Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Kitten Killing and More

No, this is not about that internet euphemism for mastrubation; it's about the recent spate of alarmist articles that allege that cats are bird- and wildlife-killing machines that account for much mortality.

The solution sometimes proposed?  Eliminate large numbers of cats; or at least spay them.  Especially feral cats.

Let's put things in perspective.  Some cats are efficient killers; most are not.  Certainly, the domesticated, well-fed cat has less motivation and opportunity to engage in aviacide.  Moreover, this is a skill that is partly learned by observation.  The typical housebound kitten has much fewer opportunity to learn this.

Plus he has regular access to food. 

So what does a house kitty do?  He sits on his butt, or he sleeps.

And, seriously, where does that data come from?  One thing that I've learned over time is that some people are very impressed with numbers; and they should be, if the source is valid. 

The fact that humans do domesticate several species of animals and make a select number of species does tinker with nature, and possibly the course of evolution.  But so does feeding the birds! On the average, more birds are able to survive and breed because humans kindly feed them.  The rigors of natural selection are lessened to some degree, some less vigorous birds may survive into adulthood.

And so does every silo or warehouse shift the balance.  Basically, these are unintended places where rats and mice have more access to food than would be present in nature.

And cats are not the only species that preys on birds.  Even other birds, such as hawks and owls. 

But, wait!

We're part of nature too.  And we screw with it for our own advantage.  And thank god that we do, sometimes.  Advances in agriculture, animal science, medicine, and public health are examples of our tinkering with nature. 

So I would not lose much sleep over some lardass housecats offing a few birds or rodents. 

As a matter of fact, the PETA crowd does not come out strongly pro-rat.


  1. I don't think I've ever seen the word 'aviacide' before. And it has multiple meanings on the net.

  2. I agree -- cats are too often case in the evil role.

  3. In my opinion, the efficiency of cats as killers is oveerrated. A well-fed cat mostly lazes around and is content.

  4. What?? PETA is not demanding protection for rats?? How did I not know this??