26th Feb 2013 – The Google listing for cat news is depressing for animal and cat lovers. It has been like that for a long time. Search for “domestic cat” in Google News and, normally, the usual stories are about feral cats, unwanted cats and cat abuse, that sort of thing – nearly all negative stuff.
Recently, with the notorious Smithsonian study, which painted an unjustified and misleading description of domestic cats roaming America killing billions of birds, all we have are stories about the murderous cat. It is a black, and I say, highly distorted and unfair picture.
The following are the stories on the first page of Google news today 26th February 2013:
- House cats: The destructive invasive species purring on your lap
- Don’t Just Blame Cats: Dogs Disrupt Wildlife, Too
- Domestic Cats and Billions of Birds
- ‘Stone-cold serial killers’: Domestic cats slaughter billions upon …
- Editorial: How to cope with Concord’s feral cats
- World’s Tallest Domestic Cat, the Savannah Cat, Resembles a – (comment from me: this is not news!)
- The Shocking Truth about Cats “is also one of the world’s most destructive predators, killing for kicks..”
- When cats are outlawed, what animals should replace them as pets?
- World’s longest domestic cat dies (a reference to Stewie the Maine Coon with the Guinness World Records longest body who died aged 4)
- Rabid Domestic Cat Found in Glen Ellen
What can you say? These are the top news stories from Google (the world’s biggest website) about the domestic cat. All but one is negative.
60% of the stories are about the cat as a wanton killer of wildlife. The majority of news stories on page two listings are on the same topic. These stories are all built on the back of the Smithsonian study that itself admits is based on estimates and guesswork. The online newspapers convert estimates to fact. It is so irresponsible.
The story about Stewie, the world’s longest domestic cat, is also sad because this famous Maine Coon died at 8 years of age – too young. It appears that he died of cancer behind the eye – upsetting.
The story about rabid cats pops up from time to time. I know I defend cats and I know occasionally stray cats get rabies but it is very rare. Bats and other animals are much more likely to be carriers. I just think this sort of story paints a distorted picture and gives the impression that cats are a menace to humans as well as wildlife. Not good.
Item 6 above is not a real news story and the only one that is not negative. Ironic that. All the news is bad.
Is there some sort of conspiracy going on here? Perhaps the journalists working on the mainstream online newspapers are either cat haters or at least neutral vis-à-vis the domestic cat. All I know is that they pounce on negative stories about a companion animal that provides billions of hours of pleasure and support to people across America, which is a fact, in stark contrast to the unsupported assertions by so called scientists and journalists that the cat is slaughtering billions of birds.
We need a more rational and fair approach to reporting about the cat; the most popular companion animal in the world. We also need some proper stories about how irresponsible cat owners are at the root of the “cat killer problem”. The cat is the messenger. The cat owner is the cause. The cat is behaving naturally. The cat owner is behaving irresponsibly (sometimes). There are millions of highly responsible cat owners but a small proportion are not and it only takes a small minority of people to ruin things for the responsible majority and the cat who lives in the human world.
Journalists should be applying their intelligence to ways to improve things for cat welfare and at the same time to reduce predation on wildlife, humanely and sensibly, rather than spouting out regurgitated inaccuracies from an unreliable and potentially biased source.