People who criticise the cat for preying on small mammals and birds should be less vocal and outspoken and reconsider.
For 99% of the entire time of the cat’s domestication which began around 9,500 years ago we wanted our cat to prey on small mammals which nearly always included rodents. This was the main reason for keeping a cat; to keep down rodents and “pests”. Domestic cats were much more indoor/outdoor cats. They spent far more time outdoors. Companionship came second and the relationships between cat and human was less close. There was a distinct utility element to the relationship.
Recently, over the past 100 years, people have demanded something entirely different from their cat. The priority now is companionship. It is more than a priority. For 99% of cat owners, companionship is the sole reason for keeping a cat while preying on mammals and birds has become a nuisance to people.
But we changed the goal posts didn’t we? We can’t expect the cat to erase millions of years of evolution overnight. Remember the domestic cat is a domesticated wildcat. We can change what we want from a cat. We can change our minds but we can’t expect the cat to throw a switch and satisfy our desires overnight. The domestic cat is changing but there is a long way to go.
We’ll have to wait thousands of years before the domestic cat turns into a piece of fluffy furniture, which is what some people quite like nowadays.
So, people who criticise the cat for preying on native species and birds should be more tolerant and remember that people domesticated the cat to prey on animals that were considered a nuisance. We should give the domestic cat some leeway and accept the cat’s natural instinct to hunt, an attribute that at one time we admired.
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