A World Without Cats?!

Inconceivable, right? If you think it wouldn’t BE a world without cats, check out this article. Once you get past the disturbing title, you will discover that bird populations can actually drop when cats are removed from the equation, since cats control other bird predators. So if you justify cat-hating on the basis that you love birds, that won’t really float, will it?

A cat surrounded by tall storks in a field peeks out over the top of the grass
Not that I’m denying cats chase and kill birds. But for any human to blame the demise of bird species primarily on cats is supremely ironic. You want to see the cause of most bird extinctions for the last several thousand years? Look in the mirror.

But I don’t want to fight with bird lovers. I like birds too. Just don’t advocate taking guns to kittens, and we can be friends. Of course, I realize hardly any cat-haters would be reading this blog. Which is OK by me!

Getting back to our world with cats, cats and humans have evolved together for quite awhile, and that has probably had more impact on cats than humans because their shorter lifespan equals more generations.

Those who doubt have only to observe a colony of feral cats. The species from which domestic cats descended did NOT live in colonies. But they are now a more social species in the urban environment. Could this be due to a few thousand years of genetic advantage in the form of extra food and protection for cats who are more friendly and less territorial, because humans prefer them?

A cat with a tilted head and a mischievous expression sits next a to a sign that says "mouse welcome" (in German)
It is rarely considered that the impact of interspecies relationships cuts both ways. What has the evolutionary effect of living with cats been on us? Were purr-indifferent humans weeded out of the gene pool by rodent-borne illnesses that their purr-loving cousins were protected from by the presence of a mousing companion?

These days, the popularity of cats has edged out dogs. Too bad we don’t have statistics going back a few thousand years. It would be interesting to see whether this has always been so, or has increased over time. Perhaps one day we will be so influenced by cats that they will take over the world, and we will all be better groomed and better rested. I can live with that!

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