Cat Hater 1914

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. The more things change, the more they are the same thing. Nothing changes. And so it seems, judging by this letter to the editor of the New York Times dated 1914 from a person living in New Jersey. It could have been written yesterday. The Audubon Society still campaigns against the domestic and stray cat. It would seem that their campaigning has achieved little although it may have caused more people to irrationally hate the domestic cat.

Cat hater 1914
Cat hater 1914
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Is the letter writer a man or woman? She or he is sexist as well as a cat hater. The letter hints at the conventional viewpoint that women like cats and men like dogs. The writer is almost certainly a man.

Apparently the letter had an effect and cats were temporarily eradicated from New York City in 1914. If this is true – and I doubt it – the rat population must have made a step rise.

I think it is time for the war of words – about whether you love cats or hate them – to be put to rest. It is time to at least accept them as part of the ecosystem and our lives.

Feral cats are by now fully integrated into the ecosystem in New York and across America. If you eradicated cats in New York there would probably be unforeseen and unwelcome consequences, putting aside the fact that it would be immoral and inhumane to attempt it.

Related article: i hate cats.

28 thoughts on “Cat Hater 1914”

  1. I was one of the first people here to publish serious critiques of Australian surveys (I collaborated with some Australian groups back in the 90s). I also used to write articles for an Aussie cat magazine back in the pre-domestic-internet days.

    • dodgy Australian foregone-conclusion anti-cat surveys

      I didn’t know you agreed with me about dodgy Aussie cat “studies”. There are dodgy ornithological US studies too as I am sure you know. It is amazing how biased scientists can be. No, on second thoughts it is not amazing. And the classic “extrapolations” and “estimates” are legendary when in comes to trying to work out how many birds and precious “native species” cats kill.

  2. This does seem similar to things people are saying today, except that people were more literate in 1914. I had a friend who was in college in 1914 and he used to ridicule my sister and I for how little we were learning in school. He could do huge, difficult arithmetic problems in his head and he said all children were taught to do that in school when he was young. He really felt our education was woefully inadequate.

    My mom’s house is next to a ravine that was once home to a thriving feral cat colony. Now it is home to some coyotes and the cats are gone. But when I was up there on Christmas Day I couldn’t believe how many birds we saw! Just sitting looking out the patio door onto the back deck we watched several different species come to the bird feeder back there. So I suppose the feral cats were causing a decrease in bird populations. But whose fault was that? Partly ours. We contributed greatly to that feral cat colony in the late 1970’s with one unaltered Tom cat appropriately named Lucky. Yeah. I’ve learned a lot since then.

    But if it were only pet cats, if people were responsible, there would be no decline in bird populations– even if those cats were indoor/outdoor cats. Monty doesn’t catch many birds. He tried the other day, but the snow is deep and that pretty much caused him to jump back onto the packed down path. He’s not hungry so he just has no reason to bother with prey if it involves snow up to his tummy. A feral wouldn’t have a choice but to hunt. We had one pet cat who hunted a lot, but she had been a stray. We theorize she’d been dumped in the country by some tourists. She’d had to fend for herself for so long after we got her that she just kept hunting. We had few birds around, but we also had very few moles, voles, mice, chipmunks, rabbits or even squirrels. Tigger took a huge dent out of the wildlife surrounding our home. But if she’d been a well cared for companion animal she never would have become the hunter she was either. Monty’s not and never will be because he doesn’t need to hunt. He’s no threat to the wildlife around our house. He’s gotten two baby bunnies, tormented a few chipmunks who lived to tell about it, caught a couple mice that also got away, and he’s killed two or three birds. Tigger could kill two or three birds in a day easily.

    The problem is really on humans, not cats though, because if humans were caring well for their cats bird populations would be more protected. And even during Tigger’s reign there were some birds around. There were more when the feral cats were there– they must have preferred mice and moles to birds, perhaps being easier prey, or easier to eat. Monty has tried to eat birds he caught, but it’s like he gets a mouthful of feathers and decides he doesn’t like it. Then he looks at me like I’m going to defeather that and chop it up and put it in his bowl for him to eat.

    There are definitely a lot more birds by my parents’ house than I have ever seen now that all the cats are gone. It’s just a fact. But it’s not a fact that makes me hate cats. How many birds do we need? My parents feeder may have something to do with the increase as well. Can’t birds and cats co-exist? But I do believe that responsible cat caretaking is the best for all concerned: birds, cats, other wildlife and humans.

    • Firstly, I agree that schooling has gone backwards. As for math (maths) I used a slide rule as a kid and used to do sums in my head. We had to. It was before calculators. And we were taught basic principles which I still use today to work things out. Modern kids are not given these skills. Kids should be forced to think harder.

      For me, all cat “problems” are our problems. They act naturally. We can’t blame cats. We manage all cats, domestic, stray and feral. We allowed feral cats to be created because they come from domestic cats ultimately. We have to be tougher on ourselves and stop passing the buck to other species of animal.

    • Cats and birds can and do co-exist here, we have lots of birds around but it’s very rare that our cats catch one. Wood pigeons, collared doves, magpies, sparrows, robins, blackbirds, starlings and varieties of tits to name but a few, most years we also have house martins nesting under our eaves.
      Birds are very wise about cats and the ones caught are usually weak or old, yes sadly sometimes a baby bird is caught but that’s Nature, we can’t argue with her plan.
      Humans cause the death of millions more birds than cats ever do!
      The people who complain about cats killing birds need to think about how the world would be over run by rodents if cats didn’t keep their numbers down. Just because birds are pretty and rodents are not it doesn’t make their lives less important to themselves does it, yet we condone them being killed!


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