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Should Domestic Cats Be Locked Inside for Fear of Harm to the Wildlife?

February 22, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 178

After all, those animals are only following their inbuilt program when they kill. It's we humans - with our ability to resist 'base instinct' - who concern ourselves with protecting endangered species. All too often, the reason a species becomes endangered is because humans destroyed their habitats to develop lucrative enterprises that benefit only our own species.

Just two cases in point:

Cats and dogs are not guilty of felling the rainforest-homes of Orangutan or Gorilla to raise beef cattle for hamburgers.Domesticated dogs are known to attack Koala crossing open pasture to reach the single species of eucalypt whose leaves it prefers to eat. Dogs did not develop that pastureland to graze sheep for wool and lamb chops.

People have always looked out to the night sky with longing, searching for some sign or signal to answer the ancient question: 'are we alone?' Yet right here on the planet, the answer is all around us. Leaping,loping and wriggling, purring, grunting and chirping - our fellow animals provide the company that makes us feel fully Human - and comforts us for that knowledge.

A black cat - just a regular moggy - was our companion in our new home beside the rainforest. His attention was soon captured by the noisy activity each afternoon when we started supplementary feeding of the local Kookaburra. In the early days, we'd spread the meat onto brick paving around the swimming pool. Sometimes we'd throw pieces and watch with admiration as the birds deftly caught them in mid-air. Every piece was held firmly in their great, blade-like beaks and thoroughly bashed against the ground in their natural custom, before being swallowed.

The cat insisted on watching the entertainment from a ring-side seat only a few feet away. He never made any move to harass the birds. In any case, with powerful wings for a quick getaway and fully armed with those formidable beaks, they made a target he was not prepared to engage.

For their part, the birds grew so disdainful, they would perch in the rafters right above the cat as he sunned himself on the deck in the mornings. With feline dignity, he'd merely stretch, then turn his back to them. After awhile, the birds gave up the game and went back to taking their morning baths in the pool with barely a glance at the cat. After a long and happy life, having been rescued from misery as an abandoned city stray, our cat companion died in his sleep. Now the Kookaburras, and 29 other species of native and imported birds, have our backyard to themselves.

Dorothy Gauvin is the author of Conlan's Luck, An Epic Story of the Shearers' War. This little-known uprising of the 1890s has been called a 'Secret Civil War.' Scholarly texts have been published about this seminal and colourful period of Australian history, but Conlan's Luck seems to be the only novel yet published on the subject. See more about the novel at Read about Australian wildlife at

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Domestic Cats


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