A Bird in the Mouth is Worth Two in the Bush
Our do-nothing cat Chester had a wonderful summer doing what he usually does – nothing. While Chester was chilling, the humans in our home took a vacation to the beach. During that time Chester stayed home and was taken care of by our neighbor.
Being the non-social animal that he is, Chester kept his distance from the person who was feeding him and cleaning his litter box. No love shown by our grumpy puss.
Speaking of no love – while Chester had the run of the house including air conditioning and Netflix, the Polish Academy of Sciences was declaring the domesticated cat an invasive species. This means our furry friends are non-native and causing harm to human health, the economy and or the environment.
First, Chester is a red-blooded American cat, so don’t start any build the wall animas with him. Second, Chester hasn’t caused us too much financial or destructive pain. Sure, we have to take him to the vet once in a while, but unless we see “heart transplant” or “hip replacement” on the bill, we know we’re not being fleeced. As for trashing the house, except for a few tears in the drapes and a worn-down carpet from the sharp cuts he makes chasing his toys, Chester is a model citizen and no threat to our health.
That doesn’t mean his brethren aren’t wreaking havoc.
In Poland, farm cats are credited with killing and chewing on 583.4 million “mammals” and 135.7 million birds annually according to a study in Global Ecology and Conservation. “Mammals” include rodents according to the report. There are an estimated 2.9 million farmsteads in Poland and each of those averages just less than one cat.
These farm cats are left to fend for themselves when it comes to eating so they do their shopping in the barns and fields. Apparently, vegetables and hay aren’t cutting it for the felines so a good rat or bird meal does the trick.
There was nothing mentioned in the study about the impact of city felines. Probably because most of them are fat cats who are too lazy to chase anything except a toy. That’s what kielbasa and pierogi cat food will do for your instinct to hunt.
In the United States, more cats equal more dead birds. How about 2.4 billion avians are taken by cats annually in the USA. That’s according to a study in Review in Advance.
Various studies estimate that there are over 94 million house cats and 70 million feral felines. In other words, those cats will hunt.
As impressive as those numbers are, consider that almost 600 million birds were killed flying into buildings in the U.S. Last I checked, buildings don’t stalk animals.
That last fact got Chester’s dander up.
“Typical humans,” Chester bemoaned. “You write up stuff blaming cats while you people are far worse at killing animals. We cats don’t like being your scapegoats.
“How so,” I asked, not realizing the hand grenade I just lobbed at myself.
“Let me drop some knowledge on you big guy. That’s assuming you have a brain to comprehend logic,” Chester said in his best teacher’s voice.
“In this country you ‘humans’ kill 9 billion chicken, 270 million turkeys, 2.8 million cattle, 2.2 million sheep and 130 thousand pigs annually. Oh by the way, add almost 200 million birds killed by automobiles while you’re driving around while texting!
“Why don’t you write a report about that hot shot. So, who’s doing more harm to the planet” Chester said defiantly.
For the first time, the cat had my tongue. All I could do was fumble with my hands while I looked at the floor. Chester was right.
I reached out for anything to get the upper hand.
“I read that cats have contributed to the extinction of over 63 vertebrate species,” I fired at our tabby only to receive a return volley.
“Nice try moron,” Chester sneered. “You idiots have wiped out 60% of wildlife populations in just the past 40 years. Who’s the invasive species now? Very impressive, you did that without using nukes, at least so far.”
I started thinking that if I needed a lawyer, I’d hire Chester. That cat had a comeback to everything I said.
“How would you like a double helping of chicken,” I asked my pet, playing the last card I had in this discussion.
“Yes. You can even have the remote and watch Netflix,” I said sensing a turn in our battle of the minds.
“You strike a hard deal, señor,” Chester said happily.
So, we watched Inside the Mind of a Cat as Chester and I ate some chicken. I dared not bring up the irony to him after the discussion we just had. Why ruin a nice moment.