Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Is it legal to kill a cat?

When I was a kid I often wondered what bizarre course of events must have led to a once fierce and proud creature ending up as the submissive love bundle that today warms itself on old grannies’ laps everywhere. The family cat.

So it’s been domesticated you say. Sure. But what does that really mean? After all, by domesticating cats we have completely changed their behavior. And they look nothing like wild cats as well. Some have pedigrees (showcats) and others don’t (alley cats). Quite weird when you think about it. Does this qualify as “evolution” or not? And would it be possible for us to “domesticate” other animals? Like the large wild jungle cats and other animals like crocodiles, for example? Could be a lot of fun though: just imagine having a 130kg lion come over for dinner every evening! Certainly a lot more exciting than putting out a bowl of milk for that lazy bloody moggie that’s for sure!

Some cats even have an extra toe. They are called Polydactyl Cats, are no less normal than a cat with five toes on a paw, and even have their own web page.

I don’t have cats as such, but sometime strays congregate outside my house. Occasionally – like every other night - they have noisy orgies Caligula style. But apart from that they’ve never really bothered me. At least not till I read this:

A new study says bird flu can also infect cats, and that cats can spread the flu to other cats. The finding raises the possibility that they may eventually spread the flu to other mammals, including humans. (source: National Geographic)

So does this mean that cats could be culled as well as chickens? Well I certainly hope not. And the risks are still low of course.

But could you legally shoot a cat in your garden anyway? Well not if you live in the UK, because killing cats there is a crime. And in a recent case as reported by the BBC a man who drowned a neighbours’ cat was sentenced to jail for four months!

Peter Johnstone, 57, from Grangemouth threw the animal into the Union Canal after weighing it down with bricks.

He had claimed his wife suffered from a "pronounced phobia" of cats and said the animal routinely entered his house despite attempts to keep it away.

Other animals you can legally kill though, and they include rats, squirrels, rabbits and foxes. They are less fortunate because they are wild and nobody owns them.

Lucky old cats then. They really do have nine lives. Purr!!!!!!