What do you do when you – a citizen whose rights are protected by the U.S. government – are threatened with harm and/or death by armed criminals, and their apprehension is beyond the scope of the local police? You call the SWAT team.

This is what we need for birds, whose rights as government-protected species are violated every day by free-roaming cats. Thanks to groups like Alley Cat Allies, outdoor and feral cats have become above the law. What birds need is their own SWAT team.

Instead of Special Weapons and Tactics, think: Sealed With A Trap.

Here’s the prospective scenario: Neighbor A has a carefully tended backyard, a garden, and two birdfeeders. Neighbor B has nine outdoor cats. Neighbor B’s cats are constantly on neighbor A’s property, urinating and defecating all over her garden, spreading disease, maiming and killing the birds who flock to her feeders. Neighbor A asks neighbor B to contain his cats. Neighbor B tells her that his cats wouldn’t be happy indoors, that cats’ hunting is “natural,” and that he has no intention of keeping his cats inside.

FeralCatTrap_small_ Neighbor A calls the police, and they tell her there is nothing they can do. She is not capable – physically or psychologically – of trapping and getting rid of one cat, let alone nine. Neighbor A’s private property and peace of mind are both suffering because of the cats, which are killing government-protected species. What can she do?

She could call the SWAT team. SWAT teams would have to be organized privately, town by town, county by county. They would be made up of people who are sick and tired of government-protected species being slaughtered by domestic cats.

The SWAT team member would arrive with Havahart traps and catch the cats. There would then be three options: 1) re-home them to people who will keep them inside; 2) drop them off at an animal shelter as far away as possible; or 3) humanely euthanize them.

Outdoor/feral cat people are bullies who prey on people unable to fight back, just as their cats do with birds. It’s time for this to end. Enough hand-wringing, enough taking butchered birds to exhausted, emotionally battered wildlife rehabilitators.

How can we get this idea going? Suggestions are welcome.

Sealed With A Trap. Human rights, property rights, and wildlife rights – all in one steel container.

Written by Suzie
Suzie Gilbert is a wild bird rehabilitator whose shameful secret is that on more than one occasion she has received a female LBJ, or a fledgling whatever, and has been completely unable to ID it. Luckily she has birder friends who will rush to her aid, although she must then suffer their mockery. She is the author of her bird-rehabbing memoir Flyaway (HarperCollins) and the children's book Hawk Hill (Chronicle Books). Her recent suspenseful, bird-filled adventure novel Unflappable (Perch Press) was selected by Audubon Magazine as one of their Three Best Summer Reads of 2020. She lives in New York's beautiful Hudson Valley and is always up for a good hike.