That is almost as bad as discovering that you have blown $8 million dollars on a transportation tax referendum that garnered a whopping 37 percent favorable vote.
I learned all about the darker side of cats from an editorial in Wednesday’s MDJ. (“Roaming Killers: Cats more prolific hunters than thought, study shows.”) I applaud the editors for jarring us out of our complacency and forcing us to confront an issue that heretofore no one has been willing to discuss. (When was the last time you saw a negative story on kitty cats on the national networks or in the New York Times?)
I gleaned both good news and bad news from the editorial. First, the good news: The study on cats was performed by researchers at the University of Georgia, the nation’s oldest state-chartered university, located in Athens, the Classic City of the South. That tells me all our scholar-athletes are out of jail and accounted for and we now have time to see what cats are up to. I find that very encouraging.
Now, the bad news: This may be disturbing to those of you who have bought into your cat’s cutesy-poo routine, but it turns out that the little sweethearts aren’t just running around chasing balls of string. They are actually lethal killing machines.
Somehow, researchers managed to get miniature cameras on the collars of a bunch of cats — try that with a Rottweiler — to see what they did with their free time. It turns out the cats spend a good part of their time killing things. USA Today said the researchers found “a secret world of slaughter.” Oh, great. Not only do we have to worry about terrorists; now we have to watch out for cats, too?
The report says that cats kill an average of two creatures a week. One observer said that by extrapolating the results of the UGA study, cats are likely to kill more than four billion animals per year. That includes at least 500 million birds. But not in my backyard. Even the most feral cat knows better than to set foot in my yard and start messing with my little feathered friends. I have a Red Ryder pump action BB gun with camouflage stock and I’m not afraid to use it. Ask the squirrels. They are still rubbing their rumps.
Given my much-admired penchant for seeking something positive in every situation (except for politicians who let lizard-loafered lobbyists buy them expensive dinners and give them tickets to tractor pulls and then claim with a straight face that it doesn’t influence their vote), I am trying hard to give cats a little break here.
For one thing, the research shows that cats eat a lot of lizards and snakes as well as frogs, chipmunks, voles and worms. I don’t find that to be all bad. I am not crazy about any of those creatures and have had an abiding dislike for snakes ever since that miscreant in the Garden of Eden lied to Eve about the apple tree and messed up the good life for the rest of us. The less snakes, the better.
I am sure somebody will get upset with me for saying that and will lecture me on the dangers of messing around with the balance of nature and the ecosystem and all that stuff. If so, you are talking to the wrong guy. You need to get in touch with your local feral cat. They started it.
If the cats really do devour four billion creatures a year, logic says that they will run out of things to eat one of these days. If so, I would like to have them consider adding stupid dogs that bark all day long to their diet. That would be performing a great public service and might even earn them another editorial in the MDJ. (I make no promises.) I hate stupid dogs that bark all day long worse than I do snakes and worms. I had strongly considered renting a coyote to take care of these noise polluters but if cats are interested in the job, be my guest.
In the meantime, consider yourself warned: You had better watch out for that furry little ball of cuteness that is purring as it sharpens its claws on the legs of your Queen Anne wing chair. Your cat may not only eat your lunch. He might just eat you.
You can reach Dick Yarbrough at email@example.com or P.O. Box 725373, Atlanta, Georgia 31139.