Domestic cats still hunt because it is in their DNA to do so. It is a characteristic which is a genetic inheritance. It is hard wired into their brains and personalities. And it has not been removed by humans controlling the breeding of cats. The vast majority of domestic cats are random bred. Darwin’s theory of natural selection was and is taking place all the time with respect to domestic cats. Even purebred cats are not selectively bred for non-hunting types. It’s all about appearance.
Evolution is not going to produce a cat which has no urge to hunt. At least not for probably hundreds of years unless something changes in how humans interact with them. Imagining a parallel world history, humans could have taken charge of all domestic cat breeding to ensure that only cats who were relatively disinterested in hunting were born. Over thousands of years the result would have been domestic cats with altered personalities. Personalities devoid of the desire to hunt. Happy world. Happy ornithologists. But humans are far too disorganised to manage such as project. They’d rather moan about it and plan to kill millions of feral cats as evidenced in Australia. Reactive, immoral cruelty.
Domestic cats have evolved naturally for around 10,000 years and they’re still a cat’s whisker away from their wild ancestor. They remain flexible enough to fend for themselves when the agreement between cat and person breaks down and the cat must cope alone.
There is a modern problem which did not exist until around 20 years ago. The environment has become an issue because of air pollution, the sixth mass extinction, the burning of the virgin forests and the plastification of the oceans.
The planet’s health is a big talking point online and in the media. It wasn’t always like that. Although humans are badly damaging the planet and killing off species they like to pass the buck to others including the domestic and feral cat. Whereas for the first thousands of years of cat domestication their hunting skills were prized for keeping down rodents, nowadays it is a pain in the bum. People don’t want cats to hunt anymore. They want to protect wildlife, particularly birds because people, in general, suffer from speciesism; a form of animal racism.
Domestic cats hunt because it is natural for them. We accepted that. Now humans don’t. We complain. We confine them to the home. A poor but necessary solution. The contract between cat and human has broken down. It is out of date. When they have time between international nation-to-nation arguments humans will have to think about taking proactive steps to alter the domestic cat’s personality to ensure they meet the demands of modern “pets” – fluffy balls of fur, nice to touch, passive, lobotomized.