If Not for Cats We’d Be Covered in Rats

This interesting article suggests that if every cat in the world suddenly died, humans would be in serious trouble – and not just because we’d miss their delightful viral videos.

By killing mice and rats in barns and grain storage areas, cats are vital for keeping those pests in check.

Rodents eat and contaminate grain stored for human consumption.  Without cats to control their population, rodents might significantly impact our usable supply of grains.  Furthermore, with a dramatic increase in the global rodent population, we would likely see a decline in the number of seabirds since rodents eat their eggs.  Species who prey upon rats would probably grow in numbers.  The effects would ripple across the globe.

But don’t worry.  I just checked Petfinder to see how many cats are available for adoption within 500 miles of me and there are 40, 028.  Global meltdown averted.

9 thoughts on “If Not for Cats We’d Be Covered in Rats

  1. A great argument for more municipal support of Trap- Neuter- Release of feral colonies instead of Trap- Kill!

  2. In fact, the BIG problem we would face is the Black Plague. Cats are responsible for keeping down the resurgence of this dread disease. Most people do not know that the reason millions of people died in Europe during the great plague was because most of the cats in Europe had been killed off thanks to the superstition that cats were creatures of the Devil. This superstition was fueled by the Roman Catholic Church of that time, and led to hundreds of thousands of cats being cruelly killed. However, Jehovah lets us reap the profits of our own foolishness, and when the Asian rat came off the boats and onto the docks of Europe, there were no cats there to kill them. We might want to think about this before we embark on another campaign to eradicate the cats who live out of doors and work so hard to save our lives everyday by killing off those animals that could potentially kill us.

  3. “cats are available for adoption within 500 miles of me and there are 40, 028.” — are there that many homes available in the 500 mile radius to adopt this many cats?

    Coyotes eat rats, mice, and cats too and they are coming into more subdivisions.

  4. I once saw Willis catch a mouse in less then 2 minutes. I didn’t even know a mouse had tried to move in until he jumped up, stalked into the kitchen and came out with the mouse. It was very impressive and I am glad to know that I never have to worry about rodent infestations.

  5. Here is a fun little companion story for this blog- http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/video/6659701-protecting-d-c-wildlife-could-mean-dumping-rats-in-md/
    You are right, though. I’m on a farm, and have always had people blessing me with free cats, usually w/o my knowledge. It was fine, they were welcome and well cared for (and, yes, fixed) as outdoor cats. The last few years, none have appeared, and most of my old ones had died off. I had 3 outdoors, and 3 indoor/outdoor cats (that I had actually chosen to adopt, rather than them adopting me!) I started having rats in the shed and the chicken coop, and then in the house. Then came the snakes. First I found them w/ increasing frequency in the yard and garden, including one copperhead, which is poisonous. Then I found a large blacksnake in the house. Enough!! I called the local inhumane society and asked if I could bring home some ferals. The director said “no,” but did put me in touch w/ the local TNR person. Before we could arrange for some kitties for me, though, my animal advocacy group became involved with a situation where community cats in a trailer park were being poisoned and abused. We ended up moving those cats to the farm. I haven’t seen a snake since, and I have only seen one rodent that was not in a cats mouth when I spotted it, and it was in a kitty mouth in pretty short order. Nothing personal against the rats, I know they are pretty neat animals, but they really do become problematic if the population is not controlled.
    Oh, and BTW, we have been putting significant pressure on the local inhumane society to do better, and last Dec. I called and asked to adopt a cat that was on the stray list that I suspected was a feral, because he looked a little rough, like he had been living on his own. They worked pretty hard to talk me out of it. They said he was sick and feral and nasty. I insisted, and they did let me have him. (This is likely not policy, but because I am a troublemaker, and they wanted me to shut up and go away.) Although he certainly must have been trying to get by on his own, he is not feral, he is sweet as can be. He is handicapped, though, and very happy in the house, so he is a house cat now. Both of his back legs are deformed, so there is no way he could have lived outside on his own and thrived. I don’t even think the shelter staff realized he had a deformity, and it is significant. One leg is actually only half as long as it should be, and ends in a single pad, rather than a fully formed foot. Surely they would have thrown that in when they were telling me how “sick and feral and nasty” he was-? Who knows? I love him though, and the vet says he will be just fine.

  6. I have a Yorkie and its been said that Yorkies were bred for keeping rats and mice out of factories during the industrial revolution era. Granted they may not eat them, but ya know. My dog does tend to fixate a lot on rodents (well mainly rabbits) like that but she also does it with birds too so I guess its just a dog thing :)

    Anyway, rambling I know, I completely agree about keeping feral cats around so we dont get these dreaded diseases again and so on.

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