Wednesday 13 July 2011

The Environment and the Cat

If you spend time on the internet as I do, you invariably bump into lots of articles about feral and stray cats damaging the environment. Feral cats are said to kill millions (billions?) of birds - we don't know how many despite what the experts say - and they spread disease. They cost billions every year. The feral cat breeds like wild fire and is a menace...blah..blah..A lot of it is grossly exaggerated and biased.

The authors of these blogs neither have hard science to support their arguments nor do they feel inclined to confess that people cause by far the greatest environmental damage of all the world's species. That would be politically incorrect, wouldn't it? These bloggers also fail to write balanced articles. Some are probably inveterate cat haters.

This site is the voice of the cat so let's put a bit of balance into the discussion. Cats, domestic, stray and feral, can and probably do benefit the environment in at least one way. They keep the rodent population down.

We should remember that the original reason why the wild cat was domesticated in a mutual arrangement 9,000 years ago was to keep down mice and rats etc. at grain storage sites. In Egypt it is said they were also used to kill snakes. The African wildcat, the size of a domestic cat, preys on snakes amongst other wildlife so this has credibility.

Across the United States of America you will probably find many mill proprietors who employ a good mill cat or two or three - females with kittens are best - to keep the mill free of rodents. The cat is a very clean creature. We know how fastidiously they clean themselves. They can be trained to avoid dangerous machinery and they are hygienic. They are good unpaid employees.

On the basis that commercial enterprises employ cats to kill mice and rats is it not fair to presume that the feral cat also kills many rodents? We hardly ever see articles on this. It leads me to speculate what the state of affairs would be if, as some people want, all the feral cats, some 80+ million were removed from the USA. We don't know the consequences.

Perhaps there would be a "problem" with rats and mice?

Michael signature


  1. I completely agree with you! I come across a whole lot of wildlife and cat bloggers that just have the worst things to say about feral cats and don't even like the idea of neutering/spaying and releasing them. They just them gone I guess? I'm glad I finally came across a post that addressed it in a completely different way!


  2. Thanks for the comment.


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