Who Looks The Most Dangerous? Human or Cat?

This is a picture of an Australian man, with a cheesy smile, holding up, by its skin, a very large, dead, black feral cat from the area called Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory, Australia (see map). He probably killed it.

He believes that the feral cat is becoming very large in Australia because of an evolutionary process and that it is killing a wide range of native wildlife species. He also believes that it has to be exterminated at every opportunity and the chosen method is the gun. Basically they just like shooting cats.


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The photograph is from the Warddeken ranger group. I am sure it is protected by copyright but as the Australian newspaper, the Sydney Herald, has stolen photographs protected by copyright from PoC, in the past, and failed to respond to my requests to remove them, I feel free to publish the photo here.

In this photograph, which creature do you think looks the most dangerous and which one kills the most wildlife?

Killing Australia's feral cats

Killing Australia’s feral cats

The answer is the human. He is responsible for far more wildlife destruction than the feral cat. That is a fact. However, they don’t see it.

The chairman of the ranger group, Dean Yirbarbuk says:

“We hope this project will help us to try and find a way to get rid of the cats.”

I have always said the Aussies have a thing about their feral cats. In general, they hate them but they fail to accept the fact that they introduced them to Australia and failed to act as responsible cat owners or managers. Now they want to slaughter them en masse. An example of typically blind, hypocritical humankind.

The Aussies completely disagree with trap-neuter-return as a way of controlling feral cat colonies and reducing them. They simply believe in shooting ’em dead. This sounds like Woodsman.

There is a parallel between the American and Australian “feral cat problem”.  A significant percentage of the people of both countries like to kill feral cats.

There are more civilised ways to do things and the first step is to do a bit of introspective thinking. Humans are the root of the problem and of native wildlife damage. Only arrogance prevents an acceptance of that simple fact.

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Who Looks The Most Dangerous? Human or Cat? — 30 Comments

  1. I must admit I have a love for feral cats. They represent a return to nature and survival of the fittest which produces marvellous animals. In the case of Australia I am not sure if they do affect the survival of wild life. There is some evidence for an Australian wildcat that became extinct, not it’s prey. I have 5 cats that live permanently outside and several more that go outside for walkabouts, but the garden and olive and orange groves are filled with birdsong and the chatter of crows in the pine trees. Maybe the birds have adopted ways to get round the cats which don’t seem to be interested in them anyway. I have only ever seen one dead bird which looked like a fledgling that fell out of the nest.

    • Australians in general believe the feral cat kills native species and birds are top of the list. However, habitat loss through human activity is the biggest killer. Feral cats prey on birds last because they are harder to catch than ground dwelling mammals like rodents. Feral cats probably provide a service in keeping down rodents and the Aussies will only discover that when they have wiped out the feral cat whereupon they will start moaning again about rodents rather than cats.

      People are far more dangerous to wildlife than feral cats.

      • I totally agree, here in the US we have a big rodents problem beside the locust and other Respiratory diseases related virus spread by rodents urine and feces, yet man keep ignoring the urban expansion, illegal hunting with illegal ammunition, use of pesticide and chemicals..etc as the main factors in the extinctions of many native species; I guess the cats are easy scapegoat for cat phobics.
        Unfortunately or fortunately most of the people with cat’s phobia have no interest in reading and education, and many of them like hunting!!! They even have the gut to accuse the cats of attacking the quails next they raise for hunting purpose !!!!

  2. Australians will never wipe out feral cats which are in the process of reverting back to the Felis Sylvestris type. Australia is a huge country with a wide variety of habitats but mostly desert and semi-desert which is the natural habitat for the F s Lybica. In the outback you can walk for hundreds of miles without seeing a soul but rodents and small creatures which are food for feral cats abound. The observed fact that the cats are increasing in size means they are doing well.

    • That is a good thought. The domestic cat has gone feral and is now reverting back to the wildcat. Is that a sort of reverse evolution on the basis that the domestic cat evolved from the wildcat?

  3. ~A significant percentage of the people of both countries like to kill feral cats.~

    And what is the actual percentage for the “significant percentage” of Americans who “like to kill feral cats”? “Significant” implies valid statistics. Could you please give your source for these data?

    • My source is years of reading from many sources on the internet, some good some bad. Most feral cat killing takes place at shelters but they don’t like to do it, I expect. However, the indications are that there is quite a lot of surreptitious killing.

      As there should be almost no one killing feral cats, informally, as it is cruel, the word “significant” can be a relatively small number of people. There are no valid statistics because we don’t even know how many feral cats there are or how many are killed at shelters.

      As for Australia, the chosen method is rifle treating the whole event as sport.

  4. Yes people created the feral cat problem by their irresponsible behaviour in the first place, abandoned un-neutered cats had no choice but to form colonies and breed, like too many humans their instinct is to reproduce themselves!
    But now the cats get the blame! Typical ignorance of humans!
    Anyone who can kill an animal and pose with a big smug smile for a photo is to my mind NOT human, humans are supposed to be humane.
    Well they will find out too late just what they have done when they have destroyed all of Nature’s species, those of us who ARE humane can see it coming but there’s nothing we can do about it while idiots like Woody and that chap in the photo are hell bent on going ahead with their stupid and cruel mission.

    • Completely agree with every word you write 😉 You know I always do. The human needs to take stock and be a little less arrogant and less sure of himself.

  5. Hi Michael. It can be thought of as reverse evolution, but also as continuing evolution to adapt to the original conditions it’s ancestors once lived under but which to those cats is new. A cat’s domestication is only a thin veneer and it has the original wildcat under the skin so to speak, and is already well equipped both mentally and physically to be a true wildcat. Only when enough mutations have taken place to differentiate it from what we call domestic breeds will it be officially a wildcat. That is evolution too. I wonder what is the genetic difference between the F s Sylvestis and domestic cats. Not much I think.

    • This is an interesting subject because as you say it is happening at early stages with the Aussie feral cats. It was the Turkish Angora Association guys who made the point that each new domestic cat born has to be, in effect, domesticated through socialisation.

      The only obvious difference genetically between wildcat and domestic cat is the coat. There was no need for a camouflaged coat so less functional coats developed. I’d expect to see feral cats in Aussie eventually developing sandy colored tabby coats in about 100 years!

      Certainly if the world had a major conflagration that killed lots of people – distinctly possible – I would expect the domestic cat to go into reverse, or fresh, evolution back to the wildcat but of a slightly different kind as you suggest.

  6. Hi Michael and Valley Girl. Regarding the use of the word “significant” signifies valid statistics. I don’t think that is the case. Significant is only another way of saying meaningful.
    “”” sig·nif·i·cant (sg-nf-knt)
    adj.
    1. Having or expressing a meaning; meaningful.
    2. Having or expressing a covert meaning; suggestive: a significant glance. See Synonyms at expressive.
    3. Having or likely to have a major effect; important: a significant change in the tax laws.
    4. Fairly large in amount or quantity: significant casualties; no significant opposition.
    5. Statistics Of or relating to observations or occurrences that are too closely correlated to be attributed to chance and therefore indicate a systematic relationship.

    Please note that statistics can be significant or insignificant(meaningless although claimed to be valid.
    The “statistics” put out by the Smithsonian and Aydubon are typical of this latter category. Of the estimated 4.9 billion breeding land birds in the USA, up to 3.9 billion fall prey to cat predation, which is 75.5 %, and a further 21% die through collisions with towers and windows, annually. This gives a total mortality of 96.5% annually. At that rate all birds in the USA have been long extinct. I am sure you are not interested in similar “valid” statistics for people in Australia and the USA who like to kill cats. It is enough to know that legislation in Australia permits cats to be killed and the tendency in the USA and New Zealand is along the same road. http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/science/2013/01/feral-cats-kill-billions-of-small-critters-each-year/ http://www.voxfelina.com/2013/02/garbage-in-garbage-out/
    There is a comment in the Audubon page from a person who’s barn cats all died and the pest population soared. She reverted to rat poison but soon noticed that the population of wild birds including owls was being decimated. She says she will get more cats.
    The “Garbage in, garbage out” title is very apt and brings to mind the junk science of Leslie Lyons and her Turkish Cat Genetics Study. AH! But wait a minute. Where are the Turkish cats?

  7. They’ve already destroyed their continent – killing a small percentage of cats won’t do anything – but they will have fun doing it.

    • ….they will have fun doing it.

      I may be too cynical but I think a lot of the motivation for shooting feral cats is because it is fun. It is a form of sport hunting. Why am I irritated and annoyed by the Australian treatment of feral cats? It must be a total lack of respect for the cat and the pure arrogance of the big-headed Aussie.

  8. There may be an element of psychosis with these cat killers. They single out the unfavourable zoonotic aspects and negative affects. In one long comment on the Smithsonian page the writer points out all the zoonotic diseases that cats carry without proving if they actually transmit them to humans or not. He claims they carry bubonic and pneumonic plague but fails to explain why even 50 million plus cats thus infected in close contact with humans have not caused one human death by this route. Also that they carry toxoplasmosis, that is true, but it is only infectious for a few days following initial contagion, or that any person who does a bit of gardening is much more liable to infection from the soil than from any cat, or that immunity develops quickly from any any infection. The host of diseases that humans give to humans is not mentioned I wonder why they don’t advocate killing all birds to stop the spread of avian flu? Their arguments are completely one-sided and aimed at supporting the killing of cats to satisfy their psychosis. They remind me of religious fanatics who dream up all kinds of commands from God in order to satisfy their lust to kill.

    • Completely agree. There is a part of human society who are irrationally against the cat. It is probably due to fear of the cat. The fear is deep rooted and stems from ancient times when wild cat species were a real danger to people in settlements. We are talking 50,000 to 100,000 years ago or more. The wild cats were much larger than the domestic cat and so on but that hard wired inherited fear is still inside people and the irrational ones – which includes scientists and intelligent people – convert that fear to “kill them, they are a danger”. Pathetic basically. That is my rather simplistic theory.

  9. This is absolute and utter rubbish. You are so ignorant of what actually occurs in Australia and all the stereotypes highlighted in this post are so inaccurate. If you’ve actually seen a feral cat in the NT you would know how HUGE they are and how very destructive. I find your use of the word “believe” in the following is based on little more than your small minded assumptions:
    “He believes that the feral cat is becoming very large in Australia because of an evolutionary process and that it is killing a wide range of native wildlife species. He also believes that it has to be exterminated at every opportunity and the chosen method is the gun. Basically they just like shooting cats.”

    Additionally, you have no idea what “he” believes and how on earth would you know that he even killed the cat? for all you know it might have been hit by a car, as many actually are rather than being actually shot, and the man in the picture took a photo to emphasise how big the bloody cat is!

    And in answer to your question “which creature do you think looks the most dangerous and which one kills the most wildlife?” I would say the feral cat for both, as you are insinuating a very racist and highly inaccurate alternative.

  10. As a current wildlife conservation student in Australia, (section removed because insulting – admin) I will make this short and sweet.

    Our continent is a victim of the species introduced to it by European settlers.

    The same European settlers that overtook the American continent several centuries ago.
    I am not blaming any country or race.

    However the fact now IS:

    There are countless non endemic species ravaging the continent and destroying native species.

    FERAL CATS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATH OF AT LEAST 75 MILLION NATIVE ANIMALS A NIGHT

    Contrary to popular belief, THEY DO NOT HELP WITH PEST CONTROL

    (this section deleted as rude – admin)

    Feral cats are not your Mr Fluffy the companion kitty.

    They are destructive and dangerous and responsible for the extinction of countless native animals.

    • Thank you for commenting. Although, I have removed 2 short sections because I deemed them to be rude and unnecessary. Like many people, you have missed the point of the article. The point is this that the human has a far greater negative impact on native species in Australia than the feral cat and, in addition, the feral cat was put there indirectly by the human, so on both counts if there is fault to be found people should look to themselves.

      Without doubt, the feral cat in Australia does prey on native wildlife and there appears to be a problem. I know that, other people know that. However, people should look to themselves to limit their impact on native species through their activities causing loss of habitat and for other reasons, and if people want to reduce the feral cat population they should do it humanely rather than simply authorising people to shoot the cats at will which in any decent society would be deemed to be cruel.

      Angry people like you who appear to be cat haters and who like to use capital letters throughout their posts are myopic when it comes to looking at the true source of the problem: people like you! 😉

  11. Dear Micheal, here is more to appreciate your cats 🙂

    I understand the reasons many governments want to keep the numbers of plague cases confidential, but to continue the systematic killing of street cats rather than helping them spread out in a difficult to escape areas; in Orange county Florida, there is only one brochure about cats in the animal services that deals with how to keep your neighbor’s cat off your yard rather than educating people about the importance of roaming free cats for the public health and man’s survival.
    The World Health Organization had several conferences on Plague,
    I was lucky to find info from an a relatively old one (over 8 yrs old), I am sure the numbers have tremendously increased since:

    UN- WHO International meeting on prevention and control of plague 2006
    http://www.who.int/csr/resources/publications/WHO_HSE_EPR_2008_3w.pdf

    WHO- Disease Outbreak News: plague
    Plague
    10 August 2010 Plague in Peru http://www.who.int/csr/don/2010_08_10/en/
    11 August 2009 Plague in China
    7 November 2006 Suspected plague in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
    13 October 2006 – 14 June 2006 -15 March 2005- 18 February 2005 Plague in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
    10 July 2003 – Plague in Algeria
    2002 – Plague in Malawi
    20 February 2002 – Plague in India
    2001 – Plague in Zambia
    The total number of human plague cases reported to WHO in 2002 by 13 countries was 1925, of which 177 were fatal. In 2003, 9 countries reported 2118 cases including 182 deaths. These
    figures represent a decrease when compared with the annual average figures (2895 cases, 206 deaths) for the previous 10 years (1992–2001), when 28 956 cases with 2064 deaths were
    reported from 22 countries. During that decade, 80.3% of cases and 84.5% of deaths were reported from Africa.
    http://www.who.int/wer/2004/en/wer7933.pdf

    NB: no numbers are reported from Australia and US although we know from media that they exist.

    Here is another indication to the urgent need to have cats roaming in our street, Bill Gates funds a study at UCF to find an affordable vaccine for Plague; note the Plague is almost hidden in the email circulated:
    Dr. Daniell Presents His Research to Gates Foundation
    Professor Henry Daniell of the College of Medicine’s Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences was invited to spend a day at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle on October 1.

    For the past several years, Dr. Daniell’s research at the Burnett school has centered on developing genetically modified plants to create low-cost vaccines and biopharmaceuticals. That work has yielded potential vaccines for a variety of the world’s most common infectious diseases like the black plague, cholera, malaria and metabolic disorders including diabetes and hemophilia. More..

    News Release May 2011:
    Dr. Daniell’s Gates Foundation Grant COULD Create Safer, Needle-free Vaccine
    An innovative way of making vaccines by College of Medicine Microbiologist Henry Daniell has attracted a two-year $761,302 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation because the development has the potential to make vaccines less expensive, more effective and needle free.
    SINCE 2000, Dr. Daniell, a professor at the college’s Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, has been developing a new method of creating vaccines using GENETICALLY ENGINEERED tobacco and lettuce plants to fight diseases like malaria, cholera, or plague.
    The Gates Foundation grant will help Dr. Daniell develop a polio vaccine with Konstantin Chumakov, associate director, Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research at the Food and Drug Administration. Should Dr. Daniell’s vaccine receive FDA approval, it would open the door for the production of a variety of cheaper, more effective vaccines around the world….”
    This is the link:

    Note: We have not heard yet if this vaccine got the FDA approval, also note it is made of genetically modified substance!
    It took Dr. Danielle 11 years of study and research which indicates the disease has been spread enough to alert the governments of great nations for the need of vaccine. Here we are in the 2014 and Australia and US East and West coasts are flagged Red on the Plague map around the world, yet animal services continue to kill the cats rather than protect them and educate people about the importance of their existence for man’s survival. I sometimes wish I lived in Old Egypt where the knowledgeable old Egyptians and Great Greek philosophers understood the importance of cat; they treated it with utmost respect. Cats saved Egypt from over population of rodents, spiders, Locust, reptiles including crocodiles and alligators..etc..
    These are the same problems we face in the world nowadays, and selling poison by corporations to the public is not the answer, our water is so polluted, potable water became as expensive as milk if not more. I am not calling people to worshiping the cat like the Egyptians once did, but we need to understand that with man comes rodents and rodents can’t be stopped by poison, the only effective predator is the cat; that contrary to man, doesn’t kill to extinct rather to control the over population.

    “Please feel free to modify or edit if you wish to publish this” Best Regards

  12. Dear Michael
    I noticed the link to UCF college of medicine is not working!
    Here is an email that includes the text of the link, I have sent it 3 yrs ago to a colleague. Please feel free to edit and cut, you also don’t have to publish I just want you to know what is going on here at the other side of the spectrum.. 🙂
    Have a wonderful day.
    By the way, it would be a good idea to share this info with Al Gore, he has a page on Facebook.

    • Gina-
      I’m familiar with UCF and it is lesser than the University of Florida College of Medicine in its research.
      Al Gore is a sweet man but daft in my opinion.

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