The New Yorker article by Jonathan Franzen on community cats contains distortions and factual errors. Here are a few of the worst:
“Recently I found a squirrel with its limbs torn off and guts hanging out in my back yard.”
This must have been an extremely small squirrel and/or an extremely large cat. I’ve seen many squirrels in areas where community cats are cared for. I’ve never noticed a cat hunting or expressing any interest in a squirrel. I have observed shredded squirrel parts out in the open under a place where a hawk could roost.
“A more widespread threat is toxoplasmosis, which is caused by a parasite that cannot reproduce without cats, ….”
Toxoplasma gondii reproduces asexually in any warm blooded animal. Infection in people is generally due to the consumption of undercooked meat.
“In the past fifty years, their [birds] base population has fallen by thirty per cent, from an estimated ten billion in 1970….The greatest of these threats are … a non-native predatory species, cats.”
Cats have been here since the time of the Pilgrims. The collapse in the number of birds has happened over the course of some decades. This is in step with the acceleration of climate change. The insects and other small arthropods that many birds eat and/or feed their young are also disappearing. Rats and mice are a problem in cities. In the suburbs and rural areas deer mice that carry the ticks spreading Lyme Disease are widespread. The cats are not bothering the rodents, but they are exterminating birds? Really? There are less and less birds all over the world. Cats are a global threat? Really?
# # #
A body of junk science has compiled “facts” that are not true fermented by interpretations that are skewed. (This is so obvious one has to wonder if the the supposed researchers are actually intentional propagandists, twisting reality to support some preconceived notion? Or is their cognitive processing burdened by a Freudian complex? Cats as a symbol of freedom activating repressed material?)
Then along can come Jonathan Franzen to slice and dice the supposedly scientific garbage and serve it up with a sauce of his own tunnel vision observations. A “cheerful plenitude” of malarkey indeed. And by the way — are The New Yorker editors inept? Or was Franzen’s copy believed to be in the same league as Shakespeare’s and so immune from red ink?