Thursday, January 31, 2013

Response to New York Times Article "That Cuddly Kitty Is Deadlier Than You Think"

“For all the adorable images of cats that play the piano, flush the toilet, mew melodiously and find their way back home over hundreds of miles, scientists have identified a shocking new truth: cats are far deadlier than anyone realized.”

This quote is how the New York Times article “That Cuddly Kitty Is Deadlier Than You Think” begins.  I’m sorry, wait and stop right there. You’re telling me, that my cat is deadly? While shaking my head, I continue to read the article. 

My sweet Vickie. An indoor cat that has not killed a bird.

Surveys are saying that “domestic cats in the United States…kill a median of 2.4 billion birds and 12.3 billion mammals a year…most of them native mammals like shrews, chipmunks and voles.” This instantly makes me think of every Saturday morning cartoon I’ve seen, with the cliché of the cat chasing the bird or mouse (though the cat never seems to catch either). 

The author of the article continues to tell me, that more birds die at the mouths of cats than from car accidents and pesticides/poisons. I find this interesting because in my life, none of my cats have ever killed a bird. I have had ten cats, six are the current housecats. So there you have sixteen cats that have never killed a single bird. 

The article does talk about both indoor cats that spend time outside and the “unnamed strays and ferals that never leave” the outdoors. The last time I saw a dead bird was after it flew into the window of my neighbor’s sliding glass door. Wasn’t killed by a cat!

I understand that sure, there are cats that kill birds and mice – my cats have killed two or three mice. However, I don’t condone the cats’ natural instincts. Birds and mice carry a plethora of diseases that not only could the cat contract, but us humans as well. The last thing I want for my cat, is for it to be eating anything other than the food that I feed them. 

This article really enraged me, because it is catering to a stereotype that is not true of all cats. As much as Sylvester wanted to eat Tweety bird…he never did! The article soon launches in to the idea that scientists and environmentalists agree that cats should be kept indoors, and any owners who say otherwise are irresponsible. 
Tweety always got away from Sylvester in the end.

“Any outdoor [feral cat] colonies that remain should be enclosed,” said Dr. Fenwick of the bird conservatory.  I’m not going to launch into an argument about Dr. Fenwick’s controversial statement, but I will say that I completely disagree.

For more information, please view the New York Times article here:

No comments:

Post a Comment