Categories: inquisitive

Domestic cats fascinated by their big, wild cousins on the tele

Domestic cats mesmerised by their cousin the lion on tele. Photo: screenshot from Twitter feed of Emily.

In the UK last night, David Attenborough presented the BBC’s latest episode of Dynasties. It’s about a pride of lions, a special pride of lions, the Marsh Pride of the Masai Mara in Kenya. It’s an unusual pride because they are led by an impressive female called ‘Charm’. She is a very effective huntress, killing large prey with a suffocating throat bite. She hangs on relentlessly to her prey until they succumb. She has to hunt daily to feed the pride. The demands are massive.

It wasn’t only humans who were glued to the television; their cat companions were too. Domestic cats recognise other cats so it seems that it does not matter if they are on the television and a lot larger.

Personally, I turned off after about 15 minutes because it was too painful to watch. It is just so hard for the lions. It’s horrible and some farmers poisoned the pride as well which is ghastly. Here is the biggest threat; farmers lose livestock to lions because they illegally use the reserve to graze cattle. They retaliate by poisoning the lions because they don’t revere the lions as we do in the West (unless you are a trophy hunter). There is a huge divergence of opinion about lion conservation and Westerners are more concerned about it than the people who are responsible for it.

The Kenyan government should do much more. They could offer a compensation scheme to farmers and stop them taking their cattle onto land assigned to the lions. It’s not rocket science. Perhaps they do this, but if so it is not enforced adequately.

There is almost nothing worse than seeing the mighty and magnificent lion brought down to a crumbling wreck by human poison. It’s about as bad as humans can be for me.

A question that some might ask is whether domestic cats know they are watching television. The answer has to be no. However, they know what they are seeing even if they don’t know how it got there. This is probably why some domestic cats are so fascinated by seeing lions on the TV.

“The cats have taken custody of the remote control” says Roger Farrant on Twitter. And Emily wrote, “I think Jasper wants to join the pride”. Be careful for what you wish for, Jasper. It’s damn hard out there in the wild even if you are a fabulously strong and resourceful lion. There are dangers everywhere and even when the best lions tackle a large prey item they can be fatally hurt. Success rates are not high.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in a many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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