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Mollison's anti-cat discussion

 
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jack sweeney wrote:Hello everyone, i am new here but i am not new to permaculture.

Bill Mollison states in a few of his permaculture books that there is no place in the permaculture system for cats(please correct me if you think i am wrong). so does anyone disagree with him on this?

I would agree with him (referring to domesticated house cats, not native cats)...but could someone source and cite the exact quotes, here?
 
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I've had different breeds of animals for pet's, from a very young age up to now.in which I'm more of a dog person than a cat person.but yet.i don't have anything against cats.it's just that their fur dry my eyes and make them itchy.but yet they are good to have. especily if you're a cat lover.their good for keeping the mouse population down.and that makes a great deal if you live in the country,or on afarm or ranch with barns, storage buildings and other structures. ferral cat's are very handy when it comes to that.
 
pollinator
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Hello,

When discussing this you first need to think about the lens in was written in!
The view points of the culture and experiences which caused this to be written!

Feral cats, are a huge issue and will always be a huge issue, Even before mollison they were a huge issue.

Vast amounts of bio-diversity gone, because of wild cats.

Even trying to eradicate the cats is difficult because of the scale, topography and consistent release of domesticated cats.

even in cities the cats breed and go wild.

Until recently De-sexing you pets was not common, to get rid of kittens was to drown them in a sack and this was not pleasant for anything and anyone involved.

Now bill also hated pet food, why because of what happened in Africa with the massive fence and the lions, and the villagers, of which was to supply the British with cattle which they turned into dog food.

In most situations a cat, is going to be a resource drain, because it requires food water, it damages materials and then it goes about destroying genetic diversity.

The cat food, is processed animals and vegetables which are sources from far distances away, potentially disrupting the environment when harvested, then transported and processed, transported, sold, transported, eaten, polluted.

Destruction of homes, the smell, the carpets, the wood work,

To many Australians, the domesticated cat is hated because it bought for company, that is its purpose! yet it does all the other aspects of damage and destruction.

Australia has far to many animal and insect cycle disruptions and the domesticated cat does not help.

maybe in areas where they get snow, and animals such as cats have a seasonal predator of cold, it may be hard to understand how animals like rabbits, cats, dogs, pigs, goats, foxes, deer, horses, cows, buffalo, camels, toads, fire ants, ect can grow in number constantly.

some may say that it serves a role in cycles, but it is taking the role from other species who do it more harmonically!

I get that may people have pet cats, and love them, but in the context of Australia, domesticated Cats are not sustainable, they are destructive.

Now, in Australia, we have very important animals like the long nosed potoroo, which increases the abundance of fungi, it is the best rodent for the soil cycle you could get, but it gets killed off because of Habitat fragmentation, and then hunted by feral and animals and also by cats. then rats and mice fill this void. which reproduce to much!

Because they reproduce to much you now have pest poisons which also kill the potoroo and poison the environment, you also have farmer loose massive amounts of crops, people getting sick...

Where as if the potoroo kept its place the cycle would be more consistent and less prone to massive waves of disruption.

Now lets look at birds, we need them to kill rodants and to spread seeds, bio diversity, as well as fertilise seeds, also killed off by cats on a large scale,

So now the bird species are being attacked, and also you now have less species of plants!

Now with less bio diversity of animals, plants, you now have more weeds! Weeds now use more pesticides more herbicides. more environmental damage, now more species wiped out.

And because the potoroo is replaced with the rat, less soil diversity, less organic matter in soils, less carbon stored less, less water in the soil, now the fires are worse, and desertification rates increase!

So if the cat was removed, the potoroo could fix the soil, the birds would be safer and able to improve the amount of trees and plants, the cycles would be more stable and thus more sustainable!

But then look at the resource bane of the domesticated cat in comparison to other animals!

Could a chicken not do the same role of company!

For Australia, a cold hard cut out of the cat, would be extremely beneficial!

But that is also hard, because the people who try and cull the cats, are villainised by people who sit half there day in a car or computer. who have no understanding of nature who live in shiny stone cities like Sydney! Who again Bill mollison hated, Just like a lot of Australian! the reasons are Sydney is not like the rest of the Nation, in culture or attitude!

It may be important to note that Sydney may have driven permaculture because of how unsustainable it is and how toxic it is to both many and the environment!

When one considers these contexts, it is not as easy to think well the guy who said integrate don't segregate!

May be a hypocrite on this regard!

And surely everything is good when done right! Is a statement that when looking at the context is illogical, because any potential good that can come from a domesticated cat, is so vastly out weighed by the negatives in regards the the Australian context that it is not worth thinking about!

I am not anti animals, I love animals, I love plants, I love nature, But cats destroy!

so because cats destroy, when choosing an animal do not choose a domesticated cat!

Lions, jaguars, tigers, leopards, pumas are totally different and serve an important role!



















 
pollinator
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This is why I started a tread on this topic https://permies.com/t/62282/barn-farm-cats-folks I know cat serve a porpose but I also know that Mollison was pretty anti cat. Of course they are invasive where he was from.
 
pollinator
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Mollison, on page ix of the Designers' Manual wrote:

"Permaculture Design is a system of assembling conceptual, material, and strategic components in a pattern which functions to benefit life in all its forms."

If "cat" was not a cute, fluffy domestic companion creature, but rather an invisible "strategic component" or un-introduced technology, would I want to encourage its existence on my farmstead to "benefit life in all its forms"?

Perhaps it is a math problem:
Am I willing to kill X innocent birds, Y frogs/reptiles etc, in exchange for Z rodents killed every year by introducing this technology?  What ratio of loss is acceptable?

I found the following article interesting 🤔

https://www.peta.org/features/keep-cats-inside/
 
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I feel, as usual, we miss the point. I live in Oz. I have indoor/outdoor cats. They are great at keeping the mice down in the duck pen. Yes, they get the odd bird, but not often. I have tons of birds and lots of trees. There is no shortage of birds, because I keep increasing their habitat (a variety of native trees and bushes) and feed my cats a quality raw diet. The cats aren't desperate for nutrition as they tend to be on commercial food. So they don't have a desperate reason to hunt. And by no means are all cats natural hunters. I saw one cat sitting enjoying the sun, when a small bird flew almost into her mouth. She just sat there. No reaction.

Keeping the habitat is most important.
 
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It's been fun reading this thread.  I happen to love cats and all of the joy they bring.  Their personalities, quirks, and condescending attitude.  My life would be missing something without them.  Obviously many don't share this opinion.  It seems to me after reading the posts that people are using facts and scenarios about permaculture to make a case for or against cats.  Could you imagine a world in which only the facts ruled?  I'll pass on that dystopia and keep my cats!  This isn't an unbiased opinion.  Just look at my profile picture and you could have saved time by not reading my post :)
 
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Fred Morgan wrote:
But, perhaps Bill's point is the common domesticated cat shouldn't be assumed to belong in the garden - and of that I agree. Here in Costa Rica, the barn cats eat lizards and rodents among the wood piles we have, which is a good thing. They stay very very close to the wood stock too, for cover.



I like cats but I don't like them to use the garden area as their litterbox. It's not aesthetic for them to leave their business around the greens and roots that I like to eat raw and also graze from while I'm working.  As to eating lizards, mine only catch them but don't eat 'em.  They're left usually without tails for me to come across in the yard and bury. They are not good to eat as will give stomach upset to cats. So I'd prefer they not be killed as they help to keep  beetles & small grasshoppers from overrunning the place. They might also help control the ants and other pesky insects.  So this year because all the lizards are gone (thanks to my 2 felines) the grasshoppers are chewing plants and leaving ragged -edged leaves.  I'd rather have the lizards.
 
Madeleine Innocent
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Walter Jeffries wrote:

Frank Callo wrote:As I see it, the biggest problem with cats is that they reproduce pretty prodigiously.  I live in an urban environment and the feral cats are something of a neusance



This is a loss of balance of predators. We're out in the mountains. Coyote, fox, fisher, cougar, lynx, hawk, etc all have a taste for cats and will hunt them keeping the population down. Sounds like you need more predators in the city.



When people complain of an overpopulation of an animal, the phrase 'pot calling the kettle black' comes to mind.  How are we doing? - past 8,000,000,000 and counting... 84,000,000 births this year, 38,000,000 deaths.
 
Madeleine Innocent
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Albert Johnston wrote:It is understandable considering the damage done by cats to the environment that an Australian would have to say no to cats. Every geographical area has their own history with felines. Most of these nocturnal critters thrive because humans feed them and think they are cute. Here in Central Florida we have been blessed with the return of the coyote. It's cunning and nocturnal habits have helped bring down the feral cat population along with the overpopulation of raccoons and opossums. Bobcats and panthers are a normal part of the Florida wilderness. So there is a place for cats here. Just not so many. I would say that the fire ant has been far more destructive to native species than all of the history of felis domesticus.



What have we done to the environment, with out cities, roads, farms, poisoning, forest felling, land clearing?
 
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Forgive me for being skeptical. Y’all know birds have wings right? and cats don’t?  From what I’ve seen, cats only catch birds if they’re very lean, diligent, highly experienced, adept and motivated hunters.  Seems like they catch dozens of mice/voles for every one bird. Never seen a cat with a snake.  And then likely the coyote/fox/fisher hunts the cat but perhaps would have hunted the same mice the cat was.  A cat can barely keep up with a few mice in and around a house.  How could a tiny cat possibly even put a dent in a vast multi-acre ecosystem?  I’m sorry, I just don’t see it.
 
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