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The Moral Cost of Cats

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Pete Marra is haunted by cats. He sees them everywhere: slinking down alleys, crouched under porches, glaring at him out of wild, starved eyes.

People assume that Marra, head of the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and author of the book Cat Wars, hates cats. This is not the case. “I love cats,” he says, calling them “fascinating, magnificent animals,” that seem to have a “freakish love for me.” He’s even considered a pet cat, despite being mildly allergic. “This is the thing people don’t realize,” Marra told me at a café near his office in Washington, D.C. “I’m both a wild animal advocate and a domestic animal advocate. If my mother thought I wasn’t supporting cats, she’d be flipping in her grave.”

It’s an understandable mistake. After all, Marra has made himself the public face of what sounds a lot like an anti-cat crusade. For years, the wildlife ecologist has been investigating the lethal implications of cats and urging that pet owners keep them indoors. He argues in Cat Wars: The Devastating Consequences of a Cuddly Killer, co-authored with freelance writer Chris Santella, the time has come for more drastic action: a concerted, nationwide effort to rid the landscape of cats. (The book is based on Marra’s personal and scientific research, and the views and conclusion are expressly his own and do not represent those of the Smithsonian Institution.)

That effort will require an ugly reality: the targeted killing of felines. “No one likes the idea of killing cats,” Marra concludes in his book. “But sometimes, it is necessary.”

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GettyImages-579189794.jpg

Do outdoor cats need to die? Photo by Louise LeGresley / Getty Images.

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Click the link below for the article:

https://getpocket.com/explore/item/the-moral-cost-of-cats

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