Wednesday, April 20, 2005


"Unorganized Cat Lovers" make a feral case out of it

Public misled by cat hunting advocates, opponents say
Advocats play fast and loose with polling, math

If you want some insight into why The Onion started in Madison, Wisconsin, you should delve into the Wisconsin Feral Cat Hunting controversy. Start with Jeremy's take on it, and then go to Don't Shoot the Cat, which self-identifies as "A non-violent campaign of WisconsinCAT Coordinating resistance to Question 62," and which has a bunch of informational links, most of which are of the "truth-is-better-than-The Onion" variety.

"Question 62" is an is an initiative that would
define free roaming feral domestic cats, as any domestic type cat which is not under the owner's direct control, or whose owner has not placed a collar on such cat showing it to be their property. All such defined free roaming feral domestic cats shall be listed as an unprotected species.
This seems literally to make it "open season" on such cats, at least during hunting season. Cat lovers construe question 62 as proposing a statewide "shoot to kill order" on all cats found outside the home. Certainly, they have a point that the definition of "feral cat" is broad enough to include collared domestic cats let outside by their owners.

Outdoor enthusiasts approved the feral-cat-hunting proposal 6,830 to 5,201 earlier this month at hearings of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress, a citizens' advisory group.*

On the other hand, Question 62 does not propose to override general restrictions on firearm use, so I'm guessing that you couldn't go around shooting cats on nieghborhood streets within city limits. Don't Shoot, however, suggests that this simply means that Question 62 would allow people in, say, Madison, to capture pesky "feral" cats and drown them.

Don't Shoot links to this post from the Alliance for Animals, called "Public Misled by Hunting Advocates":
“We feel that if 88% of the population of Wisconsin does not hunt, the voice of that 88% should be at least as loud as the voice of the small minority that does hunt,” says Alliance for Animals Executive Director Lori Nitzel. “The DNR and the Conservation Congress are charged with representing the interests and concerns of all of Wisconsin's residents, many of whom have cats. This process, in which only 0.2% of the state's population had a voice on this issue, leaves many unorganized cat lovers without representation.”
If you read this quickly, you'd think that the population of Wisconsin was divided into "unorganized cat lovers" and "people who hunt" and that Wisconsin's total population adds up to 88.2%. And I'm guessing some of those non-hunting people are not actually cat lovers and probably wouldn't mind if the neighbor cat were shut up indoors so it no longer used their flower bed as a litter box.

I know that's really not what she meant, but Lori Nitzel does confirm my long-time suspicion that cat lovers are generally unorganized people and that if you stay over at their place and take a shower, you invariably step out onto some cat litter with your bare feet, making you feel like you want to shower again.

I realize that this is no justification for a law that would essentially require all cats to live indoors at all times or else to get outside only for walks on leashes, like dogs. But cats were not put on this earth for our convenience, and it would be inhumane to force them to give up roaming in favor of leashed walks -- as compared to measures such as declawing and spaying (which would likely be the fate of many former outdoor roamer cats who would become shut-ins).

A complex issue....


*This picture was neither from Dont't Shoot the Cat, nor The Onion, but from the California State Bar Journal, of all things, in an article not about cats, but about juries. The caption is mine.

It's fairly clear to me that the antecedent of "process" in the Nitzel quote is "The DNR and the Conservation Congress." So I don't think your 88.2% quip is all that fair.

I would note that you mentioned having mourned the 2004 election result for "about 6 months" in a post dated five months and a week from the event, which happens to be 87.3% (by days) of the six months in question.

Yes, dealing with stray granules of cat litter makes me cranky.
I admit it. I'm a self-proclaimed cat lover. Mine are particularly friendly and loving. I'm a fan, and so are MOST people who come to my house.

I've always noted that in Madison, particularly on the East Side, people let their cats roam. I always thought that was nice. Leaning down and petting a big fat orange guy, an he rolls on the sidewalk in lthe sun...that's a nice experience. I hope that the blaze orange hunters don't build tree stands along Jenifer street, putting out catnip licks, and waiting....

Also, I think the minor annoyance of a few stray granules of cat litter, when looked at in context, can most certainly be balanced out by the happiness one might get from staying with good friends who may have cats. Don't you?
Anon.: My "feral" cat is depicted, in Jeremy's clutches, here. He (the cat) isn't exactly the friendliest and/or most loving, but my son adores him.
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
If you read my post quickly, you might overlook that I framed my 88.2% quip with not one, but two acknowledgments that it was not intended to be a "fair" reading of Nitzel's statement.

If you read my post quickly, you might even think that I hate cats and think they should be killed. I don't.

I guess that's just an occupational hazard of blogging, particuarly when I write verbose posts...
I saw the disclaimers, but still you used the pseudo-error derived from the quote to launch into that 'totalizing' crack about cat-lovers... Admittedly, I didn't see you recoil in total revulsion from the cat at dinner last week.

Meanwhile, I did get up on the wrong side of the litterbox this morning. Sorry.
Ewww. You fed Oscar cat at dinner?

Coincidentally, I received a plea for money from a capture-spay-release group of animal rights advocates in my mailbox just yesterday. CSR seems to be the most humane method of dealing with an overpopulation of feral cats - they are not killed, but prevented from subsequent breeding, and released back into their former envronments.

I can envision if the hunting is permitted and successful, that there will be a spike in the rodent population shortly thereafter. But maybe the state legislature needs to find jobs for thier layabout relatives and the title "Town Rat Catcher" is getting popular in Wisconsin these days?

Or perhaps Wisconsin wants to lead the world in the Fur Pillow market?
wake up folks. this is NOT about your fluffy. this is not about people screaming to be allowed to sport hunt your muffin.

this is about those cats who wander wild and mess up the local ecosystem. YOUR local ecosystem. they're as foreign as euraisan milfoil and zebra muscles, and controling their population is important.

spay/neuter does NOT stop the damage until they die in diseased middle age, it just wastes money that could be spent on other social problems. you're gonna put a random wild animal over feeding some poor kid or buying him up to date text books or paying for his operation? and you say the cat hunters are sick.

still concerned about tabbykins? be a REAL cat lover and put a collar on him and keep track of where he wanders. get him neutered to help solve the feral problem, and keep him healthy.
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