Let’s think of a brave new world, a considerable time in the future, when people have control over the creation of random bred cats (moggies) and when they might be bred by licensed breeders who focus exclusively on their cats’ character and primarily a total disinterest in hunting.
Under these circumstances, perhaps 200 years in the future, 90% of domestic cats would not hunt for a single animal. There would be peace in the world between ornithologists and cat lovers. Nobody would be making the case for culling millions of feral cats. If a domestic cat became feral she wouldn’t hunt. Perhaps, though, by that time TNR would be so widespread that the feral cat population would be entirely stabilised.
There is a strong argument that cat associations should lead the way in breeding for character rather than appearance. Historically, and it is still the case, breeders of purebred cats accept a reasonable character and focus on appearance. If the character was prioritised it may refocus the public’s attention to the character of random bred cats over their appearance. This may lead, one day, to the extreme concept now, but perhaps not in the future, of breeding cats that did not want to hunt.
Some cats, nowadays, are strongly motivated to hunt. Others are in the middle ground and they hunt occasionally. They often fail and show a modicum of interest in utilising their inherited skills. Many other cats at the other end of the spectrum are content to snooze throughout most of the day with a complete disdain for the idea of hunting prey.
Perhaps scientist could do some research to tell us whether a cat’s motivation to hunt is mainly about genetics over experience or vice versa. This research might kickstart the idea of breeding cats who don’t feel the urge to become predators. They don’t need to be predators as we feed them, and often too much.
It isn’t just about wildlife conservation and native species being put under pressure by domestic and feral cats on continents such as Australia, it is also about domestic cats bringing prey into the home which upsets many cat owners. I’m sure that there are many millions of cat owners who have spent a combined millions of hours trapping mice and releasing them outside after their cat brought them in.
While having a long-term objective of ensuring that domestic cats have no desire to hunt, breeders could also look at creating random bred cats whose characters are perfectly suited to relaxed, affectionate, indoor living.
Just to be absolutely clear, I am not suggesting that there is a need to breed more cats. There are plenty of unwanted cats already. I’m suggesting that some sort of controls are placed over the creation of random bred cats so that they are no longer random bred but managed.
Annually, there have been greater restrictions placed upon dog ownership over the years. That concept is filtering through to cat ownership. If you read the online news, you notice a gradual shift towards regulation over cat ownership to restrict freedoms, control numbers and amongst other things protect wildlife. Getting rid of the concept of random bred cats entirely and building a cat world in which all cats were purebred for character and non-hunters would solve the problem at source.