In the 1950s, more new cat breeds were created than at any time before or since. In those far off days, criticism of the cat for destroying wildlife was relatively uncommon. Of course this was well before the internet. Internet social media has been a very powerful tool for a significant percentage of people who revile cats to spread the gospel that domestic cats should be kept in and feral cats should be eliminated.
The clamour for restrictions on domestic cat movement is growing. Are we starting the slow descent from the peak of the cat’s popularity and descending into a era akin to that of medieval times when cat-phobic individuals decided the cat was evil and had to be eradicated?
The sharp end of cat-phobic behaviour is taking place in the Antipodes: Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand. There is an ever increasing supply of news items from that part of the world berating the feral cat for destroying native species. The impression given to the remainder of the world is that Australians hate feral cats.
This is probably untrue but a lot of them do. They want to kill them all. The mood music in the Antipodes regarding the feral cat has the flavour of the savage witch hunts of earlier centuries and their evil cats. There is a vocal minority in the US as well who have the same thoughts and objectives as their Australian counterparts. Is this the beginning of end of the heyday of the domestic cat?
The domestic cat begat the feral cat. When people criticise the feral cat’s predation habits they are indirectly criticising cat owners but people rarely come into the discussion when arguing for the extermination of feral cats. Humankind likes to find a scapegoat other than humans. It is far more convenient.
It is argued that cat-phobia is at the root of the persecution of cats during medieval times during which millions of cats were killed. It was also behind the cruel ‘games’ (see cats in bags and barrels) humans played with cats in past generations.
Cat-phobia is a fear of cats. It is an irrational human weakness, a human failing foisted upon the innocent cat, the end game of which is cat cruelty.
As the burgeoning population growth of humans put ever more pressure on the planet’s wildlife the voice of the cat-phobics will become ever more shrill. It will eventually lead to restrictions on cat ownership in all countries and feral cats will, in human terms, be persona non grata on the planet. At that point the golden age of pet cat ownership will be well and truly over.
There needs to be a revaluation of cat domestication. There are too many failures all of which concern human behavior. Humans are failing the cat.
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