16 August 2012

Pentti Linkola on Cats

A feral cat is not a wild animal, it is an invasive species. 
Feral cats kill 1 Billion native animals in the U.S. every year
Non native feral cats kill 1 Billion birds a year in the U.S. alone.

Pentti Linkola, in a 1993 essay reprinted in Can Life Prevail? (2009, pp 91-97), writes...

"Not only are fanatical animal protectors friends of the cat, but so is half of the population! Man's relationship with nature has never been more deranged, reckless and hypocritical than it is with the cat: when it comes to defending the cat, many environmentalists turn cunning and deceitful ... And what about the thousands of mawkish pictures of cats in magazines?

Feral and outdoor cats hunt and kill
regardless of wether they are well fed or not.

 How come you never see pictures that show a cat engaging in what, according to my experience, would be more typical behaviour: like dragging the mother of a green sandpiper brood into the crevice of a cowshed, or dragging a redstart by its wing into the rose bushes of some family home? Or again, sitting on the stairs of a cottage, guarding the red-breasted robin or squirrel it has just killed? 

After man the cat is the most prolific hunter on Earth, 
the Cat is also the most popular pet on the planet.

In August, when the fledgeling flocks of little birds move low in bushes and grassy banks, I have seen a female cat carry a little bird to its autumnal kittens every half hour past my ornithologist's workplace - not a particularly encouraging message about my work. Compared to the cat, the sparrowhawk and the hobby are just amateurs. ... The cat problem is growing all the more serious now that animal protection authorities have passed a new insane resolution: they have decreed that putting a cat down by drowning is illegal. 

Overpopulation of feral and outdoor cats is a worldwide epidemic,
 an ecological nightmare.

The breeding patterns among domestic cats have long infringed all natural boundaries: each cat now has a lifespan of twenty years, brings forth two broods a year, is fertile under the age of one and knows no natural enemies. Nothing even close this has ever before been observed in nature. ... Currently hoardes of cats are posing a severe threat to the conservation of birds and wildlife. A minimum requirement would be for cats to be registered and kept on a tight leash when outside; were any cat to be found slaughtering a protected animal, its owner should be prosecuted. This however is pure utopia - as is always the case with attempts to protect nature that clash with people's ardent desires. ... It is utterly impossible to accommodate cats in northern lands: the cat simply remains a grievance to be rooted out. Sure, cats are linked to some solid traditions, but so are spitting on the floor and tobacco. In any case, cats must be got rid of."

1 comment:

Spiritually Activated 1 said...

Greetings, you are bound to push a lot of people's hot buttons with this post. I salute you. What we need to get rid of is the human irresponsibility factor in this matter. Thousands of cats are already euthanized daily in kill shelters, and we will see more of this if people don't stop being reckless with their cats. Since this essay was published, we have begun to explore more responsible options. I DO agree that people should be prosecuted if they fail to keep their cats leashed and under supervision when outdoors - if allowed outdoors at all. Most cities have bylaws requiring dogs to be leashed outdoors - why not cats? Owners should be prosecuted for failing to get their cats spayed or neutered. There are far too many cats and it is entirely down to irresponsible, reckless conduct on the part of the human custodians. Many people refuse to understand that cats are living beings. They treat them like toys, accessories, "things" which exist for their entertainment. They don't even connect with the concept of human custodial responsibility. I have participated in local TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) programs, and the local feral cat population has decreased since the program was initiated. More and more adoption facilities will only let an individual adopt if they sign an agreement to keep the cat strictly indoors. While rarely advertised, most SPCA facilities will provide spay/neuter service free of charge to pets of low-income persons - you simply have to inquire. Cities are now passing bylaws which regulate that cats must be indoors-only - or allowed out only under direct supervision. When I visited Winnipeg this Spring I was pleased to see only one cat outdoors in a whole week. And that one was being supervised by its human custodian while they did their gardening. I saw hundreds of cats but they were all indoors, looking out the windows. Winnipeg is a good example of a city which has taken viable measures to solve this problem. Cats can be fine companions, and like all animals can teach us a lot if we are intelligent, receptive, and humble enough to rise to the occasion. I respect cats as ANIMALS. Some argue it is cruel to keep a cat indoors, but it is in fact kinder both to the cat and to wildlife. I have 2 - both rescues - and they are perfectly content indoors, even though one was formerly an outdoors cat. They have toys designed to exercise their hunting instincts, and videos of wildlife they can enjoy 24/7 on their own computer. Another thing human custodians can do is to put caps on their cat's claws. This is a humane alternative to de-clawing which renders a cat less dangerous to wildlife - and also keeps them from tearing up the furniture, if you happen to care about that sort of thing. This is a fairly recent innovation which I'm sure many people are as yet unaware of. If you care about your cat, you will spay or neuter, and keep it indoors. Keeping any animal is work and a learning experience, with joy and heartbreak in equal measure. Animals are more sensitive and we, who have become so disconnected from our own authentic natures, can learn much from them, provided we are willing. Recent findings strongly suggest that cats in fact domesticated themselves, underscoring just how unique, intelligent, adaptable, and cunning these splendid beasts are. In summary, this problem exists in the first place because humans believe cats are here solely for their entertainment, and the media chooses to reinforce this erroneous, dangerous notion. Those of us who strive to reverse the tide of human stupidity in this matter have our work cut out for us, and success is far from assured.