What would happen if cats overpopulate the earth? The question has been asked on the quora.com website and there are no decent answers. One person wrote that it would be a disaster for wildlife by which they mean cats would kill lots of wild animals.
The first point to make is that the question must refer to domestic, stray and feral cats. It can’t apply to wild cats because they are under relentless pressure from humans and their population is declining across the board. No wild cat species is safe from human activity. All the species are suffering a decline in numbers or at best the numbers are static.
In contrast the domestic, stray and feral cat populations have climbed consistently over the past 100 years to around half a billion worldwide; far more than all wild cat species combined. This is because human numbers are rising relentlessly. The decline in wild cat numbers is directly linked by the human to the rise in domestic cat numbers.
The fortunes of the wild cat species is diametrically opposite to that of the domestic cat and the strays/ferals that emanate from it.
So what would happen if domestic, stray and feral cats overpopulate the world? I don’t believe that it would happen because even today there is a lot of talk about curbing feral cat numbers. There will be consistent pressure to reduce feral cat numbers and they will decline eventually.
But if they don’t, there would obviously be a massive feral cat problem. Depending on the country, there would be an equally massive reaction from humans. We’d end up killing feral cats in anyway possible as suggested by the Australian authorities. It would be mass extermination, a desperate time, and TNR would be out of the window as an idea.
Failing managing feral cat numbers, there would be genuine problem with feral cats preying on native species. At present there are those who are very concerned about feral cats preying on native species. A feral cat population which is much larger would result in almost everyone being concerned about their impact on native species which are the prey of feral cats. Note: there would not be an equal concern for the impact on native species by humans. That failing has always existed. It is human myopia.
There would be an outcry and drastic steps would be taken to reduce cat numbers. However, if domestic, stray and feral cats did overpopulate the earth the background circumstances would almost certainly be dramatic. Something catastrophic would have happened such a nuclear war, a large impact by an asteroid or dire global warming which would have killed off a lot of humans thereby removing control of feral cat numbers allowing the population size to grow.
Under these circumstances, the relationship between feral cat and human would have changed. It is possible that people in countries other than China would then see the feral cat as a source of food. Humans would kill them in the millions which would reduce their numbers. The concern for native species as prey of feral cats would be less important as human survival took priority.
Under catastrophic conditions of permanent emergency, feral cats would be harvested as food. We have seen that in Syria when people have been bombed and starved to the point where anything goes for survive. Anything that moves becomes food.
In conclusion, therefore, there would be a natural correction. If cats overpopulated the earth the cause would be a natural or man made catastrophe of some sort. The feral cat would become food for humans and pets etcetera. The cat overpopulation problem would be resolved out of necessity.
What do you think? 😉
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