Heroism shows that cats have been maligned

I’m delighted that Tara the cat’s heroism, in saving a toddler in California from an attacking dog, was caught on camera and viewed by millions worldwide. What a long-overdue PR boost for cats.

Throughout history, cats have been maligned, misunderstood, and persecuted by people who didn’t understand them. During the witch craze in Europe, countless thousands of them were burned for being ‘familiars’ of the female alleged dabblers in black or white magic. In ancient Rome, they were also punished in accordance with superstition.

They are still suffering as a result of man’s ignorance. Today, there are 200,000 feral cats in Ireland, thanks to the failure of owners to spay or neuter their cats. They have little protection under anti-cruelty legislation: the trapping and killing of non-domestic cats is an increasing concern to animal welfare groups.

Domestic and feral cats are bait in training sessions organised by dog-fighting and hare-coursing gangs, the animals’ tougher skin deemed an advantage in teasing and blooding the dogs.

Cats deserve a break.

Tara’s high-profile act of heroism may have grabbed the world headlines, but cats are beneficial to humans in other ways, too. They keep mice and rats at bay, and, apart from being the most loveable companions, they bring comfort, especially to people living alone. They can help to preserve one’s sanity.

While I’m sure all good doggies go to Heaven, it wouldn’t be much of a place if Tara and the other cats of this world didn’t get in there, too.

Who’s to say that God isn’t a cat?

John Fitzgerald

Lower Coyne Street

Callan

Co Kilkenny

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