Thursday, September 21, 2023

Differentiating between wildcat, stray cat and domestic cat in New Zealand

The British Ecological Society says in an article that there have been long-standing conservation efforts to restore the native wildcat in Britain and New Zealand. They've got that wrong completely because there has never been a wildcat presence in New Zealand. And the same applies to Australia. Both these countries have never had a wildcat.

You can't go around shooting feral cats in New Zealand because you don't know for sure if they are feral cats and unowned. This image is by Michael.

The only cats that they have are domestic cats, stray cats and feral cats. And the feral cat cannot be described as a wildcat. They are two different creatures/species. That's because the feral cat ultimately is a domestic cat that is unsocialised. Feral cats can be socialised to become domestic cats with patience. And feral kittens can quite easily be socialised to be domestic cats.

But the true wildcat, a wild cat species cannot be socialised. They might be tamed to a certain extent but they will never be a good pet.

But the title to this article hints at one problem namely this: New Zealand wants to cull i.e. kill all the feral cats in their country because they prey on native species. This is the same attitude as that of the Australian authorities. They have the same problem and they have the same solution: mass killing of feral cats.

But here is the rub on that project. You can't distinguish between domestic, stray and feral cats at a distance. They all look very similar. You can't shoot at a feral cat to cull the animal inhumanely because you might be shooting someone's pet cat. You might be shooting a stray cat which is in between a feral cat than a domestic cat in terms of socialisation.

Although some stray cats are fully socialised. They might have been someone's pet until the day before. So, the shooter might shoot a domestic cat or a stray cat but not a feral cat. You see the problem.

If you want to go around taking pot shots of feral cats which I find disgusting you have to make sure that all the domestic cats are, by law, full-time indoor cats. And that situation would have to be in place for a reasonable time so that you can declare to the world that every cat you see on the streets or in the countryside is not owned and are feral cats. 

You can then be safe to shoot them without being prosecuted for a crime under the nation's animal welfare laws. Or being sued by the cat's owner.

This problem and the solution is exactly the same in Australia. And the same would apply to poisoning cats with a device which chucks poison gel over the animal when it walks passed the device.

The conclusion is you can't go around willy-nilly killing feral cats unless you know that you are actually killing a feral cat and you can't do that currently in New Zealand.

And of course, it is immoral, inhumane, cruel and entirely wrong to shoot feral cats because you don't like them and because they kill native species for the simple reason that humankind put the feral cat there in the first place. They are the victims of human carelessness. To shoot them is to add to the problem. It compounds the problem and makes the human doubly wrong.

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