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Morning Commentary

The Nature of Cats and Men
By Charles Payne, CEO & Principal Analyst
1/24/2013 6:53 AM

Earlier this week a New Zealand politician, Gareth Morgan, asked his countrymen to get rid of housecats. Morgan didn't ask for these cats to be euthanized; he just asked to make sure they don't have any offspring. His problem with cats is one that's growing in developed nations-how to preserve animals living in an urban setting against a natural born killer.

Yes, your housecat is one of the most destructive killing machines on the planet, and environmentalists have taken notice.

Several studies in recent years confirm housecats and their feral cousins have a destructive streak that, according to the University of Nebraska, has already resulted in the extinction of 33 different bird species.

Last year the University of Georgia hooked up cameras to 60 housecats that were let out each day. The carnage was mindboggling as these cute family pets went on a murderous rampage, killing lizards, voles, chipmunks, frogs, small snakes, and birds. In fact, it is believed cats in America kill up to 500 million birds a year and between three and four billion animals in total. And it seems like bloodlust since less than twenty-five percent of kills are ever dragged home.

This behavior makes cats an immense threat to their environment. In fact, in the United States cats kill close to 1,000 times more birds than windmills (440,000 a year now and 1,000,000 a year by 2030). In the U.S., 33 percent of households own at least one cat, and the total amount of 86 million is larger than our dog population. In New Zealand, 48 percent of households own at least one cat with total population of 1.4 million. For a nation that is still relatively untouched compared to others, the stakes are high.

Mr. Morgan has made his pitch: "Imagine a New Zealand teeming with native wildlife, penguins on the beach, kiwis roaming about your garden ... imagine hearing birdsongs in our cities."

I'm not sure what the outcome could be, although I don't think it is outrageous to not think there will be rules for cat ownership. It's really remarkable when you think about it; what's a lefty to do? Your cats are destroying the environment more than your neighbor's charcoal barbeque grill. And you say you want clean energy ... how much blood is on the hands of people getting energy from windmills-more than those getting it from coal mines.

But the real reason I brought up cats is because hardwired behavior is hard to erase. It can be hidden for some time, but the cat that likes to get the belly-rubs also likes to wipe out any animal species it can defeat. So what about man? The debate on how mankind is wired and what the nature of man really is has been debated for centuries. On one hand, we are lucky to be able to determine our fates. Upon birth we are not obligated to fly south for the winter or brave running streams to reach a spot to lay eggs.

Of course this ability to chart our own course also makes us open to suggestion(s).

Right now in this country that suggestion is that we keep printing money and taxing success to pay for a utopian society where we all work together without a care for material reward or recognition. We are born into families but now we are told that family extends beyond even your community. We are being told we are all in this together to the point that people that don't work have no guilt over taking money from those that do while people that work are drowning in a guilt campaign because they are greedy for not sharing their prosperity.

I think at our core we are competitive and also like shiny objects.

The notion that the guilt trip is working is only half correct-only a few successful people say tax me more, while their less successful brothers all agree it is time for the rich to pay even a fairer share. And I must say this rhetoric can be made to sound so nice, but its essence is not unlike a house cat let loose to terrorize a neighborhood. This money-grab also includes giving up basic rights that have always been afforded to Americans. Our notion of freedom could be turned upside down if we don't take a stand.

While I don't think everyone will succumb to the pressure, we can be swayed and a lot will ignore their instincts. No, we aren't hardwired to go south for the winter but can be talked into it. The next four years will be a non-stop campaign to force Americans into accepting that we are a giant commune. The promoters of this campaign have the Bully Pulpit, media and that little green monster that resides in most of us but only comes out periodically (like when Tom Brady is winning the Super Bowl).

America wins when we are motivated by financial rewards and other selfish needs. It's in our nature, just as it is in the nature of most other animals on the planet, to win and enjoy the rewards of winning. In nature that prize is called survival, for humans it could be called money in the bank, house on the beach, or kids through college. We can't be ashamed of wanting to be successful or actually reaching certain heights in life and shouldn't allow the government to take what we earn under the false pretense of helping others.

I think 50% of anyone's earnings is more than enough to run government from the local to federal level.

My earliest memories are of wanting more-to climb tall trees, to win marbles, to win football games and, later, to win life. Survival is hardwired, but guts and determination can be removed. I didn't watch much of the Benghazi hearing yesterday, but from what I heard it was a combination love-fest and GOP rolling over. And while the cameras were rolling there, the GOP caved on the debt ceiling, allowing it to run up three more months-no strings attached.

Even domesticated cats harbor the need to be savage killing machines because it's their nature. I thought it was the nature of the GOP to stand for fiscal discipline but maybe I'm wrong.

One thing is for sure, we all have to hold onto that kernel of determination and guts that made us reckless children with scraped knees and busted lips and loving every second of the journey of life.

We can't allow it to be taken or coaxed away from us because the future of our children goes hand in hand with it. We have to be as determined as Sylvester the Cat was in trying to catch Tweety or in the end ... we'll become the hunted.


Comments
I live in a spacious housing area in northern Virginia.I have three cats which never kill ONE bird. They are out for approx 15 minutes a day on supervision, one of them is sometimes on harness on warm days so that he can have more fun in the neighborhood. One of them (a male) will retreat whenever the birds get too close.

Sad that 4m+ cats are killed on the road each year. From a cats/dogs/birds/squirrels/small-animals lover.

Hanna on 1/24/2013 12:30:28 PM
 

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