A spate of malicious cat killings have hit the headlines recently, spreading fear among pet owners. But what’s behind the attacks – and how can we protect our feline friends from grisly deaths?
The question in the title was asked by a Guardian newspaper journalist. In his article he failed to answer the question, a defect that many who commented on the article detected and complained about.
I have decided to try and answer the question myself and refer to some of the comments as they shed light on what most perturbs people who don’t have cats but who live next to people who do. Most of the problems in the UK with respect to deliberate poisonings of cats come from this scenario; neighbours who allow their cats to wander into other people’s gardens (yards in the USA).
A pet complaint is defecating in the neighbour’s flower bed. That upsets people who are not fond of cats. In addition to that simple neighbour problem another oft quoted dislike about the domestic cat is that he/she spreads disease. People who don’t have cats think that the domestic cat spreads diseases such as toxoplasmosis. They see this as very definite health hazard via domestic cat faeces.
However, nearly everyone in the United Kingdom no matter how much they dislike certain aspects of the domestic cat and wish to prevent them entering their garden, will not poison cats. That is a step too far but sadly some people will take that step. In the UK there are almost no guns and therefore the only shooting of cats is by air guns.
Awareness of these so-called cat hazards has been heightened through social media on the Internet. People have become educated about the domestic cat far more than they were before the advent of the Internet and social media.
In addition, there are more domestic cats in UK than ever before. To quote some statistics from the article written by the Guardian journalist: in 1965 there was an estimated 4.1 million domestic cats and in 2014 the figure at present is an estimated 7.9 million.
With respect to cat poisonings, the RSPCA say that they have increased from 862 in 2013 to 919 in 2014. In 2015, to the date of this post, the figure stands at 767.
My conclusion, therefore is that the increased number of poisonings of domestic cats in UK is due to there being more domestic cats and a greater awareness of their existence and behaviour coupled with a distortion of the true facts, disseminated through social media, concerning, for example, toxoplasmosis (read the truth here).
There is a lot of misleading information on the Internet hidden amongst the true facts. If a person dislikes the domestic cat they’re more likely to find their version of the truth in information which is derogatory towards the cat. They are more likely to believe incorrect facts and a few of these people will act upon them to poison domestic cats in an attempt to eradicate them from the area where they live.
In addition these people realise that the enforcement of the law is poor in the UK with respect to animal cruelty because it is not prioritised. The police would say that this is because of cutbacks due to underfunding. The underfunding is due to the country’s large national debt and deficit which need to be addressed by the government. Poor enforcement encourages criminal behaviour.
The vast majority of people who commented on the above-mentioned article are decent and sensible and they suggest that people find alternative ways to deal with roaming domestic cats in their back garden in emphasising that poisoning domestic cats is completely unacceptable and of course against the law. Suggestions for deterrence are commonplace such as squirting water and a recommendation that people dislike cats should calm down their rhetoric because they do tend to exaggerate what domestic cats are doing in the garden, “shit all over the garden”, when faeces are buried and quite rare.
Please comment on Facebook to spread the word. Please click “Also post on Facebook”. Thanks:
Source article referred to.