The State of Hawaii Department of Health estimates that there are 500,000 cats on the Island of Maui. Thousands of these are feral, non-domesticated animals left to hunt and capture prey in the wild. Feral cats (Felis catus) inhabit all forest types on the Hawaiian Islands, including wet montane forest environments such as those found in Hanawi NAR and TNC's Waikamoi Preserve (where Kiwikiu are found). Cats and cat signs (scat or tracks) have been observed in Hanawi NAR and TNC's Waikamoi Preserve and surrounding areas by Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project staff members as well as outside researchers. An analysis of cat scats found opportunistically within Hanawi has found the remains of both nestlings and adults of native and non-native bird species. Although cats generally prefer small mammal prey items, they utilize a wide range of food resources including native avifauna. Forest birds that forage in the understory, such as the Poouli, are especially vulnerable to cat predation. Predation by feral cats has had serious negative effects on populations of avifauna.
Effective predator control of these animals helps to alleviate their impact on forest bird populations.
Read on for more information:
American Bird Conservancy's website for downloadable materials about Keeping Cats Indoors.