The New Scientist reports on a group of scientists who are drawing up a comprehensive list of all the animals that the domestic cat eats. So far, their list contains 2048 species made up of “981 birds, 463 reptiles, 431 mammals – including humans – 119 insects, 57 amphibians and another 33 species belonging to other groups.”
Making such a list is pointless because we know that all animals of the right size and which are available to the cat from these groups: birds, mammals, marsupials, reptiles and insects can and will be prey animals to the domestic cat.
What the scientists are doing is listing the animals that have been recorded as being attacked and eaten by domestic cats. But what does that tell us?
It tells that the listed animals are species that are or have been sympatric to the domestic cat. The word ‘sympatric’ means living in the same area. That is all the list tells us, which is not a lot.
If a species under the broad-brush groups I have mentioned is not sympatric to the domestic cat they won’t be attacked and eaten. Obvious.
The study is led by Christopher Lepczyk at Auburn University in Alabama. His said that his motivation was to see ‘how big is this problem”. Meaning, I guess, the problem of domestic cat predation.
“We started to wonder just how big is this problem, and are there any animals that cats aren’t eating?”Christopher Lepczyk at Auburn University in Alabama.
This is an attack on the domestic cat. Another scientist who is looking for a reason to keep cats inside the home all the time for reasons of wildlife conservation. A fine idea provided that cat owners make the interior of their homes a fun place for cats which 99.9% do not (no criticism intended).
RELATED: Planet Earth is being misused and mismanaged leading to the sixth mass extinction.
I understand where the motivation comes from. The world is far more sensitive to domestic cat predation than it was in the past because humans are destroying the planet 😢. We are living through the sixth mass extinction thanks to human activity. That’s the real source of endangerment to wildlife.
Humans are in the process of passing the buck to the domestic cat for the endangerment of many species of wild animal. And lets remember that we created the domestic cat so its existence is another product of human activity.
In an effort to protect wildlife we need to prioritize. We start at the top: the species of animal that endangers wildlife the most and work down which means we start with us. Let’s do more to curb human activity that kills animals.
Laugh. Yes, I laugh at myself for typing that because it will not happen. As I have said many times humans are too anthropocentric which means everything revolves around humans. We are too interested in ourselves to be genuinely interested – as a species – in protecting other species.
Yeh, I know this is a negative note but it is true. Humans are looking for a scapegoat for their indiscretions regarding discharging their responsibilities to protect the planet. The cat is an easy pick. Sadly, for the cat they are top quality predators.
I have said before that it is a shame that humans domesticated such a good predator. Life would have been so much better if we had domesticated a non-predator.
Did we domesticate the wrong animal? When we first did it about 10,000 years ago, there wasn’t a problem with protecting wildlife. The planet was teaming with wildlife. There was a great abundance.
Since then, we have created a crisis in wildlife conservation. The tiger is a paradigm example of human failure in protecting wildlife.
About 100 years ago, in India where the Bengal tiger lives – the species of tiger that is the most abundant – they were treated as pests and mercilessly slaughtered by big game hunters. White army officers from England having fun during their occupation of India – the Raj.
They all but made the Bengal tiger extinct in the wild when added to the other threats of which the two greatest today are poaching for tiger body parts for the Asian market and loss of habitat due to human pressures.
That’s a classic story: loss of habitat and exploitation and abuse of a species. It happens all over the world for millions of species of animal. It is just that the tiger is an iconic species and a good example.
Don’t bother listing the species of animal that the domestic cat has killed and eaten. Let’s not pass the buck but focus on us. Who has listed all the animal species that the human indirectly or directly kills and has killed? No one as far as I know.
Christopher Lepczyk at Auburn University in Alabama was looking for a nice study topic for his CV. What better than to attack the domestic cat? Many scientists in studies have done it.
There is a long list of scientists who dislike the domestic cat and who hate the stray and feral cat. I am not saying that Christopher Lepczyk falls into that category but scientists are just like the rest of us: they have preferences, likes and dislikes which can colour their actions.
When you list the animals eaten by domestic cats you are pointing a finger at the cat as if it is their fault 😎. It isn’t. It is our fault. Cats act instinctively. It is almost as if Lepczyk is saying that the cat is a wanton and malicious killer; a criminal. It is another example of anthropomorphising the cat which is an extention of anthropocentrism. Long words but true.
Humans deceive themselves. We own the world – we think. We can do what we like with the world – we think. Nature is teaching us lesson on that in the form of global warming. A catastrophy which is terrifying the kids which is why they are self-harming in greater numbers than ever before in the UK (‘Self-harm hospital admissions up 22% for children aged eight to 17″ – BBC March 2023). Many feel suicidal (‘Steep rise in number of children treated for mental health problems’ – The Times Jan 2023).
Children are the canaries in the mineshaft. They tell us what the grown ups are doing wrong. Listen to them. Humans are guardians of the world. We are failing abysmally in that duty.
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