We need to selectively breed moggies to reduce predation

We know that most domestic cats are “moggies” i.e., non-purebred cats. They been created through natural selection whereas purebred cats are created through artificial selection a.k.a. selective breeding.

We also know that domestic cats are wonderful predators. It is their raison d’être. They are built to hunt and kill. It is a problem for humankind. In a better world’s domestic cats would not be top predators but cuddly, furry toy-like creatures which kept us company and entertained us and which did not bring mice into the home!

Curious and seriously cute kitten
Curious and seriously cute kitten. Photo: Pinterest.
Until September 7th I will give 10 cents to an animal charity for every comment. It is a way to help animal welfare without much effort at no cost. Comments help this website too, which is about animal welfare.

And a recent study has confirmed what we also probably know and realise namely that it is the confident extrovert domestic cats who are the most prolific hunters and effective predators whereas conversely, it is the more timid and neurotic cats which have a reduced predilection to hunt.

It’s normal because the timid domestic cat is less likely to be adventurous and go outside the home more often if they are allowed outside in the first place. Timid cats are ‘homers’ in human terms. They do a lot less. They are decorative like Persians.

In the same vein that the more confident cat will hunt more, it is likely that the male cat is more predisposed to predation and then, going further, the young male cat is perhaps going to be the type of domestic cat which is more likely to hunt.

But the point of this short article is that there may be an argument to extend selective breeding to non-purebred cats.

Super cute tiny Exotic Shorthair
Super cute tiny Exotic Shorthair. Photo: Лариса Иванова (Ukraine).

At the moment there are two categories of domestic cat: purebred and non-purebred. The former is only a fraction of the latter in terms of population size. Nearly all domestic cats in the UK and America and other countries are random bred.

There is no control over them by people as to how their character turns out. Selective breeding of purebred cats is really about breeding for appearance although the character of the cat is also considered sometimes (e.g., the Ragdoll).

But nobody has ever tried to alter the character of the moggy on a large scale. But if there were some controls over their breeding in which only cats of a certain character became the foundation cats then we could reduce predation on wildlife by domestic cats in general. Under current world societal problems such a project is fanciful. Humans can’t even avoid war never mind organise domestic cat breeding but in a better world it should be considered as we have a split in society on how to deal with domestic cat predation on wildlife.

The general mood music is to keep cats inside the home permanently. But what if no domestic cat wanted to hunt! Brilliant. No need to keep them inside to protect wildlife. And if removed cars from the road that would save the cats too! I’m dreaming. But it is good to dream and look at things theoretically.

When I’m saying is that in a very long-term project it would seem possible to only allow male domestic cats that did not like hunting to procreate. And the same goes for female cats. If both the father and mother were not predisposed to hunting and they were the only cats producing offspring, all the offspring would probably be non-hunting felines.

Selkirk Rex
Selkirk Rex. Image in the public domain.

At a stroke we would eliminate this massive debate about keeping domestic cats indoors to save wildlife. And there’s the counterargument that when you keep cats indoors you have to entertain them.

If we could selectively breed all domestic cats to enjoy being indoors all the time, then there would be much less of a demand upon their human caregivers to entertain them and ensure that the environment is highly suitable for a domestic cat as well as a human.

I am making a bold suggestion which will never happen I suspect. But, at the moment, nothing is done to modify the domestic cat’s character to try and trim back this desire to hunt wildlife.

If a full-time indoor cat wants to express their hunting desires, they do so with a toy at the end of which is probably their human caregiver who moves the toy around. That is a substitute for hunting. The point is that all play with a domestic cat is about hunting, catching and killing.

The relationship between people and cats revolves around the hunting desires of the domestic cat and how to satisfy it. Let’s try and suppress that hunting desire through selective breeding of non-purebred cats. Let’s make it a long-term project: fifty, a hundred years for example.

Eventually, we will get to a brave new world where all people live in harmony with all domestic cats and there are no feral cats 😎👍.

Note: the research referred to in this article was conducted by researchers at Exeter University, UK. The team said: “Hunting cats that showed higher scores for extroversion or lower scores for neuroticism are more likely to benefit from being stimulated and encouraged in physical activity and by opportunities to reproduce natural feline behaviour in the home environment.” Precisely, what I mention above.

Another point worth making if I have not made it already, is that if people want their domestic cat companion to bring back less prey animals to the home, they should think about adopting an elderly female cat from a rescue center as opposed to a young male and particularly a young male who is unsterilised.

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