Domestic cats are already adapting to modern human living but what about the long term future, the 22nd and 23rd centuries? Cats are more sociable than they were when first domesticated some 9,500 to perhaps even 14,500 years ago. However, they are a cat’s whisker away from their wild cat ancestor in terms of their desire to hunt. Let them wander into a backyard or garden that leads to a forest beyond and they instantly return to the wild to express their top predator skills.
You’d have to live on another planet to not realise that there has been a awful lot of talk on the internet about the billions of animals killed by domestic and feral cats annually. The numbers are exaggerated in my opinion because they are based on small studies and extrapolated which you can’t do accurately plus there is a ton of bias against the feral cat out there. However, cat lover or not, humans have a problem with the domestic cat’s slightly tarnished reputation as an ideal animal companion.
I accept that there is a need to try and create a better domestic cat for the future. We need to remove this negative aspect and quash the criticisms from cat critics about wildlife predation. This characteristic of the domestic cat will become more pressing going forward long term because there will be more pressure on wildlife from humans. People kill far more wild animals, directly or indirectly, than domestic and feral cats but we cannot change human behaviour it seems to me. Anyway people will expect cats to change before they do. It is easier that way.
The permanent fix to this problem lies in cats born with their predatory instincts dampened down or even eliminated. Yes, through science we could gradually ensure that all new born cats do not want to hunt. It would mean selectively breeding cats to modify behaviour to the point where the hunting drive was removed. And then ensuring that over a long period of time only these cats were allowed to breed across the entire planet. A mammoth project.
These cats would be much better placed to adapt to an ever more crowded world in which wildlife will be far more precious and rare than today and which will demand greater protection. The 23rd century domestic cat would also be less inquisitive and be completely content at home. In 2,000 years the problem of domestic cats bringing birds home in their mouths will be seen as alien as witches familiars of the Middle Ages.
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