Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Headline: Cats Kill Billions of Animals and Birds, Is Such a Disservice to Cats Everywhere

The recent headline in the news has been Cats Kill Billions of Animals Annually, Study Finds probably will be a disservice to the millions of cats around the world.   Turns out cats kill 1.4 to 3.7 billion birds annually and 6.9 to 20.7 billion mammals.  (Unfortunately, the study is not specific as to what harmful mammals are killed---mice and rats perhaps?)

Now I enjoy the birds in my yard and will make noises to chase away a stalking cat near our bird feeder. Yet I don't have such dislike for a cat which  is just doing the thing she is predisposed to do  and enjoys doing best which is hunting. (I have more fear and respect and will a make a lot of noise to frighten off the hawk which now hangs in our yard and hovers around our bird feeders. This raptor will not only  go after the birds, but will  easily make a dinner out of a small cat or will attack me should I venture close to her nest.)
Cats already have a bad rap and the headline will make them victims of animal abusers.  

My wife and I have one family relative  who is passionate about her birds at her feeders.   Once with a wink in her eye and some pride, she assured me and my wife that she and her husband have taken care of cats (neighbor  or feral it did not matter)  that had the misfortune of travelling into their several acre yard with their shot gun. 

Guess, I never understood why tormenting a cat seems to be tolerated more than tormenting a dog.   Perhaps, it is because cats appear not to have those submissive facial features or body language that a dog has when hurt or frightened.  

But historically cats have had both good and bad reputations  in legend and folklore which perhaps may account for reasons they are fair game for animal abusers.  

 Cats have been called clever (which they are of course); unpredictable (again true) and have been associated with death,  healing, witchcraft, and held in high regard by Egyptian priest as predictors of future events. As for Eastern religions, cats have higher places of honor as deities and many Buddhists believe a cat may be the resting place of the soul of very spiritual people.

There is a great article by Glenda Moore, Folklore, Superstitions, and Proverbs.   Moore lists many stories and superstitions about cats.  Some from her list that most of us have probably heard in some form are:

  • cats are able to see the human aura
  • it is unlucky if a  black cat crosses your path
  • if a cat lays on the bed of a sick man, the sick man will die
  • cats will not remain in the house where someone is about to die
  • because cats are nocturnal and roam at night (our cats actually sleep at night) black cats in particular are considered evil and associated with witches
Perhaps I am an atypical pet owner as I don't like puppies.  

 As cute and goofy acting puppies may be,  their growing pain habits of chewing up shoes and table legs or urinating on the floor are not endearing traits.   I would rather adopt an older dog---a year or more.   Unless the dog is particularly neurotic, according to Cesar Millan you can teach an older dog new tricks.

Cesar Millan

Source of Photograph:  Grace Dent's TV OD

 As for cats, I really don't care for kittens and prefer the adult size versions.  But I do know from past experience, selecting  a kitten and allowing  her to grow into the adult cat has suited  the temperament needs of our family. 

As for  temperaments, there are articles about the different personality traits of dog versus cat owners.  

Correct or not, cats have generally been perceived to be more likely owned by women who enjoy their docile and independent nature.  However, it takes real courage and a certain amount of self-confident machismo for a young man to proudly say that he prefers the more quiet and less needy habits of a cat to a dog!

For those of us who view ourselves as intellectuals,  one article from the UK confirms that
Cat Owners Are More Educated than Dog Owners.   But before those of us who own cats have a swollen head over this UK study, another study investigating the differences between cat and dog owners, suggests that cat owners are 12 percent more neurotic than dog owners!

I am not a purist when it comes to cat ownership. 

All of our cats have been raised with big dogs.   (I would hypothesize that there are most definitely different personality traits between small dog owners versus larger dogs as there are between dog and cat owners.)  

And those of you who have had the pleasure of owning both canines and felines at the same time, probably have  seen often times that some cats will take on some dog like qualities as they pal around with their  less clever and more needy tail wagging housemates.

Tonight as I am writing and my wife is doing her work downstairs, both our cats are sleeping in the living room.  One is curled up as a white fur ball on a rocker and the other is curled up on the lap of  my wife's 96 year old sleeping mother.  

And for this sometimes neurotic person, seeing two sleeping cats brings a certain tranquility to my restless mind.

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