Hawaii: Cats & Chickens & Nenes … oh my!

When I went to Hawaii, this is what I was expecting.

wailua falls kauai Hawaii cats

Wailua Falls, Kauai

And that was there, to be sure. But what I saw a whole lot of, and wasn’t expecting, was this.

Hawaii cats wildand this:

Why *did* the chicken cross the road?

Even in the stores, there were wild chickens moseying through.
hawaii chicken in storeThe girls and I felt really bad for one of the Hawaii cats in the first picture. One of its eyes was closed, and we wanted to help it, but then these signs are posted everywhere:

feral cats chickens sign hawaiiWhy are there all these chickens running wild in Hawaii? I did a little research, and there are a few theories. One claims that sugarcane plantation workers in the early 1900s brought and raised chickens, and some got loose. Another theory is more recent: in 1992, Hurricane Iniki hit Hawaii and destroyed a lot of chicken farms.

As to the cats, I don’t see any theory on how they originated, but they seem to like higher elevations (and the two I photographed were indeed high up, at Iao Valley State Park), and apparently many are suffering from feline leukemia or the cat version of HIV … poor things!

One animal we didn’t see any of, to our consternation, was the nene (“nay nay”), Hawaii’s state bird. You just never know on a vacation, do you?

Think back to someplace you’ve traveled – how did the reality differ from your ideas of how the place would be?

3 thoughts on “Hawaii: Cats & Chickens & Nenes … oh my!

  1. The others saw the nene birds, they told me.
    I didn’t. I believe it was in the vicinity of the Kilauea Lighthouse.
    I heard a third theory on the wild chickens… They had beautiful coloring. At least I never saw any roosters chasing people!

  2. Very interesting they’ve let chickens and feral cats become such a common thing. I guess there are no coyotes, foxes, or other natural predators! Too bad you didn’t get to spy a nene, but if you came to Indiana you might not see a cardinal either.

  3. Now this is very interesting to me. I am so glad you took the time to post the photos. I wonder why they can not do some sort of sterilization project on the cats to help cut down on the population?

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