George Fenwick's article on cats as an invasive species ("House cats: The destructive invasive species purring on your lap" Feb. 26) was filled with misinformation. It is easy to blame cats for environmental degradation; it is far more difficult to place the blame where it belongs. While cats kill birds, the threat they pose is in no way equal to the threat posed by human-caused habitat loss, climate change, or pollution. These are the threats to wildlife that we should be worrying about today.
Further, cats do not spread diseases far and wide. Rats, which cats kill, are believed to have been the cause of the plagues in the Middle Ages, and cats arrived in America because sailors brought them along to kill rodents. The diseases cats can transmit, such as
Cats do not generally spread
Mr. Fenwick is right that cats should not be allowed to roam freely, but he neglects the most important factor in reducing the number of outdoor cats: educating owners on responsible pet ownership. We can't kill our way out of this problem if owners persist in putting cats outside. The author and his cat-hating colleagues should join forces with animal welfare groups to promote educational campaigns and low-cost spraying and neutering.
A little compassion for the cats wouldn't hurt, either.
Emily Chalmers, Baltimore