The world knows that Australia has a domestic cat problem! That problem is that some of them become feral cats and the feral cat is the archenemy of the Australian state because they kill native species. There is a big push in Australia to keep cats indoors full-time to protect the said native species.
This consequentially leads to people who want to purchase a purebred cat, purchasing one which is more likely to accept a full-time indoor existence and that breed is the Ragdoll.
The Sydney Morning Herald tells us the 10 most popular breeds in the states of Victoria and New South Wales. In both these jurisdictions, the Ragdoll is by far the most popular. In both instances, however, the non-purebred cat is more popular than any cat breed.
In New South Wales there are almost 53,000 registered Ragdoll cats. In Victoria there are almost 50,000 Ragdoll cats in 2023.
The domestic cat has been described as being part of the ‘wildlife crisis’ in Australia (the other part is humans!). People are more sensitive to predation of wildlife by cats in Australia than in any other country. The Sydney Morning Herald blames “white settlement”. This must mean immigration of Europeans and other white people into Australia over the many years it has been settled. There is a direct correlation between the number of extinctions of wildlife species and the increasing white settlement on the continent of Australia. Immigrant Europeans into America also did a lot of damage to wildlife as you probably know. They almost made the buffalo extinct for example and they wiped out a bird species.
The chart provided by the newspaper goes from 1780 to 2010 with a very steep increase in native species extinctions from around 1830 onwards.
If the aboriginals had been left alone in Australia the country’s native species would have been better protected. But that’s a difficult discussion and one that I will avoid.
The reason why the Ragdoll cat is probably earmarked as a full-time indoor cat is because they are one of the very few cat breeds which are selectively bred to be passive. Nearly all cat breeders breed for appearance but in this instance it’s both appearance and personality. That’s why they are called Ragdoll cats. They’ve got to be passive income otherwise their name would not match their personality.
On a separate but linked topic, it is depressing to read a study dated March 2023 (‘Attitudes and Beliefs of a Sample of Australian Dog and Cat Owners towards Pet Confinement’) which concluded that on average across Australia about 8% of dogs and 30% of cats entering shelters and pounds are euthanised. You will note a much higher number of cats being euthanised at shelters compared to dogs. This is because far fewer cats are microchipped than dogs.
This would point to increased carelessness in the relationship between human and cat compared the human and dog. And in turn, this is probably due to the fact that the dog is in general more connected or bonded to their human caregiver then the so-called independent domestic cat.
It’s a great shame that there is this inherent carelessness in the human-to-cat relationship in Australia – which can only be the case if there is so much euthanasia of cats – when the cat is so vilified if allowed outside to prey on native species. You would have thought that the typical Australian would be incredibly careful about cat ownership when bearing in mind the many years of local and federal administrations trying to educate (indoctrinate) cat owners to keep their cats indoors full-time and to microchip their cats and in general demonstrate a great precision of cat ownership to prevent what the Australian administration believe is a catastrophe of domestic cat and feral cat predation on their native species, which, incidentally, has resulted in mass cruelty against the feral cat in Australia.
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