No less an authority than the New York Times has finally gotten behind the #fluffybunnyfund and pointed out the bleeding (as the Brits say) obvious: that the domestic cat is a public menace of epic proportions. There’s too much good stuff in this piece — “The Evil of the Outdoor Cat” — by Richard Conniff to fully quote, so be sure to read the whole thing and savor every paragraph as if you were the killer cat in the photo above, enjoying the entrails of some hapless tweety bird. Here’s a taste:
Using deliberately conservative assumptions, federal researchers recently estimated that free-ranging cats killed about 2.4 billion birds annually in the Lower 48 states, a substantial bite out of the total bird population. Outdoor cats also kill about 12.3 billion small mammals a year — not just the proverbial rats and mice but also chipmunks, rabbits and squirrels — and about 650 million reptiles and amphibians. In some cases, they are pushing endangered species toward extinction… If you have ever seen a cat toy with its victim, you know these are not quick, or pretty, or painless deaths. So you might expect animal welfare groups to be ardently campaigning against outdoor cats, and particularly against the care and feeding of feral or stray cats, which do most of the killing…
As the author points out, the bleeding-heart “solution” of trap, neuter and return (TNR) doesn’t really solve the problem, since the newly sprung killers quickly turn recidivist. Even worse, of course, is the cat’s effect on humans — the little beasts bring with them all manners of disease:
Cats are three to four times more likely than dogs to carry rabies, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They also share many other parasites or infectious microbes with humans, including roundworms, hookworms, giardia and campylobacter. When cats live outdoors it is almost impossible to predict what they will bring home next. In Massachusetts and New York, for instance, cats recently turned up infected with a worm normally found in raccoons. One owner pulled four of them, about six inches long, through her cat’s skin, “which isn’t the best idea,” says one of the Cornell University scientists who reported the cases. Most insidiously, outdoor cats are the primary hosts of toxoplasmosis, which is estimated to infect almost 30 percent of all humans worldwide. Toxoplasmosis produces lifelong parasitic cysts in the brain, and though it is generally asymptomatic it has been linked to neurological impairments, depression, blindness and birth defects. Even in asymptomatic individuals, the infection is associated with significant loss of memory in later life, according to a study last month in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.
The #fluffybunnyfund is dedicated to stopping this massacre in our streets, byways and back yards. If you don’t know what it is, please join me on Facebook (“David Kahane”) or follow me on Twitter @dkahanerules, especially if you have absolutely no sense of humor and wish to vent your outrage at my flagrant contempt for our murderous feline “friends.” And don’t forget that the White House is now using cat pictures to try and sell the abomination of Obamacare. Evil in the service of evil: I rest my case.
UPDATE: The AP is reporting that two people in Britain have contracted tuberculosis from their pet cat:
England’s public health agency says two people have caught tuberculosis from a pet cat, the first time the bacterial disease has been documented to spread from cat to human. In a report published Thursday, Public Health England said it concluded TB samples taken from the cat and from two people in contact with the animal were “indistinguishable” and that the cat was considered to be “the likely source of infection.”
Between December 2012 and last April, veterinarians identified TB in nine pet cats in Berkshire and Hampshire, west of London. Public Health England said the two people who caught TB were recovering and said the risk of further spread from cats to humans is very low. TB is a bacterial disease that kills more than 1 million people annually worldwide.
Color me unsurprised. In other outrages: