Australian woman receives backlash after suggesting residents eat feral cat meat

Kaye Kessing, a writer and illustrator, believes that the residents of Australia should be eating feral cat meat on a regular basis. She has set her own example by preparing what she describes as a “caterole”. She caught, skinned and sautéed and then served up a feral cat. She did this as part of the Alice Springs Desert Festival in 2007.

“When I dealt with the first cat corpse I thought as I skinned it, this is sweet meat…I’d describe it as a mix between chicken and goanna,” she said

Kaye Kessing
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Kaye Kessing

She firmly believes that feral cat meat should be on the Australian national menu. She believes this because she has unquestionably (and I suggest unthinkingly) taken on board what the Australian authorities are saying namely that the feral cat is destroying millions upon millions of native species and that the situation is out of control. There is a need for a war against the feral cat, the government says and if you’re killing lots of feral cat why not eat them at the same time? Quite a simple formula when you think about it. Too simple in fact. It is all guesswork and it ignores human activity and its destruction of native species habitat.

She says that Australia’s citizens should put away their emotions:

“People have to get over their emotion, they have to realise the critical danger that these animals are causing.”

She believes that she is presenting a logical and common sense and indeed practical idea. However, her proposal is utterly impractical because you cannot put aside the emotional aspect of the relationship between human and domestic. That also applies to the feral cat. The feral cat should be a domestic cat and we put these unfortunate and unwanted cats out there in the wild to survive. They are linked to the domestic cat and they are our responsibility.

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The wildcat has been domesticated for around 10,000 years, as we know. You cannot put aside and ignore the deeply emotional connection that millions upon millions of cat caretakers have with their “family member”. More and more often people are relating to their domestic companion cats as family members. This is because of the emotional connection. It is therefore impossible to put the emotional content aside and agree to cook feral cats. The suggestion that feral cats should be on the menu is completely untenable.

cat caserole

The truth of the matter is that in all Western countries and countries which are being westernised there are more and more domestic cats living in close harmony with their human guardians. Therefore this emotional connection is becoming deeper and deeper across the globe.

The citizens of Asian countries will, I predict, gradually adjust their relationship to the domestic cat such that it is similar to the situation in the West. At the point when it is on a par with countries such as America and the UK then the whole concept of eating stray, domestic and feral cats will be regarded as unacceptable.

Conclusion: you cannot ignore human emotions especially when they are deeply ingrained as is the case in the relationship between human and domestic cat. Forget about eating feral cats and get on with managing them sensibly and humanely.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

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11 Responses

  1. Janine says:

    As an Australian (vegan) with two beautiful (inside only – lots and lots of playtime!), I really do find this abhorrent. Then again, people here eat possums, kangaroos…This person does NOT speak for all Australians!

    • Michael Broad says:

      Nice to read your comment, Janine. I sometimes get the impression that all Australians hate feral cats. It is the news which paints that picture. It isn’t true. Thanks for taking the time to comment and provide first hand knowledge.

      • Janine says:

        Thank you Michael. I guess there are cruel people in every country…I so wish it wasn’t the case. All the best to you, Janine

  2. Sadie Ann says:

    While I detest the idea of eating cats, it’s better than poisoning them, provided their death is quick and painless. Poisoning animals results in meat that is unfit and dangerous to eat, even for carrion eaters.

    • Sadie Ann says:

      Just think of all the rotting corpses the Aussies will have to attend to.

    • Michael Broad says:

      I suppose you are right, Sadie Ann. If eating feral cats meant that the cats were slaughtered under the same rules as livestock it might be a plus. This sounds bizarre but the situation regarding feral cats in Australia is bizarre.

  3. Kathleen says:

    There surely are some people with crazy ideas in this country! Even the Government has some crazy ideas, like this ‘war on feral cats’. There are many people, though, who don’t agree with culling feral cats and don’t believe it will work anyway. In this research, culling didn’t reduce numbers of feral cats. In fact numbers increased.

  4. Pat Gregory says:

    Cats never asked to be domesticated now they are it’s our duty to look after them, when as a kid our last cat died within weeks our barn was overrun with rats, cats certainly did not ask to be taken to Australia either.

  5. Sandra Murphey, No. CA, USA says:

    This strikes me as akin to eating humans. She may have never had a cat as a pet, so she has no emotional connection.

    I doubt if this activity would become common among the Australian population.

    • Michael Broad says:

      As you can see, Sandy, I think she has totally missed the point that the relationship between human and the cat is about emotions and you can’t bury them at will. The deeply ingrained and part of the relationship. Even in Australia it will catch on because I’m certain that a lot of Australian cat owners dislike her theory.

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