I was never a "cat person" until the last few years. I grew up with them on the farm, but they were like the cattle & pigs; just another animal, albeit ones that ran free. Never fed them, they were on their own to fend for themselves; and they did keep the rats & such down. (This was in Michigan)
When we built where we are now, it was real rual, and we had real vermin and snake problems. Moles, crawdads, copperheads, you name it. (I've killed four copperheads in my yard, the first couple years we were here.)
Now we have cats, and no more snakes, no more moles, and much fewer crawdad mounds. We do feed them now, tho. (Including any birds I take)
They "run free" to a large extent, and if they damage someone's property or injure someone's pets, etc, I'd expect them to be shot for it. But I can't see shooting them just for existing.
In my experience, cats running "loose" cause a lot less damage and danger than dogs running loose. Never had a feral cat try to sneak up on me on my own property; I have had a nasty, mangy-looking feral dog do just that. (He's much calmer now...)
Sidenote - THAT's why you "CCW" at home, in my area; as much for dogs & snakes as for humans.