♪ Some walk like they own the place
Whilst others creep in fear
Try if you can to walk like a man
But you don’t come near
You’ve got to fly like an eagle
Prowl like a lion in Africa
Leap like a salmon home form the sea
To keep up with me
You’ve got to walk like a panther tonight ♪
— After a year of high highs and low lows, cats will come back.1
A far from purrfect week for members of family Felidae ended on a high note as the Big Cat Public Safety Act passed out of the U.S. House of Representatives with strong bipartisan support.2 Hit paws on celebrating the possibility of federal restrictions on keeping lions, tigers, and pumas as pets or commercial breeding stock, though.
First, U.S. senators may table the legislation, vote it down, or insert a claws or two that defangs the law. Treat nothing as a Feliformia-lity in America’s bicameral legislature. Hell, two dozen GOPers in the upper chamber retracted their yeas on a proposal to expand health care for military veterans simply because Democrats outmaneuvered them on a budget package. How catty.
Second, cattastrophe can strike at any time. While U.S. lawmakers plumped to protect the progeny of Panthera parents, Polish academicians placed Felis cattus in the category of “invasive alien species.” As Jan Brożek3 once wrote, “Good looking out, Copernicus.”
No one disputes that pet and feral felines decimate or destroy native bird, rodent, reptile, and amphibian populations while simply catting about. Consider them cheetahs in the existential game of cat and mouse inasmuch as they join orcas and humans in the vanishingly small group of predators who hunt and kill for pleasure rather than the need to eat.
But designation as a dangerous addition to the ecosystem puts cats at litteral risk for extermination. “Furget that!” nearly everyone caterwauls even as pluralities support putting up actual cat walls.
Physical barriers to international boundary crossing polarize4 polities and play havoc with wildlife. In eastern Europe, ”Cutting through Poland’s Bialowieza forest, the fence on the country’s border with Belarus that is meant to stop the flow of migrants is hampering the movement of the Bialowieza lynxes and could lead to their extinction, researchers said.”
In the southwestern United States, “The border wall is one of the biggest threats facing the cat because it would sever Arizona ocelots’ connection with Mexico, the group says. Other threats include habitat loss, poaching and poisoning.”
Politicados care about ocelots a lot. So keep your own kitties indoors and carve kitty doors in border walls. Comment below first.