Cats: Scourge or Blight

Homepage Forums Science Cats: Scourge or Blight

This topic contains 28 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  jakelafort 1 month, 3 weeks ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 29 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #28781

    Unseen
    Participant

    Nothing specific to discuss. Just all the topics that come to mind.

    Cats as an invasive species.

    Cats’ effect on native species.

    Positive effects of owning a cat.

    The personality of the cat.

    Those are just suggested possibilities.

    Let me start off with this fact a lot of cat owners don’t grasp about their furry feline friend. The domestic cat is one of the most efficient predators on the planet. Whereas their bigger jungle or veldt cousins succeed in a kill maybe one time in five of six, the domestic cat is two to three times more efficient. They borrow hunting techniques from all of their giant cousins. While not as built for speed as the cheetah, they share the cheetah’s highly flexible back, and are great sprinters, quicker in a sprint than most dogs the same size. Like most of their giant cousins, they are stalk and pounce predators, though like leopards they can drop from a high position onto unsuspecting prey. Like the caracal, they can grab birds on the wing due to their incredible leaping abilities. They can climb. They can dig. And native creatures in their prey size range have few defenses against them.

    One more thing: While we all have images of dogs chasing cats, if you stop to think about it, it’s always big dogs. If a dog and a cat fight, and they are about the same size…don’t bet on the dog.

    That might get the discussion started.

    #28796

    Unseen
    Participant

    Plus, if you want to rid your property of bears…

     

    #28812

    Unseen
    Participant

    Amazing hunting prowess.

     

    #28815

    Davis
    Participant

    Nice. And now that the well fed cat has a bird carcas in its mouth, it can go home and present it to its underlings (the humans) who may have the leftovers when the cat is done with it.

    #28825

    Unseen
    Participant

    My thoughts on cats as an invasive species: 1) it takes some hypocritical nerve for humans to decry an invasive species. Mankind is invasive everywhere but Africa. 2) Cats are fantastically adaptable, able to survive in conditions ranging from tundra to desert. What that means is that chance would have brought them here eventually anyway, just like mankind was inevitably going to find the Americas.

    #28826

    PopeBeanie
    Moderator

    1) it takes some hypocritical nerve for humans to decry an invasive species. Mankind is invasive everywhere but Africa.

    I believe in most cases, responsibility for the introduction of an invasive species belongs to one or more humans. The range of these species is huge, from microbes and prion diseases (e.g. HIV, ebola, plagues, mad cow) to mosquitoes hatched from discarded tires, to bred, feral felines and canines and other pets like pythons, and even hybrid pythons; by plane, ship, or even craigslist (bedbugs) and world trade in general, mostly accidentally but sometimes intentionally.

    I’m a bit loose on my definition of invasive species (e.g. bedbugs don’t affect the ecosystem much), but the number of human-caused invasive species is much larger than the non-human-caused.

    #28827

    _Robert_
    Participant

    I saw a rather large bobcat trotting down our dirt road with a dead cat in it’s mouth. Don’t see that every day. I don’t think wild housecats do very well around here in this swamp between the gators, rattlers, cottonmouths, coyotes, and bobcats. We have a few black bears, but they are very goofy garbage can raiders.

    #28828

    Unseen
    Participant

    1) it takes some hypocritical nerve for humans to decry an invasive species. Mankind is invasive everywhere but Africa.

    I believe in most cases, responsibility for the introduction of an invasive species belongs to one or more humans. The range of these species is huge, from microbes and prion diseases (e.g. HIV, ebola, plagues, mad cow) to mosquitoes hatched from discarded tires, to bred, feral felines and canines and other pets like pythons, and even hybrid pythons; by plane, ship, or even craigslist (bedbugs) and world trade in general, mostly accidentally but sometimes intentionally. I’m a bit loose on my definition of invasive species (e.g. bedbugs don’t affect the ecosystem much), but the number of human-caused invasive species is much larger than the non-human-caused.

    When one talks of invasive species, they come in three forms of introduction: 1) intentionally introduced, 2) piggyback introduction, and 3) natural introduction.

    1) Often, introduced predators are introduced to rid an area of other introduced species. Cats were introduced in various parts of the world to kill mice and rats, only to find that cats are equal opportunity predators who often find that native species are just as tasty as the target species and often easier to catch and kill.

    2) Even if cats weren’t introduced to America intentionally, a cat could easily enough have walked down a boarding plank or down a docking rope, deciding to stay.

    3) Wolves, for example, evolved in Asia but were in the Americas as early as 300,000 years ago.

    The Americas already have several native felines, all of them larger than the domestic cat and all of them viewing domestic cats as a potential meal.  Googling revealed little information on the evolution of the native cats. One thing is virtually certain: they all evolved from Asian cat species that got to the Americas accidentally. They became “native” when they found their niche in the ecosystem, which probably cost some prey species total extinction.

    Much the same is happening with domestic cats today.

    #28829

    Unseen
    Participant

    I saw a rather large bobcat trotting down our dirt road with a dead cat in it’s mouth. Don’t see that every day. I don’t think wild housecats do very well around here in this swamp between the gators, rattlers, cottonmouths, coyotes, and bobcats. We have a few black bears, but they are very goofy garbage can raiders.

    Don’t be so sure that they don’t do well. It looks like an area with lots of cover and with no reason to expose themselves to humans, it’s not surprising you don’t see them. As for snakes, cats are expert snake killers. You can google vids of housecats dealing with rattlers and cobras. They are every bit as good as mongooses. As for alligators…

    I suspect most of the feral cats who are killed are killed by bigger cat species, coyotes (if you have those) large dogs, hawks, or eagles (if you have those). OR in traffic, because cats are not as good as dealing with cars and trucks as dogs are. But give them a few hundred years of evolution.

    The thing is, cats can afford to take some losses because they breed like rabbits and cats are great teachers and defenders of their young.

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by  Unseen.
    #28831

    _Robert_
    Participant

    I can agree with most of that. However when a gator is just lying on the bank, it is not feeding. They seldom eat. If that gator was hunting it would come out of that water like it was shot from a cannon. I think that was another example of a smarty cat knowing that gator just wanted to be left alone. If you bring your little kids to Disney and let them play near a lake you may get a memorial however.

    Hardly a week goes by around here when the news isn’t reporting on a gator eating pets. Mostly dogs but “outside” cats as well.

    #28832

    I was on a farm in Mendicino County last year. It has a large pond that is home to ducks and geese which attracted the nightly attention of what we assumed was a bobcat. A cage trap was setup and the very next morning it trapped one. But when we took a closer look it turned out to be a young mountain lion. The National Park Service were busy for the next 72 hours so the cage was loaded on to a truck and driven about 10 miles away where it was released unharmed back into the mountains. Even watching it back on the cell phone video would make you flinch. There is something primal about the sounds they make. If I was a cat I would be packing my bags and heading to the nearest town.

    Even though I spend a week or so in Panama City Beach, Florida each Thanksgiving, it wasn’t until two years ago that I saw my first gator……in the artificial lake that makes up part of a hotel complex!!

    #28833

    Unseen
    Participant

    I can agree with most of that. However when a gator is just lying on the bank, it is not feeding. They seldom eat. If that gator was hunting it would come out of that water like it was shot from a cannon. I think that was another example of a smarty cat knowing that gator just wanted to be left alone. If you bring your little kids to Disney and let them play near a lake you may get a memorial however. <iframe title=”Disney Installs Lighthouse Memorial to Remember Boy Killed by Alligator” src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/vgdv-BrEcnY?feature=oembed” width=”670″ height=”377″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen=””></iframe> Hardly a week goes by around here when the news isn’t reporting on a gator eating pets. Mostly dogs but “outside” cats as well.

    I don’t think a gator can rush out of a pond fast enough to catch a cat, at least most of the time. Cat reflexes are legendary.

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by  Unseen.
    #28835

    _Robert_
    Participant

    Looks like that cat gets bit at around 00:18 if you step through the video. I did have a sweet calico cat that killed a foot long coral snake in our garage but suffered a fatal bite in the process. “Tuffy” was a hero to us.

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by  _Robert_.
    #28837

    Unseen
    Participant

    Looks like that cat gets bit at around 00:18 if you step through the video. I did have a sweet calico cat that killed a foot long coral snake in our garage but suffered a fatal bite in the process. “Tuffy” was a hero to us.

    Well, there’s that famous Native American saying: “Sometimes the magic works and sometimes it doesn’t.”

    Still, I don’t think the snake even touched the cat, much less sank its teeth into the feline.

    • This reply was modified 2 months ago by  Unseen.
    #28839

    My old house was separated from my neighbors with a line of tall mature trees. One day I watch their tom cat creep up to the very top of one to catch a songbird. He was a good 5 minutes and hardly moved a leaf which was impressive for such a slob of a cat. He looked like Fat Freddy’s Cat but fat too.  Just as he was about to swipe the bird I clapped my hands and the bird escaped. The look the cat then gave me was priceless. He was disgusted with me and just glared at me. He refused to come down while I was looking at him. No walk of shame going to happen here human. I know we anthropomorphize animal behavior but it was a look of disdain just as if a human had glared at me. The upshot was he now left all his “presents” in his own garden.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 29 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.