Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Barry even has a cat-skin cap...

The Pussy Riot continues, as expected, with both sides trotting out their predictable responses. Total cat-fan though I am, it was disappointing that the pro-cat lobby threw up its hands in horror at the very suggestion that well-fed domestic cats will kill wildlife - which is utter rubbish, as any bleary-eyed cat-owner has to admit as the latest bloody corpse is proudly deposited on the duvet in the middle of the night. Of course cats, regrettably, kill birds, unsportingly snatching them while they're roosting. I wish they didn't, but it's a fact, and the argument won't get anywhere until it's accepted.

I'd be happy to go along with de-sexing and micro-chipping, and with keeping cats indoors at night. On Kangaroo Island, off the coast of South Australia, they do all that and are pressing for the  complete containment of cats, as I was surprised to see when I arrived at the airport, where there's a 'Demonstration Cat Habitat' - in other words, a cage. They're anxious about the whole business because the place is swarming with wildlife, and they want to keep it that way. They've got a big problem with feral cats, 8,000 of them on the island, preying on the birds, reptiles and marsupials, and even spreading disease amongst the sheep population.

At Emu Ridge, where they distil eucalyptus oil into products that will do anything from clearing a stuffy nose to cleaning paint-brushes, I saw a heap of tanned cat-skins - $42 each - brought in by Barry the Cat Man, whose mission in life is to rid the island of its feral cats. It was a bit creepy, especially the empty heads, but I did sympathise with his mission - especially when, on a later trip to South Australia driving from Port Augusta to the Flinders Ranges, I saw a feral cat standing at the roadside. It was big, and bold, and looked totally at home in that environment, and clearly successful. If our feral cat population even approaches the levels they've got in Australia, our birds are doomed.

2 comments:

the queen said...

What. The hell. Are they eating babies or something? Islanders!

Pamela Wade said...

I'm a cat person, but feral cats are really bad news for wildlife - especially here where we have so many flightless birds. I can't imagine anyone putting a wild cat's welfare ahead of that of a kiwi.

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