Letter: Antisocial cats

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The Independent Culture
Antisocial cats

Sir: Mr Harper's cat (letter, 13 December) is hardly typical of its species if it has never killed "any living thing".

A survey by junior members of the Mammal Society (reported in RSPB's Birds Magazine of spring 1999) reported more than 14,000 prey items from 964 cats, including 3,383 birds. Based on the numbers of reptiles (grass snakes, slow worms etc) caught and killed by this population of cuddly domestic cats it was postulated that their 800,000 feral relatives could be significantly affecting the reptile populations of the UK.

Another correspondent defended the actions of the domestic cat by quoting "nature red in tooth and claw". That's fine when you talk about natural populations and predator-prey relationships - that is not the case for cats whose numbers are directly influenced by their association with humans. There are millions of them in the UK, and the vast majority that are not owned by responsible Independent readers spend most of the day and night roaming the neighbourhood decimating the natural wildlife population.

The cat is an anti-social pet and there is no defending it. It wipes out your local songbirds and craps in other people's gardens.

KEVIN MURPHY

Southampton

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