The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Cats need no help populating


Sharna Johnson

Poor Tom cats.

link Sharna Johnson

It usually only takes one instance of their amorous habits to earn a quick ticket to the nearest vet — even less for those owners who already know what’s coming and schedule the removal procedure in advance of there being anything to remove.

Their love is destructive, not just in its intensely offensive odor, but also its staying power, known for forever sullying furniture, carpets and all other porous surfaces.

As a result, it’s safe to say few people are willing to share their space with a male cat who still has his trouble-making parts.

Likewise, a female cat still equipped her relevant bits will make her feelings known loud and clear for days on end, a dynamic which can be intolerable to live with and one that is pretty sure to lead to a surgical solution.

What’s left is a bunch of fat and lazy house cats who have lost interest in catting around.

The fellas who don’t get the knife are likely to end up on the streets, where they can spray to their heart’s content and pursue the ladies.

It’s those bad boys on the streets that end up making the ladies swoon and ultimately become mothers, according to a theory proposed by British scientist John Bradshaw, who recently published a book on the relationship between humans and cats and what is actually going on inside those unpredictable little heads of theirs.

Bradshaw proposes that cats are pretty newly domesticated by comparison to dogs, having only interacted and lived with humans for a couple thousand years whereas dogs have been at it for much longer.

Add to that the constant infusion of wildness that comes from feral and stray cats being the ones doing all the baby making, and what you end up with is a species that lives alongside humans but still has a strong leaning to the wild side.

Stating that more than 80 percent of cats are the product of one or more feral parents, Bradshaw’s theory has a ring of logic to it, especially since cat breeding is not nearly as popular for humans as dog breeding, yet there is never a shortage of kittens around, leaving little but the explanation that cats have a pretty solid breeding program of their own going.

Were it not for human interference driving domesticated ladies toward the wild ones, however, cats might have melded to humans a little more than they have, but by Bradshaw’s supposition, every litter gets a new dose of untamed traits, perpetuating wildness and delaying true domestication.

Sure, there are specialty breeds of cats which are cultivated and prized. But the greatest majority of cats are identified by their color not their bloodlines and while there is certainly no shortage of mixed dogs out there, it’s far more common to cross paths with a selectively bred pooch than to meet a ragdoll or Himalayan.

According to the American Pet Products Association, in 2013 there were almost 96 million owned cats in the U.S. and 91 percent of them had been spayed or neutered, which means the remaining 9 percent have either been extremely busy, or papa was a rollin’ stone.

It’s an interesting thing to think the very act of trying to render felines easier to live with has actually resulted in them staying wild.

However, anyone who truly knows cats, scientist or not, knows the more likely scenario is that they have discovered our mass conspiracy to sterilize them and are fighting back — one wild kitten at a time.


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