Feral Cats Don't Deserve Their Bad Reputation

<p>Linda Tanner / <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/goingslo/6130901498/" target="_blank">Flickr</a> (<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/" target="_blank">CC BY 2.0</a>) </p>
<p>Linda Tanner / <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/goingslo/6130901498/" target="_blank">Flickr</a> (<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/" target="_blank">CC BY 2.0</a>) </p>

By Ken Wahl and the Barbi Twins

The facts and myths of the feral cat.

Feral Cat Day is Oct. 16

Cats are the most popular pet in our nation with about 86 million cats owned, compared to 78 million dogs owned - although there are more dog owners. And the most popular videos viewed are cat videos.

Sadly however, the cat is the most abused - and killed more than any other animal - for several reasons. They make up80 percent of pound killings. They are also used in sacrifices because of mythology. Many mentally ill people have a tendency to collect cats, and this brought the superstition that cats made women crazy. They were called witches, or crazy cat women.

The FBI says, that because many criminals have control issues, crimes are committed against cats because of peoples' inability to control them. In fact, most people hate cats because they compare them to dogs, who have been domesticated anywhere from 18,000 years to 35,000 years, compared to cats who have only been domesticated for 5,000 years.

This makes them half wild. But they are the only species to choose to be with man without being totally dependent on us for food.

We must remember that never in history have humans worshiped an animal as the Egyptians did the cat, because they knew cats were helping them survive. Cats protected their grain supplies from rats, thereby saving civilization.

In fact history has shown that whenever cats were demonized, the deadliest plagues almost wiped out the human race - since rats, not cats, carry deadly disease and breed more quickly than cats. The culling of cats will always increase rodent populations and the problems that come with that, as we have repeatably seen in Australia's regular culling of cats and growing rodent infestation.

So this unwarranted hatred for cats comes from one's own control issues rather than facts. After all, you have never heard of a cat killing a person, but, unfortunately, we have heard of dogs killing people.

Cats have also been the scapegoats for many things, including bird deaths. Cats need the amino acid taurine to maintain life, which is mainly found in mice and rats, which is their primary food of choice. (Just the smell of a cat's urine will keep rodents away.) Energy companies show impact studies of solar and wind turbines killing more birds than they want published. So these companies pay environmentalists to lobby against Trap/Neuter/Return bills to be able to blame and cull cats. We have helped fight this for years. Agencies or organizations that benefit or profit from the culling of cats call cats "feral," which means non-native, and is a reason for environmental groups to legally kill them. However, the fact is they are not "feral" - which literally means an animal that has been domesticated and then changed into being wild. Cats have always been half wild and only relatively recently domesticated. But the real facts are that cats are not good hunters of birds at all.

Another myth used to promote the profit of killing cats is that cats also eat most of the fish. Again this is not true. Fish are not a natural food to feed cats. They develop hypothyroidism by eating fish.

Most people don't realize that pet food is mere by-products of trashy meats, too dangerous for humans to eat and therefore labeled "not for human consumption." In fact, most pet food contains a type of poisonous plastic, melamine, that imitates protein to use as cheap filler to keep the price of pet-food cheap.

This is the main reason there are so many lawsuits and no solutions, since the FDA doesn't regulate pet-food.

So this feral cat day, welcome our friends, by calling them community cats, and thanking them for choosing to be with us and saving humankind. You may come celebrate with us at an event, Oct. 24th, with our favorite organization "Stray Cat Alliance," that teaches a more humane way of reducing stray cat populations by trapping, neutering and releasing, otherwise known as "TNR."

Ken Wahl is a Golden Globe-winning actor, writer, director, producer. Disabled and retired, now an advocate to help get veterans and shelter pets together. The Barbi Twins, Shane and Sia Barbi, are celebrity models turned health book authors, vegans, and long-time animal activists. Currently they concentrate on humane education and the welfare of animals, helping animal charities and rescue groups world wide. They are the authors of "The Eco Anti-Diet." Find them on Twitter at @Barbi_Twins.