happy homes. It is considered useful inasmuch as it tends 
to keep down the undue increase of rodent pests. Nevertheless, 
it leads a dual existence. "The fireside sphinx," the pet of the 
children, the admired habitue of the drawing-room or the salon 
by day, may become at night a wild animal, pursuing, striking 
down and torturing its prey, frequently making night hideous 
with its cries, sneaking into dark, filthy, noisome retreats, or 
taking to the woods and fields, where it perpetrates untold mis- 
chief. Now it ravages the dovecote; now it steals on the mother 
bird asleep on her nest, striking bird, nest and young to the 
ground. In the darkness of night it turns poacher. No animal 
that it can reach and master is safe from its ravenous clutches. 

In justice to the cat it should be said that it cannot be blamed 
for following the natural propensities of the Felidoe, the carniv- 
orous family of mammals to which it belongs. Man brought it 
to this country, and the disturbance of the balance of nature 
caused by its introduction is man's fault, and occurs because he 
failed to control his own pet and protege. We are more to blame 
than the cat for its wide-roaming, bird-and-game-killing propen- 
sities. Many cats naturally are indolent and sedentary, and 
would not stray far from their homes unless driven by necessity, 
but the neglected one must bestir itself to live. Abandoned or 
deserted by human friends, often expected to hunt most of its 
own living, its range grows wider and wider as its inroads on 
easily taken prey reduce more and more the numbers of animal 
life in the immediate vicinity of its home; or, turned out at night 


and allowed to shift for itself, it must appease by its own efforts 
the hunger due to wandering, fighting and exposure. Many 
people express the belief that it is "a poor cat that cannot pick 
up its own living." Some never feed their cats, and we need not 
wonder that puss, neglected and spurned, becomes by necessity 
a scourge to wild life. 

The cat is the only domestic animal which is not usually re- 
garded as property under the law, and which is neither fully 
restrained nor protected by it, also the only one that commonly is 
allowed by its owner to run wild and get its own living. This, 
however, is the lesser evil. The greater lies in the fact that hun- 
dreds of thousands of cats, deserting their owners or deserted by 
them, have reverted to the wild state, bred in the woods, and the 
numbers of their progeny have increased until they have become 
such a menace to small game, insectivorous birds and poultry 
that some method of repressing them must be found. The situa- 
tion has become so serious that the legislators of many States 
have been asked to consider measures for the repression of these 
nocturnal marauders. 

In recent years, some evidence has been adduced in support of 
the claim that the cat disseminates disease, particularly among 

The object of this bulletin is to discuss the origin, history, 
character, habits and economic position of the cat, and to con- 
sider how its beneficial habits may be fully utilized and its in- 
jurious habits minimized. 


Mivart says that it seems probable that the Mammalia, which 
of course includes the cat, descended from some highly developed 
"somewhat reptile-like batrachian of which no trace has been 

The origin of the domestic cat is not definitely known, but the 
beginning of its association with man and his home falls within 
historic times. All histories of ancient nations go back to a time 
when they had no cats. Xo trace of the house cat has been 
found among the early nomadic tribes. The Swiss lake dwellers 
of the Stone Age had no pet cats, although they hunted and ate 
a wild species. The Indo-Aryans of the Vedic Age had none. 
Ancient Greece and Rome were without them. The earlier rec- 
ords of civilization make no mention of the cat, nor is it repre- 
sented as a domesticated animal on any of the most ancient 
monuments or works of art that have been discovered. The 
Bible omits it, but it is spoken of once in the Apocrypha. Some 

Hebrew scholars, however, beUeve that the animal there referred 
to is the jackal. Even in Egypt, where the cat appears to have 
been first tamed and where it became an object of worship, its 
domestication seems to have been comparatively late. Every- 
thing points to the probability that the cat was domesticated 
originally in Africa. African cats are easily tamed, while those 
of other countries are said to be more savage and do not so 
readily lend themselves to domestication. 

The cat appears to have come to the front as a domestic 
animal about the period of the twelfth dynasty in the "Land of 
Cush," after the conquest of that country. It seems probable, 

Egyptian hunting cat, Felin maniculata. An ancestor of the domestic cat. 

then, that this little Cushite was derived from the wild Kaffir 
cat, Felis caffra, or from Felis maniculata, which is a native of Nubia 
and the Sudan. Cat mummies from Egypt have been considered 
to belong to this species, but naturalists differ regarding the identi- 
fication, and Blainville distinguishes three species among cat mum- 
mies, Felis caligata, the Egyptian cat (which is identical with F. ma- 
niculata), F. bubasiis and F. chaus, an Asiatic species. Two of 
these species are found still, both wild and domesticated, in 
Africa. Ehrenberg, however, considers all the cat mummies that 
he examined as remains of the Abyssinian wild cat, F. caligata. 
Temminck, Pallas and Blyth conclude that the domestic cat, Felis 
domestica, is a result of the interbreeding of many species, and as 
there are many small wild cats in various parts of the world, and 
as Felis domestica breeds freely with Felis catus, the common wild 


cat of Europe, there seems to be a probability that the domestic 
cat is the product of many species. 

Since writing the above I have devoted some attention to the 
probable origin of Felis domcstica, and am now inclined to agree 
with Dr. D. G. Elliot in the belief expressed in his monograph of 
the Felidae that F. manicidata and F. caligata are practically 
identical with F. caffra. It is well to keep in mind the fact that 
many closely allied forms which have been described as species or 
races may have no real basis in nature, except as they have 
emanated from the gropings of the human intellect. Probably all 
the members of this group of closely related African cats described 
under different names are identical with or were derived from F. 
caffra. According to Elliot, this widely distributed form seems 
to vary in color from dull yellowish to dark gray. It shows 
markings somewhat similar to the common tabby, but less numer- 
ous, and has a blackish phase also. Its variations in color include 
practically all those of the domestic cat, except such as are the 
product of domestication. Its appearance is much like that of 
the domestic cat, except that it seems somewhat slimmer than the 
usual form of the household pet. Anatomically it is much the 
same, if we allow for the changes produced by domestication. 
The sparse markings of this species may not account for the 
numerous ones of the domestic tabby, but these may have been 
produced centuries ago in Europe by many crossings with the 
well-marked wildcat F. catvs when wildcats were numerous there 
and the domestic cat had not become common. 

The cat certainly was domesticated in Egypt at least thirteen 
hundred years before Christ. One of the earliest representations 
of the cat with man is a statue of King Hana, probably of the 
eleventh dynasty, with his cat Bouhaki between his feet. Refer- 
ences to the animal, found on monuments, appear in written 
rituals of the eighteenth dynasty, about 1500 B.C. Hieroglyphic 
inscriptions which go back to 1684 B.C., and some probably as 
far back as 2400 B.C., mention the cat. The earliest known 
pictorial representation of puss as a domestic pet is shown on a 
tablet of the eighteenth or nineteenth dynasty (about 1500 to 
1638 B.C.) now at Leyden, where she is represented seated 
under a chair. 


The Cat in Egypt. 

A full history of the cat in domestication would make an ab- 
sorbing tale. In Egypt she sat in the seats of the mighty. She 
was dedicated to woman and to Isis or the moon, and possibly 


to the sun also. Plutarch says that the image of a female cat 
was placed at the top of the sistrum as an emblem of the lunar 
orb. Horapollo asserts that the cat was worshipped in the temple 
of Heliopolis, sacred to the sun. Some scholars claim to have 
found evidence that one sex was believed to be emblematic of 
the moon, and that the other was symbolic of the sun. Such 
homage was paid the animal possibly because its eyes change the 
form and size of their pupils with the waxing and waning of the 
orbs of dav and night, and become more brilliant when the moon 
is full. 

A cat-headed goddess appears in the temples of Egypt, known 
as Bast, Pasht, Sekhet, Pasche, Tefnut or Menhi, believed by 
some to have been the Diana or hunting goddess 
of the Egyptians. She is referred to by others 
as the goddess of love or pleasure. The cat well 
might be chosen to represent both Diana and Venus. 
This goddess, known to the Greeks as Bubastis, 
seems to have antedated the deification of the cat, 
and to have been a lioness goddess until the cat 
was domesticated, when the deification of the king 
of beasts apparently was forgotten, and the "little 
lion" of the fireside took its place as an object 
of veneration. 

From the twelfth dynasty onward pussy seems 
to have become a precious jewel — a fetish of the 
Egyptian people. The valley of the Nile was then 
a great grain-growing region, and Egypt the gran- 
ary of the ancient world. No doubt the utility 
of the cat in catching rats and mice appealed to 
the Egyptians, but this was merely incidental, and 
no adequate reason for the exceeding veneration 
with which cats were treated. 

The extreme reverence, affection and solicitude displayed by 
the people of Egypt for this animal are illustrated by historic 
tales of the ancients which seem incredible in the light of the 
twentieth century. The law forbade the sinful killing of a cat. 
The city of Bubastis, now in ruins, between the arms of the Nile 
and above the present town of Benha-el-Asl, was dedicated to 
cats and cat worship. Bubastis was built in the time of Thothmes 
IV, about 1500 B.C. Herodotus records the pilgrimage of seven 
hundred thousand people to this city in one year, and asserts 
that the lives of cats were held so sacred that when a fire took 
place, and an impulse to rush into it seemed to possess the felines, 
the Egyptians occupied themselves with keeping them away from 

Egyptian cat 


the burning building and neglected to quench the fire. In spite 
of all this tender solicitude some cats escaped and cast them- 
selves into the flames, amid the wild lamentations of the be- 
reaved and horrified Egyptians. All members 
of any family bereaved by the death of a cat 
had their eyebrows sliaved ofl', and the sacred 
animal was embalmed and then buried at Bubastis. 
No Egyptian dared run the risk of injuring a 
cat. There is a tradition repeated by the old 
historians regarding Cambyses, the Persian king, 
who attempted to take the town of Pelusium but 
was beaten back by the Egyptians. The tale runs 
that he then gave living cats to the soldiers in 
Bronze statuette of the the frout rauks of his army, which they used as 
cat of Bubastis. ghiclds, and the Egyptians retired and gave up 
the town without striking a blow. Diodorus says that a Roman 
who killed a cat by accident in Thebes was almost torn to pieces 
by the infuriated populace. 

The exportation of cats was prohibited. An Egyptian com- 
mission searched the Mediterranean countries to buy and bring 
back, if possible, every cat which had been taken out of Egypt. 
The temples of Bubastis, Beni Hassan and Heliopolis were 
sacred retreats of the deified animal, but that of Bubastis was 
the "fairest in all Egypt." There the sacred cats were robed, 
pampered and worshipped during life. There their necks and 
ears were hung with jewels and ornaments of gold. There they 
"drowsed and played in the shadows of mighty temples," and 
there their remains were tenderly and reverently preserved after 
death. Mummies of cats that had lived in the temple of the 
Goddess Pasht at Bubastis were greatly venerated by the people, 
and their tombs contained great numbers of gold ornaments 
bearing the same letters as those found in the mausoleums of 
Egyptian kings. Cat mummies were wrapped in fine linen like 
that in which the remains of kings were swathed. 

"How now are the mighty fallen!" In recent years, great cat 
burial places have been rifled of their sacred deposits and the 
bones used to fertilize Egyptian fields, or prepared and shipped 
abroad, to be sold at $15 a ton as fertilizer. 

Outside of Egypt, with its pictorial art, mummies and in- 
scriptions, the records of the early history of the cat are few. 
Little is known about its place in the homes of men between 
the time of the latest Egyptian records and about 260 B.C. 
when it appears as already established in Greece and Rome. 


The Cat in Asia. 

About 400 B.C. the cat is referred to in Chinese records as a 
wild animal, and does not appear to have been tamed in China 
until after the beginning of the Christian era. It appeared also 
in Persia and India, but the exact date of its first appearance in 
domestication there is one of the mysteries of the past, and whether 
it came there from Egypt and interbred with native types or 
was domesticated from native species alone cannot be deter- 
mined. All long-haired cats, however, are believed to have come 
from the East, and seem to have had a common origin in Pallas' 
cat {Felis manul). 

The Cat in Europe. 

Some authorities assert that the cat came to Europe from 
Cyprus, others that it was introduced from Egypt. Diodorus 
says that hunters carried it away captive from Numidia to de- 
cadent Greece. Whatever may be the facts, its former glory had 
departed. In Greece and Rome it was little honored and less 
worshipped, but was tolerated and valued because of its ability 
as a mouser. Apparently it was disseminated slowly through 
Europe. There seems to be no proof of its domestication in 
Great Britain or France before the ninth century. Although its 
utility had been recognized early it soon became a beast of ill 
repute, — a reputation which followed it for centuries. Its cold 
temperament, nocturnal habits, flaming eyes and horrible night 
cries resulted in its becoming the victim of superstition. It was 
classed with devils, witches, sorcerers, owls, bats and the spirits 
of sin and darkness, and in the dark and middle ages it was the 
object of terrible persecution and torture. It may have been 
regarded as evil partly because of its alleged hatred of blue, the 
color "of the cloak of heaven" and that of the dress of the Virgin 
Mary. The cat was a striking figure in trials for witchcraft, was 
regarded as an imp of Satan, was accused of casting spells, and 
was girt about with mystery and superstitious fear. 
• In Flanders, cats were hurled from high towers on the second 
Wednesday of Lent. This custom persisted in Ypres until 1868 
or later. In Picardy, cats were burned on the first Sunday of 
Lent. In Metz and other towns, they were sacrificed in bonfires 
on the evening of St. John. In England, they were hanged, 
burned by hundreds in mighty fires, roasted alive in brick ovens 
or at archery contests were tucked into leathern bottles and shot 
with arrows. In Scotland, they were impaled on spits and roasted 
alive before slow fires. From time to time on the continent, they 


were roasted in iron cages, over fires, in company with eflBgies 
of murderesses. The worrying of cats by dogs was a common 
sport. Boys tied cats together in pairs by their tails and hung 

them up to see them fight. Thus, per- 

^'■^v — ->^^^ secution, fear and torment followed poor 

^■•vT / ^^n\ pussy through the ages until the eight- 

^-— -^^ST^T"""^"-— ^N^«S) eenth century, when superstition began 

to lose its hold. Even now, however, 
some terror of the cat remains in many lands; many persons 
regard her with aversion, if not with hatred, and so the old in- 
heritance of fear still darkens pussy's pathway, and she keeps 
the attitude of apprehension as she slinks across the street. 

The folklore of many peoples teems with superstitious cat tales 
and fables, many of them showing aversion, dispraise or suspicion. 
People still keep black cats away from the cradle in Germany. 

Puss has a large place in literature and has added many words 
and proverbs to the languages of mankind. Fully fifty English 
words or phrases have been derived from her, and now in the 
twentieth century she is coming again to her own. Her star — 
eclipsed since the fall of the Goddess Pasht — again has reached 
its zenith. Carefully guarded from harm by humane societies, 
unrestrained by law or public sentiment, pampered, petted, wor- 
shipped almost as of old, "queen" of the cat show, attended by 
her most "humble slaves," puss faces the dawn of a new era. 
Dozens of books are devoted wholly or in part to chronicling the 
history, varieties, diseases, friends and enemies of cats, and every- 
thing pertaining to the beloved pet. There are cat magazines, 
cat clubs and cat homes. The attitude of present-day "cat 
worship"^ is that the "queen" can do no wrong. A lady adver- 
tises in the "London Standard" for live birds with which to feed 
her cat. Another inserts the following notice in a Berlin paper: — 

Wanted, by a lady of rank, for adequate remuneration, a few well-behaved 
and respectably dressed children, to amuse a cat in delicate health two or 
three hours a day. 


The cat family (FelidoB) includes the lion, tiger, leopard, 
panther, cheetah, jaguar, ocelot, puma, lynx, ounce, wildcat and 
many small forms. There are at least sixty-six species scattered 
widely over the globe. This family always has been regarded by 
naturalists as carnivorous, rapacious, unsocial, cautious, some- 

1 This exproMion i» not coined in derision, but is quoted from a cat lover's book. 


times brave, sometimes cowardly with dangerous antagonists, but 
bold and courageous when brought to bay. 

Naturalists agree that the cat is a highly organized and in- 
telligent animal. Mivart says that no more complete example 
can be found of a perfectly organized living being. As compared 
with the dog, its intelligence is rated lower, but is probably under- 
rated. The older naturalists assume that nature has destined 
animals of the genus Felis to subsist on the flesh of other animals. 
For this purpose she has endowed them with an "insatiably 
bloodthirsty disposition," and has furnished them with most 
effective means of destruction. Their exceedingly great strength, 
especially that of the jaw, their keen lacerating teeth, and strong, 
retractile claws, sharp-edged and pointed, are terribly eflBcacious 
in inflicting wounds, while their peculiarly flexible, agile bodies 
enable them to spring with great force upon their victims. All 
are regarded as exceedingly cruel, and the domestic cat as per- 
haps the most cruel of all, because of its habit of tormenting its 

Cruelty of the Cat. 

Romanes says that the feelings which prompt a cat to torture 
a captured mouse are apparently delight in torturing for tor- 
ture's sake. So far as he has been able to discover, the only 
other animals manifesting such feelings are man and the 
monkeys. ^ This cruelty, however, is not peculiar to Felis domes- 
tica; probably other small cats have similar habits. Foxes also 
have been known to "play" with their prey. Moreover, such 
habits cannot be considered blamable except in man, — the most 
viciously and knowingly cruel of living crea- 
tures. The cat evidently cannot realize as man 
can the poignant pains and terrible sufferings 
of its victims. Universally, the cat seems to 
take delight in torturing its prey, but this 
seems to be its means of developing the use 
of its fore limbs, and it acquires a more perfect control over them 
than is possessed by any other domestic animal. By continually 
advancing and retreating, springing and striking, it develops the 
skill that enables it to pounce upon and strike down birds, insects 
and small mammals in flight, and to clutch its prey even in 
darkness. All the play of the kitten tends toward these ends. 

> Romanes, G«orge J.: Animal Intelligence, 1S83, p. 413. 


The Cat compared with the Dog. 

In estimating the character and inteihgence of the cat, it has 
been customary from time immemorial to compare it with the 
dog, much to the cat's detriment. The independence of the cat, 
its naturally unsocial character and its apparent lack of affection 
for its master place it in a very unfavorable light when compared 
with the sociability, affection and fidelity of the dog. Hamerton, 
who is evidently an admirer of cats, says that all who have 
written about them are of the opinion that their caressing ways 
bear reference chiefly to themselves; he says also that his cat 
loves the dog and horse exactly with the tender sentiments that 
we have for foot warmers and railway rugs during a journey in 
the depth of winter; nor has he been able to detect any worthier 
feeling towards himself. Continuing, he remarks that ladies often 
are fond of cats and pleasantly encourage the illusion that they 
are affectionate. Maiden ladies, he says, surround themselves 
with cats because of their inexhaustible kindness, and their love 
of neatness which is iti harmony with the cat. ^ 

Shaler, comparing the cat with the dog, shows that his experi- 
ence corroborates that of the earlier naturalists. He says : — 

The cat is the creature of the domicile, caring more indeed for its dwelling 
place than it ever does for the inmates thereof. In a word, the creature 
must have come to us after our forefathers gave up the nomadic life. . . . 
Among the curious features connected with the association of the cat with man, 
we may note that it is the only animal which has been tolerated, esteemed, 
and at times worshipped, without having a single distinctly valuable quality. 
It is, in a small way, serviceable in keeping dovMi the excessive development 
of small rodente, which from the beginning have been the self-invited guests 
of man. As it is in a certain indifferent way sympathetic, and by its caresses 
appears to indicate affection, it has awakened a measure of sympathy which 
it hardly deserves. I have been unable to find any authentic instances 
which go to show the existence in cats of any real love for their masters. » 

Lest it may be said that Shaler's statement was inspired by 
antipathy, let me quote a few passages from cat lovers. Agnes 
Repplier says, in the introduction to a recent volume: — 

All nations have conspired to praise the animal which loves and serves. 
Few and cold are the praises given to the animal which seldom loves and 
never serves, wliich has only the grace of companionship to offer in place of 
the dog's passionate fidelity. > 

> Hamerton, Philip Gilbert: Chapters on Animals, 1874, pjx 47, 48. 
' Shaler, Nathaniel .Soutbgate: Diamesticated .\nimal9, 1895, pp. 50, 51. 
• Repplier, Agnes: The Cat, 1912, p. xiii. 


Independence of the Cat. 

Many cat lovers admire the cat because it loves not, because 
it is fond of the fire but not of the fire maker. Witness the fol- 
lowing from Chateaubriand to M. de Marcellus: — 

I value in the cat the independent and almost ungrateful spirit wliich 
prevents her from attaching herself to any one, the indifference with which 
she passes from the salon to the housetop. When we caress her, she stretches 
herself and arches her back responsively; but this is because she feels an 
agreeable sensation, not because she takes a silly satisfaction, like the dog, 
in faithfully loving a thankless master. The cat hves alone, has no need of 
society, obej'S only when she pleases, pretends to sleep that she may see the 
more clearly, and scratches everything on which she can lay her paw.^ 

The attitude of the cat toward man has been clearly stated 
by so many cat lovers that the facts may be regarded as estab- 
lished. The following, translated from "Un Peintre de Chats," 
by Henry Havard, states the case for the cat as he regards it : — 

This is the progress, and these are the admitted triumphs of the cat. She 
has conquered and domesticated man, reduced him to the role of an obedient 
servant, and required of him that he shall provide her with the luxuries she 
loves. In doing this, he but performs his duty, and need expect no gratitude. 
The loud declarations of naturaUsts count for httle by the side of such a 
candid confession as that of M. de Cherville, who tells us in one of his charm- 
ing essays that for two years he has obsequiously served a little cat, bom 
under his roof, and raised by his careful hands. For two years he has studied 
her tastes, and shown her every attention in his power; and never in all this 
time has he won from her the smallest token of regard. Never has she 
vouchsafed him a caress by way of thanks, nor consented to go to him when 
called with loving words and tender cajoleries.* 

Affections of the Cat. 

Nevertheless, some psychologists claim to have found some 
evidences of real affection toward human beings in certain cats. 
Not all cats are alike. They vary as people vary, and abject 
slavery to a cat's every whim sometimes seems to win its real 
regard and affection, or at least its appreciation. Rarely is such 
service offered except by women, whose superlatively affection- 
ate and maternal natures lead them to make any sacrifice for 
those they love, and sometimes to make even greater exertions 
to please when the object of their attentions manifests only in- 
difference. Miss Winslow evidently had good reason to believe 
that her cat loved her. She says: "Do not tell me that cats 
never love people; that only places have real hold upon their 

> Repplier, Agnes: The Cat, 1912, p. 9. • Ibid., pp. 62, 63. 


affections. The Pretty Lady was contented wherever I, her most 
humble slave, went with her."' Many a puss has been known to 
be "contented" in the company of her "humble slave" and if 
such an attitude does not win the affections of a cat nothing will. 
There are many stories of cats which have refused food and died 
after the death of some human friend or benefactor, and such 
cats are always said to have died of grief, but, so far as I know, 
no post-mortem examination has been held in any such case to 
determine whether or not the cat died of disease. 

It is well known that the female cat, like the females of other 
mammals manifests maternal affection, and that the male often 
murders his own offspring. It is well attested also that females 
when deprived of their young have been known to adopt those of 
other animals, and to suckle squirrels, rats, leverets, puppies, 
skunks, hedgehogs, and even to adopt young chickens, squabs 
and bobwhites. In the cases of mammals thus adopted the suck- 
lings probably relieved the maternal fount and 
so gratified the cat, but the mothering of 
birds seems to be entirely altruistic. Cats 
like other animals have shown at times some 
evidence of attachment to domestic animals 
and even to birds, but such evidences of 
affection are exceptional. Aside from such individual excep- 
tions it seems to be accepted by the authorities as a fact that 
cats as a rule have a higher regard for the home than for its 
inmates. Shaler explains this in the following manner: — 

The differences as regards affection for localities which are shown by 
cats and dogs are perhaps to be accounted for by an original and essential 
variation in the habits of life in their mid ancestors. Judging by the kindred 
of the species which are known to us in their wild state, we may fairly suppose 
that the dogs were of old accustomed to range over a wide field, having no 
fixed place of abode; the pack ranging, if the occasion served, over hundreds 
of miles in any direction. On the other hand, with tiie cats, it is character- 
istic of the species that they have their lairs to which they resort, and a 
definite hunting ground on which they seek their food. They are, in a word, 
animals of a very determined routine. As there has been no effort by 
breeding to change this feature, it has remained in all its old ingrained 

Most cats will return to their old home if possible rather than 
remain with the family at a new dwelling place. It is this trait 
of the cat's nature mainly that endangers the native wild life 
of woods and fields, as will be shown hereinafter. 

> Wiiulow, Helen M : Concerning Cato, My Own and Some Others, 1900, p. 9. 



Cats are known to have from two to four broods yearly, with 
from five to nine in each brood. Fostered and protected from 
their enemies, a single pair might produce an enormous number 
in a few years. Hence the necessity for checking such increase 
promptly by killing all superfluous kittens soon after birth. An 
undue increase of the species must occur otherwise as cats have 
very few effective natural enemies in the New England States. 


The domestic cat is preyed upon by the larger Felidcs, of which 
the puma and the two species of lynx are the only New England 
representatives. They are found rarely now except in remote 
and wild parts of the region. The CanidcB must be reckoned 
among the cat's natural enemies, but as the wolf is now practi- 
cally extinct in New England, and as few dogs are bold and 
active enough to catch and kill cats, the fox is the only mammal 
which may endanger the domestic pet. Foxes have been seen to 
kill cats and carry them away from farmyards, and remains of 
cats sometimes have been found when fox burrows have been 
examined. On the other hand, a large, powerful cat has been seen 
to turn on a young fox and drive it away. Probably foxes make 
no serious inroads on the numbers of cats. Foxes, raccoons and 
even weasels may pick up a kitten in the woods occasionally, 
but it is improbable that any wild mammal appreciably reduces 
the numbers of cats in Massachusetts. The golden eagle preys on 
cats, but it is very rare in New England. I have known a great 
horned owl to attack and kill a full-grown cat at night, but 
never heard of another instance. The absence of effective natural 
enemies to check the increase of cats in New England goes far 
to explain the increase in the numbers of stray or feral cats 
roaming in field and forest. Man is the cat's best friend and also 
its greatest enemy, and it is in his power to control its numbers 
within reasonable bounds. 


In setting forth the effect of the feeding habits of the cat, it is 
essential first to give the reading public an adequate idea of the 
numbers and prevalence of cats, not only throughout cities, 
towns and villages of New England, but on farms and in forests 
as well, as no one who has not investigated the subject has any 


idea of their ubiquity. Hundreds roam about the country towns. 
On the early snows of winter their tracks may be found on 
nearly every farm in the land. There is no forest or woodland so 
remote that the cats have not penetrated. In 1912 I visited the 
Maine woods in December, and there, in the snow, miles from 
any human dwelling, were more tracks of cats than of any other 

Great Numbers of Vagrant Cats in Cities. 

It is a well-known fact that cities are overrun by vagrant cats, 
many of them hungry and cold in winter, finding a precarious 
living by catching mice and rats and visiting "dumps" and 
garbage cans. Many are fleabitten, mangy and diseased, and the 
suffering among them must be great. All such cats should be 
executed, as a measure of humanity and public safety. Humane 
societies have undertaken this task in Boston, New York and 
other cities. The Animal Rescue League of Boston has done a 
great work in rescuing numbers of homeless, starving cats and 
humanely destroying them, also in disposing of surplus kittens. 
Mr. Huntington Smith, managing director of the league, has 
been kind enough to give me the following account of the cats 
handled by the association during ten years, and the disposition 
made of them: — 




Placed in 











AKKregates, ten years, 1905-14, 







It is noteworthy that in this time the number of cats destroyed 
annually increased more than 200 per cent. This seems to show 
an increasing multitude of cats annually bred in the city, but 
Mr. Smith explains this as follows: — 

The increase in the number of cats taken by us is due, first, to a growing 
tendency on the part of the public in and around Boston to turn over to us 
animals that they cannot or do not wish to care for; to increased eflficiency 


on our part by the establishment of receiving stations and an elaborate col- 
lection service; and to the fact that by the use of motor vehicles we are able 
to cover a much larger territory than ever before. These figures represent 
not only the city of Boston, but outlying towns and cities, more particularly 
Brookline, the Newtons, Cambridge, Somerville, Arlington, Everett, Maiden, 
Revere and Chelsea. While the stray cat problem is still a serious one in 
the more densely populated part of this city, I think we are gradually getting 
it under control. On a single day two weeks ago we destroyed here at head- 
quarters 269 cats and kittens. 

Mr. Smith writes that it is a standing rule of the institution 
to give away only gelded male cats. Female cats are destroyed. 
In New York a similar necessary work is done by the American 
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. President 
Wagstaff writes the editor of "Bird-Lore" that in 1900 the so- 
ciety put to death 257,403 cats, and in 1911, 303,949. Mr. 
Ernest Ingersoll of the National Association of Audubon So- 
cieties has kindly secured for me the following facts and figures 
regarding some more recent activities of this society : — 

This society operates throughout the greater city, and picks up and 
humanely destroys " small animals" to the amounts recorded below: — 

1911, • . . 362,216 

1912, 225,307 

1913, 240,371 

1914, 222,402 

This includes dogs to the extent of about two-fifths or less. 
This appears from the following particulars : — 

"Small animals" have been destroyed during six months of the present 
year as follows : — 







January, .... 
February, .... 




May, . . \ . 
June, .... 



There were seized on the streets of this city in 1911, 50,956 cats; 1912, 
24,624; 1913, 23,239; 1914, 22,265. 

These figures should be greatly multipUed [writes Mr. Ingersoll] to get 
an idea of the total cats destroyed in those years, because many more are 
taken by request from houses than are picked up in the streets. An excep- 
tion to this is the number for 1911, when a special series of night raids were 
made in the tenement district on the east side and 50,000 cats were caught. 
These night- wandering cats in the city are known as "ash-barrel" cats. 


City cats make forays into the parks at night. A man em- 
ployed to guard the birds in Central Park, New York, killed in 
six months, from January to June, 1910, 161 cats.^ 

If we consider the number of vagrant and superfluous cats in 
the city we well may wonder what the rate of increase may yet 
become in the country where cats, mainly nocturnal, may wan- 
der at will, unseen and unknown, and increase unchecked, except 
perhaps by the cold and starvation of winter, which generally 
they seem to survive. 

Numbers of Vagabond or Wild House Cats in the Country. 

Wild or feral house cats that pass their lives mainly in the 
fields or woods are seen rarely by human eyes, except by those 
of the hunter or naturalist. Therefore many people who have 
never investigated the matter, and never have seen such cats, 
find it hard to believe that they are numerous enough to be a 
great menace to wild life, but nearly all my most observant 
correspondents who roam the woods and fields report traces of 
many cats. Mr. William Brewster of Cambridge, the Xestor of 
New England ornithologists, says that he and his dogs frequently 
have started cats from their resting places in woods and game 
covers. He says, writing from Concord, that they are seldom 
noticed, being shy, elusive and largely nocturnal, but that he 
finds their tracks everywhere in the woods after the first snow- 
fall. He asserts that his guides, James Bernier and William 
Sargent of Upton, Me., trappers of large experience, assured him 
some years ago that the forested parts of New England with 
which they were familiar were numerously inhabited by woods 
cats. Quite as many cats as other fur-bearing animals were 
caught in traps even in "locations upward of thirty miles from 
any house or clearing, and over the northern Maine line in the 
Canadian woods." 

Mr. Charles E. Goodhue, naturalist of Penacook, N. H., says 
that it is hard to tell whether or not cats are vagrant or wild, 
but local trappers get many in their traps, and cats roam over 
the country in every direction. Three trappers among my corre- 
spondents corroborate this. Mr. Nathaniel Wentworth of Hudson, 
N. H., former game commissioner of that State, says that he 
has seen many cats sometimes miles away from any house, and 
feels sure that more game birds are killed by them than by the 
hunters, — an opinion expressed by very many others. Wm. C. 
Adams, Esq., a member of the Massachusetts Commission on 

> Pearson, T. Gilbert: Bird-Lore, July-August, 1910, p. 174. 


Fig. 1. — Vagabond House Cat with Robin. 

The vagabond cat or the barn cat, half-fed or forced to get its own living, becomes a scourge 

to bird life. Many house cats having once tasted birds or game seem to prefer such food. 

Fig. 2. — The Stray Alley or Ash Barrel Cat. 
Cities and towns radiate such cats, which become very destructive to wild life. 

o -f^ -^ 

. 2'> * 
*: w - ,.; 

£ a g^ 

.2 2 -a 

= 3 2 a, 


:2 u 

C .E -B -s 

H » 

i; a 


Fisheries and Game, has noticed particularly the tracks of cats 
in his travels. He found numerous cat tracks on the islands of 
Muskeget, Tuckernuck, Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. On 
Nantucket he noted that the tracks extended three or four miles 
from any habitation. He saw traces of many birds evidently 
killed by cats, particularly on Muskeget and Martha's Vineyard. 
He describes a similar condition on Cape Cod, in the townships 
of Provincetown, Eastham, Orleans and Sandwich, where he has 
hunted. He says that cats are numerous in a large section be- 
tween Worcester and the Rhode Island line, and in the country 
between Ware and Greenfield; also between Adams and North 
Adams, and in many parts of New Hampshire. He has observed 
many tracks on the winter snows; he has seen many cats, some 
of them with birds, and frequently has noticed them on lonely 
roads at night, by the light of his car lamps. Several hunters 
have told him of finding litters of kittens far back in the woods. 

Mr. John B. Burnham, former chief game protector of New 
York, president of the American Game Protective and Propaga- 
tion Association, says that his automobile lights frequently show 
cats at night. He has shot two recently more than a mile from 
any house and so heavily furred that they evidently were wild. 
Mr. Maunsell S. Crosby of Rhinebeck, N. Y. asserts that he 
killed fifteen on his farm in 1913, and he never molests any near 
the village, as they may belong to his neighbors. Mr. Lee S. 
Crandall, assistant curator of birds. New York Zoological Park, 
says that stray cats are numerous in that vicinity. Mr. Allan 
Keniston, deputy fish and game commissioner, Edgartown, writes 
that he has killed many wild or woods cats; has seen many 
tracks, and has seen cats kill meadowlarks and other birds. Mr. 
C. L. Gold, chairman of the bird committee of the Connecticut 
State Grange, at Cornwall, Conn., says that there are many 

Mrs. Mabel Osgood Wright, Fairfield, Conn., president of 
the Connecticut Audubon Society, writes that in seven months, 
twenty-eight cats have been shot on her twenty acres, although 
the six nearest neighbors keep none. Mr. George C. Donaldson 
of Hamilton, member of the bird committee of the Massachu- 
setts State Grange, avers that there are many cat tracks in the 
woods in that region. Hundreds of similar assertions might be 
printed would space allow, but a few abbreviated statements 
follow : — 

"Hardly a day passes that I do not see one. or more," Nathan 
W. Pratt, North Middleborough. "Saw at least twenty around 
a heronry, and judging from the tracks after a night's rain there 


must have been several times that number," Dr. C. L. Jones, 
Falmouth. "Have seen a great many cats in the woods and 
about abandoned farms and farm buildings that had not been 
occupied in many years, and far from any occupied building," 
C. Harry Morse, Belmont. "See many when shooting," Walter 
P. Henderson, Dover. "Have run across many in woods. Last 
year, killed three in one day far from any house," Samuel 
Hoar, Concord. "Legions of abandoned, vagrant, or wild cats," 
Bernard A. Bailey, M.D., Wiscasset, Me. "About one-half the 
tracks in the woods are cats' tracks," J. K. Jensen, Westwood. 
"In seven years I have destroyed thirty-five cats wandering in 
or near an extensive woodland area," William P. Wharton, 
Groton. "Often see wild cats in woods when hunting," Curtis 
Nye Smith, Newton. "Many seen on hills and marshes," Sarah 
E. Lakeman, Ipswich. "See plenty in the country when shoot- 
ing," Vinton W. Mason, Cambridge. "Trap and kill about 
thirty per year, trying to get at chickens and pheasants," William 
Minot, Wareham. "Have seen many cats in woods. On any 
fresh snow, however far and thick the swamp, find cat tracks 
dogging those of rabbit and grouse, then signs of scuffle and 
feathers tell the tale," Clarence E. Richardson, Attleboro. "This 
fall and winter have seen about fifty to sixty," Harold K. 
Decker, West New Brighton, N.Y. "Over a dozen here," Hugh 
McCue, East Milton. "Constantly seen in the woods during 
the open season," E. Colfax Johnson, Shutesbury. "Tracks 
fairly abundant in the woods," G. B. Affleck, Springfield. "See 
a great many," Walter A. Larkin, Andover. "Many tracks can 
be seen after a light snow," Wm. B. Olney, Seekonk. "Neigh- 
bors have thanked me for killing fourteen in one summer," Julia 
W. Redfield, Pittsfield. "Too secretive to show themselves 
much, but their tracks are everywhere," Arthur C. Dyke, Bridge- 
water. "May be seen all over the woods, often shot by rabbit 
hunters," Thomas Graves, Plymouth. 

The locations of these few reports, among many, show that the 
stray or feral cat is distributed widely. On the other hand, Mr. 
Hedley P. Carter of New Britain, Conn., says that he has hunted 
and fished for twenty-five years, and that he "scarcely ever sees 
a cat in the woods." Negative evidence, however, is of little 
value in the face of overwhelming positive evidence. 

It is interesting to note the conditions under which this so- 
called domesticated animal has reverted to the wild state and 
spread over the country. It must be borne in mind that the cat, 
while partly tamed, has not been fully domesticated. It has not 
been subdued, confined or controlled, except in rare cases, but 


is to all intents and purposes a wild animal. In most cases it 
stays in the home of man, mainly because of the warmth of his 
fire, the food that it eats and its affection for the location where 
it was reared. If, by accident or design, anything occurs to 
interrupt its association with man, it readily returns to the wild. 
Shaler says: — 

As a consequence of the affection which cats have for particular places, 
they often return to the wilderness when by chance the homes in which they 
have been reared are abandoned. Thus in New England, in those sections 
of the district where many farmsteads have of late years been deserted, the 
cats have remained about their ancient haunts and have become entirely wild. 
In this State they are bred in such numbers that their presence is now a 
serious menace to the birds and other weaker creatures of the country. 
The behavior of these f erahzed animals differs somewhat from that of creatiu-es 
which have never been tamed. They have not the same immediate fear of 
man, but the least effort to approach them leads to their hasty flight. 

Cats abandon Owners. 

There are many other ways in which cats revert to a wild 
state. Cats are not all alike in disposition; occasionally one will 
leave its home and its master, walk out into the night and dis- 
appear, perhaps to return after months, perhaps never. Many 
leave good homes in the spring and take to the woods and fields, 
returning only w^hen the approach of winter drives them to a 
nest in the haymow or to the master's fireside, but the most 
prolific cause of the return of cats to the feral state is not the 
fault of the animal, but that of man, — abandonment by their 

Owners abandon Cats. 

Thousands of families go into the country or to the seaside 
in summer, taking cats or kittens with them, and leave their 
pets on their return to the city, not knowing, perhaps, that such 
cruelty is forbidden by law. Miss Winslow asserts that at Old 
Orchard Beach, Me., at the close of one summer, forty deserted 
cats were seen, and that sometimes as many as one hundred have 
been abandoned in a similar way at Nantasket Beach, near 
Boston. A report from Mr. Orrin C. Bourne, chief deputy fish 
and game commissioner of Massachusetts, asserts that one man 
killed thirteen cats that were deserted at Brant Rock at the end 
of the summer of 1914. Mr. Walter A. Larkin of Andover says 
that cats are left at summer camps in the woods when people 
leave them in the fall. He saw seven in one wooded tract in one 
day. Mr. Wm. H. Jones of Nantucket says that one hunter 
killed twenty-seven abandoned cats there last fall (1914). Many 


correspondents and people from all parts of New England report 
many cats abandoned by "summer people." Several persons 
note abandoned cats left uncared for in the city while their 
owners are away for the summer. 

Many kindly people will not kill superfluous kittens, but 
cruelly leave them in the woods or by the wayside, in the hope, 
often a vain one, that some one will pick them up. One gentle- 
man informs me that six were left at his door within a month; 
another that a kitten was left at his doorstep several times, but 
he refused to adopt it. Many such waifs either "go back to 
nature" or get their living from garbage cans, rubbish heaps, 
manure heaps and pigpens, killing whatever living things they 
can catch during the summer. Their tracks may be found on 
the first snows of winter as they wander, footsore and ravenous. 
A few of the weaker may succumb to storm and stress, but the 
hardy survive, to procreate their kind. This evil has gone so 
far that there is now no place where birds and game can be safe 
from this nocturnal enemy. Thirty-nine correspondents tell of 
people abandoning cats; 14 assert that they see many cat tracks 
on the snow; 46 that they often see stray cats in fields and 
woods; 51 that they see such in cities and towns, and 42 that 
they shoot them when known to be strays or seen far from houses 
in the woods. 

It is difficult in many cases to determine whether or not cats 
are ownerless or merely astray from villages and cities. Cats 
continuallj'^ radiate from centers of population. Many of them 
are homeless, others mere nocturnal wanderers, but most of them 
are destructive to bird life. 

Cats unfed by Owners. 

Many cats, never fed or half fed by their owners, forced to 
range in search of food, roam far at night. Mr. N. A. Xutt of 
South Ashburnham, whose work takes him out during the latter 
half of the night, has seen cats coming from a patch of woods on 
their way back to the village, across the railroad track, so wet 
with dew as to appear as if they had been plunged into water. 
Countless village cats, farm, stray and feral cats extend the 
rapacious influence of the species throughout the land. Dr. 
Frank M. Chapman of the American Museum of Natural His- 
tory, New York City, believes tliat there are not less than 
25,000,000 cats in the United States, and that there may be twice 
that number. 1 

> Bird'Lore, Marcb-April. 1902, p. 70. 



The following, quoted by Miss Repplier, as translated from the 
Latin by Thomas Berthelet and printed by Wynkyn de Worde in 
1498, cannot be improved much to-day: — 

The Cat is surely most like to the Leoparde, and hathe a great mouthe, 
and sharp teeth, and a long tongue, plyante, thin and subtle. He lappeth 
therewith when he drinketh, as other beastes do that have the nether lip 
shorter than the over; for, by cause of unevenness of Ups, such beastes suck 
not in drinking, but lap and hck as Aristotle saith, and Plinius also. He 
is a swifte and merye beaste in youthe, and leapeth, and riseth on all things 
that are tofore him, and is led by a straw, and playeth therewith; and he 
is a righte heavye beaste in age, and full sleepye, and lyeth slyly in waite 
for Mice, and is ware where they bene more by smell than by sighte, and 
hunteth. and riseth on them in privy places. And when he taketh a Mouse, 
he playeth therewith, and eateth htm after the play. He is a cruell beaste 
when he is wilde, and dwelleth in woods, and hunteth there small beastes 
as conies and hares. 

The habits of the cat are so well known that comparatively 
little need be said about them here, but one error has been 
promulgated widely. The assertion that this animal can see in 
the dark is repeated by intelligent authors even to this day and 
should be corrected. No eye of flesh can see in absolute dark- 
ness. There must be some ray of light to render any vision 
possible. Undoubtedly, however, the cat and the owl can see 
much better in starlight or moonlight than we, but when cats 
catch mice or rats in dark cellars, where all light is shut out, it 
is because of the alertness of their senses of hearing, smell and 
touch. Rats and mice move about and live without inconven- 
ience in utter darkness, and the cat, no doubt, is able to catch 
one now and then under the same conditions, but most of those 
that she catches probably are taken where there is a little light, 
in the dusk of morning or evening or in daylight. 

The female cat naturally rears her young in holes in the ground, 
caves or hollow trees, from which she makes sallies over the 
country within a radius of a mile or more, striking down any 
animal which she can master and taking her kill to the den to 
provide for her young. She follows her prey into the tallest 
trees and into such dens and burrows as she can enter, but does 
not seem able to dig very well, and ever must lie in wait for the 
smaller burrowing animals. Much ink has been wasted in at- 
tempts to prove either that the cat was originally a native of 
treeless plains or that it belonged to a forested region. The 
probability is that it was derived from animals frequenting both 


plain and forest, but the tree is plainly its natural refuge of last 
resort. It is not sufficiently expert in climbing to follow the 
arboreal mammals with much chance of success, but it can reach 
their nests as well as those of birds, and being nocturnal it is 
able to attack many species on their nests at night. 


The cat, being naturally carnivorous, feeds first of all on flesh, 
destroying birds, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, fishes, crusta- 
ceans and insects. Its path is a trail of blood. Nevertheless, it 
consumes some vegetation. 

Vegetal Food of the Cat. 

Cats naturally do not require much vegetable food, but they 
eat grass as a means of ridding their stomachs of indigestible 
portions of their food, such as the chitinous or shelly parts of 
insects, and bones, fur and feathers. The grass acts as an emetic 
when taken in small quantities and aids the stomach in regur- 
gitating or throwing up indigestible materials. Hence the phrase 
"sick as a cat." Harrison Weir says that grass taken in large 
quantities acts as a purgative. 

The species in domestication has become accustomed gradu- 
ally to vegetable food, and a modification of the digestive system 
has occurred. The large intestine has grown longer and larger 
than in the wild cat, and thus the creature has become better 
fitted to digest vegetal aliment. Many domestic cats are fond 
of certain vegetables. Asparagus is eaten generally. Among 
the cooked vegetables eaten by individual cats may be named 
string beans, corn, potatoes, both cooked and raw, squash, pump- 
kin, beets, spinach and parsnips. Fruits, such as melons and 
olives, have been eaten in some cases, also chestnuts, cereals, 
macaroni, etc. Dog bread, white bread or corn bread often are 
fed to cats, with milk, meat juice or gravy. Some domestic cats 
will take almost anything that men eat, from peanuts to ice 
cream and candy, but others will accept little beside animal 

Animal Food of the Cat. 

No animals are disdained as food except such creatures as are 
protected by hard shells, spines or disagreeable scent or taste, 
and even these are killed whenever possible, even if they are 
not eaten. The cat, like man, the weasel, the peregrine falcon, 
and some other excessively rapacious creatures, often kills for 
pure lust of cruelty and slaughter, or for "sport," leaving its 
victims to lie where they ' fall. All the native or wild cats of 


America, as well as those of other countries, are recognized as 
among the most destructive of all animals to game, birds and 
domestic animals, and therefore the policy of American communi- 
ties has been for many years to offer bounties for the destruc- 
tion of these animals as the best means to secure their exter- 

In considering the feeding habits of Felis domestica, the first 
striking and noteworthy fact that presents itself is that the 
hunting habits of the species are those of a solitary wild animal. 
It hunts alone, and will not be guided by human companions. 
Except in rare cases, it wanders at will, like any predatory wild 
beast, being as free from all human restraint or control as the 
lion, tiger, wolf or fox. Naturally nocturnal in habit, it hunts 
by night more than by day, thus largely concealing its depreda- 
tions under the cloak of darkness. 

The next important fact to be considered is that it has been 
introduced into America by man, to destroy other introduced 
species. It is not needed to maintain the biological balance 
established here for centuries, and, being released and allowed 
to run at large and increase with little check, naturally tends to 
disturb that balance, as all introduced forces may, with unfortu- 
nate results. 

Having practically exterminated the wild cats of the eastern 
States, and having passed a national law forbidding the importa- 
tion of noxious mammals and birds, we have in the meantime 
introduced another destructive species in vastly larger numbers 
and disseminated it throughout the land, so that it must live 
upon the country as the native cats formerly did, except that it 
has the advantage that, being considered a domesticated animal, 
it can go with impunity into places where native wild cats would 
be in danger. It can prowl around houses, gardens, poultry 
pens and orchards by day or night, where the fox, wolf or lynx 
would meet with a warm reception. Hence, because of its abun- 
dance, it has become more destructive to wild life about the 
dwellings of man than any other wild creature, and therefore 
more injurious or beneficial to man, according as it feeds, to a 
greater or less extent, on man's enemies or his friends. 

Destruction of Insectivorous Birds by Cats. 

The widespread dissemination of cats in the woods and in the 
open or farming country, and the destruction of birds by them, 
is a much more important matter than most people suspect, and 
is not to be lightly put aside, as it has an important bearing on 
the welfare of the human race. 


The Cat a Birdcatcher in Ancient Times. 
The ancients recognized the cat as a destroyer of birds. If 
we may judge from pictorial representations on the buildings, 

tombs and monuments of tlie 
ancient Egyptians, the principal 
early use made of the animal 
was as a killer and retriever of 
birds. To the ancient Egyp- 
tians, birds (except the sacred 
ibis and the hawk) meant just 
so much meat. Apparently these 
people were able to utilize the 
birdcatching propensities of the 
cat, and to train her even to 
enter the water and catch or re- 
trieve waterfowl. In the Egyp- 
tian gallery of the British 
Museum there is a painting of 
a man in a boat engaged in 
throwing a crooked instrument 
like a boomerang at a flock of 
birds, and on the same tablet 
a cat much like our common, 
striped tabby, ^ but with longer legs and tail, is represented as seiz- 
ing a duck by one wing while she has a short-tailed bird like a 
quail and another, apparently a songbird, under her feet. In 
such situations puss appears often on the monuments of the Middle 
Empire, but so far as I can learn 
she is not represented as catching 
mice or rats. Diodorus tells of a 
mountain in Numidia inhabited by 
a "commonwealth" of cats, so that 
no bird ever ventured to nest in its 

No remains of cats were found 
in Herculaneum or Pompeii, but in 
the museum at Naples are some 
mosaics that came from Pompeii 
which show that cats were known there, as they are represented 
as attacking or killing birds. Agathius, a writer of epigrams and 
a scholasticus at Constantinople, who lived from 527 to 565, in 

• The word "tabby" does not refer to the sex of the cat but to its inarkings, which resemble those 
on watered silk, which was once known by the same name. See Harrison Weir in Our Cats and All 
about Them, 1889, p. 137. 

The oat as a bird killer. (From an ancient 
Egyptian painting at Thebes.) 

Cat strangling a bird. (From an 
ancient moaaic in the Neapolitan 


the^ reign of Justinian, has left two epigrams in which he scores 
a cat for tearing off the head of a tame partridge.^ 

A poet of Bagdad bewails the fate of his cat killed with an 
arrow while robbing a dovecote, and Miss Repplier in one of her 
charming volumes reproduces his wail from the Arabic of Ibn 
Alalaf Alnaharwany;2 but the most celebrated ancient poem 
bewailing the cat's destructive 
proclivities is the " Anathema 
Marantha" by John Skelton, in 
the "Boke of Phylyp Sparowe," 
in which he calls down upon the 
whole race of cats the vengeance 
of the gods, mankind and the 
monsters of all creation in punish- 
ment for the killing of a pet spar- 
row. The poem begins: — 

That vengeance I aske and crye 

By way of exclamacyon 

On all the whole nacyon 

Of cattes wild and tame 

God send them sorrowe and shame 

That cat eopecyally 

That slew so cruelly ,- * ^ n • u- j ^ r ^ • ,t< 

», I _^ „ . . ^ Cat stalking birds at a fountain. (From 

My lytell pretty sparrowe ^^ ^^,i^^t ^^^^^^ i^ ^^^ Neapolitan 

That I brought up at Carowe. Museum.) 

He devotes this cruel "catte" to the tender mercies of the 
lions, leopards, "dragones," the formidable "mantycors of the 
montaynes," and hopes that "the greedy gripes might tare out 
all thy trypes," and so on and on and on. The little bird's 
mistress also joins in the denunciation. She wails: — 

Those vylanoua false cattes 
Were made for myse and rattes 
And not for byrdes smalle. 

The Cat a Birdcatcher in Modern Times. 
In every land, in every tongue, the cat has been noted as a 
slayer of birds. Maister Salmon, who published "The Com- 
pleat English Physician" in 1693, describes the cat as the mortal 
enemy of the rat, mouse "and every sort of bird which it seizes 
as its prey." The French and Germans, particularly, have de- 
plored the destruction of birds by cats. M. Xavier Raspail, 
in an article on the protection of useful birds, written in 1894, 

' The Cat, Past and Present, translated from the French of M. Champfleury (Jules Francois F61ix 
Husaon Fleury), with notes by Mrs. (Frances) Cashel Hoey, 1885, pp. 17, 18. 
* Repplier, Agnes: The Cat. 1912, p. 42. 


says that though cats are outside the law, and therefore may be 
killed with impunity, their numbers are renewed from the villages 
incessantly to such an extent that not a night passes without 


traces of these "abominable marauders." Of 67 birds' nests 
observed from April to August, only 26 prospered; at least 15 
certainly were ' destroyed by cats, and others may have been.^ 
Baron Hans von Berlepsch, the first German authority on the 
protection of birds, after forty years' experience says that where 
birds are to be protected the domestic cat must not be allowed 
at large. The above are but a few citations, many of which 
might be made, to show that the cat always has been recognized 
as a menace to bird life. Many present day cat lovers, however, 
claim that their cats kill no birds, or very few, "not more than 
one or two a year," and that the destructiveness of the cat to-day 
has been exaggerated to the last degree. Hence, it will be neces- 
sary to give voluminous evidence of the bird-kilhng propensities 
of the animal. First, we will turn the pages of some of the 
volumes written by cat lovers. Harrison Weir avers that he was 
able to teach three cats not to kill birds that he fed about the 
door, but he never could break them of the habit of destroying 
many birds' nests. ^ The destruction of nests by cats at night 
usually is accompanied with that of the mother birds and the 
young. Sometimes only the eggs are ruined, but cats do not 
attack nests unless they are occupied. 

Miss Helen Winslow says that her aunt in Greenfield had a 
cat that was in the habit of catching his own breakfast early 
each summer morning before the family was up, — a very com- 
mon habit by the way. Invariably, she says, just before her 
aunt's rising hour the cat brought in a nice fat robin, unharmed, 
and penned it in the corner of the kitchen, apparently as a gift 
for the aunt. Although the bird always was set free the cat 
continued to catch one each morning having first caught its own 
breakfast. It would be interesting to know how many birds that 
cat ate that season beside those that it brought in.. The re- 
markable assertion here is that the cat was able to produce a 
robin every morning, for it must not be supposed that it was able 
to catch the same robin many times in succession. One or two 

' Bulletin de Is Sooi«t< Zoologique de France, Vol. IS, 1804, pp. 142-148. 
* Weir, Harrioon: Our C*ta and All about Them, 1889, p. 15. 


such experiences probably would be enough to drive a robin away 
from the neighborhood, or to render it too cautious to be caught 
again, but Miss Winslow says that for several summers the cat 
"kept up this practice." This tale illustrates the ability of the 
cat to catch birds. ^ 

Birds cut by Claws of Cats may die. 

It is probable that some of these robins died eventually from 
the blows of the cat's claws. It is not uncommon that a bird 
caught "apparently uninjured" is in reaUty fatally hurt by teeth 
or claws. In capturing so active a creature as a bird the cat 
must work quickly and savagely. Most of the birds thus taken 
are struck down by the extended claws, and since there are 
many authentic cases of so-called "blood poisoning" among 
human beings resulting from cat clawings and cat bites, some of 
which are said to have resulted fatally, in spite of medical atten- 
tion (see page 86), many a bird which has been struck once by a 
cat, and released apparently uninjured, may suffer a lingering 
and agonizing death. Mr. Harry D. Eastman of Sherborn says 
that pigeons which have been cut by the claw of a cat usually 
"go light" and finally die, and that a gray squirrel caught by a 
cat, taken away at once and not bitten, refused to eat, and died 
a few days later. 

Cat Poaching for Owner. 
Gordon Stables seems to exult in the birdcatching habits of his 
pets. He uses the poaching habits of the cat to illustrate its 
devotion to its master by telling of a poor plowman who was ill. 
Meat was prescribed by the doctor, but the poor man was un- 
able to buy it. Every day, however, until 
he recovered the cat brought him in a 
rabbit or a bird.^ Miss Repplier tells of a 
lady near Belfast whose cat went poaching 
for her every day, thus providing her with 
partridges illegally, as she had no legal 
right to the possession of the birds; ^ but 

this advantage of the law is sometimes taken by owners of cats. 
(See pages 45, 46, 47, 48.) Stables tells of a young cat that lost 
a leg in a trap. During the time he was confined to the house 
the old cat brought him birds and mice daily.* 

' Winslow, Helen M.: Concerning Cats, My Own and Some Others, 1900, p. 242. 

* Stables, Gordon: The Domestic Cat, 1876, pp. 109, 110. 

* Repplier, Agnes: The Fireside Sphinx, 1901, p. 242. 

* Stables, Gordon: The Domestic Cat, 1876, pp. Ill, 112. 


Active and Ijitelligeni Birdcatchers. 

Again, Stables says that when Timby, a cat of which he knew, 
was but Uttle more than a kitten he brought down birds from the 
highest trees. ^ He asserts also that he knew of a cat that caught 
two sparrows at once (probably young), and when pursued and 
attacked by a third sparrow (probably the mother) killed it with 
one paw.' This he considers "funny." Cats, he says, delight 
to spend a day in the woods, birdcatching. They rob the nests, 
too, when they find any, and cases have occurred of a cat pay- 
ing visits to nests day after day until the young were hatched, 
then eating them. 

Cats enticing Birds. 
Romanes uses the birdcatching habit to illustrate the intelli- 
gence of the cat. He cites the statement made by Mr. James 
Hutchins (Nature, Vol. XH, p. 330), who says that a cat used as 
a decoy a young bird that had fallen out of a nest and made 
repeated attempts to catch the parents. He tells of a cat which 
often hid in the shrubbery and watched for birds whenever 
crumbs were thrown out; of another, having the same habit, 
that scattered crumbs for the birds that it might catch them 
when the family stopped feeding them; and of still another that, 
in order to attract the birds, uncovered the crumbs that had been 
covered with faUing snow, and then crept behind a bush to await 
developments.' These stratagems met with varying success. 
Rev. J. G. Wood, a strong friend of pussy, avers that a cat 
concealed herself, decoyed sparrows within reach of her spring 
by imitating their note, and repeatedly caught them.* What 
chance would there be for a bird with cats so crafty? After all 
this, who, believing these tales, can doubt that cats are intelli- 

Numbers of Birds killed by Cats. 
Most people do not realize how destructive cats are to bird 
life because their attention has never been called to the facts and 
because most feline depredations occur at night. In my investi- 
gations much evidence has been secured which is very convincing. 
In the year 1903, at the instance of the secretary of the State 
Board of Agriculture, an inquiry was undertaken regarding the 
decrease of birds in Massachusetts. As a part of this investiga- 
tion a questionnaire was sent out to some 400 correspondents, 

> Stables, Gordon: The Domestic Cat, 1876, p. 131. 

* Ibid., p. 165. 

* Romanes, George J.: Animal Intellisence, 1S83, pp. 417, 418. 

* Wood, J. G.: Natural Historj- (1869), Vol. I., p. 201. 


Fig. 1. — A Cat that has been "taught not to kill Birds." 

After which she killed them "on the sly." The warbler just killed by her is tied under her 

chin to "cure" the bird-killing habit, but the expedient failed. She still kills birds. 

Fig. 2. — Fifty-eight Birds in one Season. 

This well-fed pet cat was known to kill fifty-eight birds in one year, including the young in 

five nests. (Photograph by Mr. A. C. Dike, first published in " Useful Birds.") 


Some Adui,t liiuDs uitooiiiT in hy a Cat oh pickku ii* dkad. 
A collection of t)ird skins in the possession of Miss Cordelia J. Stanwood. Some of these birds 
were not killed by the cat, but the young birds killed by lier were not preserved. See 
page 36. (Photograph by courtesy of Miss Stanwood.) 


which was filled out and returned by more than 200. In re- 
sponse to a question regarding the effect produced on birds by 
their natural enemies, 82 correspondents reported cats as very 
destructive to birds. This was a much larger number than those 
reporting any other natural enemy as destructive. Nearly all 
who reported on the natural enemies of birds placed the cat 
first among destructive animals. These reports and opinions 
attracted my attention and I began to inquire regarding the 
numbers of birds killed by cats. The more the matter was in- 
vestigated the more shocking it became. 

Cats versus Spraying Trees. — Many people express the belief 
that most of the dead birds found have been poisoned by in- 
secticides used in spraying trees. During three seasons, while 
investigating the effect produced upon birds by spraying trees, 
about sixty birds, adult and young, that had been picked up 
dead under or near trees sprayed with arsenate of lead, were sent 
me from various parts of the State. Each bird was skinned 
carefully, examined and dissected, and those which were not 
shown to have met death by violence were analyzed to see if 
poison could be found in them. Traces of lead and arsenic were 
found in two only. Others had met death in various ways, such 
as flying against wires or buildings; one had been shot; but 
nineteen showed marks of the teeth and claws of cats, and the 
coagulation of blood about the wounds showed that death had 
been caused by the attacks of cats. Evidently the cats were 
not hungry, but killed the birds in sport and let them lie. So 
far as this evidence goes, it indicates that cats are fully ten times 
more destructive to birds than is sprajdng as only birds killed by 
cats but not eaten could be accounted for. 

Bird Slaughter by Cats. — Dr. Anne E. Perkins of Gowanda, 
N. Y., who has had a long experience with pets, tells of a cat 
which brought in meadowlarks, an oven-bird, two humming- 
birds and a flicker within a few days.^ She writes, "I am skepti- 
cal when any one says 'my cat never catches birds; it is only the 
hungry ones abandoned by their owners.' I have seen an active 
mother cat in one season devour the contents of almost every 
robin's nest in an orchard, even when tar, chicken wire and other 
preventatives were placed on the trunks of the trees. The robin 
builds so conspicuous and accessible a nest, and is so easily agi- 
tated by the approach of a cat, that it is diflBcult to save the 
young." She writes me that for years she has known of in- 
numerable nests being robbed, those of robins, catbirds, song 
sparrows and wood thrushes especially, and she believes that the 

» Bird-Lore, July-Atiguat, 1910, p. 174. 


harm that cats do can hardly be overestimated. The young in 
the nests or just out most often fall a prey, but the cats caught 
many adult barn swallows, exterminated or drove away a colony 
of tree swallows, and caught snipe, grouse, hummingbirds, 
meadowlarks and many unidentified small birds. Many a time 
at 4 A.M. she has gone to the rescue of birds attacked by night- 
prowling cats. 

Mrs. Elizabeth B. Davenport of Brattleboro, Vt., well known 
as an accurate observer, who has taken great pains to teach cats 
not to kill birds, writes that her experience covers many years 
while feeding birds about her grounds, and seasons spent on farms 
in Connecticut and in Vermont. In her grounds every small 
bird was attacked if cats had access to feeding places, and she 
had to surround these places with wire netting in summer and 
to protect them with high snow walls in winter. On the farm in 
summer cats brought in all kinds of ground-nesting or low-nesting 
birds. One cat in particular frequently brought in three or four 
birds a day. 

Careful observers who have watched and protected birds for 
many years have had the best of opportunities for observing the 
destructiveness of cats. The editor of "Bird-Lore" publishes 
the statement from a correspondent that in one summer a neigh- 
bor's cat killed all the warblers on the place but one, eighteen in 
all, also two wrens, two woodpeckers and several other birds 
which were not identified.^ Mrs. Oscar Oldburg of Chicago 
gives a partial list of birds killed by cats on her place, with dates. 
It contains fourteen individuals of six species and two nests full 
of eggs. She says also that many juncos are destroyed annually.* 

INIiss Cordelia J. Stanwood of Ellsworth, Me., says that at one 
time one of her neighbors kept seven cats. One of these in 
particular often caught as many as three birds a day, and is be- 
lieved to have caught more when the young birds began to leave 
the nests. There were three cats in her own house, and her 
nephew who watched them said that they averaged more than 
three birds a day. She asserts that many persons in that region 
keep from three to seven cats, and she knows of one who keeps 
twenty. One day Mrs. Melville Smith, on whom she called, said 
that as she sat with a friend watching a hummingbird a cat 
caught it. The same day a cat kept at a house across the street 
caught four, and on the previous day a cat at the next house 
brought in two. The same day Miss Stanwood called on Mrs. 
Edward Wyman, and at her house the piazza was strewn with 
feathers of a black-throated green warbler. The number of cats 

> Bird-Lore, JaDuary-Febniaiy, 1909, p. 68. * Ibid., July-A\icu>t, 1910, p. 150. 


kept in that family was from three to eight. They were well 
fed, but brought in birds ranging from warblers to woodcocks, 
and left them at the feet of members of the family. Two days 
later, when on her way to the home of a friend, she saw mem- 
bers of the family pursuing a kitten with a bird in its mouth. 
Within these few days another friend took her out driving, and 
related how a cat across the way had robbed a cedar waxwing's 
nest of five nestlings. She finds that since she has expressed an 
interest in the matter people, out of shame, conceal from her the 
depredations of their cats. That is a common experience. Miss 
Stanwood has a collection of bird skins, many of which were 
caught by cats. A naturalist whom I visited recently showed me 
a series of song sparrows' skins. Most of the birds had been 
killed by his two cats, which, he said, were continually catching 
birds. Many collections of this nature have been enriched by 
cats' victims. 

Mr. Graham Forgie of Maynard, asserts that his cat kills 
about three birds daily. A lady recently informed me that her 
friend had a cat of which she was very proud because it was such 
a good hunter, and that in October it had killed and brought 
in twelve birds in two days. Nearly all these birds were 
myrtle warblers. Another lady reported last September that her 
cat, then having kittens, killed and brought in on an average 
two birds a day. During the fall migrations I have noticed that 
some cats kill more full-grown birds than at any other time. It is 
easy for cats to get them then for the following reasons: (1) 
Many of the birds then on their way south are the young of the 
year, that were reared in the great wilderness of the north, where 
there are few if any cats, and as these birds are young and inex- 
perienced they do not realize the dangerous character of the 
animal. (2) The migrating sparrows feed mainly on the seeds of 
weeds at this season of the year, and so may be caught on or 
near the ground by the cat, which hides in the weed thickets. 
(3) On frosty mornings, warblers and thrushes find more insect 
food on or near the ground than higher in the trees, hence they 
come down in gardens and cultivated fields, where cats can easily 
hide and spring upon them. Those who feed birds on the ground 
in winter often attract them to places where they become the 
prey of cats, but the greatest toll is taken from the nestlings in 
spring and summer. 

Young Birds the Chief Sufferers. — The young birds are either 
latkeh fi9MnBfeP^eSti'<^^ga«^t2<)riHhe'^|^oiifitf b^o^'^t^^hft^ 


says: "It is with sickening disgust that I recall the many species 
of birds, young and old, that were not only killed, but killed by 
slow torture, by cats on our place in the country. During the 
past five years in our yard in the city the robins have never suc- 
ceeded in raising a brood of young ones which escaped the fate of 
being mauled to death by cats." Mr. F. H. Mosher of Melrose 
recently told me that robins had been very numerous in his 
neighborhood this year (1915), but that there were many cats 
roaming about the vicinity and that he believed that not one 
young robin escaped them; also, the killing of parent birds by 
cats leaves many young birds to starve in the nests. 

I have observed some cases, and others have been reported 
to me, where cats have not noticed the young birds in the nests 
until they were nearly fledged, and then their cries for food ap- 
parently attracted the attention of their hereditary enemy, who, 
if watched and driven away in daylight, climbed the tree and got 
them at night. Dr. Robert T. Morris writes to the "New York 
Times" as follows of his two beautiful cats at the farm: — 

It was observed that the cats would mark the location of each nest near 
the house by the calls of the young birds when they were being fed by their 
parents, and then would make the rounds of these nests every day, watching 
for the young when they struggled to the ground, as many young birds do 
in their first effort at flight. These two cats captured practically all the 
young from the nests of birds about the house, the number of young birds 
killed amounting to over fifty, to our knowledge, in the course of thirty days. 
The cats were then killed, although we were extremely fond of them as pets. 

The following from J. 0. Curtis, Mamaroneck, N. Y., July 24, 
1914, explains itself: — 

To the Editor of the New York Times: On Saturday last our cat caught 
two young robins. Having tasted blood, she has developed the hunting in- 
stinct, and during the last week has caught and killed seven birds. Her 
funeral will take place Sunday afternoon. 

Female cats with kittens often are very destructive to birds. 
I have known such a cat in June to destroy within twenty-four 
hours the young in six nests and also two of the parent birds, 
but this is the maximum, and I have never heard of another 
case so extreme except where cats have invaded dovecotes, 
chicken yards or pens in which birds were confined. 

Much more detailed testimony is furnished by ornithologists 
and students of bird life. It is astonishing how rarely most 
people notice the cries of birds in distress, but the ornithologist 
recognizes them at once, and when he investigates he finds in a 


large proportion of the cases that the cat is the cause of the dis- 
turbance. No cat can kill so many birds in a season as can a 
bird-hawk, but probably there are two hundred cats in Massa- 
chusetts to every such hawk. 

Mr. T. W. Burgess, editor for some years of " Good Housekeep- 
ing," states that although the dearest pet that he ever owned was 
a cat, he is beginning to see that the cherished pet is an agent 
more destructive than all others combined. He says that, one 
summer, weeks of watching and planning for photographs of 
birds at home came to naught through cats, as the nests of three 
pairs of robins, one of bluebirds, one 
of kingbirds and one of chipping spar- 
rows in the orchard were emptied of 
their young by cats. Miss M. Purdon 
of Milton writes that she had her cat 
killed as the sight of countless birds 
and squirrels, half eaten or in process 
of being eaten, became too sickening 
to contemplate. The tragedies were 
so frequent that even the cook pro- 
tested that they " made her feel sick." 
Mr. J. M. Van Huyck of Lee writes 
that he heard some robins screaming 
in the orchard, and when he rushed 
out four full-grown cats came out of 
the tree. They seemed to be strays, 
all after one robin's nest. Mr. Daniel 
Webster Spofford of Georgetown, 
writes as follows: "They watch the 
nests that they cannot climb up to, 
and when the young birds get so 
they can tumble out of their nests, two or three cats stand ready 
to grab them, and run off with them, screaming, through the garden 
or street, and it is almost impossible to raise chickens or any 
kind of a bird without confining them in a close pen." Dr. 
C. H. Townsend, director of the New York Aquarium, writes 
from Greens Farms, Conn. : " Six nests of fledgling birds of various 
species were destroyed on our place last year by neighbors' cats, 
and they may have taken all there were."^ 

No one who has not witnessed the remarkable birdcatching 
feats of which a cat is capable has any idea of the imminence of 
this danger. My son, Lewis E. Forbush, last summer (1914) 
saw a large black cat approaching a young robin on the ground. 

All after one bird's nest. 

> Bird-Lore, July-August, 1913, p. 278. 


He took the little bird and placed it on top of a wide, thick hedge 
nearly six feet high, believing that it would be safe; but the cat 
rushed, sprung, and vanished with the bird so quickly that it 
was hard to see how it was done, and it was all over before he 
could make a motion to interfere. Mr. Arthur W. Brockway 
writes from Hadlyme, Conn., that his mother, watching from the 
house, saw the family cat run up the pole of a martin box near 
by, seize a martin, and make off so quickly that she was unable 
to prevent it. Mr. Wilbur F. Smith, game warden of Fairfield 
County, Conn., says that when he was visiting one day in the 
country he found four cats tied in the yard, and was told that 
they were tethered there to keep them from catching birds. 
While the members of the family were at dinner, the young from 
a robin's nest fluttered to the ground, and the tied cats caught 
them alU Birds often are taken from aviaries. Blackston tells 
how the cat gets them. He saw a cat apparently innocently 
watching the birds in his aviary, which he thought quite safe, as 
it was protected by zinc plates eighteen to twenty inches high. 
Suddenly the cat sprung and caught a fine singing canary, which 
had been clinging to the wires four feet or more from the ground, 
fastened her claws in the bird's body, and pulled it through 
the wires.^ Cats sometimes kill penned game birds at night by 
reaching them through the wires. Several correspondents speak 
of seeing cats spring high and strike down birds in full flight, 
and they easily take slow-flying young birds in this way. 

Statements from People in the Country. — In an attempt to get 
information regarding the comparative eft'ectiveness of cats, 
traps and poisons in the destruction of rats, Mr. Walt F. 
McMahon visited 2 cities and 30 towns in 7 of the eastern coun- 
ties in Massachusetts, in the months of August, September and 
October, 1914. Most of his work was done in a farming coun- 
try, but he made many visits to villages. He secured 271 inter- 
views from people who were willing to give information. Among 
them were the proprietors of 18 general stores, 5 livery stables 
and 8 grain stores. Inquiries were made also in regard to the 
number and kinds of birds caught by cats, but it was diflScult 
to get this information because of recent agitation for a cat 
license. Many answers like the following were received: "Our 

cats do not catch birds, but Mrs. 's cats are catching them 

all the time;" or "Our cats don't kill birds. We whip them if 
theu.dQ"._ Some owners admitted that their cats killed a few. 

Society of tbe State of Conneoticnt. "~ " 

* BUkaton, W. A., and othent^XaBaHd^and Cafce aHd«>tldB<ln<t^ S52. 


Fia. 1. — FaLb-OROWN Ruffed Grouse kiu^ed by a. Cat on the Snow in East Milton. 
The bird was picked up still breathing. See page 47. (Photograph by Mr. Walt F. McMahon.) 

.- 'pi^ytir 

^ ':a 



Fio. 2. — on Cats will not save Birds. 
A fine, sleek, pet Angora, with six bells on its collar, brought in thirty-two birds during one 
nesting season and twenty-eight the next. It is shown here killing a young catbird. 
(Photograph by courtesy of Mr. Neil Morrow Ladd, Greenwich, Conn. See page 93. 


believed that cats did not kill many birds. Some of the individ- 
ual expressions are given below. Names are given only where 
special permission was granted. The names of towns are included 
to show the distribution of reports. 

"You can't keep a cat from catching birds" (Lynnfield Center). 
"One bird a month" (South Sudbury). "Have never had a cat 
that would not catch birds. Don't think any nestlings got away" 
(South Hanover). "Most cats catch birds" (Hanson). "I 
never saw a smart 'cat that would not catch birds" (Hanson). 
"Cats catch one bird in two weeks" (Hanson). "You can't 
break a cat of catching birds once she gets a taste. Cats will 
catch them" (Sherborn). "Cats like better to catch birds than 
rats" (Sherborn), "Cat catches about one bird a week" (Bil- 
lerica). "We raised one hundred and fifty chickens and the cats 
didn't touch one of them, so let them have the birds" (Little- 
ton). "There are two or three nests in a tree near the house, 
and the cats get the young every year" (Hatch ville). (A farmer 
of Danvers Highlands makes the same statement). "Had a cat 
that was something fierce on birds, killed forty-five chickens and 
brought in a half-grown pheasant" (Danvers Highlands). "This 
cat of ours will catch every bird she can get hold of" (Silas 
Hatch, Hatchville). "Robins and chipping sparrows nested 
here but no nesthngs have been raised. Birds are scarce. Haven't 
seen a nestling robin this summer" (Eugene Hatch, Hatchville). 
"Cats make a business of catching birds" (James J. Hatch, 
Hatchville). "Catches all kinds of birds" (Hatchville). 

Interviews with 271 people showed that the families or stores 
they represented kept 559 cats, 229 of which killed birds, accord- 
ing to the admissions of their owners 
(and more, according to their neigh- 
bors). Numbers of stray cats were 
reported in many cases, but the 
number could not usually be given 
exactly, as stray or feral cats cannot 
always be distinguished certainly 
from wandering neighborhood cats. 
Most people believe that stray cats 
are bird hunters. 

Cats allowed to roam at Night. — 
The most significant item gathered 
from these reports is that out of 559 a midnight marauder. 

cAfs 4&^ fii(^.<ill(ii^i^'iojnca7^Jat]nigM^<o: n terlJ bne .vlinb sbiid 
qufl^b ^nb©Big'.ikeptfan( bnUdingsfr^/Maii^fpQdple'/wJUsElafiwfstiBdied) 
t^ i habits. 5>f si^e-i cfat iMlievjei^JSatn itW gkieErtesfc vmimbi^rsiaofb biixfe 


are killed by it "between supper and breakfast," and unless the 
cat brings its game to the house, the owner has no knowledge 
of its nefarious work. Practically every cat that is allowed to 
roam at night where there are birds kills them sooner or later. 
As these 405 country cats were allowed to roam nightly where 
birds live, the chances are that every one of them caught a 
bird, adult or nestling, for breakfast time after time while its 
owner was still sleeping. Probably those 405 cats kill and eat 
thousands of birds yearly. 

Correspondents report Many Birds killed. — The numbers of 
birds killed by cats cannot be approximated except by those 
who have paid particular attention to this subject. Among my 
correspondents are many such. Rev. Manley B. Townsend of 
Nashua, N. H., says that vagrant cats are common, and that 
nearly every day in the nesting season he has found birds killed 
and torn by cats. He has seen many fledglings in the possession 
of cats, and many reports of birds destroyed have come to him. 
Mr. Charles Crawford Gorst of Boston says that a friend told 
him that his cat had 14 birds laid out for its young one morning 
before breakfast. Mr. Samuel Hoar of Concord has known a 
cat to kill 10 birds in a day. Mr. H. Linwood White of iMaynard 
tells me that a cat owned by one of his neighbors recently brought 
in 6 adult birds to her young in one day. Mr. Walter P. Henderson 
of Dover has seen a cat with 3 different birds in two hours. Mr. 
J. M. Van Huyck of Lee has seen cats hunting in the meadows 
for ground birds, getting both old and young, and striking down 
swallows as they flew over the grass. ISh. A. K. Learned of 
Gardner has known a cat to kill 9 tree swallows in one day. Mr. 
E. Colfax Johnson of Shutesbury says it is a common sight to 
see a cat eating a bird. Mr. D. T. Cowing of Russell asserts 
that his cat lived ten years and killed about 170 birds of which 
he knew, and believes that more were killed. ]\Ir. Edward T. 
Hartman, secretary of the Massachusetts Civil Service League, 
says that where he lives he commonly sees cats hunting birds, 
and that he has known them to catch a great many. Mr. Frank 
E. Watson has no doubt that he has taken 100 birds away from 
his cat. Mr. George H. Hastings of Fitchburg had a cat that 
killed at least one bird a day in summer, and was known to kill 
31 in one season. Mrs. Charles L. Goldthwait of Peabody called 
the attention of the owner of a cat to the fact that it had just 
killed a goldfinch; the owner said that the cat had killed several 
birds daily, and that it could not be prevented. Mr. A. M. 
Otterson of Hall, N. Y., has known a cat to kill 13 birds in a day, 
and to strike down swallows in flight. Mr. George G. Phillips, 


a member of the Bird Commission of Rhode Island, writes from 
Greene, R. L, that it is the commonest of sights to see cats 
hunting birds, and that the young in eight different nests about 
his house were destroyed by neighbors' cats last summer. 

Mr. Frank Bruen of Bristol, Conn., writes that from the time 
robins come in the spring until they go in the fall there is an 
almost constant commotion, due to cats. He believes that half 
the young robins in the vicinity fall a prey to cats. Mr. R. L. 
Warner of Concord says that in his horseback riding about 
the country he constantly sees cats stalking birds, and frequently 
sees them eating birds. He often has seen cats climbing into 
trees to get at nests containing young robins. Mr. William 
Blanchard of Tyngsborough tells of seven robins' nests carefully 
watched and not one bird grew to maturity, all being devoured 
by cats. Mrs. Ella M. Beals of Marblehead tells of a farm cat 
with kittens which she watched, and which brought home several 
useful insect-eating birds every day and sometimes a few mice. 
Rev. Albert E. Hylan of Medfield says that he has known cats 
to bring in two or three birds a day for their kittens for some 
weeks at least. Mr. C. Emerson Brown, a Boston taxidermist, 
found the lair of two homeless cats. Near by was a heap of 
pieces of flying squirrels and red squirrels, and feathers of ruffed 
grouse and of many other kinds of birds. Dr. Loring W. Puffer 
of Brockton, now eighty-seven years old, and always an observer 
of nature, says that his experience shows that cats invariably 
will kill all the birds they can get. Mr. Nathan W. Pratt of 
Middleborough, frequently sees cats with birds. Mr. Samuel 
Buffington of Swansea has a cat that kills possibly one bird a 
day, and so many in the year that he has lost all account of the 
number. Mr. Sewall A. Faunce of Dorchester has known a cat 
to kill a bird "every morning" in summer. 

Number of Birds killed per Day, Week, Month and Year. — 
Numerous correspondents have known individual cats to kill 
from 2 to 8 birds in a day, but the average is much smaller than 
this. Two hundred and twenty-six correspondents report the maxi- 
mum number of birds they have known to be killed by 1 cat in 
a day, and the day's work for these 226 cats is 624 birds, or 2.7 
birds per cat per day. Only 33 of my correspondents have 
kept any record of the number of birds killed by a cat in a week, 
but these 33 cats killed 239 birds in a week, or 7.9 birds per cat. 
Only 15 have kept any record of the number of birds killed in a 
month, and these 15 cats have killed 307 birds, or 20.4 birds 
per cat per month; but when we come to the record of the 
number of birds killed by a cat in a year, we find a different 


story. From 47 people we get reports showing that 47 cats have 
killed but 534 birds in a year. Evidently these are not the same 
cats that killed on an average 20.4 birds each a month. It is 
plain that many of those who have kept records of the cats 
that were killing large numbers of birds have either killed their 
cats before the year ended, which happened in several cases, or 
have failed to carry out their records for a year. Examination 
shows that most of the notes of a year's killing come from those 
who believe that their cats kill but few birds, and the notes are 
given casually, from memory. Some of these cats have been 
carefully watched, reproved, whipped, shut in or otherwise pre- 
vented from catching birds, while others are in city localities 
where they have little chance to kill birds. Still others are high- 
bred, well-fed cats, which manifest little desire to catch any- 

The few people who have made continuous observations report 
that bird-killing cats in good hunting grounds, when not re- 
strained, kill upwards of 50 birds per year. I have six such 
reports. It is not claimed, however, in any case that the cat 
did not kill more than 60, only that it was believed to have 
killed over 50. The most painstaking and careful report that I 
have was made by Mr. A. C. Dike. This has been recorded else- 
where. ^ The cat was a family pet. It was watched for one 
season and was known to kill 58 birds. 

I have been widely misquoted as authority for the statement 
that every cat catches 50 birds per year, but my estimate was, 
that a mature cat in good hunting grounds will catch about 50 
birds a year. Not all cats can or will do this. It would be im- 
possible for any cat to kill such a number of birds where cats 
are numerous, for there would not be birds enough to "go 
'round," nor would it be possible where birds are scarce, as in 
cities, where the birds available are largely house sparrows and 
doves which through centuries of association with men and cats 
have become hard to catch. Even in good hunting grounds only 
the most active bird-hunting cats can be depended upon to 
secure such a number of birds yearly, although no doubt some 
of them, particularly those that have run wild, kill many more. 

Numher of Birds killed in Various States. — My published 
statement, estimating the number of birds killed each year by 
the farm cats of Massachusetts alone, was given on the basis 
of 10 birds per cat per year, and 2 cats per farm. On this basis 
tiie iisiM^'^im cA >iMas^chusyt«s ^(VOUld ikHl «:ibotttf i roOiOOO fifeii'di 

«»«Wflrtnib B baa •^n .ib^y li ni jbo & -{d bsIIiH abiid lo ladmun 


each year.^ Through a typographical error, which was corrected 
in a later edition, the estimate allowed but 1 cat to a farm, but 
2 w'as the figure used in the calculation, and our recent canvass 
seems to show that the farms average almost 3 cats each. The 
estimate has been deemed excessive by some, but has been re- 
garded generally as conservative. Dr. George W. Field, chair- 
man of the Massachusetts Commission on Fisheries and Game, 
estimates that there is at least 1 stray cat to every 100 acres in 
the State, and that each kills on the average at least 1 bird every 
ten days through the season, making the annual destruction of 
birds by stray cats in the State approximate 2,000,000. Dr. 
A. K. Fisher, in charge of Economic Investigations of the Bio- 
logical Survey, estimates that the cats of New York State de- 
stroy 3,500,000 birds annually. Mr. Albert H. Pratt calculates 
that the farm cats of Illinois kill 2,508,530 birds yearly. Vari- 
ous estimates have been made concerning the number of birds 
killed annually by cats in New England. They vary from 500,000 
to 5,000,000. Considering the above figures my own seem fairly 

Destruction of Game Birds by Cats. 

Perhaps the game bird most commonly killed by the cat in 
southern New England is the bobwhite. This species, one of 
the most useful of all birds to the farmer, highly valued as a 
game bird, frequents grass fields, gardens, grain fields, and weed 
and bush thickets where the cat hunts. Sportsmen say that 
they very often find cats in "quail covers," and not infrequently 
see them with the birds in their mouths. 

Mr. Fred A. Olds saw a cat spring into the air and come down 
with a full-grown cock bobwhite in its claws.^ Col. Charles E. 
Johnson asserts that he saw a cat with a bobwhite in its mouth 
running toward a negro cabin. ^Yhen the colonel arrived at the 
cabin he found a colored woman plucking the bird. She said 
that the cat brought in birds very often. ^ Many cats are en- 
couraged by their owners to bring in game. T. B. Johnson says 
in "The Vermin Destroyer," that he has known several cats that 
caught game and brought it home. These cats were highly 
esteemed by their owners.^ (See also pages 33, 46-48.) 

^ Useful Birds and their Protection, 1907, p. 363 (Massachusetts State Board of Agriculture). 

• Forest and Stream, July 29, 1911, Vol. 77, p. 175. 

• Johnson, T. B.: The Vermin Destroyer, Liverpool, 1831, p. 27. 


Mr. F. W. Henderson tells in the Rockland "Independent" 
of a cat that brought her kittens an entire brood of bobwhites. 
Dr. George \V. Field, chairman of the Massachusetts Commis- 
sion on Fisheries and Game, relates that a covey of bobwhites 
which he was watching in Sharon, was discovered by a cat and 
attacked at night, at intervals of two to seven days, until the 
number had become reduced from 16 to 8. They then left in a 
body for Canton, where they were recognized later. Mr, E. 
Colfax Johnson of Shutesbury says that he has known of entire 
flocks of young bobwhites being destroyed by cats. Mr. John 
M. Crampton, superintendent for the Connecticut State Board of 
Fisheries and Game, writes that last fall (1914) a farmer re- 
quested that a special protector be sent to look after the bob- 
whites on his land. When the warden arrived he found that the 
farmer had 15 cats, some of which had brought in 3 bobwhites 
already that morning. Mr. B. S. Blake of Webster tells of a cat 
that took home 3 bobwhites in one week. Mr. Edward L. Parker 
tells of a servant who saw a cat break up 2 bobwhites' nests. 
Senator Louis Hilsendegen of Michigan asserts in the "Sports- 
men's Review" that Henry Ford bought 200 pairs of bobwhites 
at $3 a pair, and released them on his farm at Dearborn, Mich. 
A stray cat, left by a farmer who had moved away, found them, 
and it was noticed that their numbers were decreasing rapidly. 
A watch was set for the cat; it was shot and found to weigh 
sixteen pounds. Under a rail shelter, where the birds had fed, 
a mass of feathers and other remains about a foot deep was 
found. That cat, says the senator, had killed more than 200 
bobwhites which had cost the owner over $300. Mr. E. R. 
Bryant of the Henry Ford farms writes me that this story is 
true' except that it may be a little overdrawn in regard to the 
number of birds killed. He never knew exactly how many were 
slain by this cat. 

Ruffed Grouse. 

Cats are nearly as destructive to grouse as to bobwhites. I 
have seen a ruffed grouse that was killed on her nest and partly 
eaten by a cat, while the eggs were scattered and some were 
broken, but not eaten. Almost invariably in such cases a careful 
search will reveal a few hairs of the cat on some branch or twig, 
lost in the struggle. If several steel traps be set carefully 
concealed around the dead bird the cat may be taken. 

Mr. William Brewster tells of a day's hunt by four sportsmen 
with their dogs, in which they killed but one game bird — a bob- 
white. On their return at night to the farmhouse where they 


were staying they found that the farm cat had beaten their score, 
having brought in during the day two bobwhites and one grouse. 
Mr. Cassius Tirrell of South Weymouth asserts that a cat living 
not far from his home has brought in so many bobwhites and 
grouse that the family has "lost track of the number." Mr. 
John B. Burnham of New York, president of the American Game 
Protective and Propagation Society, writes that one of his farmer's 
cats killed "quite a number" of ruffed grouse, including adult 
birds. Several correspondents report cats seen carrying or eating 
full-grown ruffed grouse, and one saw a cat catching the young. 
The illustration of the dead grouse presented herewith is that of 
a bird killed Feb. 2, 1915, by a cat which was frightened away 
while in the act. The bird was not quite dead, but its throat 
was torn open and it was breathing its last. (See Plate VI.) 

Heath Hens. 
Probably the cat is, next to man, a chief factor in the destruc- 
tion of the prairie chicken on the plains. Miss Althea R. 
Sherman writes me from National, la., that the farmers there 
keep from 12 to 18 cats per farm, and that she does not know 
of one that will not hunt birds. The prairie chicken is much 
like the heath hen, which has been almost exterminated in the 
east. The cat and the rat are the only predatory mammals on 
Martha's Vineyard, where the few remaining heath hens now 
live, and whenever cats come on the reservation, the remains 
of full-grown heath hens tell the tale. Therefore, Superintendent 
Day kills every cat of which he finds traces. (See Plate II.) 

Pheasants and Partridges. 
Since the introduced ring-necked pheasant has become com- 
mon in Massachusetts, many reports of the killing of these birds 
by cats have been received. They are taken from the time the 
chicks are hatched until they are full-grown, although the young 
birds and females suffer most. I have seen two full-grown cocks 
that had been killed by cats, and many more have been re- 
ported. This seems remarkable, as the cock pheasant is said 
to be a great fighter and to be able to whip the ordinary barn- 
yard cock. Mr. Lee S. Crandall, of the New York Zoological 
Park, writes that he has known of several instances where cats 
have killed and carried off full-grown golden pheasants, and that 
they have killed so-called Hungarian partridges in the park. 
It is a well-known fact that many of these partridges, imported 


into Connecticut by the game commissioners at an expense of 
many thousands of dollars, were killed by cats. Some cats 
specialize particularly on certain game birds. 

Snipe, Woodcock and Other Game Birds. 
According to Darwin, a Mr. St. John records a case where a 
cat frequented marshy ground at night and brought home snipe 
and woodcock. Mr. W. F. Henderson of Rockland tells of a 
man whose cat brought in 18 woodcock in a season. Rails are 
common game of cats. Prof. Edward P. St. John of Hartford, 
Conn., tells of 12 Virginia rails brought in by one cat. All the 
shore birds, plover and snipe, are taken by cats, particularly the 
young of those that breed in inhabited regions. No species of 
game bird, except possibly certain wildfowl, can escape the toll 
that cats take of their numbers. This tax is severe enough with 
wild birds breeding naturally, but when any attempt is made to 
rear large numbers of game birds on a small area, as on a game 
preserve or bird reservation, the cats' destructiveness is multiplied 

The Cat on the Game Preserve. 

All experienced gamekeepers regard this animal as one of the 
most vicious and despicable of the so-called vermin which often 
render the raising of game birds a precarious calling. Prof. 
Clifton F. Hodge, a pioneer in the successful artificial rearing of 
grouse and bobwhites, was almost forced by cats to give up his 
experiments in Worcester. Although the birds were kept in pens, 
the cats reached through the wires at night, tore, mutilated 
and killed many birds, and drove the brooding mothers from their 
young, so that the little ones died of exposure; and when, with 
the utmost care and vigilance, bobwhites were reared and liber- 
ated, the cats caught practically all in the fields. The remarks 
of gamekeepers about cats' ravages are unprintable, and they 
rarely attempt to rear game birds without first destroying all 
roaming cats if possible. 

I have followed the history of several undertakings of this 
character. In one instance the keeper on a game farm fully one 
mile from any village, and with very few neighbors, was obliged 
to destroy about 200 cats the first year, as the cats got all the 
young birds. In two other cases nearly half that number of cats 
were destroyed. On the Childs-Walcott Preserve, in Norfolk, 
Conn., which is situated in a rather wild, mountainous country, 
81 cats were taken from February, 1911, to September, 1913.* 

> Job, Herbert K.: The Propagation of Wild Birds, 101S, p. 6. 


Fig. 1. — Expensive C.\ts. 

Five cats which, it is estimated, cost New York $1,000 by destroying game birds at the 

State Game Farm. (Photograph by courtesy of Mr. Herbert K. Job. See page 49.) 

FiQ. 2. — Remains of Hen Pheasant caught on Nest by a Cat. 

This bird was killed and eaten by a cat at 10 p.m., at Wilkinsonville. (From the annual report 

of the Massachusetts Commission on Fisheries and Game, 1911.) 


Fia. 1. — Xo Cats here. 
A nest of Wilson's tern, undisturbed on an island where no cats lived. 


-?4.y' * 



Fio. 2. — The Cat's Work. A Wanton Killing. 

Remains of a motlier tern as found; killed by a cat. Thousands of these birds killed on their 

nests by cats on Muskeget. See page 57. (Photograph by Mr. Howard H. Cleaves.) 


Mr. W. R. Bryant, of the Henry Ford farms, Dearborn, Mich., 
says that it has been necessary there, in protecting birds, to kill 
" about 75 cats each year, or possibly less each succeeding year." 
He names the house cat as the first and greatest drawback "in 
our efforts to save and increase the song birds and game birds." 
Such destruction of cats is a necessity; otherwise practically no 
game can be raised. Mr. Harry T. Rogers, of the New York 
State game farm, tried for some time to kill 5 cats that invaded 
the premises in 1914. These cats became so troublesome that an 
organized hunt was made for them, but Mr. Herbert K. Job 
asserts that before they were killed their depredations had cost 
the State of New York fully $1,000. 

Number of Observers reporting Game Birds killed. 

Forty-six observers write me that they have known cats to 
catch and kill ruffed grouse; 44 report the same of bobwhites; 
12 report pheasants; 11, woodcock; 8, rails; 3, heath hens; 3, 
shore birds; 2, mourning doves; and 2, wild ducks. 

Destruction of Poultry and Pigeons by Cats. 

Every one knows that some cats kill chickens and that such 
cats usually are short lived, as the owner of the chickens com- 
monly requisitions the shotgun as soon as he is aware of the 
identity of the marauder. He often will allow his cat to kill 
song birds to its heart's content, but chicken killing is quite 
another matter. Nevertheless, if we accept the statements of 
my 400 correspondents as indicative of the general situation, 
more chicks than birds are known to be killed by cats. This is 
readily explained, for no one ever knows how many birds a cat kills 
if it is allowed to roam, while chicks are counted and watched, 
and the numbers killed by cats can be approximated closely. 

!Mr. Charles ]\I. Field of Shrewsbury has known a cat to kill 
18 chicks in a day. Mr. Frederick W. Goodwin of East Boston 
gives a record of 24 killed by a cat in one day. Miss Mabel 
McRae, Boylston, has a record of 25. Mr. A. B. Brundage of 
Danbury, Conn., tells of 34 as a day's work for one lusty cat. 
Mr. Wilbur F. Smith of South Norwalk, Conn., says that one of 
his neighbors lost over 40 chicks before he began to shoot. He 
got four cats and the chick killing ended. Mr. J. Riley Rogers 
of Byfield writes that he knows of one cat that got 60 in one 


night. This evidently was due to carelessness in leaving doors 
open at night. The ordinary chicken killer gets from 2 or 3 to 
12 in a day, and usually its career is short, except where the 
chickens wander into shrubbery or woods, where the cat can 
creep on them unseen by the owner. In such cases the losses 
are serious and long continued. I have lost many chickens by 
cats in this way. 

Mr. Warren H. ^Manning of Boston has known a cat to kill 
between 60 and 90 chickens in a week. Mr. William H. Learned 
of East Foxborough has known one to kill 64 within a month. 
Mr. Clayton E. Stone of Lunenburg says that one of his neigh- 
bors lost over 75 in one season, and that one stray tomcat de- 
stroyed over 100 chickens in his neighborhood in one summer, 
some of which were nearly half grown. 

Mr. E. G. Russell of Lynnfield says that he has killed 14 cats 
that stole chicks. Many people keeping from 1 to 4 cats each 
report the killing of from 20 to 75 chicks in a season by rats that 
the cats failed to catch. 

It is of interest to examine the figures from reports regarding 
the number of chickens killed by cats; 124 cats killed 685 
chickens in one day, or 5.6 chickens each. The number reported 
as killing chickens for a week is much smaller, as many chicken 
killers are not allowed to live a week after their misdeeds become 
known. Twenty-four cats killed 396 chickens in a week, an 
average of 16.5 chicks per cat; 11 cats killed 189 chicks in a 
month, or 18.8 per cat, and 18 cats killed 699 chicks in a season, 
or 38.8 each. The last were mostly vagrant or woods cats 
which took chicks, notwithstanding the efforts of the owners 
of the chicks to stop it. The above is a remarkable showing 
when it is considered that strenuous efforts were made to stop 
these depredations, and that nearly all these cats were killed 
within a short time after it became known that they were killing 

Most of the chicks killed by these sporting felines are small, 
but it is not rare for them to attack chickens from one to two 
pounds in weight, or even larger. Farm cats do not commonly 
attack chickens, owing to early education and the quick elimina- 
tion of the chicken-killing strains, but the city and village pussies, 
and stray or feral cats not subject to this early training and later 
selection, furnish most of the chicken killers. Mr. Sewall A. 
Faunce of Boston says that his cat caught a half-grown rooster, 
brought it home and was killing it when he came to the rescue. 
Mr. Newell A. Eddy of Bay City, ^Slich., missed chickens day 
after day from a flock about one-third grown, and finally his 


hired man discovered that they went away in company with a 
large cat. I\Ir. F. C. Stevens of Somerville tells of a kitten 
owned by Mr. John Little of Salisbury, N. H., that appeared 
to be playing with half-grown chickens. It killed one and then an- 
other. Exit kitten! ]Mr. Little had similar experiences with other 
cats. Mr. Philip Laurent of Philadelphia asserts that a black 
male cat was accustomed to sleep all day in his yard, prowling 
at night, and on several occasions he saw the cat in the yard 
early in the morning with chickens, weighing from two to three 
pounds each, which it had killed. Dr. Louis B. Bishop, the well- 
known ornithologist of New Haven, Conn., writes that in 
October or November a gardener employed by one of his neigh- 
bors said that cats had killed two chickens and left the remains 
in the yard. Dr. Bishop did not see these chickens, but from 
the date believed them to be nearly, if not quite, full grown. 
The gardener believed them to be spring chickens, about six 
months old. 

Young Turkeys. 
Mr. Richard H. Barlow, president of the Lawrence Natural 
History Society, avers that when he was with his uncle, Samuel 
Benson, at Manchester, Eng., about 1873, they had a half-grown 
black and white kitten that was turned out to shift for itself. 
It disappeared for nearly a year. Then they began to miss young 
turkeys from valuable prize stock, from the size of quails up to 
three pounds in weight. After about 40 had been lost, a trap 
was set, baited with a young turkey, and an immense cat was 
caught weighing 17^ pounds^ and marked exactly like the lost 
kitten. ^Mr. Barlow is not sure how much of the weight was cat 
and how much turkey, but no more turkeys disappeared. Any 
cat that will catch large chickens and young turkeys is likely to kill 
small full-grown fowls. 

Bantam Fowls. 
Mr. Ross Vardon of Greenwood says that his cat caught a 
full-grown bantam which she dropped when chased, but it died. 
Mr. A. K. Learned of Gardner says that eight or nine years ago 
his cat went to Mr. James Hemenway's place, some thirty rods 
away, killed a bantam hen and brought it home. The cat's 
career was cut short. Mr. James M. Pulley of Melrose, says that 
about Dec. 27, 1914, he saw a black cat run crouching among 
his bantams, pick up a two and one-half year old hen and carry 
it off. He asserts that he has lost about a dozen, presumably in 

t Harrison Weir has recorded a cat weighiog 23 pounds. Other records exceed his. 


the same way, as his neighbors have seen cats carrying off his 
fowls. Some of these were "half-breed" bantams about as large 
as a Leghorn hen. Previous to this occurrence he chloroformed a 
cat that took several nearly full-grown Minorcas from the prem- 
ises of a near neighbor. It is but a step from such work as this 
to the killing of full-grown fowls of standard breeds. 

Full-sized Fowls. 

The number of reports received regarding the killing of full- 
grown domestic fowls by cats is surprising, but it is well known 
that some of the wild species from which our domestic cat prob- 
ably was derived are destructive to poultry, and some house cats 
which run wild revert to these original habits. I have not found 
much evidence in cat literature regarding the destruction of 
standard sized fowls, but Finn remarks that crossbreeds between 
long-haired and short-haired cats are likely to become poachers, 
and will even attack full-grown fowls, which, he says, is a rare 
fault of ordinary cats, although fowls are an important part 
of the natural food of wild cats.^ "Forest and Stream" says that 
in South Africa farmers suffer much from the numerous wild cats, 
which are very destructive to lambs, kids and fowls. The prog- 
eny of domestic cats often run wild and are most dreaded as 
having more than the usual amount of cunning.^ 

Miss Repplier asserts that the cat is described in ancient docu- 
ments as a hunter of mice and a slayer of hens,' and the evidence 
submitted below seems conclusive that the latter habit, though 
uncommon, still persists. 

Having lost fourteen hens by a supposed dog or fox, I had the 
fowls shut in. About November 1, a fine, white Plymouth Rock 
pullet, nearly full grown, was found in the henyard partly eaten. 
It did not seem probable that any dog or fox could get over the 
high wire fence, and the appearance of the carcass was similar 
to that of a grouse killed by a cat. It is well known that cats, 
from the lion and tiger down to the household pet, are almost 
certain to come back at night to their partly eaten prey, and may 
be shot or trapped then. Three traps were set, and that night 
the largest cat in my experience was caught. No more fowls were 
taken or killed. There is much more circumstantial evidence 
that points to the cat as a destroyer of grown poultry. Mr. 
Thomas Aspinwall of Brookline shot several cats that at differ- 
ent times stalked his father's hens with the apparent intention 

> Finn, Frank: Pets and How to keep Them, 1907, p. 18. 

• Forest and Stream, Nov. 1, 1902, Vol. 59, p. 345. 

* Repplier, Agnea: The Fireside Sphinx, 1901, p. 11. 


of attacking them. Mr. A. W. Streeter of Winchendon asserts 
that a hen that was beheaded and left to bleed was pounced on 
by a cat, dragged off and partly eaten before it was found, half 
an hour later. Mr. Daniel W. Deane of Fairhaven says that 
he never knew a cat with a good home to kill a full-grown fowl, 
but whenever in his long life he has found a hen killed and partly 
eaten, he has surrounded the carcass with traps, and almost in- 
variably got a cat the next morning, and sometimes two. Lest 
it may be objected that circumstantial evidence is not conclu- 
sive the testimony of eye witnesses must be given. 

Mr. Charles W. Prescott, a resident of Concord, reports that 
he lost a large fowl that was taken out of his henhouse window, 
which was 5 feet 6 inches from the ground. He tracked the 
animal 400 yards, found the fowl partly eaten, took it back to 
the henyard, lay in wait that night, and shot a large yellow cat 
when it appeared and started to drag its prey away. He said 
that the cat weighed almost 20 pounds. Mrs. Cora E. Pease of 
Maiden tells of a large, cream colored Angora cat named Richard 
MansJSeld that brought home fowls to its mistress in 1901 from a 
neighboring poultry yard, but so far as she is aware the birds 
were not seriously injured and were released by the cat's owner. 
Richard was a very high-bred cat and would eat little but cream 
and beefsteak, according to his owner. Evidently the hens were 
taken in sport. 

IMr. Franklin P. Shumway of Melrose saw a cat spring on and 
kill a hen that had stolen awav and made a nest in the under- 

The fowl killer. 

brush. This occurred at his country place in Forestdale about 
May, 1912. Mr. Freeman B. Currier of Newburyport tells of a 
cat kept in the family of Mr. James P. O'Neil which had the habit 


of chasing hens out of the yard, in which sport it was encour- 
aged by its owner. Soon it began to kill them, and no one was 
able to stop it. Mr. Geo. W. Piper of Andover relates that he 
heard a hen squawking when he came home one night at 9 o'clock. 
He went into the barnyard and saw a cat killing a hen. The 
next night he lay in wait for it and shot it as it came back. 
Mr. Harold K. Decker of West New Brighton, X. Y., says that 
two hens were killed at night and several others wounded by a 
cat belonging to Mr. C. M. Smith of Westerleigh. This cat got 
into the coop at one of the small doors, which had been inad- 
vertently left open. Once a tomcat owned by a neighbor got 
in through Mr. Decker's henhouse window, attacked a cock, tore 
out much of his plumage, and mangled the bird severely, but the 
noise of the struggle roused the household and Mr. Decker got 
out in time to save the rooster. Miss Agnes C. Eames of Wil- 
mington says that a townsman saw his cat leap upon one of his 
own hens, seize it by the back of the neck and kill it. It was 
given no opportunity to kill another. Mr. L. H. Howe of New- 
ton tells of a cat that killed a hen and brought it home. Mr. 
Clarence E. Richardson of Attleboro, while trapping, came upon 
a cat eating a full-grown fowl, freshly killed. When it saw him, 
it started to carry off the hen, but he interrupted the proceeding 
at that point. Mr. William Dutcher of Plainfield, N. J., presi- 
dent of the National Association of Audubon Societies, says 
that he has known a cat to kill a full-grown fowl, and Mr. Albert 
E. Shedd of Sharon says that a friend reported the killing of a 
large Brahma fowl by a 15-pound cat in Providence, R. I. Mr. 
Perkins R. Livermore of Marshfield Hills writes: "Some years 
ago I had a henhouse up back on my place near the woods. I 
found that something was killing my hens. I set a steel trap 
and caught a big woods cat. He had killed fifteen hens during 
a period of two or three weeks." The catching of the cat ended 
the killing of the fowls. If the above statements from reputable 
witnesses approximate the facts, the larger vagrant or woods cat 
may yet become as great a menace to the poultry industry as the 
fox. Possibly many cases where fox or skunk have been blamed 
might have been traced to the cat. Cats are large and strong 
enough to kill full-grown fowls with ease. The larger cats are much 
heavier than the ordinary fox, and it is well known that skunks, 
minks, weasels and even rats have killed many fowls at night. 

It is only just to the cat to say that many cats which catch 
rats, but not chickens, are very useful in destroying rats about 
henhouses, and that rats are sometimes fully as destructive to 
chickens as are untrained cats. 


Pigeons or Doves. 

There are many complaints regarding the killing of doves by 
cats. Twenty-four correspondents report this. It would seem 
difficult for a cat to catch so watchful a bird as a dove in the 
open, but a practiced dove killer does not need to steal up very 
near to endanger its victim. When the experienced cat has 
crept within the proper distance it catches the dove in two 
bounds. The first does not bring it within striking distance, 
but with the second it often reaches the dove, already in the air, 
and strikes it down with its forepaws. Some cats become very 
expert at this game. Cats often miss their prey, but this is true 
even of the swiftest hawk. 

Prof. John Robinson of Salem writes that a flock of pigeons 
has been homing in the barn of the Robinson family for eighty 
years, and that it has been necessary to keep up a persistent 
and unceasing fight to protect them from cats. About twenty- 
five years ago in the battle with the cats, 25 w^ere killed in one 
year, 30 in another, and about 20 more in some succeeding years; 
after that cats were killed only as special marauders became in- 
tolerable. Pigeon breeders complain that, even when their birds 
are confined in wire netting enclosures, cats spring upon the wire 
by day or night, and, reaching through, tear the birds. Occa- 
sionally a killer finds its way into a pigeon loft at night, and 
nearly wipes out the flock. Mr. William D. Corliss of Gloucester 
says that about thirty years ago a house cat owned by a Mr. 
Lowe got into the dovecote of William Corliss at night and killed 
about thirty fancy pigeons, — pouters, fantails, etc. Members 
of the family say that this cat did not attempt to eat the birds 
but tore open their throats and is believed to have drunk the 
blood. Mr. Harry D. Eastman of Sherborn had a large flock of 
fancy pigeons, but the neighbors' cats killed "over one hundred 
dollars worth," and he gave up keeping them. 

Cats eating Eggs. 
Harrison Weir seems to believe that cats commonly eat birds' 
eggs in England, but I have never known a Massachusetts cat 
to eat an egg. Sometimes the eggs in a nest are broken when 
the mother bird is caught by a cat, but usually they are not 
eaten, and this has always seemed characteristic of attacks by 
cats. Nevertheless, in my reading, several instances were noted 
where cats were seen to eat birds' eggs or hens' eggs. A cat in a 
grocery learned to roll eggs to the floor that they might be 


broken for her repast, but this habit is exceptional. Mrs. Mar- 
garet Morse Nice tells of cats in Oklahoma becoming a great 
nuisance by breaking and eating hens' eggs. 

Extermination of Islant) Birds by Cats. 

An isolated island is a little world by itself, and any fertile, 
well-watered one where birds can be protected from their natural 
enemies is likely to become a bird paradise. Gardiner's Island, 
N. Y., has been noted for many years for the numbers of birds 
that breed there, and for their tameness, although gunning is 
allowed upon the island during the shooting season. There are 
no cats there. ^ Wherever cats have been introduced and al- 
lowed to multiply unchecked upon an island, they have deci- 
mated, driven out or exterminated the birds. 

Rothschild, in his great work, "Extinct Birds," names the cat 
first after man among the only important exterminative agents, 
and gives instances of the extermination of birds on sea islands. 
Henry Travis, the New Zealand ornithologist, says that many 
of the islands in that part of the world formerly teeming with 
bird life are now denuded because of the introduction of the cat. 
On the Chatham Islands, five hundred miles east of New Zealand, 
a land rail, Cabalus dieffenbachi, and a long-tailed wren-like bird, 
Bowlderia rufescens, are now believed to be extinct. Another 
land rail, Cabalus modestes, on the Island of IMangare, formerly 
found also on Warekauri, has become extinct since the invasion 
of cats.^ On Aldabra Island, off the east coast of Africa, all 
the numerous flightless birds except one have disappeared since 
the cat came, and that one exists now in numbers only on some 
smaller islands of the group that the cat has not reached.' 
On Glorioso Island numbers of cats range the jungle, and birds 
have been decimated even more than on Aldabra. 

A few cats often are enough to destroy the birds on a small 
island. The cats get the birds in the nesting season when in- 
cubating eggs or brooding young, and thus prevent breeding. 
A cat belonging to Peter Lyall, the lighthouse keeper on Stevens 
Island (a wooded island hardly a square mile in extent in Cook's 
Strait), exterminated a little wren, Traversa lyalli. Only twelve 
specimens are now in existence, and all these were brought in by 
this cat, an excellent hunter, which roamed over the entire island. 
How many more she ate or left dead in the woods will never be 

■ Chapman, Frank M.: Camps and Cruises of an Ornithologist, I90S, p. 39. 
* See Rothschild, Walter: Extinct Birds, 1907, pp. 21, 128; also Forbes, Ibis, 6th aeries, V, 1S93, 
p. 523. 
» Abbott, W. L.: Proceedinga of the National Museum, Vol. XVI, 1893, pp. 762, 764. 


known. It is believed that this bird lived formerly on d'Urville 
Island and even on New Zealand itself, where cats had been in- 
troduced many years before.^ Dr. Louis B. Bishop of New 
Haven writes me that in 1901-02 he found the piping plover and 
Wilson's plover breeding "tolerably commonly" and Virginia 
rails and Clapper rails abundantly on Pea Island, N. C, but in 
December, 1908, Mr. J. B. Etheridge, manager of the club on 
the island, told Dr. Bishop that the piping plover had been 
exterminated, Wilson's plover almost extirpated and rails greatly 
reduced by cats from the Pea Island life-saving station. The 
station was closed in summer and the cats were abandoned. 

Mr. Wilbur F. Smith of Norwalk, Conn., visited Wooden Ball 
Island, off the coast of Maine, where there was a colony of 
Leach's petrels. He found that the entire colony bad been de- 
stroyed. Passing by one of the fishermen's cabins he noticed 
the ground strewn with petrels' remains, some freshly killed. 
The fisherman told him that the cats caught the birds at night 
and brought them to the house to eat; he said that there were 
but three cats kept and only one wild house cat had been seen. 
A great colony of petrels on Great Duck Island has been deci- 
mated in recent years by a few cats kept there by the lighthouse 

Several years ago the least tern was very nearly exterminated 
in New England by milliners' agents, but finally, by a stringent 
enforcement of the law, they were saved from extinction. In 
1907 a considerable number established themselves not far from 
the lighthouse on Monomoy, at the elbow of Cape Cod, but the 
birds could not rear young on account of cats which roamed the 
beach. I visited the place in 1908 and found that the colony had 
been broken up, and that the beach was pitted with many cat 

Space will not allow many details of the cats' destructiveness 
to birds on islands, but there is room for the sequel to the story 
told by Mr. G. K. Noble in the "Warbler," of Sept. 1, 1913. 
He asserted that on the south end of Muskeget Island a great 
Massachusetts colony of sea birds protected by the town of 
Nantucket, the breeding gulls and terns, had been nearly ex- 
tirpated by cats. Mr. Howard H. Cleaves wrote me in 1914 that 
the warden in charge said that if the cats continued to increase 
they would exterminate the entire colony of some 45,000 birds 
within five years. All over that part of the island that the cats 
mostly inhabited could be seen the uneaten bodies of terns killed 
on their nests, their heads torn off, and the wings and feathers 

» Rothschild, Walter: Extinct Birds, 1907, p. 25. 


of those that had been eaten. The mangled bodies of newly 
hatched young, as well as larger young, were found scattered 
about profusely. There are no trees on the island, therefore 
hawks and owls do not nest there, and do not remain there 
during the nesting season of the birds. There are no predatory 
mammals except the cat, and the indigenous short-eared owl 
was exterminated years ago. Therefore the cat is practically the 
only enemy with w^hich the gulls and terns have to contend. Mr. 
Arthur Brigham of Boston wrote me in 1914 that the cats had 
greatly depleted the number of the birds, and an agent of the Nan- 
tucket Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals re- 
ported the same year that in a brief search he found fully a 
thousand nest sites with the remains of parent birds, egg shells 
and young scattered about them. Whether the cats increased 
or not we do not know% but during the summer of 1914 it was 
easy to gather a bushel of wings of the dead birds. The warden 
killed three cats in 1913, and may have destroyed a few in 1914, 
but Deputy Fish and Game Commissioner William Day went to 
the island in the winter, and, with a good dog, found and shot 
seven cats, one of them a female heavy with young; another cat 
was found dead. Mr. Day believes that he has killed every cat 
there, and the dog could find no more. This shows clearly how 
terribly destructive a few stray cats can be among breeding 
birds, and how they kill, not merely to eat, but for the love of 
killing. Since the above was written Mr. W. L. McAtee of the 
Biological Survey has informed me that more cats have been let 
loose on the island by fishermen, and that the number of birds 
was much reduced by them in 1915. 

Expert Opinions on the Cat's Destructiveness to Birds. 

In all my investigations into the economic status of the cat, 
opinions have been disregarded and only facts sought. Never- 
theless, opinions of all kinds have been offered. Many cat lovers 
naturally are loath to believe or admit that their pets seriously 
menace the birds, but some frankly avow the regrettable facts. 
Miss Helen Leighton, president of the Animal Rescue League of 
Fall River, writes: "I have found the cat a beautiful, clean, in- 
telligent and affectionate pet, readily trained not to molest cage 
birds, but also a very dangerous enemy to bird life in general. 
It is idle to deny the latter point." Miss Mary A. White of 
Heath writes: "I am fond of cats and consider them a close and 
valuable bond, endearing animals to humans, but do not keep 
one because I have found them so destructive to bird life." 


Fig. 1. — Remains of Birds killed on their Nests by a Wandering Cat. 

Deputy Fish and Game Commissioner Allan Keniston examining the remains of Wilson's 

terns at Katama Beach. (Photograph by Mr. Howard H. Cleaves.) 

Fig. 2. — The Cat's L.*.ir. 

A mass of bird remains on the beach grass at Katama Bay, where a wild house cat had been 

accustomed to hide and eat its prey. (Photograph by Mr. Howard H. Cleaves.) 


The Cat's Prey. 

Full-grown gray squirrel killed by a cat. Soo page 62. (Photograph by courtesy of 

Dr. Wm. T. Hornaday.) 


Dr. C. F. Hodge, author of "Nature Study and Life," and an 
authority on the rearing of game birds, says that evidence from 
all civilized countries in which measures are being taken to pro- 
tect game and insectivorous birds is overwhelming that the cat 
is the worst enemy of bird life. Most authorities lean toward 
this opinion. 

If opinions are to be regarded at all, those of well-known, con- 
servative people who have made a lifelong studj'' of birds, their 
enemies and the means of protecting them should be entitled to 
the greatest weight, as such people, interested in the protection 
of birds, are best qualified to express an opinion by reason of 
long experience and habits of close observation. 

Mr. Witmer Stone of the Philadelphia Academy of Sciences, 
editor of the "Auk," and for many years chairman of the Ameri- 
can Ornithologists' Union Committee on Bird Protection, writes: 
"There is, I think, no doubt that for years past the greatest 
destructive agency to our smaller song and insectivorous birds 
has been the cat." 

Robert Ridgway, of the Smithsonian Institution at Washing- 
ton, D. C, whose monumental standard works on American 
ornithology are known throughout the world, writing of roaming 
cats in the locality of his home in southern Illinois, says: "It 
is of course difficult to estimate the extent to which these prac- 
tically wild cats are responsible for the present relative scarcity 
of birds, but it must, from the very nature of the case, be a most 
important factor." 

John Burroughs says that cats probably destroy more birds 
than all other animals combined. He believes that the preserva- 
tion of birds involves the nonpreservation of cats. 

Dr. Frank M. Chapman, of the American Museum of Natural 
History, author of standard works on American ornithology and 
editor of "Bird-Lore," has this to say on the subject: "The 
most important problem confronting bird protectors to-day is the 
devising of a proper means for the disposition of the surplus cat 
population of this country. By surplus population we mean that 
very large proportion of cats which do not receive the care due a 
domesticated or pet animal, and which are, therefore, practically 
dependent on their own efforts for food." 

Mr. Henry W. Henshaw, chief of the Biological Survey, United 
States Department of Agriculture, says that one of the worst 
foes of our native birds is the house cat. Probably none of our 
native wild animals destroy as many birds on the farm, particu- 
larly the fledglings, as do cats. 

Mr. William Dutcher, president of the National Association 


of Audubon Societies, considers the wild house cat one of the 
greatest causes of bird destruction known. He says that the 
boy with the air gun is not in the same class with the cat. 

Dr. William T. Hornaday, director of the New York Zoologi- 
cal Park, and author of valuable works on the protection of wild 
life, says: "In such thickly settled communities as our northern 
States, from the Atlantic coast to the sandhills of Kansas and 
Nebraska, the domestic cat is probably the greatest four-footed 
scourge of bird life. Thousands of persons who never have seen 
a hunting cat in action will doubt this statement, but proof of its 
truthfulness is only too painfully abundant. . . . That cats de- 
stroy annually in the United States several millions of very 
valuable birds seems fairly beyond question. I believe that in 
settled regions they are worse than weasels, foxes, skunks and 
mink combined, because there are about one hundred times as 
many of them, and those that hunt are not afraid to hunt in the 
daytime. Of course, I am not saying that all cats hunt wild 
game; but in the country I believe that fully one-half of them 

Mr. T. Gilbert Pearson, secretary of the National Association 
of Audubon Societies, and author of books and papers on birds, 
makes the following statement: "There is no wild bird or animal 
in the United States whose destructive inroads on our bird 
population is in any sense comparable to the widespread devasta- 
tion created by the domestic cat." 

Dr. George W. Field, chairman of the Massachusetts Com- 
mission on Fisheries and Game, while fond of cats as pets, says 
that he has reluctantly concluded that they destroy more game 
and insectivorous birds than any other one factor at present 
operating to diminish the bird population. 

Mr. Ernest Harold Baynes, author of "Wild Bird Guests," 
etc., regards the cat as "far and away" the most destructive of 
all the animals for whose present status as bird destroyers man 
is more or less responsible. 

Mrs. Mabel Osgood Wright, president of the Connecticut 
Audubon Society, and author of many popular books on birds, 
writes: "The evidence of men and women whose words are in- 
contestable would verify my most radical statement, but one 
fact is beyond dispute: if the people of the country insist upon 
keeping cats in the same numbers as at present, all the splendid 
work of Federal and State legislation, all the labors of game and 
song bird protective associations, all the loving care of individ- 
uals in watching and feeding, will not be able to save our native 
birds in many localities." 


Mr. Henry Nehrling, a well-known writer on American birds 
and bird protection, goes so far as to say: "They do more harm to 
our familiar garden birds than all other enemies combined." 
Baron Hans von Berlepsch, perhaps the greatest authority on 
bird protection, asserts: "We may as well give up protection of 
birds about our gardens and houses, so long as we tolerate cats 
outside the buildings;" and concludes: "Therefore, against all 
cats found loitering outside of buildings, the most relentless war 
of extermination." 

Destruction of Mammals and Lower Animals by Cats. 

During such research as I have been able to make through 
the literature of the subject, it has become evident that natur- 
alists and writers on rats and ratcatching, and writers on sport 
and gamekeeping, almost invariably belittle the cat as a rat- 
catcher, but admit that it catches many mice and much game. 
Even the health authorities in various countries who have had to 
take up rat destruction in the seaports of the world in order to 
check the bubonic plague do not, as a rule, seem to appreciate 
the cat's assistance. Occasionally one is found who gives the 
cat credit for good work, but this is the exception, and I find very 
little evidence anywhere that cats destroy other predatory 
animals. No one of my correspondents records a hawk, fox, 
raccoon or mink as killed by a cat. One records one attack on a 
skunk. It was not repeated. Three tell of weasels killed by 
cats, one of a woodchuck and one of a muskrat, but the harmless 
or useful mammals appear to be killed in great numbers; also 
squirrels and rabbits. 

We find that 196 observers report many squirrels killed by 
cats. Mr. William Brewster says that almost all the chipmunks, 
most of the red squirrels and many gray squirrels are killed an- 
nually wherever cats roam freely and numerously. Cats have 
exterminated the chipmunks on my farm, but have not been 
numerous enough to make much impression on the numbers of 
the more arboreal squirrels. I have seen cats carrying very large 
gray squirrels, but the larger ones will sometimes whip a cat and 
drive it away. 

Hares and Rabbits. 
The number of observers reporting that cats kill many rabbits 
is 149. The majority of these rabbits (hares) are young cotton- 
tails, but many adults are killed, and some of the larger northern 


varying hares or "white rabbits," so called. The cat is so de- 
structive to rabbits that on Sable Island, off the coast of Xova 
Scotia, which had been the home of these little animals for at 
least half a century, the introduction of a few cats was followed 
by the absolute extinction of the rabbit population. There is 
abundant evidence of the rabbit-killing habit. Mr. Cassius R. 
Tirrell of South Weymouth tells of a cat that brought home 7 
young rabbits in two days. ISIr. Albert E. Shedd of Sharon 
writes that he had a cat in 1910 that killed many rabbits, grouse 
and some small birds; it brought in 4 cottontails in a single day. 
Mr. A. K. Learned of Gardner tells of a cat that brought in 22 
rabbits in one summer. Jones and Woodward record the con- 
fession of a lady in a local paper that her cat, with kittens, 
brought in in one week 26 mice, 19 rabbits, 10 moles, 7 young 
birds and 2 squirrels, and they say that they have heard of cats 
"a great deal worse. "^ 

Dr. William T. Hornaday tells in his interesting and useful 
book, "Our Vanishing Wild Life," how in one year cats killed 
nearly all the wild rabbits in the park — some eighty or ninety. 
The cats were exterminated, and the rabbits slowly increased. 
Several observers have reported a cat going out at dusk and 
returning in a few minutes with a full-grown rabbit. My friend, 
William C. Peterson of Canaveral, Fla., saw his cat kill one. 
This cat frequently brought in adult cottontails, and its owner 
desired to see how it overcame them. One evening, when he 
saw one sitting in his garden, he took the cat out there. She 
sprang on the rabbit, caught it with her teeth by the back of the 
neck, and lying beside it caught its haunches with her hind claws 
and straining hard stretched and apparently broke its neck. It 
was all over in a moment. 

Moles and Shrews. 
Cats kill many moles. This is reported by 132 observers. 
Only 51 say that cats kill many shrews. Evidently many ob- 
servers do not distinguish shrews from moles. Others admit 
that they do not know the shrew. The short-tailed shrew, 
Blarina brevicauda, closely resembles a mole in appearance, while 
some of the smaller shrews might be mistaken for mice by the 
casual observer. Cats kill considerable numbers of moles and 
shrews, but they rarely eat them, as there seems to be some 
disagreeable scent or taste about them. 

> JoQM, Owen, and Woodward, Marcus: The Gamekeeper's Notebook, London, 1910, pp. 263, 264. 


A Hunting Cat and its Victim. 

This animal feasted on the rabbits and squirrels of the New York Zoological Park until it 

ate only the brains of its victims. (Photograph by courtesy of Dr. \Vm. T. Hornaday.) 

Fia. 1. — An Illustration of the Inefficiency of the Cat as a Ratcatcher. 
One cat and twenty-four rats, the result of fumigating cabin of steamship. This cat, an 
exceptionally good ratter, was supposed to have kept the cabin free from rats. In 
fumigation she was overlooked. (From Public Health Reports, Vol. 29, No. 16.) 

Fia. 2. — Rat Traps well handled beat the Cat. 

Twenty-three rats and about a dozen mice trapped in two barns in three days, with 5-cent 

traps, properly set. The only advantage of the cat as a rat trap is that it is self-setting. 


Rats and Mice. 
Many statements have been published recently to the effect 
that not one cat in fifty or even one in a hundred kills rats. 
These statements are at variance with my experience, as well as 
with that of most of my correspondents, and they cannot be 
founded on any careful investigation. Nevertheless, it is true 
that many cats do not hunt rats. Dr. A. K. Fisher, in charge 
of the economic investigations of the Bureau of Biological Survey, 
United States Department of Agriculture, says : — 

It is impossible at present to obtain correct figures on this subject, but it 
is safe to say that few persons in a normal lifetime run across more than 
half a dozen cats that habitually attack rats. Occasionally a hunter-cat is 
found which seems to delight in catching rats, gophers or ground squirrels. 
It has been the common experience of the writer to find premises that were 
well supphed with cats overrun with rats and mice. At a certain ranch house 
in the west, he trapped twelve mice in his bedroom in a week, although eight 
cats had access to the place. ^ 

Dr. G. M. Corput, another Government expert, in the United 
States Public Health and Marine Hospital Service, gives an 
experience which seems to show that little dependence can be 
placed on the cat as a rat exterminator. 

Ever>' quarantine officer is familiar with the old plea of shipmasters that 
there is no use of fumigating the cabin of a vessel because there is a cat on 
board wliich is an excellent ratter and renders it impossible for rats to live in 
cabin. The enclosed pictures are the result of not believing this story. The 
British steamship "Ethelhilda" arrived at this station INew Orleans Quar- 
antine] March 18, from the west coast of Africa. The captain assured me 
that it was impossible for any rats to be in the cabin of his vessel because of 
the presence of an exceptionally good cat. The cabin was nevertheless 
fumigated. Through the irony of fate the cat was forgotten. Then the 
cabin was opened, and the enclosed picture shows the result. Every part of 
the ship had many rats. The picture is limited, however, to what was found 
in the cabin, one cat, twenty-four rats.^ 

In my experience of forty years only two of my osvn cats have 
habitually attacked rats. Most of them did not trouble rats at 
all, a few got one occasionally, but the best one on the farm 
killed on the average about one a week, or over fifty a year. 
Upon the arrival of this cat, the rats soon disappeared and were 
not seen running about as before. A little careful investigation, 
however, showed that they were nearly as numerous as ever, 
but much shyer, keeping out of sight. At the end of the year, 

I Fisher, A. K.: Yearbook. U. S. Dept. of Agr., 1908, pp. 139, 190. 
« Public Health Reports, Vol. 29, No. 18, April 17, 1914, p. 923. 


notwithstanding the killing done by the cat, the number present 
had not decreased, as not enough had been killed to dispose of 
the annual increase. After the cat had been in the barn six 
months, I set eleven old rusty traps one night and got six rats; 
two sprung traps and got away. This one night's work of old 
and rather ineffective traps equalled six weeks' work of the cat. 
No one knows how many rats infest his place when he keeps a 
ratcatching cat, for then the rats almost invariably keep out of 
sight. I have found it difficult to get rid of rats when I had cats, 
as traps could not be set freely on account of the cats, but as 
soon as the cats were disposed of, the rats were trapped. I have 
just returned from a visit in the country with a friend who keeps 
two cats which, he says regretfully, are very destructive to birds. 
When asked why he did not dispose of them he replied that a 
farmer must have cats to catch the rats and mice about his 
buildings. At that very moment there were two traps set for 
mice in a livrng room, and he admitted that whenever rats be- 
came unbearable in his barn the cats were shut out and poison 
was used. Apparently, however, my own experience with cats 
has been unfortunate, as the farm canvass undertaken by the 
State Board of Agriculture shows that about four-fifths of the 
farmers interviewed seem to believe that cats are more or less 
effective as rat killers. The following figures are given for what 
they are worth. They refer to village and farm cats: — 

Interviews, 291 

Cats kept, 559 

Known ratters, 197 

Known not ratters, 43 

Have rats, 118 

Have no rats, 131 

Had more rats before getting cat, 22 

Have rats and no cat, -27 

Have no rats and no cat, 24 

Have cats and no rats, 107 

Have both cats and rats, 96 

89 keeping 184 cats use traps also. 

45 keeping 90 cats use poisons. 

36 keeping 70 cats use both traps and poisons. 

These figures, furnished mainly by friends and owners of cats, 
do not speak highly of the ratcatching ability of the average cat, 
but they seem to show that more than one-third of the cats kept 
by these country people kill more or less rats. A little more than 
one-fifth seem to be effective ratcatchers, as they appear to 
have killed or driven out rats. It is safe to say that some of 


the people who asserted they had no rats really had them at the 
time, although they did not realize it, as there are many more 
rats than are seen by human eyes. Mr. McMahon, in this 
canvass, found a village where quantities of fowls were kept and 
where cats were depended on to exterminate the rats. Every- 
body there seemed to believe that cats were effective as rat 
exterminators, and no one seemed to be using traps or poisons. 
The village was canvassed quite thoroughly, and every place was 
found infested by rats, while in nearly every place cats were 
kept. The evidence did not confirm the popular belief in the cat. 

These statistics were taken in summer and early fall, before 
the rats began to come into buildings for the winter. A census 
taken in December probably would have revealed a larger num- 
ber of places infested. Most people are not anxious to admit 
that there are rats in their dwellings.- The above facts consid- 
ered, it is probable that some of the figures given unduly favor 
the cat. 

Turning now^ to the observers who filled out the questionnaire, 
a large part of whom are town or city people, we find the fol- 
lowing : — 

Reports, 324 

Keep cats, 99 

Number kept, 132 

Do not keep cats, 225 

Average niunber of cats per family of correspondents keeping cats, . 1.3 

Cats per family in neighborhood, reports, 360 

Total number of cats on these reports, 515 

Average number of cats per family in neighborhood, . . . .1.4 

Rats numerous, 78 

Rats common, 151 

Rats rare, 137 

Rats have decreased since cats were obtained, 164 

Rats have not decreased since cats were obtained, 94 

Believe cats exterminate or drive out rats, 71 

Beheve cats do not exterminate or drive out rats, ..... 221 

Mice have decreased since cats were obtained, 190 

Mice have not decreased since cats were obtained, 71 

Believe cats exterminate or drive out mice, 84 

Believe cat-s do not exterminate or drive out mice, 217 

Have both cats and rats, 65 

Cats kept as pets alone, 84 

Cats kept as mousers, 39 

Cats kept as both pets and mousers, 169 

A typographical error in the questionnaire makes it impossible 
in most cases to get the maximum number of rats or mice killed 
by a cat in one day, as the question regarding rats reads, "How 


many rats have you known to be killed by cats in a day? " 
Hence a reply may include two or a dozen cats. In a few cases, 
however, it is stated specifically that one cat killed a certain 
number. Only 147 out of 427 observers can say that they ever 
knew cats to kill any definite number of rats in a day. In most 
cases the maximum number of rats killed by cats in a day varies 
from 1 to 3, but Mr. B. S. Bowdish of Demarest, N. J., records 
5 small rats killed. There are a few cases where larger numbers 
are given. Miss Grace E. Wilder of East Lynn has a cat that 
has killed 4 rats in a day. Mr. Jonathan H. Jones of Waquoit 
records 7 to one cat. IMrs. ]\Iary A. Wheat of Dorchester has 
known a cat to kill 14. Mr. F. H. Mosher of Melrose has a cat 
which killed 18 in one day, 15 of which were young. When grain 
is being cleared out of a building, a good ratter occasionally 
makes a great killing. Mrs. Florence G. Butler of East Charle- 
mont says that she has known cats thus to kill 20 rats in a corn 
barn. An enthusiastic friend of the cat wrote that she had 
known 32 rats killed by a cat in one day, and that another aver- 
aged 10 rats a night, which would amount to 3,650 rats per year; 
she also speaks of another cat which was alleged to have killed 
enough field mice nightly to "cover" the doorstep and the walk 
leading up to it. Such destruction as alleged here would soon 
solve the rat problem. The first of her stories was investigated, 
with the following results: — 

A porter of a large dry goods house gave a signed statement, 
saying that the first cat mentioned, which he had obtained from 
the Animal Rescue League of Boston, killed 32 rats between 
Saturday night and Monday night, and that another averaged 
from 3 to 5 a night. An investigation of this statement showed 
that in the first case heads, tails and other remains of rats were 
counted, and that there were two cats instead of one. The man 
who now cares for this champion cat has never known it to kill 
more than 7 rats in one night. 

Miss Clara L. Hutchins of Groton has three cats that are re- 
garded as excellent rat killers. At my request she kept a careful 
record, with dates, of the rats killed by them from June 28 to 
September 1. Teddy killed 4, 2 of which were full grown. Buster 
killed 6, 2 of which were full grown. Binks killed 9 small rats. 
By actual count, here were 15 small rats and 6 full-grown ones 
killed by these excellent cats in a little over two months; and 
it is quite possible that a few more may have been killed, as the 
remains of 2 more were found. The record also gives 2 mice and 
3 small snakes, all killed by Buster. It is probable that few actual 
records carefully kept would show better results than this, except 


possibly where rats swarm. Mr. Wilfrid Wheeler, secretary of 
the Massachusetts State Board of Agriculture, had a cat which, 
he says, caught about 2 rats a day for two weeks, but the rodents 
were so plentiful that this cat's work made no apparent differ- 
ence in their numbers and destructiveness, and it was found neces- 
sary to resort to poison. Dr. George W. Field of Sharon has 
found traps, poisons, terriers and other means necessary with 
rats, even on a farm where ten to twelve cats were kept. 

The evidence of my hundreds of correspondents regarding the 
value of the cat as a ratcatcher is varying and contradictory. 
Many correspondents find their cats very useful in reducing the 
numbers of rats in barns and outhouses, or in driving them from 
dwellings and poultry houses. Many others find theirs abso- 
lutely worthless for these purposes. On a farm where there were 
several cats, the farmer was anxious to know about the best 
rat traps, as the premises were overrun with rats, and they had 
entered the bird cage and eaten the canary. A poultryman said 
that rats swarmed all over the place, although there were so 
many cats there that he could not give the exact number. A 
miller asserted that cats were short-lived in his mill as the rats 
were too much for them. Another had a cat that kept his mill 
nearly free from rats and mice. There are many tales of cats 
beaten, cornered and even killed by full-grown rats, and others 
of cats that are believed to have killed large numbers of rats 
with impunity, all of which goes to show that there is much dif- 
ference in cats. 

In speaking of mice there is more agreement; although some 
cats will not touch mice, the majority apparently catch them. 
This has been the experience of mankind for centuries, but as 
mice are easily caught by any one with energy enough to set 
mouse traps, the principal advantage of the cat as a mouse trap 
is that it is "easy to set." Any intelligent, observing, persist- 
ent person can exterminate mice with traps, except perhaps in 
granaries and like buildings where abundant food is accessible. 
Cats, on the other hand, cannot exterminate them as they some- 
times extirpate rabbits, for the reason that they cannot follow 
mice into their holes, and they cannot, like traps, attract them 
from their holes. Nevertheless, a good mouser often will make 
life so unpleasant for mice, as well as rats, that they will leave a 
dwelling house inhabited by such a cat and go where cats are 
not kept. Such cats are valuable, if they can be confined to the 
premises where rats and mice are troublesome. 



Probably not very many bats are caught by cats as compared 
with the number of birds destroyed, for bats never willingly 
come to the ground. Occasionally a low-flying bat is struck 
down by a cat, or one that has entered a dwelling house is caught, 
but only two observers report to me the destruction of bats by 
the cat. 

Reptiles and Amphibians. 

As the hunting cat strikes practically every quick-moving 
object it can reach and master, toads, frogs, lizards, newts, 
salamanders and snakes, particularly the useful, smaller species, 
are decimated. Many cats destroy the beneficial toad at night, 
when it is most active, while frogs are less often molested. The 
killing of toads by cats is done mainly under the cloak of dark- 
ness, but I have seen cats killing them under the street lights at 
night. Four observers report cats killing toads, and five have 
observed them killing frogs. 

The well-known antipathy of cats for water would seem to 
preclude fishing as a feline accomplishment, but five of my cor- 
respondents report fishing cats. In two cases the identity of 
the fish caught could not be determined. In other cases, trout, 
smelt and eels were caught. ]\Ir. E. Colfax Johnson says that 
when the streams are low in summer, cats get many trout. This 

is corroborated by others. Mr. James 
E. Bemis of Framingham has seen cats 
catching smelt in shallow pools left by 
the receding tide. One cat "flipped" 
out three with her paw and carried 
all three away in her mouth at once. 
Cats may get the fishing habit at the 
seashore or by finding fish dead or 
dying. Stables says that a cat may be easily taught to fish by 
taking her, when young, to- a shallow stream on a clear day when 
minnows are plentiful, and throwing in a few dead ones, meanwhile 
encouraging her to catch them, when she will soon learn to catch the 
living fish.^ Buckland, Darwin and others tell of cats which, with- 
out teaching, learned to go into the water and catch fish. Stables 
asserts that he has "dozens" of well-authenticated anecdotes of 
cats expert at fishing. He avers that he watched one dive into 
a stream and emerge almost immediately with a large trout in its 

> SUblee, Gordon: The Domestic Cat, 1876, p. 01. 


mouth. He says that cats spring off the bank and dive, not only 
in catching fish, but in pursuit of water rats, and that in Scot- 
land cats often attack salmon and destroy large quantities in 
small streams in the spawning season. Millers' cats, and cats 
living near streams, by the sea or by artificial fish ponds are 
the chief offenders.^ 

Crustaceans and Mollushs. 
Dr. A. K. Fisher asserts that he once saw a cat in a fisherman's 
house on the south shore of Long Island, N. Y., that caught 
crabs by wading out into the water for them. Both salt-water 
and fresh-water clams and even oysters are eaten by cats. 

Cats strike down and kill some large insects and a few of the 
smaller species, particularly those of the fields, such as moths, 
May beetles, grasshoppers and crickets. Occasionally a cat makes 
a business of catching and eating grasshoppers, but apparently 
the animal is not naturally insectivorous, as 
many observers agree that puss grows thin on such 
a diet. Prof. H. A. Surface asserts that he ob- 
served a cat pouncing on crickets and grasshoppers 
in the' grass, and that one ate so many May beetles 
or "June bugs" that it threw up "nearly a pint" 
of the "outer shells" of these beetles. Many report that cats 
sicken on an insect diet, but they probably disgorge the hard and 
indigestible parts of insects, as do many birds. Probably the 
insect food of cats ordinarily is an unimportant part of their 
regimen, but insects may serve to fill the stomach when sufficient 
animal food of other kinds is lacking. Following is a compilation 
from many reports: — 

The insect killer. 

Species killed. 

Moths, . 
Beetles, . 
"June bugs," 





Species killed. 

Ants, . 
Water bugs. 
Wasps, . 




1 Stables, Gordon: The Domestio Cat, 1876, pp. 161, 162. 



Economic Value of Weasels. 

The destruction of weasels must count against the cat in so 
far as it removes from the field the most effective mammal enemy 
of rats and mice. Weasels are ravenous, persistent slayers of 
small rodents, and are able to follow them into all their holes 
and hiding places; but unfortunately the food habits of the 
weasel in this country are not well enough known to enable one 
to speak with authority regarding its depredations on insect- 
eating birds and other insectivorous creatures. Occasionally it 
kills fowls and game birds, and it is regarded as vermin by the 
farmer and gamekeeper. Probably cats do not kill many weasels 
and their destruction need not be given much weight. 

Economic Value of Squirrels. 

The killing of squirrels by cats will be regarded by farmers 
generally as a beneficial habit, as squirrels are destructive to 
fruit and grain. Sometimes they destroy eggs and young birds; 
but the cat kills mainly chipmunks, which are least destructive 
to fruit, grain and birds, although many red squirrels and a few 
grays are taken. Cats undoubtedly save the lives of some birds 
by killing squirrels, but, on the other hand, they thus protect 
many insects, probably as many as cats themselves destroy. I 
watched a gray squirrel with a glass and saw it go thoroughly 
over an oak tree about forty feet high, gleaning nearly all the 
insects upon it. Mr. C. A. Lyford reports that he watched a 
red squirrel take all the bark lice from a large section of the 
trunk of a white pine. Mr. W. L. Burnett, Prof. C. P. Gillette 
and Prof. J. M. Aldrich, reporting on examinations of the striped 
ground squirrels or spermophiles, find that they eat quantities 
of injurious insects, such as caterpillars, including cutworms and 
webworms, grasshoppers, locusts and ground beetles. Grass- 
hoppers seem to be preferred to all other food. Cutworms are 
eaten in numbers.^ Mr. Walt F. McMahon informs me that 
squirrels gnaw into the burrows of the leopard moth and extract 
the larvae. ]\Iost insects eaten by squirrels are injurious and 
squirrels kill and eat some mice. 

The food of New England chipmunks is believed to include 
many injurious insects. The destruction of these little animals 
by the cat may be at times an injury and at other times a benefit 

t Burnett, W. L.: Ciroulkn Noa. and 14, issued from the office of the State Entomologist, Fort 
Collins, Col. 


to the farmer. The value of the gray squirrel as a game animal 
is considerable. Therefore, whether the destruction of squirrels 
by cats is beneficial or injurious to mankind will depend largely 
upon the circumstances and the point of view, and need not be 
given great weight; but the cat may be serviceable toward 
checking the undue increase of squirrels where their native 
natural enemies are not numerous, for in such cases squirrels 
become very destructive. 

Economic Value of Hares or Rabbits. 

The destruction of hares (or rabbits, so called) by cats may be 
placed in the same category. Hares often become injurious by 
gnawing the bark of fruit trees, and as they are vegetable feeders 
they are not looked upon with favor by the farmer. But from the 
standpoint of the sportsman they form collectively a valuable 
asset to any land, and their food value is too great in these days, 
when meat is high in price, to make them economical as food for 

Economic Value of Moles. 

Moles often become nuisances in mowing lands and on lawns, 
where they throw up unsightly ridges and mounds; also in 
gardens they disturb the roots of plants by their digging; but 
careful investigation shows that they are very rarely vegetable 
feeders, and that the destruction of plants sometimes attributed 
to them by farmers is caused not by moles but by mice, which 
sometimes use their burrows. Every subterranean mole gallery 
forms a trap into which worms and grubs continually tumble, 
and the mole, moving rapidly through its tunnel at all hours of 
the day and night, gathers them in. It is one of the chief enemies 
of the white grub of the May beetle; also of wireworms, the 
progeny of snap beetles, both of which are destructive to the 
roots of grass and cultivated plants, and are difficult to control. 
The reason that mole burrows often follow rows of vegetables 
is that the mole is seeking grubs at the plant roots. The moles 
killed by cats, had they been allowed to live, would have eaten 
an enormous number of injurious insects, — far more than cats 
would ever kill. 

Economic Value of Shrews and Bats. 

The killing of many shrews by cats forms one of the blackest 
pages of the record, for there are few creatures so harmless and 
so beneficial as the shrew, from the standpoint of the agricul- 
turist. Shrews are tremendous gluttons and feed very largely 


on insect life. Apparently they never touch the products of 
man's labor. The species most commonly killed by cats in Mas- 
sachusetts is the short-tailed shrew, Blarina brevicauda. This 
little mammal probably is mistaken for a small mole by most 
people, as it somewhat resembles the common mole. 

iNIr. John Norden believes that this gluttonous animal eats 
about twice or three times its own weight in twenty-four hours, ^ 
but probably this is exceptional. Nevertheless, the shrew re- 
quires an amount of food equal to nearly its own weight daily, 
and cannot live long without food. It destroys enormous quan- 
tities of worms and insects, and kills many field mice and other 
mice larger than itself. Shrews may kill more field mice annually 
than cats destroy. Mr. H. L. Babcock, who has studied the 
shrew, considers it of great economic value.^ In killing these 
shrews, therefore, the cat protects quantities of insects and mice 
which these shrews and their numerous progeny might otherwise 

New England bats are remarkably useful creatures, as they 
subsist on mosquitoes and other nocturnal insects which often 
escape the birds by day, and thus they fill a gap which can per- 
haps be filled by no other creature. Apparently they have no 
harmful habits, and their destruction must be set down as against 
the cat. 

Economic Value of Amphibians and Reptiles. 

The smaller snakes and the toads, frogs, salamanders, newts 
and lizards which are destroyed by cats all have been proved to 
be practically harmless and very beneficial as destroyers of insects. 

The toad is an example of the beneficial character of the 
amphibians. Kirkland finds that the food of the common toad 
is practically all of an animal nature. Ants form 19 per cent; 
cutworms, 16 per cent; tent caterpillars and other injurious 
leaf-eating caterpillars, 12 per cent; June beetles, potato beetles, 
snap beetles, weevils and allied beetles make up 18 per cent; 
snails, thousand-legged worms, sowbugs and other injurious 
forms compose 14 per cent; supposedly beneficial species, such 
as ground beetles, spiders and carrion beetles, make up 11 per 
cent, and there is 2 per cent of vegetable and mineral matter, 
probably taken incidentally with the animal aliment. The food 
of the toad, therefore, appears to consist mainly of 81 per cent 
of injurious species, against 11 per cent beneficial ones. The 
remainder is unidentified animal [insect?] food. 

> Canadian SporUman and Naturalist, Vol. Ill, 1883. 

* Baboock, H. L.: The Food Habits of the Short-tailed Shrew, Science, new seriea, Vol. XL, No. 
1032, pp. 62(y-630. 


The capacity of the toad is enormous. A single stomach con- 
tained 77 myriapods or thousand-legged worms; another, 37 
tent caterpillars; a third, 65 caterpillars of the gypsy moth; 
and a fourth, 55 army worms. Individual toads have been seen 
to eat as follows: No. 1, 30 full-grown celery caterpillars; No. 
2, 86 house flies; No. 3, 90 rose bugs.^ 

The toad is a highly beneficial animal and should be protected 
by law . and public sentiment. Every toad killed by a cat is 
much more useful as an insect destroyer than the cat which kills 
it. When we consider that practically all our frogs, lizards, sala- 
manders and little snakes are insectivorous and harmless, and difi'er 
from the toad mainly in the degree of their utility and in the 
fact that some feed by day rather than by night, we can see that 
the cat which kills such harmless, useful creatures is likely to 
work much injury to the agriculturist. 

For an investigation of the food of the amphibians, see the 
first report on the economic features of the amphibians of Penn- 
sylvania, by H. A. Surface (Bi-monthly Zoological Bulletin of 
the Division of Zoology of the Pennsylvania Department of 
Agriculture, Vol. Ill, Nos. 3 and 4, May-July, 1913). 

Economic Value of Birds. 

The killing of birds is the most serious item in the account 
against cats, except possibly their agency in the dissemination 
of disease. All birds smaller than geese, including domestic fowls 
and excepting birds of prey, are in danger of being attacked and 
killed by cats, which habitually kill birds up to the size of a 
pigeon. The birds destroyed by farm cats and house cats are 
mainly of the species that are most common and useful about 
gardens, orchards and fields, while vagabond cats and woods cats 
destroy the most valuable of the woodland birds and game birds. 
The list includes all that nest and live upon or near the ground, 
all that feed there, and most of those that nest and feed in trees, 
as they have to come to the ground to drink and bathe. The 
following list of 107 species of birds killed by cats is compiled 
from the papers of correspondents, and while it does not include 
all the species attacked in Massachusetts, it includes most of the 
genera: — 

> Kirkland, A. H.: The Garden Toad, Massachusetts State Board'of Agriculture, Nature Leaflet 
No. 28, fourth edition, December, 1913. 


Species of Wild Birds reported killed by Cats. 

Nahb or Bird. 




Namb of Bird. 










Yellow-throated vireo, 


"ThruBh," .... 


Warbling vireo, . 


Hermit thruah, 


Red-eyed vireo, . 


01iv»-backed thrush, . 


Shrike, . . . .• 




Cedar waxwing, . 


Wood thruah, 


Tree swallow, 


Ruby-crowned kinglet, 


Barn swallow. 


Golden-crowned kinglet. 


Cliff swallow. 




Purple martin. 


White-breasted nuthatch. 


Scarlet tanager, . 


Brown creeper, 


Indigo bunting, . 


Long-billed marsh wren. 


Roae-breasted grosbeak, 





House wren, . 



Carolina wren. 


Fox sparrow. 


Brown thrasher. 


Lincoln's sparrow, 




Song sparrow. 




Slate-colored junco, 


"W'arblers," . 


Field sparrow. 




Chipping sparrow. 


Canadian warbler. 




Wilson's warbler, . 


Tree sparrow. 


Yellow-breasted chat, . 


White-throated sparrow, 


Northern yellow-throat. 


Seaside sparrow, . 


Kentucky warbler. 


Henalow's sparrow. 


Water thruBb, 


Grasshopper sparrow, . 




Savannah sparrow. 


Black-throated green warblei 



Vesper sparrow, . 


Blackburnian warbler, . 


Snow bunting. 


Blackpoll warbler, 


Goldfinch, . 


Chestnut-sided warbler, 


White-winged crossbill. 


Magnolia warbler, . 


Purple finch. 


Myrtle warbler, 


English aparrow, . 


Yellow warbler. 


Pine groabeak. 


Nashville warbler. 




Black and white warbler, 


Blackbird, . 



Species of Wild Birds reported killed by Cats — Concluded. 

Naub op Bird. 

Baltimore oriole, . 

Meadowlark, . 

Red-winged blackbird, 




Blue Jay. 


Least flycatcher, . 

Wood pewee, . 

Phoebe, . 


Ruby-throated hummingbird 

Chimney swift, 

Nighthawk, . 


Northern flicker, . 


Downy woodpecker. 

Cuckoo, . 









Name or Bird. 

Screech owl, 

Saw- whet owl. 

Mourning dove. 

Heath hen, . 

Ruffed grouse. 

Ring-necked pheasant. 

Golden pheasant, 

Hungarian partridge, . 


Spotted sandpiper. 




Yellow rail, 


Virginia rail, 


Black-crowned night heron, 

Leach's petrel, 






This list would seem to indicate that more robins than any 
other species are killed by cats. In the cities, where the so-called 
"English" sparrow is more plentiful, it suffers considerably, though 
not so much as the robin, for it can take better care of itself, 
having lived with the cat for many centuries. Therefore, against 
272 observers reporting the robin, we have only 72 noting the 
English sparrow, but there are 29 reporting sparrows without 
noting the species, some of which probably were "English." If the 
ravages of the cat were confined to the robin and the introduced 
sparrow they might be borne, as the sparrow, like the cat, is a 
foreign disturber, and the robin, like the sparrow, is so fecund 
that when protected it makes good its losses. But when such 
useful birds as the native bluebirds, chickadees, cuckoos, spar- 
rows, swallows, thrushes, titmice, wrens, warblers, woodpeckers 
and meadowlarks are included in the great toll that the cat takes 
from bird life, the matter becomes really serious. 


It is a well-known fact that since the settlement of the United 
States, insect pests and the injury done by them have increased 
constantly. It is well known also that birds destroy enormous 
numbers of insects, and that many species of birds have been 
reduced greatly in numbers, while some have been exterminated. 
Both the destruction of birds and the increase of insect pests 
have been greatest within the last century. This is more than a 
mere coincidence. Many smaller useful species probably in- 
creased when the forests were cleared from the Atlantic coastal 
plain, farms established and fruit trees planted, but their increase 
has not kept pace with the multiplication of insect pests, on 
which they feed, and the domestic cat has been one of the chief 
factors in keeping down their numbers.^ As the population 
increases, cats increase. Birds are not nearly so plentiful in 
Massachusetts to-day as they are in some western States, and 
their numbers compare very unfavorably with those in older 
countries, like England and Germany, where stray cats are kept 
more closely in check. 

Cats and Insects increase. 

Several instances have been reported of local increase of insect 
pests as a direct result of the destruction of birds by cats. Mr. 
T. Bennett of Chicago writes that birds were abundant and his 
garden produced well, but new neighbors came in with cats, 
six of which now visit the garden regularly. Last summer, he 
says, half the birds were killed. This year hardly one is left, and 
many spring migrants have disappeared. He never knew before 
that there could be so many destructive insects in a square foot. 
"Bugs and worms" had to be fought on everything. Flowers 
and vegetables were poor and nearly a failure.^ 

Injury by Insect Pests. 

Insect pests introduced from foreign ceuritries added to native 
pests have become so destructive that, according to our best 
sources of information, the loss to agriculture and forestry from 
insect ravages in the United States exceeds a billion dollars 

• The Bureau of Biological Survey of the United States Department of Agriculture has taken a 
preliminary bird census in the northeastern States, including those north of North Carolina and east 
of ICansos, and finds that farm land average* but one pair of birds to the acre. Professor Cooke, in 
reporting on this census, opines that the present bird population is "much less than it ought to be 
and much less than it would be if birds wore given proper protection and encouragement." and he 
cites farms where the birds average 3 pairs to the acre, one ha\-ing 4 pairs to the acre, and one section 
of 23 acres, thickly populated, where the birds average nearly 7 pairs to the acre. Where the 
birds were most carefully protected there were 13 pairs of birds nesting on half an acre. It is note- 
worthy that the numbers of domestic cats on this area are "below the average." Cooke, Wells W.: 
Bull. 187, U. S. Dept. of Agriculture, 1915, pp. 6-9. 

» Bird-Lore. Vol. 12, March-April. 1910. pp. 79. 80. 


annually. According to a conservative estimate made by Dr. 
H. T. Fernald of the Massachusetts Agricultural College, in 
1901, insects were then costing the people of Massachusetts 
$4,400,000 annually. Using the same basis for estimation, we 
find that the annual loss now (1915) would reach nearly twice 
that amount, and it may exceed even that sum, as the expense 
of the fight against insects has increased in greater propor- 
tion than have the insects themselves. In 1890 Massachusetts 
appropriated $25,000 for the fight against the gypsy moth. 
Since then other foreign pests have appeared, including the brown- 
tail and leopard moths, the elm-leaf beetle and the San Jose 
scale, so that the money actually expended in one year by State 
and national governments, towns and cities, associations, etc., 
for the suppression of these insects in Massachusetts has reached 
the tremendous sum of $750,000 in one year (1913). Therefore 
it seems not improbable that all the insect pests of Massachu- 
setts cost the people $9,000,000 in 1913. Dr. Fernald writes 
that he would not be surprised if the cost should prove to be at 
least as much as that. It is now well known that birds eat 
quantities of many of the most destructive insect pests, including 
the gypsy moth, the brown-tail moth, the elm-leaf beetle and the 
leopard moth. The last, which has destroyed many highly valued 
fruit and shade trees in Boston, Cambridge and other cities, 
makes no progress and does no appreciable damage in rural 
districts, where native birds are plentiful. 

About fifty species of birds feed on the gypsy moth and the 
brown-tail moth. These birds must be protected and increased 
if possible. Instances have been recorded where flocks of cedar 
waxwings have freed many elms from the leaf beetle. Every bird 
that is useful in destroying all these insects is found on the list 
of the cats' victims. 

Insect Pests eaten by Birds. 

Following is a list of some of the most destructive insect pests 
that are eaten in great numbers by some birds that the cat com- 
monly kills. 



Plants injured or destroyed 
by it. 

Birda eatinc it. 

Gypsy moth and brown-tail 

Codling moth. 

Tent caterpillar, . 

Forest tent caterpillar, 

Web worms, . 

Army worms. 

Cutworms, . 

Cankerworms and other geo- 

metrid caterpillars. 
Cabbage worm. 

Beet worm 

Colorado potato beetle. 

Elm-leaf beetle, . 

May beetles and their young, 

the white grub. 
Rose beetle, 

Cucumber beetle. 

Weevils, .... 

Click beetles and nireworms, 
Plant lice. 
Bark lice. 
Scale insects, 
Grasshoppers and locusts, 

Fruit, shade and forest trees, 

Parent of the apple worm which 

injures the fruit. 
An apple and cherry pest, . 

Fruit, shade and forest trees. 

Fruit, shade and forest trees, 

Grass, corn, etc.. 

Nearly all crops. 

Injure fruit and other trees. 
Cabbages, .... 

Destroys the potato and 

Kills elms 

Grass and garden plants, . 
Roses and other plants. 

Destroys cucumber and squash 

Fruit, clover, grain, peas, beans, 


Roots of many garden plants. 
Plant life generally, . 
Fruit and other trees. 
Fruit and other trees. 
Grass, grain and other crops. 
Grass, grain, fruit, etc., 

Cuckoos, robin, bluebird, jay, 
oriole, vireoe and many others. 

Woodpeckers, chickadee and 

Cuckoos, jay, chickadee and 
many others. 

Cuckoos, warblers, waxwing, ori- 
ole and many others. 

Cuckoos, jay, chickadee and 
many others. 

Robin, sparrows, bluebird, black- 
birds and many others. 

Robin, catbird, bluebird, black- 
birds, sparrows and many 

Nearly all birds of orchard or 

Song sparrow, chipping sparrow, 

Chipping sparrow. 

Bobwhite, yellow-billed cuckoo, 

rose-breasted grosbeak. 
Cedar waxwing, weoe, etc. 

Robin, blackbird, thrasher, cat- 
bird, towhee and others. 
Wood thrush, martin and others. 

Oriole, martin, phoebe, night- 
hawk, etc: 

E^ten by very many birds, blue- 
bird, oriole, downy woodpecker, 

Robin, sparrows, oriole, phoebe 
and many others. 

Warblers, chickadee, sptarrowa, 

» thrushes and others. 

Nuthatches, chickadee, creep>er8. 

Chickadee, grosbeak, etc. 
Practically all birds. 
Many ground birds. 

This list might be extended almost indefinitely space permit- 
ting, but it is not enough that birds eat these insects; they must 
destroy large quantities of them or their services in checking the 
swarms of insect life never will be appreciable. 

Number of Insects eaten by Birds. 

Often in examining the contents of birds' stomachs, remains 
of so many insects are found in them that the number seems so 
incredible as to indicate that these fragments must have re- 
mained in the stomach for days; but experiments have shown 
that food passes the entire digestive tract of a small bird in from 
twenty minutes to an hour and a half, depending on the species 
and the kind of food, and that they require several or many full 
meals daily to keep up their high temperature, rapid circulation, 
quick respiration, rapid digestion and unusual muscular activity. 
Experiments have demonstrated, also, that many birds, partic- 



Fig. 1. — A Common Victim of the Cat. 

The cat kills the chickadee, one of our most useful birds. Note the caterpillar in its bill. 

(Original photograph.) 

Fig. 2. — Another of the Cat's Victims. 

A cat killed nine tree swallows in one day. This bird's throat is packed with insects and 

the wings of a cutworm moth protrude from its mouth. (Original photograph.) 


Fio. 1. — The Cat kills the Bllkbikd o.n its Nest. 

Female bluebird with weevil. Weevils destroy (jrain, fruit and vegetables. The bluebird 

is very useful. (Original photograph.) 
















1 lu. 2. — Every Uli-kiiiud a Help to the Farmer. 
Male bluebird with grasshopper. Many bluebirds arc killed yearly by cats. (Original 



ularly the young, consume more than their own weight of insect 
food daily, and that it is not unusual for a pair of birds and their 
young to dispose of from 300 to 1,000 insects a day. If they 
feed on minute or newly hatched insects, the number may be 
far greater. Dr. Brewer's calculation that a family of jays will 
consume a million caterpillars in a season may be an exaggera- 
tion, but it shows what an impression the study of this bird's 
food habits left on his mind. I have given much attention to 
this subject and have written more fully on it elsewhere.^ 

Various estimates regarding the number of insects killed by 
birds in different States have been made. Reed calculates that 
the birds of Massachusetts destroy 21,000 bushels of insects 
daily from May to September.^ A Nebraska naturalist has 
estimated that the birds of that State eat 170 carloads of insects 
per day, and it has been calculated that the birds of New York 
destroy more than 3,000,000 bushels of noxious insects each 
season. These figures may be wide of the actual numbers but 
they are based on known facts. 

Birds save Trees and Crops from Destruction. 

I have noted many instances where birds have saved trees 
and crops from destruction by insects, and many where the de- 
struction of birds has been followed by a great increase of insect 
pests. ^ In 1894, a year of insect abundance, I succeeded in pro- 
tecting an orchard in Medford, by attracting birds, thereby 
securing the only full apple crop in town that year, while my 
nearest neighbor got a partial crop as a result of my experiment.* 
Baron Hans von Berlepsch kept his forest in fine condition by 
attracting and protecting birds on his large estate Seebach, in 
Angensalza, Thuringia, Ger., at a time when all the other trees of 
the countryside were stripped bare by caterpillars. The bene- 
ficial effect produced by the birds extended for a quarter of a 
mile beyond his boundaries. The baron does not tolerate a cat 
outside the buildings.^ 

Bobwhites have been more numerous on my place this summer 
(1915) than for many years. They have frequented the potato 
patch, and for the first time in years it has not been necessary 
to spray for potato beetles. I have recently received the crop 

1 Useful Birds and their Protection, published by Massachusetts State Board of Agriculture, 1907, 
pp. 41-63, 153, 154, 162. 

• Reed, Chester A.: Introduction to the Bird Guide, 1905. 

• Useful Birds and their Protection, published by the Massachusetts State Board of Agriculture, 
pp. 63, 76. 

• Birds as Protectors of Orchards, annual report of the Massachusetts State Board of Agriculture, 
1895, pp. 347-362. 

• Heisemann, Martin: How to attract and protect Wild Birds, 1912, pp. 50, 51. 


of one of these birds, sent me by Mr. Chas. P. Curtis of Boston. 
The bird was killed by a mowing machine in the field; but the 
crop contained 48 potato beetles and 250 weed seeds. Mr. 
James Henry Rice of Summerville, S. C, writes that by protect- 
ing bobwhites, and encouraging them to breed in and about his 
potato fields, he has secured practical immunity from the potato 
beetle. These examples are quite enough to show that birds in 
sufiicient numbers may become important checks on injurious 
insects. It is difficult to compute the value of birds to agri- 
culture, but Mr. Wm. R. Gates, State fish, game and forestry 
warden of Michigan, has placed the value of insectivorous and 
seed-eating birds of that State at $10,000,000 per year, and 
doubts if an equivalent could be secured in human labor for 
twice that amount.^ 

If we assume that a bird, during its normal lifetime, eats but 
50,000 insects, each cat that kills 50 birds in a year saves an 
enormous host of insects, the number varying in each case with 
the potential length of life of the bird had it not been killed by 
the cat. A cat that kills only 10 birds annually protects a swarm 
of insects. It is fortunate that some few of the insects commonly 
eaten by birds feed on injurious insects, otherwise the destruc- 
tion of birds by cats would be even more serious. 

Inutility of the Cat. 

No statement of the food of the cat would be complete with- 
out reference to an analysis of the stomach contents of a few 
hundred stray or feral cats taken in the open country. I have 
made no attempt to obtain such a collection for the obvious 
reason that a price offered for such stomachs might result in the 
destruction of many pet cats. The known facts, however, are 
sufficient to warrant the conclusion that the domestic cat, stray- 
ing in the fields and woods, whether a pet, a vagabond or a wild, 
free dweller in the open, is a menace to wild life and a detri- 
ment to the general welfare. Doubtless, in its native wilderness 
this little feline was an essential part of the faunal life of the 
continent. It found abundant food, either in the forest, the 
jungle or in the open veldt, fulfilled its part in holding in check 
the swarming forms of smaller animal life, and its own carcass 
furnished food for the larger canines and felines that preyed 
upon it. When introduced into the New England fields, it 
became at once a disturbing foreign force, increasing beyond rea- 
sonable bounds, — a fruitful source of trouble. As most of its 

I Biennial Report, Game, Fiah and Forestry Department of Michigan, for 1013-14, p. 27. 


Contents of a Bodwhite's Crop. 

Forty-eight potato beetles and about two hundred and fifty weed seeds. This does 

not ineUide the contents of tlie stomach. (Original photograph.) 


Devices for i'hotectino Bihds, their Nests and Youno. 

UpiM-T linuros sliow prntortors for hirds' nests on tro<?, polo, and Rroiind. I-owcr li>;iirc', 

catprrmf fcnrc topped liy a li.sli net. Tliis i« a suoceas. (Sec paKe.s HN and '.iM.) 


enemies have become practically extinct in the greater part of 
New England, its increase is bounded only by the limit of its 
food supply and the activity of hunters and trappers, who have 
no pecuniary incentive to destroy it, as its fur is of trifling value. 
While the cat is not indispensable in buildings, and while 
mice and rats may be held in check and locally exterminated 
without a cat, an efficient mouser and ratter will often do more 
to keep down the numbers of rats and mice than would the 
ordinary miller, grocer, farmer or householder if he had no cat. 
Unquestionably, then, selected cats are useful in the dwellings 
and granaries of man, as a check to the increase of small rodents, 
but when allowed to roam out of doors the species becomes a 
serious detriment to the agriculturist. Even if we take no ac- 
count of the birds that it destroys, the balance would weigh 
against it, and when the results of its bird-killing habits are 
examined, it becomes a decided evil. 


Both before and since cats were first tamed other animals 
have been utilized to destroy rats and mice. Some have been 
tamed and domesticated, others have been kept in confinement 
except when in use, and still others have been merely tolerated. 
Snakes have been tolerated or utilized in buildings and dwellings 
as ratcatchers from time immemorial. The owl, weasel, stone 
marten, polecat, ferret, mongoose, skunk and dog have been 
made use of as ratcatchers. Weasels, as hereinbefore stated, are 
admitted to be far superior to cats, as they can follow both rats 
and mice into their holes, but, like the ferret, they must be kept 
in confinement or under control, It is said that rats and mice 
will not enter a building in which a weasel is kept, and that the 
coming of a weasel to a building will drive out all rodents that 
escape it. The ancients are believed to have used weasels and 
stone martens to rid buildings of rats, controlling them when at 
work by means of long chains, which allowed them to run into 
rat holes, but the most successful animal rat hunters of the 
present day are well-trained dogs and ferrets working together. 
The muzzled ferret drives out the rats and the dog catches them. 
Ferrets and dogs, however, must be trained, fed and accustomed 
to work together, and must be attended and assisted by their 
master. No dogs are better for this purpose than certain small 
terriers, particularly the fox terrier. Such dogs, working with 
ferrets and under the direction of their master, will kill enor- 
mous numbers of rats, and will practically exterminate them from 

■ 82 

any premises in a short time. Airedales can be trained to kill 
both cats and rats. Cats are preferred, however, by most people, 
particularly by the poor, because they may be had for the asking, 
or without asking, cost little or nothing to keep, care for them- 
selves, hunt without aid, usually will not desert their home when 
given liberty, and make pretty and pleasing pets. Personally I 
prefer ratproofing and traps, but there are conditions under which 
cats or dogs and ferrets may be useful. 


It has been regarded as a possibility that the germs of certain 
diseases may be carried in the mail and that the recipients of 
such mail may be infected. How much greater might be the 
chances of infection from the household pet going from the sick 
room to other rooms or dwellings I 

]\Jany writers on the cat include a long list of diseases to which 
the animal is subject, some of which are known to be deadly and 
contagious. Therefore, the questionnaire sent out from the office 
of the iMassachusetts State Board of Agriculture contained the 
following question: — 

Do you know of cases of contagious diseases carried to human beings by 

There were 222 negative replies and the rather surprising 
number of 67 aflBrmatives, reporting 17 diseases apparently 
transmitted by cats. The number of cases reported is much 
larger than this, as several correspondents noted more than one 
case. A majority of the physicians replying cited cases of in- 
fectious diseases transmitted by cats. This led to an investiga- 
tion which shows that the cat is a rather neglected factor in 
sanitary science. Some physicians insist that cats shall be ban- 
ished from the sick room or strictly quarantined, but their pres- 
ence there is not generally considered dangerous. 

Some sixty pages of evidence regarding the transmission of 
infection from cats to man was collected, mostly from medical 
sources. This to the layman looked convincing, but as much of 
it was of the character denominated by the courts as circum- 
stantial, it was first somewhat condensed and then submitted 
to an authority on preventive medicine, who at once disposed of 
some of it as untrustworthy and regarded much of it as based 
on speculation, and as unconvincing to the careful scientific 


It is undeniable that the cat may be affected by certain dis- 
eases and that it may transmit some infections, such as scarlet 
fever or smallpox, to man. But in the nature of the case much 
of the evidence is not such as would convince the bacteriologist, 
and probably some recent writers have inadvertently exagger- 
ated in the popular prints the danger of infection from the cat. 

Nevertheless, it will be conceded that as a carrier of disease, 
especially to children., no animal has greater opportunities. Any 
domesticated animal may act as a distributor of disease. Even 
fowls and pigeons have been accused of the offense; but the 
relations of the cat with mankind and with other domesticated 
animals and rodent pests are such as to suggest increased 
chances of spreading infection. It exceeds all other domesti- 
cated animals in numbers. It is less under control than any 
other. It is more generally allowed to enter sick rooms, sleeping 
apartments, kitchens, living rooms and places where food is 
kept, and is more likely to come in contact with milk. Its small 
size gives it an opportunity to creep into filthy places where 
most dogs cannot enter. Its habits of pawing over garbage and 
manure, and of rolling in dirt and clawing or pawing it, seem to 
suggest unpleasant possibilities, particularly as it comes com- 
monly into close contact with the mouths and nostrils of chil- 
dren. The licking of its fur, by which infectious matter — pecul- 
iar to its own diseases — may be smeared over its whole body, may 
be weighed also in considering the likelihood of its spreading disease. 

Dr. Caroline A. Osborne was the first to make a special effort 
to call public attention to the possible danger of infection by 
means of the cat, in a paper entitled "The Cat, A Neglected 
Factor in Sanitary Science."^ This was followed by another 
paper entitled "The Cat and the Transmission of Disease," pub- 
lished in the "Chicago Medical Recorder" in May, 1912. In 
these papers Dr. Osborne maintains that science demonstrates 
that forms of animal life living with man may become infected 
with human disease organisms, and may transmit those organ- 
isms to man as well as to each other. The cat is the pet of small 
children, is handled, hugged and kissed by them, often becomes 
the playmate of a sick child, and is allowed to wander into the 
street where it meets other cats, or into other houses where it is 
fondled by other children. 

Cohen says that domestic animals, especially house pets, and 
homeless cats and dogs probably are responsible for many cases 
in local quarantine.^ 

> Pedagogical Seminary, Vol. 14, No. 4, December, 1907, pp. 439-459. 

* Cohen, Solomon Solis, editor: System of Physiological Therapeutics, Vol. 5, 1903, pp. 144, 340. 


An editorial in the "New York Medical Record" for June, 
1906, says: — 

No one who has witnessed the enthusiasm with which children caress 
their pets can fail to realize the magnificent opportunity for infection offered 
in this. The doctor must in the interest of public health, see to it that no 
cat is allowed to enter a sick room. 

The evidence at hand shows that cats have been accused or 
suspected of transmitting more than a score of infections to man 
or domestic animals. The diseases named range from scarlet 
fever, smallpox and bubonic plague to whooping cough, mumps 
and foot-and-mouth disease. Science already has acquitted the 
cat in some cases, and future investigation may either confirm 
or deny other allegations. There are some infections, however, 
regarding which the evidence seems conclusive. 

Parasitic Diseases. 

Cats are notoriously subject to a parasitic skin disease com- 
monly known as ringworm, which is not uncommonly communi- 
cated to persons. Dr. James C. White of Boston asserts that 
he has known of many cases of ringworm carried to persons by 
cats. Dr. John B. May refers to an epidemic of ringworm in 
Waban, caused by a cat. Many others cases might be cited. 

Cats may have external and internal parasites, some of which 
are or may be transmissible to man, of which space will not 
allow the enumeration here. Sand fleas, cat fleas, dog fleas, 
rat fleas or human fleas may be carried by cats. Those who care 
to know more of the internal and external parasites which cats 
may disseminate are referred to Dr. Osborne's papers herein- 
before cited, and the bibliography appended thereto. 

Infections from Cats' Claws and Teeth. 

Many painful and sometimes dangerous or even fatal inflictions 
are recorded as arising from the teeth or claws of cats, which 
they use freely against their human friends or enemies on the 
least provocation. 

Tetanus or Lockj.\w. 

There is no more fatal or awful disease than this. Unless 
tetanus antitoxin is injected early there is practically no hope 
for recovery. Many cats live about barns and stables. In bury- 
ing their own excreta their claws often come in contact with 
horse manure as well as dirt, both of which may be infected 


with the germs of tetanus, which often swarm in the former, but 
only one case of lockjaw from a cat scratch has been reported to 

Rabies or Hydrophobia. 

All authorities agree with Pasteur that the cat is a medium 
through which this disease increases in virulence for mankind. 
The bite of a mad cat, therefore, is even more dangerous than 
that of a mad dog. 

Rabies has been noted in Germany since 1809 among cats, 
and the evidence seems to indicate that it was acquired from 
foxes. A fox attacking poultry had an encounter with a cat 
which, being bitten, later bit a servant girl who died of hydro- 
phobia. In those days no remedy was known and fatalities were 
numerous. The disease became epidemic among both wild and 
tame cats. It spread widely, raging until 1827, and extending 
to Norway, Denmark, England and elsewhere, including among 
its victims dogs and wolves.^ Many people were bitten. 

In recent times the infection has been considered rare among 
cats, but public attention has been called to this danger by the 
recent death of little Grace Polhemus, of 372 Monroe Street, 
Brooklyn, N. Y., which occurred in spite of the Pasteur treat- 
ment. In this case the evidence of the cause and nature of the 
infection and death of the child are conclusive. Thirteen years 
old and in perfect health, she was playing in the front yard of 
her home when she stooped to pet a stray cat, which bit her on 
the right wrist. Letters from Dr. Albert Thunig, Brooklyn (who 
was associated with Dr. Vosseler of Brooklyn in the care of the 
case), and Dr. F. T. Fielder, assistant director in the vaccine 
laboratory of the health department of New York City, contain 
the following evidence: — 

(1) The child was bitten by a stray cat, Oct. 18, 1913, and 
treated by a physician (wound sterilized with iodine) within a 
few minutes. (2) The cat was captured, placed in charge of the 
health department, its brain examined after death at the re- 
search laboratory, and negri bodies found, proving that it had 
rabies. (3) The Pasteur treatment supplied by the department 
of health was administered to the patient by a physician for 
twenty-one days. (4) There was no other bite or infection be- 
tween this treatment and the time of the development of the 
disease. (5) Characteristic symptoms of rabies began to appear 
November 7, and as the symptoms progressed, it was evidently 
a "classical, clinical" case of rabies. Death occurred November 

> Fleming, George: Animal Plagues: their History, Nature and Prevention, Vol. 2, 1882, pp. 15, 16, 
7i-77, 80, 8»-91, 95, 99. 


13. (6) The brain of the patient was examined at the research 
laboratory, department of health, and negri bodies were found. 
(7) Guinea pigs inoculated with cultures from this brain con- 
tracted rabies two weeks after inoculation, thus confirming the 
diagnosis of rabies as the cause of the girl's death. 

Dr. Fielder volunteers the information that the research labora- 
tory of the health department examines a considerable number 
of cat brains yearly, as many people are bitten each year, and 
that in 1913, 14 out of 46 cats examined proved to be rabid. 
About 50 people in New York are obliged to take the Pasteur 
treatment each year "because of bites by rabid cats, or by stray 
cats possibly rabid which escape and so cannot be examined." 

Dr. John B. Huber asserts that in the last six months of 1914, 
42 persons bitten by cats received Pasteur treatment. The cats 
that bit 33 of these persons were examined in the New York 
City laboratory and proved to be rabid. Mr. Harold K. Decker 
of West New Brighton, N. Y., writes that a mad cat bit several 
people in that neighborhood in 1914; it bit a dog which also 
became mad and bit other dogs and cats. The people bitten 
were saved by the Pasteur treatment. 

Rabies among cats has a long history. Fleming, an authority 
on this infection, says that dogs and cats "hold first place in the 
scale of susceptibility."^ He reports or cites the loss of a large 
number of human lives by hydrophobia induced by the bites 
of rabid cats.'^ 

Septicemia or "Blood Poisoning." 

The following list shows a number of more or less serious 
injuries resulting from the bites and scratches o^ cats, as reported 
by my correspondents: — 


Number re- 
porting it. 

Serious bites (1 fatal), 
Serious scratches, .... 
Blood poisoning from bites. 
Blood poisoning from scratches, 


Damage to eyes, .... 

Loss of eye, 

Corneal and other ulcerations of eyes. 

> Fleming, George: Rabies and Hydrophobia, 1872, p. 02. 
« Ibid., pp. 47, 54, 55, 60. 64, 147. 246. 

* One caused loss of use of arm for two months; another caused loss of a part of one hand. 

* One cmuaed loss of two fingers; one caused death of infant. 


Perhaps there is no conchisive evidence in any of these cases 
that infection of septicaemia came directly from the teeth or 
claws of the cat, as the wounds caused by the cat might have 
become infected from some other source after they were in- 
flicted, and similar results might arise from the scratch of a nail 
or a piece of tin, but the claws or teeth may have been the 
medium of infection, and such cases are not very rare. 

A perusal of the above should cause parents to consider 
whether cats or kittens are likely to be safe playmates for their 
children, or whether harmless creatures like rabbits are not 

As a precaution against possible infection tramp cats should be 
eliminated, sick ones quarantined and all cats should be kept 
awa\' from the common sources of infection, especially from all 
people ill with transmissible diseases. 

Boards of health of towns and cities cannot ignore the cat as 
a possible agent in carrying disease infection. Medical men are 
now banishing cats from hospitals and other institutions. The 
following letter from the commandant of the naval training sta- 
tion at Newport, R. I., explains itself: — 

Repljnng to your letter of July 23, inquiring relative to the destruction of 
cats at this station, you are informed that all stray cats found on this station 
were a short time ago disposed of. Every effort is made here to prevent 
possible contagion to 2,000 young men, and this is one of the preventive 

Verj' truly yoiu-s, 

Roger Wells, 
Captain, U. S. Navy, Commanding. 


If ownerless cats were eliminated and owned cats confined 
like other domestic animals, or limited in their movements to 
buildings or enclosures of their owners, the cat evil would be 
minimized. Even if the cat could be brought to obey a master 
and so be kept under control, like the dog, the trouble would 
not be so acute. The cat then could be utilized more in killing 
rats and mice and prevented from destroying birds; but the 
moment the average cat in the country gets away from the house 
it becomes practically a wild animal and beyond control, except 
by means of a shotgun or rifle. A well-trained dog will come at 
call, but most cats are not trained to obey any call, except that 
of an empty stomach. 

As the cat is not a necessity, many people do not keep one. 
I have not kept a cat in my house for years. Whenever rats or 


mice get in we catch them immediately. I never have had a rat 
or a mouse in my summer camp, where no cats are allowed, but 
in the farmhouse near by, where two cats are kept, rats come 
and go, and in the barn and outbuildings, which the cats fre- 
quent, rats always exist in numbers, although rarely seen. I 
never use poison in my buildings. Ratproofing and traps prop- 
erly used will free any dwelling house of rats and mice. Readers 
who do not know how are referred to Economic Biology Bulletin 
No. 1, "Rats and Rat Riddance," which may be procured by 
applying to the secretary of the Massachusetts State Board of 
Agriculture, Room 136, State House, Boston. Some catless 
people have little success with traps and are overrun with rats 
and mice. This happens because they do not know how to 
handle the rat problem, or have not time, skill, industry or per- 
sistence enough to outwit the rats. Others who have no cats have 
less trouble with rats than their neighbors who keep many cats. 

Inquiry among correspondents who keep no cats elicited the 
reasons why they do without them, which fall under the follow- 
ing heads: (1) danger to children from bites, scratches and dis- 
ease; (2) cats kill birds; (3) cats kill chickens; (4) antipathy for 
cats; (5) cats do more harm than good; (6) cats are unclean and 
make too much trouble. 

Those who do not keep cats have not solved the cat problem, 
however, as many of them complain that their premises are 
overrun by neighbors' cats or stray cats, and that birds and 
chickens are killed by them. Nine complain of the destruction 
of young trees by cats' claws, 39 of damage to gardens by tramp- 
ling and scratching in them, and 179 of disturbance by cater- 

Catproof Fence. 

A catproof fence may be made by first setting up a chicken 
wire fence six feet high and attaching to the tops of the posts 
slim upright poles from which a fine fish seine is hung with its 
lower edge fastened to the top of the wire fence, thus making a 
barrier at least nine feet high. The fish net hangs so loosely 
from the slim poles that it gives beneath the weight of the cat 
and baffles the animal completely. The bottom of the fence 
should fit the ground closely, and there should be no trees near, 
on the limbs of which cats can climb and then drop inside. A 
fruit garden enclosed by such a fence is likely to become a para- 
dise for birds, but it may become a playground for rats as well, 
and measures to kill them may be necessary. 

The reasons why people keep cats are given by cat owners as 
follows: (1) as companions and pets; (2) to catch rats, mice and 


other rodents; (3) to catch birds and game for their owners; 
(4) to catch mice and rabbits to protect orchards; (5) to keep 
birds away from strawberries. 

The keeping of cats as companions or pets, however impor- 
tant it may be, is a matter of sentiment and does not come within 
the scope of this paper, except as it tends to increase the market 
value of the cat. Many cats are carefully housed, confined and 
bred for exhibition at cat shows, and some of them sell for high 
prices, but we have the testimony of some cat breeders that most 
of these high-bred cats have little if any desire to catch rats or 
mice. Angora cats are said to let birds alone, but I have evi- 
dence from several observers proving that some Angora cats are 
very destructive to birds. 

People who keep cats which are trained to bring in birds and 
game have no right to the possession of birds or game protected 
by law. They are law breakers and should be treated as such. 

Farmers who feed grain to cattle, horses, pigs and fowls often 
feel that they must keep cats to catch rats and mice in their 
barns and poultry houses, as they find it less troublesome and 
expensive to keep a few cats that are practically self-supporting 
than to attempt to catch or kill rats. Many farmers see only the 
good that cats do as ratcatchers, and do not realize how much 
they may lose indirectly through the killing of insectivorous 
birds by cats. All who raise chickens desire to protect them 
against cats. Many cat lovers are bird lovers also, and many 
people who keep cats as pets wish to prevent them from killing 
birds. In response to many inquiries I have received much 
advice regarding these matters. The replies may be summarized 
as follows: — 

Method recommended. 




Kill the cat, 

Confine the cat, 

Feed the cat well 

Feed the cat raw meat, 

Feed the cat no raw meat, 

Keep the cat on leash 

Bell the cat 

Use care in placing food for birds, 

Bird-boxes on iron pii)e, ........... 

Cat guards on trees and nest-box poles 

Barbed wire on trees, 

Thorny shrubs or vines to keep cat out of grounds or away from bird-houses. 
Deep nesting boxes, ............ 

Nesting boxes placed high 

Keep only light-colored cats, 

Chicken wire about food tables 

Air gun, stones, tin cans, torpedoes, etc., . . . . . 






Killing the Guilty Cat. 

Tlie method recommended by 175 observers, "Kill the cat," 
is a sure and safe one. This applies to both bird-killing and 
chicken-killing cats, although it is easier to teach a cat not to 
molest chickens than to teach it to let wild birds alone. Poultry- 
men almost always find that when a cat once gets a taste of 
chicken, the only safety lies in killing the cat, and the main 
reason that so few farmers' cats kill chickens is that the chicken- 
killing cat is very short lived, and has little chance to transmit 
its bad tendencies to offspring. Wild or stray cats, village and 
city cats, and not farm cats, are the chief chicken killers. If 
every bird-killing cat were killed, and those that give their at- 
tention mainly to rats were kept, we would have fewer cats, but 
the survivors and their progeny would be more useful and much 
less harmful than most cats now are. It is well known that many 
cats specialize. Some take to hunting rats and mice and rarely 
look at birds in the trees: others hunt birds mainly and trouble 
rats and mice very little; others hunt everything from insects 
to cock pheasants; still others hunt rabbits and game, and some 
rarely hunt at all. The useful and nearly harmless cat possibly 
might be produced by selection and breeding. A rat-hunting 
female cat, if allowed to nurse and raise her own kittens, usually 
rears some good ratters. 

Confining or Tethering the Cat. 

A good ratter when confined in a building with rats and mice 
will devote its attention to them. A cat that will not do this is 
worthless except as a pet or an exhibit in a cat show. During 
spring and summer, when birds are nesting and breeding, cats 
may be confined in buildings or cages. Let no one think it cruel 
to confine a cat. Of course, one unused to being deprived of its 
liberty is likely, if shut up, to set up a piteous mewing, but cats 
brought up in narrow quarters live happily, especially if they have 
mice and perchance rats to give zest to life. Many cats live 
most of their lives in cages, while many others are kept in build- 
ings that they are not allowed to leave. If brought up in such 
quarters they are cheerful and contented. Miss Repplier writes 
as follows of cats in confinement: — 

As a fact, imprisonment has scant terrors for the cat. It accords too well 
with her serene and contemplative disposition. Restless wanderer though 
she appears, and true lover of liberty though she is, and has ever been, she 
can yet live her life with tranquil enjoyment in a ship, on the seventh floor 


Fig. 1. — A Cat which has never caught a Bird. 
This cat, belonging to Dr. Burt G. Wilder, is kept in or caged during the night, 
fed regularly, and given a good breakfast before his morning liberty. Birds 
do not interest him. See page 91. fPhotograph by courtesy of Dr. Wilder.) 

Fig. 2. — Buster, proud of his Tether. 
This great cat, owned by Mr. Bardwell Gladwin of Plainville, Conn., is kept tethered to an 
overhead wire. He has been tied every summer, and seems to consider the collar and 
leash as a high honor. See page 91. (Photograph by courtesy of Mrs. Louise G. Lusk.) 


Dorothy Pehkins Roskiilsh. 

Traiued on pole to prevent cats from climbing to bird house. (After 

"Our DumI) .Animals.") 


of an apartment house, in a granary which she is never permitted to leave, 
or in London's Tower. There were probably many French cats who passed 
their days meditatively in the Bastile, content to be immured with their 
masters, and accepting like philosophers the restraints and the indulgences of 
that ill-omened but singularly comfortable fortress. "Stone walls do not a 
prison make" for a creature whose independence of character remains un- 
touched by the sternest and narrowest of environments. Rather perhaps 
does she feel herself a captive when surrounded too strenuously by the doting 
and troublesome affection of mortals, who cannot be made to understand or 
to respect her deep inviolable reserve.* 

Dr. Burt G. Wilder of Brookline, who is fond of both birds 
and c^ts, proposes the following plan, which he carries out with 
his own cat in summer at Siasconset, and with modifications else- 
where at other seasons: (1) Only one adult cat to a family, an 
additional one if there is a barn or stable, each kept in its own 
place, and superfluous kittens promptly destroyed. (2) The cat 
to be fed regularly and before the family meals instead of after, 
and in the meantime prowling about and getting under the cook's 
feet or into the food, before or during meals. Feeding to be 
attended to by or delegated to one person, not left to chance. 
Scraps from previous family meal may be provided. (3) All cats 
to be confined during the night and fed before they are released 
in the morning. If properly trained they will defer attending 
to the calls of nature until released. If not, provide a pan with 
sawdust or dry earth resting on a large paper. (He says that his 
cat loafs or sleeps most of the day outdoors and never has killed 
a bird. Other well-fed cats have killed birds, but confining nights 
and feeding early may be helpful.) (4) All cats to be licensed; 
unlicensed cats to be killed, by shooting, if wild. This opens the 
much discussed question of cat legislation, which is considered on 
pages 97-100. 

A cat may be tethered to an overhead wire in pleasant weather 
by means of a line and a snap hook. This gives outdoor condi- 
tions, allows the cat to exercise by moving back and forth, and 
probably will prevent it from catching birds, except possibly 
such young as may flutter in its way. There should be a stop 
near each end of the wire so that the cat cannot climb or become 
entangled. Both these expedients are feasible, and many cats 
now are kept through the summer in confinement, or on a leash 
in fine weather. The large cat shown in the photograph, owned 
by Mr. Bardwell Gladwin of Plainville, Conn., is tethered in this 
manner because of his fondness for chickens. He has been thus 
treated every summer for five years, and Mrs. Louise G. Lusk 

> Repplier, Agnee: The Fireside Sphinx, 1901, pp. 99, 100. 


says that he thrives and seems to regard his leash as a high 
honor. High-bred cats kept for breeding purposes necessarily 
are kept in confinement most of the time. 

Keeping the Cat Indoors at Night. 

Most important of all, the cat should be kept in the house or 
some building, cage or pen at night. Cats which hunt outdoors 
at night contract colds and diseases, and destroy more birds 
and game and fewer house rats and mice than at any other time. 
About 90 per cent of the cats are allowed to roam at night. 
The mother bird is slain on her nest by the unseen marauder or 
the young are taken when they first begin to stir at early 'dawn. 

Feeding the Cat. 

A well-fed cat must have meat, as that is the natural food of 
the species. Probably cats that are fed meat and given water 
are less likely to engage in an active hunt for birds and more 
likely to stay at home and lie quietly in wait for rats and mice 
than those that are poorly fed and have to find their own meat 
and drink. A little milk once or twice a day is not good or 
suflBcient food for a cat. Cat lovers tell us that if we wish our 
cats to be good mousers we must feed them well, as they cannot 
stand watch long on an empty stomach, but they tell us also that 
if well fed they will not catch birds. Nevertheless, I have known 
cats, excellent mousers and ratters, rarely fed by their owners, 
and I have many reports of cats well fed and well cared for 
which spent a great part of their time in hunting and killing 
birds that they never ate. On the other hand, it may be pos- 
sible to feed a cat so much meat that it will not hunt. The 
owner of a fertilizer factory, where dead horses were received 
continually, said that both rats and cats, glutted with meat, 
fraternized about the boilers on cold winter nights, and that the 
cats never troubled the rats; but experience goes to show that a 
bird-killing cat, like a man-killing lion or tiger, has acquired a 
practically incurable habit, and while overfeeding may check the 
habit in some, it seems to have no effect on others. 

Belling the Cat. 

The experiment of putting a collar and bell on a cat to pre- 
vent it from catching birds has been recommended by many 
people who have never tried it and by some few who have, but 
the most common experience seems to be that a cat which is 
skillful enough to creep upon a bird, is expert enough to keep the 


bell from ringing until the final spring. Belled cats catch birds, 
rats and mice and all forms of wild life; although the bell may 
save a few birds in some cases, it never saves helpless young. 
Mr. Niel Morrow Ladd of Greenwich, Conn., records the fact 
that a sleek, fat Angora cat, although burdened with 6 bells, 
brought in during one nesting season 32 birds and in the next 28, 
none of which it ate.^ This cat is shown on Plate VI. in the act 
of killing a young catbird. 

. Cat Guards. 

Most of the devices for protecting the nests of birds are useful 
against the cat only when nests are on isolated trees or in boxes 
on poles. Such devices will not protect nests on the ground in 
shrubbery or in woods. In such cases a tract 
of land may be surrounded with a very high, 
thick, thorny, and impenetrable hedge or a 
catproof fence. Nesting boxes on the per- 
pendicular walls of buildings are inaccessible to 
cats, and those on tall slim poles are not often 
troubled by them. Nest boxes hung by wires 
have been recommended. 

The plan proposed by Raspail, by which 
the nests both on the ground and in trees 
are surrounded and covered 
by a wire netting, to keep 
the cat away (see Plate XVI), 
allow'ing the bird to slip in 
through the meshes of the 
top, has been successfully 
used both here and abroad, 
but is expensive and is use- 
less unless the nest is pro- 
tected before the cat finds it. 
It is easier and less expen- 
sive to cage the cat rather 
than the nest, but the wire netting may protect the nest from 
wandering cats. 

It is well known that cats are very sensitive, and that they are 
fond of catnip and other aromatic plants; also they detest cer- 
tain odorous plants and substances. Housewives formerly tied 
slips of rue under the wings of chicks to protect them from cats. 
The odor of orange peel is said to disgust cats. In England 
cats once were singed to keep them at home. Hence the old 

To puzzle cats. 

Difficult for pussy. 

* Ladd, Niel Morrow: How to attract Wild Birds about the Home, 1915, p. 35. 


saying about a singed cat. Chaucer has immortalized the prac- 
tice in verse. It was beheved that the cat was vain of its ap- 
pearance, and that if the fur were well singed, shame would keep 
the creature at home. The Dundee (Scotland) "Advertiser" 
states that the French National Society of Acclimatization has 
taken up this cause of the destruction of game and birds, and has 
tried to find a remedy for it, "The society now informs us in 
its bulletin/' says the "Advertiser," "that in order to keep the 
cats away from a bird's nest we have only to place a cloth or 
rag saturated with 'animal empyreumatic oil' in the bush or on 
the trunk of the tree where the nest is situated." Cats have an 
unconquerable repulsion for the smell of this oil. One correspon- 
dent having caught a mouse in a trap rubbed it over with empy- 
reumatic oil and then let it go in the presence of his cat. The 
cat took no notice of the mouse. Whether the odor had been 
caught by the other mice in the house, or whether the cat kept a 
disagreeable reminder of the experience, he absolutely gave up 
chasing the mice which swarmed in the house. This method is 
worth a trial. ^ For additional cat guards see Plate XIX. 

Keep only White Cats. 
This suggestion, given by one observer, is good, as a w^hite cat 
may find it diflBcult to catch full-grown birds in the daytime, but 
the color will not save the young birds in the nests or those learning 
to fly. 

Air Guns, Torpedoes, Etc. 

There is nothing more effective in frightening a trespassing 
cat than a well-directed shot from an air gun, a large torpedo 
thrown and exploded close by it, a tin pan thrown so as to clatter, 
or a drenching from a hose. These rather cruel expedients may 
not, however, prevent the same cat from returning at night and 
marauding at will. Mr. John Gould of Aurora, O., says that if a 
cat is shot with a charge of salt it will avoid the place ever after, 
but that is torture. 


This has been practiced on marauding cats by running heavily 
charged wires about the tops of hen pens or pheasant pens. It 
is too dangerous and expensive for general use. 

A large, active, fearless dog may be trained to drive cats off 
premises, to tree them, or even to kill them, but must be on 
watch night and day, and may, meantime, eat eggs or molest 
some birds. 

■ Sixth annual report of the Massachusetts State Ornithologist, annual report State Board of Agri- 
culture. 1013, p. 267. 


8 / >z 




/ — \ 






Devices to protect Birds' Nests. 

Upper figures show oatproof nesting boxes. Lower figures, zinc cat guards for 

trees or poles. 


Fro 1. 

Fio. 3. 

Fia. 2. 

Fia. 1. — DouBi.F.-ENnED Trap for Cats. 
Made l>y Mr. E. F,. Ednianson, Chirago. 

A. Hait-hook. 

B. Triggpr-rod of heavy wire. 

C. S(4uare rod, loosely pivoted at ends. 

D. Rod to support door. 

E. Hliding door. 

Fio. 2.— ScuDDF.R Cat Trap. 
Made by Massaoliusctts Fish and Cnnie rrotertive A.ssoriation. 
A. Sliding door. 
H. ITook supporting door. 
(". Hole in door to pngaeo hook. 
I). Coril or wire. 
K. Hait-liook raught on point of nail. 

F. Stiiall door for setting trap and examining oontents. 

Fin. 3. — D0D8ON Cat Trap. 
M:i(li' l)y Mr. ,Jo.seph H. Dodson. Chicago. 
'I'he sliding door is sui)portpd l>y the pivoteri lever. 
Tlie li!iit-h(M)k is held lightly on the point nl a nail 
S<'o also page ItK). 


Training the Cat not to catch Birds. 

Weir says that cats may be trained to respect the lives of 
birds and other wild animals.^ De Voogt says that the bird-killing 
cat may be easily corrected by "taking a bird in the hand and 
making it peck the cat's nose."^ This might succeed with cage- 

I have never seen a cat that I felt sure would not catch a bird 
if given a good chance, except one that was blind, but I have 
been assured by people in whom I have every confidence that 
they believe that their cats never caught a bird, or that they 
have been taught not to catch them. Nevertheless, in some cases 
these good cats have been seen by neighbors in the act of catch- 
ing birds. 

Mrs. Elizabeth B. Davenport of Brattleboro, Vt., writes that 
she has taught cats to let birds alone, but that not one person 
in a hundred would have the patience to do it. The first one so 
taught was never allowed to keep a bird that he caught, and if 
he evaded her the hose was used. He was punished lightly if he 
went near birds, and was kept constantly in view when out of 
doors. The second season he ceased to watch them. A lady 
writes that she had a cat which absolutely would not catch birds. 
The birds seemed to have no fear of this cat, and sparrows 
dressed their feathers unafraid while it rubbed against the bush 
just below them. A few others make similar statements about 
their cats. Mr. C. J. Maynard of Newtonville, an experienced 
naturalist and a competent observer, says that he has two cats 
that never kill birds. He taught them as kittens to let birds alone 
by feeding them well and gradually accustoming them to seeing 
birds near, beginning with bird skins or mounted birds. This is 
a method, however, which cannot be practiced by all. 

Correspondents report on this matter as follows: — 

Know of a cat that vrAX not catch birds, 70 

Believe cats cannot be taught not to catch birds, 305 

Believe cats can be taught not to catch birds, 62 

By whipping, 37 

By scolding, 8 

Tj-ing bird to collar or around neck, 9 

Taking bird away from cat, 14 

Drenching cat with water, 1 

Pepper on dead bird, 2 

Pepper and kerosene on dead bird, 1 

1 Weir, Harriflon: Our Cats and All about Them, 1889, p. 12. 

' Burkett, Chas. Wm., editor: Our Domesticated Animals, Translated from the French of Goa. 
De Voogt. 1907, p. 81. 


I have had no success with any of these methods, and have 
known all to fail except that of putting pepper and kerosene 
on the dead bird. Many correspondents express the belief that 
many people who believe that they have taught their cats not to 
kill birds have merely taught them not to bring the birds in, but 
to catch them in the fields and eat them under some building, 
or to leave them where killed. Dr. Anne E. Perkins, writes that 
she used to be very fond of cats, and can speak from years of 
experience, both with her own beloved pets and with others. 
She asserts that much pains was taken to break them of bird 
killing, but after they had been punished they did not bring the 
birds in sight as they did with mice, etc., but many a heap of 
feathers was found. Others report similar experiences. 

In 1914 a female cat took up her abode on my farm. She was 
believed not to kill birds, having been taught (?) by whippings 
when a kitten. For two months there seemed to be no evidence 
to convict her of bird killing, although I found a nest destroyed 
in one place and remains of young robins in another. Then she 
was seen with a bird, and later with another. A week later I 
found her with a live blackpoll warbler, and as I approached I 
heard her teeth crunch its tender bones, which prevented all 
chance of rescue. We tied the dead bird firmly about her neck, 
but she took to the woods, and in half an hour she had clawed it 
off and probably had eaten it. If the bird had been sewn in 
canvas or duck the expedient might have been more effectual. 
The plan of securing the bird firmly about the cat's neck and 
leaving it there until it "wears" oflF is said to be very effective. 
Red pepper may sometimes prevent a cat from eating a bird, 
but in several cases reported to me the cats ate the birds, red 
pepper and all. Kerosene probably is more effective, but all 
these devices may fail to prevent the cat from killing, as na 
one can possibly know how many birds his cat kills unless he 
keeps the cat shut in at night and under watch all day. Any one 
who succeeds in awakening the regard and affection of a cat may 
restrain it by constant watchfulness and words of displeasure or 
light blows upon the body (never on the head), but few people 
have the time or patience for this. 

Some cats may be taught not to kill caged birds. Kittens in 
bird stores are so trained by means of red-hot knitting needles 
placed in front of a cage, when they first attempt to catch the 
birds, or by red pepper and kerosene on a dead bird, which 
teaches them to leave it alone. 


To prevent Cats killing Chickens. 

Chickens kept in coops covered with small meshed wire netting 
are safe from cats, but chicks often are stunted by such con- 

Kittens brought up in the chicken yard or henhouse rarely kill 
chicks. Where a kitten shows a chicken-killing tendency it may 
sometimes be "cured" by shutting it in a small yard with a 
spirited hen and her brood. The hen will administer the treat- 
ment. If the offender is a grown cat the plan suggested by Mr. 
Wm. Lawlor of Xeedham may be better, otherwise the hen may 
come out second best. Mr. Lawlor suggests tying a cat up in a 
bag with its head out and dropping it in the yard with a savage 
old "setting hen." This would deprive the cat of some of its 
natural weapons of offence, but the bag should be a strong one. 
I have seen a cat confined in a pillow-case tear it open in a few 
seconds. Some poultrymen tie a chicken killed by a cat around 
the cat's neck and leave it there until it becomes offensive. 
Several persons report good results from this method. 


We now legislate to protect birds, but place no limit on the 
increase and activities of their most destructive natural enemy. 
A man is liable to a fine if he kills a bird, but he may with 
impunity keep any number of cats to kill birds and bring them 
to him, although he has no legal right to possess or use birds so 
caught. Many people believe that a statute should be enacted 
to limit the numbers and activities of cats, and that such a law 
should provide responsible officers to kill surplus cats, and should 
furnish the money to pay them for their services. 

]Mr. Winthrop Packard of Boston proposes the following plan 
for cat legislation: (1) License every cat and make the fees — 
male, $1; female, $2. (2) Make the license operative as a pro- 
tection to the cat only while it remains on the owner's premises. 
(3) Make it a misdemeanor punishable by fine to own or harbor an 
unlicensed cat. (4) Require owners of licensed cats to keep a 
collar on each such cat, bearing on a suitable tag or plate the 
number of the license and the name of the owner. (5) Require 
duly authorized oflacials to kill unlicensed cats in a humane 
manner. (6) Pay such officials out of the money obtained for 
cat licenses. 

These regulations would be excellent from the standpoint of 
the cat breeder, most bird protectionists or that of the public 


health authorities. Strong objections to them come, however, 
from many people. 

1. !Many cat keepers object on account of the tax. The strong- 
est objections come from those who keep the largest number of 
cats. No one likes to be taxed. The cost of living in this coun- 
try is high, and most farmers, many of whom believe that they 
pay more than their share of taxes, because their property is all 
visible and cannot be concealed, oppose the tax strenuously. 
Nevertheless, it would benefit the farmers more than any other 
class, as the destruction of stray and unlicensed cats would save 
birds and chickens enough to far more than pay the tax. Friends 
of this legislation argue that a male cat which is not worth at 
least one dollar to the owner as a rat and mouse killer, or as a pet 
and companion, ought to be humanely executed, and the female 
cat, which usually is a better ratter than the male, will, if worth 
keeping at all, easily save the farmer far more than her license 
fee by destroying rats and mice. If only the useful and valuable 
cats could be kept, and the worthless ones destroyed, the aggre- 
gate saving of birds w^ould be enormous. 

2. Most farmers object to being obliged to keep their cats 
at home, because it is diflficult, if not impossible, to do so and at 
the same time give them such freedom as they need in catching 
rats and mice on the farm. The advocates of these regulations 
say that this difficulty may be met by keeping cats in the build- 
ings as much as possible, feeding them well and breeding from 
those that manifest little desire to roam. Enforcement of the 
law would tend gradually to eliminate the wandering and stray 
cats, and leave only the stay-at-homes, which in most cases 
are most desirable. 

3. Only lawbreakers will object to the fine for harboring and 
keeping an unlicensed cat. 

4. Many people object to putting a collar on a cat because of 
the belief that the animal may be hung by it, while climbing 
trees, and cite cases where cats have been so hung, and many 
cases where collars have been put on loosely and have come off. 
But the proponents of the legislation reply that while there may 
be danger of cats becoming entangled and strangled by the wear- 
ing of loose collars, which may be caught in the branches of trees, 
there is practically no danger if the collar is fitted snugly to the 
neck of the animal, and they point to the many cat owners who 
keep such collars on their cats, and to cats that have worn such 
collars for years without accident. Mr. Wilfrid Wheeler, secre- 
tary of the Massachusetts State Board of Agriculture, asserts 
that he kept a collar on a cat seven years, until it came apart 


and dropped off, but it never troubled the cat in the least. This 
objection to the collar might be met in many cases by tethering 
wandering or tree-climbing cats when out of doors. 

5. Some people object to a cat license on the ground that the 
stray animals would not be humanely caught and killed, and that 
it would be impossible to catch them all. The proponents of 
the legislation reply that this work might be left to the Animal 
Rescue League in Greater Boston, as well as in other cities, 
wherever and whenever the league succeeds in establishing 
branches, and that as the laws relating to cruelty to animals are 
strict, there need be no unnecessary cruelty allowed. Also they 
assert that the great number of cats annually destroyed in Bos- 
ton and New York by humane associations is sufficient proof 
that stray cats in the cities can be caught by experienced per- 
sons. In the country, expert men would have far less trouble to 
get cats that run wild than in the cities, where shooting and 
trapping must necessarily be limited. 

The cat license is not a new idea. It was first advanced by 
humane societies and cat lovers as a means of protection to cats. 
The licensed dog is regarded as property, and as such has some 
rights, while the status of the cat is very precarious. It was 
argued that if cats were licensed they would be entitled to be 
regarded as the property of their owners, and could not be 
seized or killed with impunity. 

Gordon Stables, cat lover, writing in 1876, says: "I should 
like to see a tax imposed upon all cats, and a home for lost cats 
precisely on the same principles as the home for lost and starving 

Miss Helen M. Winslow, cat lover, writing in 1900, advocates 
a cat license in the following words: "If our municipalities 
would make a cat license obligatory, just as most of them have 
ordained a dog law, placing even a small yearly tax on every cat, 
and providing for the merciful disposition of all vagrant, home- 
less ones, not only would there be fewer gaunt, half-starved 
prowlers to steal chickens and pigeons, but the common house 
cat would rise in value and receive better care.",^ 

Recently such legislation has been proposed in many States, 
and we find many cat lovers in opposition. The leader in the 
movement to tax cats was Mr. Albert H. Pratt, president of the 
Burroughs Nature Club of New York, and there was much 
agitation on the subject in legislatures and municipal govern- 
ments, but so far as I know, the only place in America, where 

> stables, Gordon: The Domestic Cat, 1876, p. 157. 

* Winslow, Helen M.: Concerning Cats, My Own and Some Others, 1900, p. 263. 


the cat license is operative (1915) is St. Petersburg, Fla., and 
Montclair, X. J., has an ordinance under which all owned cats 
must wear distinguishing tags or collars, and cats not so marked 
are humanely destroyed. Iowa has a State law under which 
cats might be taxed, but this opportunity has not yet been 
utilized. Certain bird lovers oppose the proposed law on the 
ground that it gives the cats more protection than they now have. 
Any tax always is unpopular. Nevertheless, there seems no 
other way to reduce the cat population within reasonable bounds 
by legislation, and at the same time provide for the enforcement 
of the law. No one is competent to pass upon the advisability 
or probable effect of cat license legislation until it has been tried 
and perfected in the light of experience. No doubt such trial 
will be made. 


!Most cats may be taken easily in a box trap baited with cat- 
nip tied up in a cloth, or with fish. Cats are inordinately fond 
of fish, and are strangel}' attracted by the scent of catnip. Some- 
times in summer when birds are plentiful cats will not come to a 
trap baited with fish. Catnip is then the best bait. The trap 
should be large enough to contain any cat and so made that 

Mr. HuntiDgton Smith's humane trap, with details. 

the door or lid latches when it is sprung. A hole may be left 
open at the back and as the cat will come to this hole for air, it 
may be shot in the brain with a small rifle or pistol. Such a death 
is sudden, comes without warning, and as it is absolutely painless 
it is the most humane death possible. 


A humane trap has been devised by Mr. Huntington Smith, of 
the Animal Rescue League, 51 Carver Street, Boston. It is 22 
inches long, 10 wide and 9^ high. The bait is suspended on a 
hook that releases a cover, which drops and locks but does not 
shut tight, and therefore never even pinches the cat's tail. 

The opening under the drop lets in air, which passes out 
through holes at the other end of the trap, thus giving ventila- 
tion. There is a receptacle for a sponge, into which chloroform 
may be poured, not coming in contact with the cat. 

There is a trap on the market that chloroforms the cat as 
soon as it is caught. This is a humane trap but gives no chance 
for discrimination. It may chloroform the wrong cat. 

The stop-thief trap is said to be humane because it garrotes 
the cat and quickly shuts off sensation. It is set at the entrance 
of a hole or passage, or at the mouth of some receptacle, so that 
the cat must reach through the trap to get the 
catnip with w^hich it is baited. No. 3 is the size 
commonly used. Stables says, "Never drown 
a cat. If there is any one that can be trusted, 
who knows how to use a gun, by all means have 
her shot. It is over in a moment. The next 
best plan is to administer morphia. Don't grudge 
her a good dose — five or even ten grains. Cats '^:--.Tri^ 
are wonderfully tenacious of life, but they can't 
stand that. Make the morphia into a pill, with 
a little of the extract of liquorice, and force it down the throat. 
The cat will soon die and will not suffer."^ 

Trapped cats may be chloroformed in a box trap by inserting 
through the hole in the back a sponge saturated with chloroform, 
closing the hole and covering the trap with a heavy blanket. 
Occasionally a stray cat may be too wary to enter a trap. Some 
that are suspicious of a trap closed at one end will enter one 
open at both ends. Any cat may be caught by burying or cover- 
ing several smoked or carefully cleaned steel traps and scatter- 
ing bait among them, but it is much less cruel to track the cat 
with dogs, and when it takes to a tree it may be shot through 
the brain with precision and certainty, suffering no pain. A 
crack shot w^ith a rifle will make sure to bring down the game at 
the first shot. Others should use a chokebarreled shotgun, with 
a heavy charge of powder and shot not smaller than No. 4; 
BB shot might be better at long range. It is useless to shoot 
small shot at cats except at very close range. The head shot is 
the only sure and instantly fatal one. If shot through the body, 
the cat may live for some time. 

> Stables, Gordon: The Domestic Cat, 1876, p. 88. 


The trail should be taken at daylight while it is still fresh. On 
the first light snow of winter, the hunter does not need dogs, but 
starting early in the morning he follows the trail afoot, and kills 
every woods cat that he trails. In this way a tract of woodland 
may be speedily cleared of wild or half-wild cats, but the next 
winter others may be tracked and killed there. In the village 
or city a person whose personality attracts cats can pick them 
up rapidly. A kind word from such a person or a little attrac- 
tive food will entice many a wandering and starving cat. On 
the other hand, when cats have been persecuted they are like 
the wicked that "flee when no man pursueth," and then one 
must resort to the gun or trap. Any man who can trap the fox 
or even the wary, experienced rat, can take any cat that lives. 
Recently a pet cat taken in a trap was drenched with water and 
liberated, but was caught again in the same trap within twenty- 
four hours. 


During the past century cat lovers have made many attempts 
to prove that their pets are entitled to some rights under the law, 
but English law seems to find little merit in their claims. An 
articled clerk, writing to the "London Standard," says: — 

It is clearly laid do-mi in "Addison on Torts" that a person is not justified 
in killing his neighbor's cat or dog which he finds on his land, unless the animal 
is in the act of doing some injurious act which can be prevented by its slaugh- 
ter. If a person sets on his land a trap for foxes, and baits it with such strong- 
smelling meat as to attract his neighbor's dog or cat on to his land to the trap, 
and such animal is injured or killed, he is liable for the cat, though he had no 
such intention and though the animal ought not to have been on his land. 

The French courts have given the cat owner no damages in 
such or similar cases. The local magistrate of Fontainebleau heard 
a case in which a man, annoyed by neighboring cats, kept traps 
in his garden and caught fifteen. The neighbors combined to 
bring him to justice. The judge decided in favor of the neigh- 
bors, but in a higher correctional tribunal the decision was re- 
versed.^ In some European countries cats are outside the law 
the moment they leave their owner's premises, or as soon as 
they have passed beyond a certain radius from a building. In 
certain German cities cats are licensed also, but have no rights 
when they have passed certain limits. Herr Friedrich Schwabe, 
head of the von Berlepsch School of Bird Protection at Seebach, 

■ The Cat, Post and Preecnt, translated from the French of M. Cbampflcury, nitb notes by Mrs. 
Cashel Hoey, 1S85, pp. 65, 66. 


writes as follows to j\Ir. William P. Wharton of Groton (trans- 
lated from the German) : — 

The law for killing roaming cats varies according to whether it is carried 
out by those empowered to do so or by owners without authorization. The 
former may, without further ceremony, shoot any cat, whether roaming 
wild or not, which they find on their beat, no matter whether the owner is 
knowTi to them or not. But they [the shooters] must keep a certain distance 
away from any inhabited building, this distance varying in different States 
[usually it amounts to 200 metres]. In most domains, those having the legal 
right to shoot may even demand a fee from the owner of the cat, which fee 
the owner must pay. The owner of a garden or park who has suffered 
damage on account of birdcatching cats need only refer to paragraph 228 
of our code of civil law if he wishes to legally justify the kilhng of cats. "After 
this any one who harms or destroys a foreign object in order to ward off 
threatened danger from himself or from some other person does not commit 
an illegal act, pro\ided the harm or destruction is necessary for warding off 
the danger, and provided the damage is not out of proportion to the danger." 
Apphed to the cat question that means: The owner of a garden in which 
birds brood may kill cats appearing there if he is able to prove that these 
cats prey upon the birds and their broods. To be sure, judicial decisions 
unfavorable to owners of gardens, these owners having killed cats, are not 
lacking. But in these cases there were culpable accessory circumstances, 
such as the use of firearms without a permit, or inadmissible nearness to in- 
habited buildings. 

Our laws are unquestionably inadequate, and for that reason the govern- 
ment and the representatives of the people wiU verj'' soon be obhged to take 
new measures for the protection of birds. 

The experiment of taxing cats has also been tried in order to reduce their 
number, but this measure has been taken only by towns, and the result can- 
not yet be seen. 

An important point of ^iew is given, in any event, by the fact that the 
domestic cat — with you in America as well as here with us — cannot be 
considered and esteemed a native animal belonging to the hneal fauna, but 
that it is an imported stranger which one can justly return to the house of 
its owner. There is no reason why the privilege of roaming about freely, 
denied other domestic animals, should be given to the cat. 

According to Dr. Clifton F. Hodge this is practically the solu- 
tion of the problem reached by Baron von Berlepsch in Ger- 
many, and there cities provide traps which are continually kept 
baited and set for stray cats. According to this wTiter Hamburg 
has 300 such traps that during the three years previous to the 
publication of his book had rid the city of 6,226 cats. He men- 
tions Berlin, Hamburg, Elberield, Barmen, Frankfort, Liineburg, 
Nuremberg, Pirna, Oels, Breslau, etc., as making official pro- 
vision for the destruction of cats, and states that in jNIunster 
there has existed for some years an "Anti-Cat Society" w^hich 
has already destroyed several thousand of these "beasts of prey.'* 

In Europe the cat owner seems to have been defeated in the 


higher courts. In America the owners of domesticated animals 
have their rights defined by law, but the status of the cat seems 
to have been determined largely by the opinion of the presiding 
justice, who may regard it as domesticated or as a wild animal. 

The following is an extract from a newspaper report of a por- 
tion of the decision of Judge Utley of Worcester in a case where 
Dr. Dellinger was arraigned for injuring and destroying cats 
that were molesting birds that he was engaged to care for: — 

A cat is a \\ild animal. There is no wilder animal in Christendom. It is 
an animal that can't be controlled and you can't tell what it will do when it 
gets out of its owner's sight. A man on his own property has a right to pro- 
tect it, and when wild animals encroach on it, he is justified in getting rid of 
them. I find on the e^^dence presented in this case that the defendant was 
justified in doing what he did. I don't mean, however, to assert that a man 
has the right to throw stones promiscuously any place. The defendant is 
discharged. (Judge Samuel Utley, Criminal Session of the Central District 
Court, in re Thomas Butler v. Dr. Oris P. Dellinger. " Worcester Evening 
Post," Sept. 27, 1905.) 

There is a later decision in Maine which is favorable to the 
cat, but the circumstances were reversed, as the owner of the cat 
was the defendant. 

The following appears in the " Rural New Yorker:" — 

A man in Maine o^^^led a valuable fo.\ terrier dog which went upon a 
neighbor's property and chased a cat. While it was doing so the owner of the 
cat shot the dog and killed it. The dog's owTier sued the neighbor for damages, 
and won a verdict on the ground that the cat is not a domestic animal and 
therefore not entitled to legal protection. . . . The cat owner was not satisfied 
and appealed the case, his lawyer making a long argument to show that the 
cat is even more a domestic animal than a dog. He succeeded, and the court 
reversed the lower verdict, which means that the cat owner was justified in 
protecting his property. He apparently had as much right to kill a dog 
which chased his cat as he would have in the case of dogs found worrying 

It will be noted that in both the above cases the owner of the 
property or his agent were sustained. A man killing another's 
cat or dog on his own property may have some legal rights that 
he might not claim in killing it on the owner's property. Mali- 
cious killing probably would be unlawful also, as it might come 
under the head of malicious mischief, and cruelty must be avoided. 
Dr. Henry Hall of Binghamton, N. Y., was convicted June 8, 
1912, before Judge Albert Hotchkiss of the City Court of Bing- 
hamton, apparently not for killing a cat, but for failing to kill it 
and leaving it to suffer. The doctor shot, with a rifle, a cat that 
was attempting to kill a bird at his drinking fountain, and left 


it for dead, without taking means to determine whether it was 
dead or alive. The cat returned to consciousness with its jaw 
broken, and crawled away. The doctor was fined $25, ap- 
pealed the case to the County Court of Broome County before 
Judge Parsons, and there the conviction was sustained Dec. 27, 
1912. This seems to have been a conviction for cruelty to ani- 
mals. Had the cat been shot dead the plaintiff would have had 
no case. Appolinary Kane of Binghamton was sentenced by 
Judge Hotchkiss in July, 1915, to thirty days in jail for shooting 
a cat which he claimed had been killing his chickens. The shot 
mutilated the cat, and Mr. Kane then went into the house and 
left the cat to die in agony. It behooves those who shoot cats 
to beware of bungling and unnecessary cruelty, and to finish the 
task if they begin it. But there seems to be no law to prevent 
the humane killing of stray cats anywhere, unless one breaks 
laws against shooting within city limits, within a certain dis- 
tance of a dwelling, on the public highway or on public lands; 
provided also that the trespass laws are not broken in the act. 
Those who intend to poison or trap cats in Massachusetts should 
observe the provisions of chapter 626 of the Acts of 1913, which 
reads as follows : — 

Section 1. Whoever shall place or distribute poison in any form what- 
soever, for the purpose of killing any animal, or shall construct, erect, set, 
repair or tend any wire snare for the purpose of catching or kiUing any animal, 
shall be punished by a fine of not exceeding one hundred dollars: provided, 
that nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit any person from 
placing in or near his house, barns or fields, poison intended to destroy rats, 
woodchucks or other pests of a like nature or insects of any kind. 

Section 2. Any person who shall set, place, maintain or tend a steel 
trap with a spread of more than six inches or a steel trap with teeth jaws, or a 
"stop-thief" or choke trap with an opening of more than six inches shall be 
punished by a fine of not exceeding one himdred dollars. 

Section 3. Any person who shall set, maintain, or tend a steel trap on 
enclosed land of another without the consent in writing of the owner thereof, 
and any person who shall fail to visit at least once in twenty-four hours, a 
trap set or maintained by him shall be punished by a fine of not exceeding 
twenty dollars. 

Section 70, chapter 212, Revised Laws (1902), provides a 
penalty for cruelly abandoning any domestic animal. Only a 
few convictions for deserting cats have been secured under this 
law for the reason that it often is hard to prove which has been 
abandoned, cat or owner. 



The cat was domesticated within historic times, but did not 
appear as an inmate of the home in western Europe until about 
900 A.D. Civilized man managed very well without it for cen- 
turies. Puss appears to have been domesticated first in Egypt 
about 1200 to 1600 B.C. by the taming of certain wild African 

The household pets of to-day are believed to have descended 
from African, Asiatic and European species. 

The cat is far more widely kept and distributed than any other 
domestic animal, and is under less control and restraint than any 
other. It usually has a greater affection for places than for 
persons, and tends to return to its home when its owner moves 
away. Also, it readily abandons its owner, and, often abandoned 
by him, returns to the wuld. Incalculable numbers of wild or 
stray house cats now roam the woods and fields of New England. 
These wild cats attract others from their homes. 

Many, remaining with the owners, are fed insuflBciently or not 
at all, and having to rely on their own efforts for food, emulate 
those that have run wild. Many pet cats are allowed to roam 
the country at night. People keep too many cats, and as the 
population increases the number of cats increases accordingly. 

The cat, an introduced animal, is not needed here outside of 
buildings. It has disturbed the biological balance and has be- 
come a destructive force among native birds and mammals. It 
is a member of one of the most bloodthirsty and carnivorous 
families of the mammalia, and makes terrific inroads on weaker 
creatures. It is particularly destructive to certain insect-eating 
forms of life, such as birds, moles, shrews, toads, etc. Every 
year the cats of New England undoubtedly destroy millions of 
birds and other useful creatures, therefore indirectly aiding the 
increase of insects which destroy crops and trees. Such insects 
possibly cost the people of Massachusetts from seven and one- 
half million to nine million dollars annually. The cat protects 
them, thus increasing the cost of living to every citizen. The 
good that cats accomplish in the destruction of field mice, woods 
mice and insects is of little consequence beside the ravages that 
they inflict among insectivorous birds and other insect-eating 
and mouse-eating creatures. 

Cats, selected for their rat-killing propensities, are useful if 
kept in their proper place in and around buildings, but the 
species is so destructive to game and to valuable wild life that 
it should not be allowed to roam, particularly in the country. 


City cats should not be taken to the country in the summer and 
there permitted to run at large, to prey on birds and game, nor 
should they be abandoned and left to their own devices at the 
close of the season. This is both cruel and unlawful. 

IMany people do not keep cats. Rats and mice are disposed of 
by ratproofing buildings and food receptacles and using traps. 
(See Economic Biology Bulletin No. 1, "Rats and Rat Rid- 
dance," published by the Massachusetts State Board of Agri- 
culture.) The utility of the cat in destroying rats and mice has 
been both overrated and understated. The testimony of cat 
lovers and cat owners, taken during a canvass in several counties 
of Massachusetts, seems to indicate that only about one-third of 
the cats kept in the country towns are known to catch rats, and 
that only about one-fifth of them are efficient ratters. The num- 
ber of mousers is larger, but mice may be readily disposed of by 
traps. It is probable that one-fifth of the cats kept in the coun- 
try, properly selected and restrained, would accomplish as much 
in killing rats and mice as do those now kept, and possibly the 
requisite number might be still further reduced by careful 
selection and breeding. 

Apparently the cat has few legal rights. In most countries 
the law seems to regard it as a predatory animal which any 
person may destroy when found doing damage on his premises. 
In Massachusetts and some other States the laws protect it 
from cruelty and abuse. People killing cats should observe all 
laws or ordinances in regard to trespassing, cruelty, shooting, 
trapping or poisoning. A cat apparently has some rights on the 
property of its owner that are denied it when on the property 
of others. 

There are laws to protect insectivorous birds against gunners, 
snarers and trappers. Birds of prey and wild predatory animals 
are proscribed by law, and bounties are offered on the heads of 
some. Many States offer bounties for native wild cats, but there 
is no law to check the ravages of the wild house cat, — a far 
more numerous animal. A man may be fined $10 for killing a 
songbird, but he may keep any number of cats and may train 
them to kill many birds weekly. Hardly a hand is raised to stay 
the destruction of valuable wild life by hundreds of thousands of 
vagabond or wild house cats. Hunters and trappers have little 
incentive to kill them as the fur is of small value. Legislation is 
needed to check this evil. 

It is undeniable that cats may carry such infections as small- 
pox and scarlet fever, but the subject requires careful investiga- 
tion before exact statements can be made. The evidence thus 


far offered is inconclusive. Cats undoubtedly disseminate ring- 
worm, and rabies in the cat is more dangerous to man than in 
the dog, but rarer. In some cases serious infections appear to 
have been transmitted by the bites or scratches of cats, but here 
again the evidence of direct infection is not conclusive, as any 
wound may become infected after infliction. 

The evils connected with the unrestrained liberty of the cat 
can be abated only by reducing the number of cats to a minimum, 
limiting breeding, destroying superfluous kittens at birth, re- 
straining or confining cats kept as pets and as ratters (particu- 
larly at night and during the breeding season of the birds), 
quarantining cats in cases of infectious diseases, and destroying 
all stray and feral cats, wherever they may be found. 

When it becomes necessary to allow barn cats free range, that 
they may destroy rats outside of buildings during the summer 
months, they should be supplied with water and well and regu- 
larly fed with meat and other animal foods. Probably in most 
cases they will then be less likely to roam the fields and more in- 
clined to lie in wait for rats and mice than if not well fed. 

In dealing with the cat from an economic point of view we 
need raise no question of the rights of the animal. Man has won 
his way upward through the great struggle by his own powers of 
mind out of prehistoric darkness to the place of command. He 
now controls the destinies of his fellow creatures. He may con- 
cede them certain rights only if such concession does not inter- 
fere with the best interests of all. 

Animals were domesticated because of their utility to man in 
his struggle upward from savagery. The sympathy which he 
feels for his helpers and pets, praiseworthy and important as it is, 
is a secondary consideration. The claims of the cat to a place in 
our domestic life rest primarily on the fact that it is supposed to 
do for us, with little conscious effort on our part, the onerous, 
petty and disagreeable task of destroying small rodents which for 
centuries have elected to fasten themselves as parasites on civili- 
zation. Insomuch as the creature fails in this, in so far as it 
destroys other more useful or nobler forms of life, in such meas- 
ure it becomes an evil and a pest. It will become an influence for 
good or ill according as we mould it, restrain it and limit its 
activities. It is our duty to check, with a firm hand, its undue 
increase in domestication, and to eliminate the vagrant or feral 
cat as we would a wolf. 



Adams, Emily B., Springfield. 

Adams, William C, Boston. 

Affleck, G. B., Springfield. 

Aiken, Mary A., Norwich, Conn. 

Allen, Willis Boyd, Boston. 

Ambrose, David A., Newton. 

Ames, J. S., Gardner. 

Anthony, B. W., Adrian, Mich. 

Aspinwall, Thomas, Brookline. 

Atherton, Edward H., Roxbury. 

Atkinson, H. R., Brookline. 

Averill, Florence M., North Andover. 

Avery, Frederick L., Ayer. 

AjTes, Mary A., Medford. 

Babson, Caroline W., Pigeon Cove. 

Bagnall, F. A., Adams. 

Bailey, Dr. Bernard A., Wiscasset, Me. 

Bailey, S. Waldo, West Newbury. 

Baker, Lorenzo D., Jr., Boston. 

Ballard, Geneva S., Millington. 

Bancroft, Alice W., Brookline. 

Bancroft, W. F., Washington, D. C. 

Barber, John W., Newton. 

Barlow, Richard H., Methuen. 

Barnard, Rev. Margaret B., Rowe. 

Barnes, Dwight F., Marsbfield. 

Bartlett, Herbert W., Plymouth. 

Bascom, E. A., Georgetown. 

Bassett, Thomas J., Leominster. 

Bates, F. A., South Braintree. 

Battelle, Judson S., Dover. 

Beals, Ella M., Marblehead. 

Bemis, Benjamin F., Gleasondale. 

Bemis, James E., Framingham. 

Bent, C. L., Gardner. 

Bishop, Dr. Louis B., New Haven, Conn. 

Blair, Weslej' W., NewtonA'ille. 

Blake, B. S., Weston. 

Blanchard, William, Tyngsborough. 

Boardman, Mrs. H. C, New Bedford. 

Bonney, Mrs. A. H., West Hanover. 

Bowdish, B. S., Demarest, N. J. 

Bowen, A. M., Springfield. 

Boyd, Harriet T., Dedham. 

Brastow, Amelia M., Wrentham. 

Brewer, W. S., Hingham. 

Brewster, William, Cambridge. 

Bridge, Mrs. Edmund, West Medford. 

Briggs, Oliver L., Boston. 

Brigham, Margaret, North Grafton. 

Brockway, Arthur W., Hadlj'me, Conn. 

Brooks, S., Boston. 

Brooks, Dr. William P., Amherst. 

Brown, Annie H., Stoneham. 

Brown, C. Emerson, Boston. 

Brown, Frank A., Beverly. 

Brown, Mrs. Henry T., Lancaster. 

Browning, Mrs. Julia F. A., Rowe. 

Browning, Wm. H., New York City. 

Bruce, C. O., Mt. Hermon. 

Bruen, Frank, Bristol, Conn. 

Brundage, A. B., Danbury, Conn. 

Bryant, H. C, Berkeley, Cal. 

Buck, Henry R., Hartford, Conn. 

Buckley, Emma, Worcester. 

Buffington, Samuel L., Swansea. 

Bugbee, Edgar L., Fitchburg. 

Burdick, Mabel G., Stapleton, N. Y. 

Burgess, Mrs. M. E., Pittsfield. 

Burney, Thomas L., L5'nn. 

Burnham, John B., New York City. 

Burns, Frank L., Berwj-n, Pa. 

Burt, Mrs. J. M., East Longmeadow. 

Butler, Mrs. Florence L., East Charle- 

Cady, Mrs. J. H., Pro\'idence, R. I. 

Cardee, Jos. H., Bolton. 

Carne, Mrs. Thomas, Adams. 

Carney, Edward B., Lowell. 

Carter, H. S., New Britain, Conn. 

Case, Clifford M., Hartford, Conn. 

Chapin, Myra F., Granby. 

Cheesman, William H., Washington, 
D. C. 

Cheney, Louis R., Hartford, Conn. 

Cheney, Rev. R. F., Southborough. 

Child, Rev. Dudley R., Pepperell. 

Chipman, Grace E., Sandwich. 

Church, Elliott B., Newton. 

Colburn, Da%ad M., Fitchburg. 

Cole, Edwin M., Cohasset. 

Coney, Kate E., West Roxbury. 

Cook, John A., Gloucester. 

Coonan, Thomas J., Jr., Worcester. 

Corliss, Wm. D., Gloucester. 

Couch, Mrs. Franklin, JDalton. 

Cowing, D. T., Hadley. 

Crampton, John M., Hartford, Conn. 

Crandall, Lee S., New York City. 

Crockett, Edith B., Brandon, Vt. 

Crosby, M. S., Rhinebeck, N. Y. 

Currier, Freeman B., Newburyport. 

Curtis, Albert E., Ballardvale. 

Cushman, E. Wesley, Scituate. 

Davidson, Charles S., South Williams- 

Davis, George, Cambridge. 

Day, Chester S., West Roxbury. 

Day, F. B., Stoneham. 

Day, William, Vineyard Haven. 

Deane, Daniel W., Fairhaven. 

Decker, Harold K., West New Brighton, 
N. Y. 

DeCosti, Edward, Dedham. 

Dewey, Dr. Chas. A., Rochester, N. Y. 

Dixon, Francis E., Eliot, Me. 

Dixon, Frederick J., Hackensack, N. J. 

Donaldson, Geo. C, Hamilton. 

Donlon, Henry J., Fitchburg. 

Dorman, Albert X., Worcester. 

Drew, Miss Evie W., Hanson. 

Dumbell, Rev. Howard M., Delhi, N. Y. 

Dutcher, William, Plainfield, N. J, 

Dyke, Arthur C, Bridgewater. 


Eamea, Agnes C, Wilmington. 

Eastman, Alfred C, Westwood. 

Eastman, George F., Granby. 

Eastman, Harry D., Sherborn. 

Eaton, Charles E., Orange, N. J. 

Eddy, Newell A., Bay City, Mich. 

Eldredge, Hattie D., East Falmouth. 

Elliot, Mrs. J. W., Boston. 

Ellis, Cyril F., Fitchburg. 

Emery, Georgia H., Newton. 

Ensign, Chas. S., Newton. 

Fairbanks, Mrs. Edward T., St. Johns- 
bury, Vt. 

Fales, Wyman E., West Somer\'ille. 

Fanning, Dr. W. G., Danvers. 

Farley, John A., Plymouth. 

Farrar, Hilda, Rochester, N. Y. 

Farwell, Leon C, Fitchburg. 

Faunce, Sewall R., Dorchester. 

Fearing, Mary P., Boston. 

Felton, T. P., West Berlin. 

Field, Mrs. Charles M., Shrewsbury. 

Field, Dr. George W., Sharon. 

Fisher, Dr. A. K., Washington, D. C. 

Fletcher, Emily F., Westford. 

Fottler, John, Dorchester. 

Fowler, Mrs. E. S., Danvers. 

Frost, Cornelia, Boston. 

Fuller, Annie A., Kingston. 

Fuller, William, Auburndale. 

Gaylord, E. E., Beverly. 

Gerard, Mrs. F. W., South Norwalk, 

Goddard, Mrs. H. L., Shrewsbury. 

Gold, C. L., West Cornwall, Conn. 

Goldsmith, Gertrude B., Manchester. 

Goldthwait, Mrs. Chas. S., Peabody. 

Goodhue, Charles'F., Penacook, N. H. 

Goodwin, Frederick W., East Boston. 

Goodwin, James, Hartford, Conn. 

Gordon, J. Wilson, Yonkers, N. Y. 

Gorst, Charles Crawford, Boston. 

Gould, Alfred M., Maiden. 

Grant, Carl E., Gloucester. 

Graves, S. P., Walpole. 

Gray, George M., Woods Hole. 

Greene, Caroline S., North Cambridge. 

Greenlaw, Henrietta, Dedham. 

Gregorj-, Herbert, Leominster. 

Grennan, Miss G. B., Woodberry Forest, 

Grout, A. J., New Dorp, N. Y. 

Hager, George W., Marlborough. 

Hale, Richard W., Dover. 

Handy, Mrs. Louise H., Marion. 

Hanson, Ray F., Fitchburg. 

Hardin, Alfred B., Foxborough. 

Harriman, Rev. Frederick W., Windsor, 

Hartman, Edward T., Allston. 

Hastings, George H., Fitchburg. 

Haynes, Elizabeth C, Brookline. 

Hayward, Anna R., Melrose. 

Headley, P. C, Jr., Fairhaven. 

Hemenway, Mrs. Augustus, Boston. 

Henderson, Alexander, Brookline. 

Henderson, Jessica L. C, Wayland. 
Henderson, Walter P., Dover. 
Herrick, Harold, Lawrence, N. Y. 
Higgins, Myrta M., Framingham. 
Hildreth, Mrs. Fannie B., Northborough. 
Hittinger, Jacob, Belmont. 
Hoar, Samuel, Concord. 
Hobbs, Lewis F., West Medford. 
Holden, E. F., Melrose. 
Holmes, George B., Kingston. 
Honywill, A. W., Jr., Wilkinsburg, Pa. 
Hornaday, Dr. William T., New York City. 
Hornbrooke, Mrs. Francis B., Newton. 
Howard, Anson O., East Northfield. 
Howard, Emma L., South Easton. 
Howard, J. S., Pro\'incetown. 
Howe, L. H., Newton. 
Howe, R. Heber, Jr., Concord. 
Howes, Helen E., Boston. 
Hoxsie, George E., Canonchet, R. I. 
Hubbard, George F., Fitchburg. 
Hubbard, Marian E., Wellesley College. 
Huntington, R. W., Jr., Hartford, Conn. 
Hutchins, Charles L., Concord. 
Hutchinson, Calvin B., Whitman. 
Hylan, Rev. Albert E., Medfield. 
Jacobs, Eliza C, West Roxburj'. 
Jefts, Arthur W., Worcester. 
Jenks, Caroline E., Bedford. 
Jenks, Charles W., Bedford. 
Jensen, Christian E., Fitchburg. 
Jensen, J. K., Westwood. 
Jewett, Elizabeth, Yarmouthport. 
Johnson, Byron B., Waltham. 
Johnson, E. Colfax, Shutesburj'. 
Jones, Abby B., Ivingston. 
Jones, Jonathan H., Waquoit. 
Jones, Dr. L. C, Falmouth. 
Jones, William F., Norway, Me. 
Jones, William H., Nantucket. 
Jones, William Preble, SomerWlle. 
Kane, Charles M., Spencer. 
Kane, John F., Fitchburg. 
Kemp, Parker J., Pepperell. 
Keniston, Allan, Edgartown. 
Kennedy, Mrs. Augusta M., Whitman. 
Kenney, James W., Somerville. 
Keyes, Mrs. Prescott, Concord. 
King, Henry B., Augusta, Ga. 
Kinney, Henry E., Worcester. 
Kittredge. Harold W., Leominster. 
Klinger, Bertha H., Hartford, Conn. 
Knowlton, S. Everett, Wenham. 
Ladd, Mrs. Geo. S., Sturbridge. 
Lakeman, Sarah E., Ipswich. 
Lantz, Prof. David E., Washington, D. C. 
Larkin, Walter A., .\ndover. 
Latham, Charles R., Suffield, Conn. 
Laurent, Philip, Pliiladelphia, Pa. 
Learned, A. K., Gardner. 
Leighton, Helen, Fall River. 
Leland, Ernest XL, Fitchburg. 
Leonard, Eliza B., Greenfield. 
Leonard, William H., East Foxborough. 
Levey, Mrs. William M., West Hartford, 


Lewis, Hershel W., New Ipswich, N. H. 

Lewis, J. B., Reading. 

Linton, Morris, Moorestown, N. J. 

Livermore, Perkins R., Marshfield Hills. 

Lloyd, Mrs. A. W., Wakefield. 

Locke, A., Tottenville, N. Y. 

Loveland, Clifton W., Providence, R. I. 

Luman, John F., Thorndike. 

Lundigen, Ralph J., Leominster. 

Lusk, Mrs. Louise G., LTnionville, Conn. 

Lyman, A. M., Montague. 

Macy, William F., West Medford. 

Malley, John F., Fitchburg. 

Mann, James R., Arlington Heights. 

Manning, Warner H., Boston. 

Mansfield, Helen, Gloucester. 

Marsh, Dr. Franklin F., Wareham. 

Marshall, Mrs. E. O., New Salem. 

Marston, Howard, Barnstable. 

Martin, R. O., Lenoxdale. 

Mason, Vinton W., Cambridge. 

Matthews, C. F., Shutesburj-. 

Ma.xwell, Mrs. Paul S., Pepperell. 

May, Dr. John B., Waban. 

May, John F., Fitchburg. 

Maynard, Mrs. Amy B., Northborough. 

Maynard, C. J., West Newton. 

Mc Andrews, Walter F., Fitchburg. 

McCafirej-, Joseph, Clinton. 

McCue, Hugh, East Milton. 

Mcintosh, Mrs. Frederick, Nahant. 

McKittrick, Frank G. W., Tyngsborough. 

McLean, J. B., Simsbury, Conn. 

McRae, Mabel, Boylston. 

Meech, H. P., West Hartford, Conn. 

Meier, W. H. D., Framingham. 

Melius, J. T., Wellesley. 

Meredith, Mrs. Albert A. H., Milton. 

Merrill, Albert R., Boston. 

Meyer, Heloise, Lenox. 

Miles, Mrs. Henry A., Hingham. 

Miller, Charles A., Walpole. 

Minot, William, Boston. 

Mirick, George D., Stoneham. 

Monahan, Peter P., Westfield. 

Moran, Charles, Clinton. 

Moran, John F., Clinton. 

Morris, Charles, New Haven, Conn. 

Morris, George E., Waltham. 

Morris, Mrs. James F., P^o^•idence, R. I. 

Morse, C. Harrj', Belmont. 

Morse, Eliza A., Worcester. 

Morse, Frank E., Auburndale. 

Moseley, Charles W., Newburj-port. 

Mosher, F. H., Melrose. 

Moulton, Rev. J. Sidney, Stow. 

Munns, Dr. C. O., Oxford, O. 

Murphy, Robert Cushman, Brooklyn, 

N. Y. 
Newton, Dr. Carrie E., Brewer, Me. 
Nichols, Mary W., Danvers. 
Norcross, Otis W., Baldwin\-ille. 
Northey, William E., Topsfield. 
Norton, Arthur H., Portland, Me. 
Nutt, N. A., South Ashburnham. 
Olney, William B., Seekonk. 

Otis, Herman, Fitchburg. 

O'Toole, John, Clinton. 

Otterson, A. W., Hall, N. Y. 

Packard, Anna W., Hudson. 

Packard, Winthrop, Canton. 

Parker, Augustin H., Charles River Vil- 

Parker, Harold, Lancaster. 

Parker, Herbert, Lancaster. 

Paxon, Mrs. A. M., Lowell. 

Peabody, Charles J., Topsfield. 

Pease, Mrs. Cora E., Maiden. 

Pease, E. Linn, Thompsonville, Conn. 

Pease, Harriet R., Greenfield. 

Peaslee, Frank J., Lynn. 

Perron, Homer E., Worcester. 

Perr5% Dr. Henry J., Boston. 

Phillips, Geo. G., Green, R. I. 

Phypers, Mrs. G. W., South Euclid, O. 

Pierce, George Willis, Jamaica Plain. 

Pilsbury, Frank O., Walpole. 

Piper, George W., Andover. 

Pitman, Harold A., Boston. 

Poole, J. Edward, Lynn. 

Pope, Alexander, Brookline. 

Porter, Juliet, Worcester. 

Powell, Edwin C, Springfield. 

Powell, Mrs. S. W., Great Barrington. 

Powers, L. Moore, Gloucester. 

Pratt, Edward H., North Adams. 

Pratt, Nathan W., North Middleborough. 

Prescott, C. W., Concord. 

Puffer, Loring W., Brockton. 

Pulley, James M., Melrose. 

Pulsifer, William H., Pittsfield. 

Quinby, Bertha W., Saco, Me. 

Rawson, Charles I., Oxford. 

Redfield, Julia W., Pittsfield. 

Rice, George H., St. Augustine, Fla. 

Rich, Mrs. Snow, Boston. 

Richards, Harriet E., Brookline. 

Richardson, Clarence E., Attleboro. 

Richardson, Guy, Dorchester. 

Richardson, John K., Wellesley Hills. 

Robbins, Mrs. Reginald C, Hamilton. 

Robbins, Reginald C, Hamilton. 

Robbins, Samuel D., Belmont. 

Robertson, Sylvester P., Plainfield. 

Robinson, John, Salem. 

Robinson, William A., Tisbury. 

Rogers, Howard P., Framingham. 

Rogers, J. Riley, Byfield. 

Ross, Helen W., Ipswich. 

Rountree, H. H., Randolph. 

Ruberg, Lyman E., Greenfield. 

Rugg, Harold G., Hanover, N. H. 

Ruggles, Deane F., Plainfield, N. H. 

Saltonstall, John L., Beverly. 

Saunders, Marj' T., Salem. 

Sawyer, Miss M. E., Walpole. 

Schaff, Morris, Southborough. 

Seabury, Joseph S., Wayland. 

Seton, Ernest Thompson, Greenwich, 

Shattuck, Clara M., Pepperell. 

Shaw, C. F., Abington. 


Shaw, Dr. J. Holbrook, Plymouth. 

Shedd, Albert Edward, Sharon. 

Sherman, Althea R., National, la. 

Shumway, Franklin P., Melrose. 

Simms, Mrs. Herman E., Haverhill. 

Sims, William Fisher, Saugus. 

Sinclair, J. A., New Hampton, N. H. 

Sitgreaves, Miss M. J., Chestnut Hill. 

Slade, Elisha, Somerset. 

Slocum, William H., Jamaica Plain. 

Small, E. L., North Truro. 

Smith, Curtis Nye, Newton. 

Smith, W. A., Wilmington. 

Smith, Wilbur F., South Norwalk, Conn. 

Soule, Caroline C, Brookline. 

Stanley, Mrs. Mary R., North Attle- 

Starbuck, Margaret C, Jamaica Plain. 
Starks, Charles E., Winter Hill. 
Stevens, F. E., Somerville. 
Stevens, Mabel E., St. Johnsbury, Vt. 
Stevens, Mabel T., Wollaston. 
Stevens, Dr. R. B., Roslindale. 
Stiles, Jas. T., Gardner. 
St. John, Edward P., Hartford, Conn. 
St. John, George C, Wallingford, Conn. 
Stockwdl, Wallace E., Fitchburg. 
Stone, Clayton E., Lunenburg. 
Stone, Mrs. F. H., South Dartmouth. 
Streeter, Mrs. A. W., Winchendon. 
Sturgis, S. W., Groton. 
Tenney, Sanborn, Williamstown. 
Thayer, Abbott H., Monadnock, N. H. 
Thayer, Herbert E., Springfield. 
Thompson, Ella W., Woburn. 
Till, William, Magnolia. 
Tilton, Louis O., Waban. 
Tinkham, Horace W., Touisset. 
Torrey, Harry A., East Sandwich. 
Townsend, Rev. Manley B., Nashua, 

N. H. 
Tucker, William F., Worcester. 

Tuttle, Paul G., Fitchburg. 

Van Huyck, J. M., Lee. 

Vardon, Ross, Greenwood. 

Wade, Mrs. Martha, Mansfield. 

Wait, Francis A., Medford. 

Waite, J. W., South Hadley. 

Waite, Margaret L., Cambridge. 

Waldo, Chas. Sidney, Jamaica Plain. 

Walker, Helen, Milton. 

Ware, Lyman E., Norfolk. 

Warner, R. L., Concord. 

Warren, William A., Lunenburg. 

Watson, Frank E., Haverhill. 

Weeks, W. B., Beverly. 

Wentworth, Nathaniel, Hudson, N. H. 

Wharton, William P., Groton. 

Wheat, Mrs. Mary A., Dorchester. 

Whitcomb, Mrs. Henry F., Amherst. 

White, Grace C, West Brookfield. 

White, Dr. James C, Boston. 

White, Mary A., Heath. 

Whiting, Adrian P., Plymouth. 

Whiting, Willard C, Cambridge. 

Whitmore, Martha W., Plymouth. 

Whittaker, Albert E., Fitchburg. 

Wilder, Dr. Burt G., Brookline. 

Wilder, Grace E., East Lynn. 

Willard, Helen, Brookline. 

Williams, Dr. Edward R., Cambridge. 

Williams, M. P., Wellesley. 

Williams, Mrs. Rob't W., Medfield. 

Wilson, Francis J., Fitchburg. 

Witherbee, Anne F., Marlborough. 

Wood, J. Elmer, Beverly. 

Woodward, Harry W., Lynn. 

Woodward, Dr. L. F., Worcester. 

Worthen, Dr. C. F., Weston. 

Wright, Mrs. Mabel Osgood, Fairfield, 

Wright, Samuel B., Fitchburg. 
Wright, Mrs. Theodore F., Cambridge. 
Wyman, Mrs. H. A., Boston.