Saturday, March 7, 2009

Feral Cats of Los Angeles

The feral cats of Los Angeles. There are one million. There are about 60 million feral cats in the United States. About 2.2 million feral cats (some say 14 million) are euthanized each year in the USA. Thee are about 80 million domestic cats in homes in the USA. Most of these live decent lives but they are cancelled out by the tough, short and sometimes miserable lives of the feral cats. Is this going to be the outcome for the forseeable future of the arrangement we made with the wildcat 9,000 years ago when the cat domesticated him/herself? At that time it worked. Can we claim that, overall, domestication of the cat actually works based on the above figures? I am not sure.

Update: A colleague of mine, Valley Girl (VG), has made a nice post about how people dump unwanted companion animals at Angeles National Forest. This apparently happens infrequently but VG makes the good point as to what that means. Does it mean one incident every week or more? Any dumping of pet like this is irresponsible. The "owners" of these cats and dogs (and rabbits) think that the animals will survive by reverting to the wild but this is not true. Domestic cats are conditioned and adapted to be domestic and find it hard to survive in the wild but will no doubt do so for a period of time. This is a cruel practice, though. Companion animals are for the life of the animal and we should not enter into an agreement to adapt a cat, say, unless we are totally committed to long term care. Here is VG's post:

Angeles National Forest Dumping Ground for Unwanted Animals

1 comment:

  1. Michael-

    Thanks for highlighting that post. It was a bit of synchronicity that I got that story from a reader at nearly the same time you made this post.

    I'm a bit more cynical than I said in the post- it may indeed be true that some think the animals will be "fine" in the wild. But, the forest is also isolated, and (this is where the cynical part comes in) I suspect that some take advantage of the low probability that they will be caught (or even seen) dumping animals.