What will happen if all cats die at once? Well, that’s not a question cat lovers will love. So, let us rephrase this question in a more sensible fashion. Why do we need cats on this planet? Or perhaps, why absence of cats can be disastrous? We agree that these alternate versions sound far better. But the bottom line is, that we want to figure out what will be the implications of absence of cats in this world. This can happen only is some natural event causes all cats in the world to drop dead at once or we push them to extinction.
Those who hate these cuddly, cute, seemingly lazy animals who keep meowing and purring annoyingly, they’d be happy to see all cats disappear from the face of this planet at once. However, their happiness will be short-lived. Within months after the cats disappear, they will be ready to give up everything or do everything they can to revive cats. Why so? That’s what we intend to find out today.
So, What Will Happen If All Cats Die At Once?
Just because cats mostly spend their time sleeping and occasionally gazing out of the window, it does not necessarily mean that they are completely worthless and absolutely lazy. It is important to know that cats are extremely efficient hunters. In case you are not aware of the evolutionary history of cats, you need to know that scientists have found evidence that some 18.5 million years ago, ancient ancestors of cats managed to managed to enter the area where ancient canids flourished and over several million years that followed, the ancient felids put up a nasty fight for food, pushing 60 different canine species to extinction. You can read the full article here.
Today’s cats have bequeathed the same efficient hunting skills and though they are mostly found being fed by humans, the can still live on their own. According to Alan Beck, veterinary professor from Purdue University’s Center for Human-Animal Bond, today’s cats are expert predators and when required, they can switch to hunting behavior. Alan says that cats can, when necessary, live a solitary lifestyle and switch to hunting mode when food sources are scare and where food sources are abundant, cats can be found in high density in those areas. According to Beck, cats are the ones that hunt the maximum number of small animals.
Thus, absences of cats in this world can be catastrophic. One of the major roles played by cats is pest control. They are known to kill rats and mice that invade barns. According to Beck, cats in India play this role extremely efficiently and reduce a significant amount of grain loss caused by pests because these rodents often either contaminate or consume grains and if these rodents are left unchecked, humans will soon face food scarcity.
Honestly, that’s a pretty generalized statement but what are the figures to support this claim? In order to paint a vivid picture of what would happen if the cats were to suddenly vanish from this planet, scientists conducted a study in Great Britain in 1997. It was found that on an average, every cat in Britain’s household (of course where people had pet cats) brought 11 dead animals on average in every 6 months. They didn’t scavenge for these animals after they were already dead. In fact, they hunted and killed those animals. The victims included frogs, birds, mice and other animals.
The scientists estimated that there were about 9 million cats in Great Britain and over the period of 12 months, they collectively killed about 200 million small animals. Of course, these 11 dead animals were the once that were brought back home. They might have been killing more, which they didn’t bring home.
Long before this study, in 1979, yet another study was conducted but in another country – New Zealand. The study there was restricted to a small island and it was found that when nearly the entire cat population from eradicated from that island, the population of rats increased 4 times in a short time frame. That’s a whopping increase! The study didn’t end there. The scientists who were closely observing the island, also noted that as the rat population quadrupled, the population of sea birds on that island dropped dramatically because the rats fed on the eggs of these sea birds. This was an ecological disaster.
Now imagine what will happen when all cats die at once all over the world. There are more than 220 million domesticated cats all over the world. If they drop dead overnight, here are a few things that will happen:
- There will be a dramatic increase in rodent population.
- There will be dramatic drop in population of various birds.
- There will be a shortage of grains for humans.
- There will also be a dramatic increase in population of other predators (not cats) that feed on these rodents.
In short, if all cats die at once the whole ecological balance will go for a toss! This break in ecological balance will send shockwaves through the whole food chain and which animal species will be hit hard is something that cannot be said for sure.
Yet Another Problem If All Cats Die At Once
How the hell can we forget about religion? Do you remember the Black Death of Bubonic Plague of 14th century that killed nearly 200 million people all over the world and wiped out about 60% of Europe’s population? Read about 50 interesting Black Death facts here.
Many historians now hold the view that mass killing of cats in Europe lead to unprecedented and unchecked propagation of the plague. It so happened that Pope Gregory IX in 1232 spread the thought that cats were consorts of Satan. He preached that Lucifer, who is viewed as devil often manifested as half-cat. When the plague had hit Europe, people recalled the Pope’s words and started mass killing of cats for no reason. That was pure ignorance.
As the cat population dwindled, there was an outburst in rodent population and this further propagated the plague and led to agonizing deaths of millions and millions of people. Modern science says that the dangers of Bubonic Plague still lingers. In case all cats die at once, the plague can return. So, we need to be wiser today. Cats are important. They need to hang around for our own sake. And let’s not forget, if all cats die at once, the emotion toll on humans will be immense. There are millions and millions of cat lovers all around the globe and the emotional breakdown they will suffer is beyond imagination.