Who’d be without a cat? – Summer 2002

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Compliments of Frank Kennedy

Cats are one of the few animals we don’t eat, says Tony Kilcommons

A feral cat is one that was domesticated, or whose ancestors were domesticated, but has reverted to the wild state. The cat was one of the last animals to be domesticated and adapts easily to a wild free-living existence.

Feral cats can be found in towns or rural areas. Fifty years ago in the country when rabbits were very plentiful a lot of cats took to the wild, probably obeying a primitive instinct. None of us can doubt the hunting ability of the domestic cat, which will often leave a dead mouse, rat or bird on the door step to prove that he is not redundant; so imagine the hunting ability of the wild cat who does not enjoy the culinary efforts of kitchen, supermarket or technology.

Wild humans

Feral cats, despite living in the wild, are usually in good condition. On the other hand, when humans go wild their condition usually deteriorates. Feral cats in the cities are in fierce competition for food, but then there are always cat lovers who will go out of their way to provide food. Cats can be great company for the elderly and one has only to see the huge number of people who throng to the various cat shows to realise how popular an animal they can be. Our feral cat of course has little chance of getting to a show, except he abandons the wild life and becomes domesticated. Cats, whether domesticated or wild, play a huge part in keeping the mice and rat numbers down especially the female cats, who are great hunters. In contrast the lazy tomcat has only one thing on his mind and that is not chasing mice or rats. As we can all testify he is a noisy gentleman when on amorous ramblings.

TV stars

They can also be very proud of their ability to star on television and video, and will be with us for a very long time. The cat is one of the few animals not to enter the food chain, despite what certain people would try to make us believe. So when you see a feral cat, think of him as a free spirit, who wanted more space for himself, or got fed up of us humans and our affluence.

Tony Kilcommons is a retired Garda Sergeant and President of Athenry Tidy Towns Committee and an author of some other very entertaining articles in The Athenry Journal

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About this record

Written by Tony Kilcommons

Published here 20 Jul 2023 and originally published Summer 2002

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