So, the Internet has been around for a while now and it’s undeniably a great tool. It gives us easy access to information, allows for global communication, but most importantly…it’s given us an endless amount of cat pictures to scroll through on Google. Anyway, all jokes aside, cats are pretty important animals. Even though they may seem to be pretty lazy, they actually have a major effect on your lives. To show how, let’s consider this: “What would happen if every cat on the Earth suddenly died?”.
Well, let’s start with the most obvious consequence. Cats are predators, as you may know if you’ve ever received a “gift” at your doorstep. In fact, each year, up to 20 billion small mammals are killed by cats, including rodents and rabbits. So, if there were no more cats, these small mammal populations would quickly rise.
But how does that affect humans?
Well, let’s take a look at Macquarie Island. In 2000, cats were completely eradicated. After, the rabbit population drastically increased, devastating much of the vegetation. Not only did the rabbits change the island’s landscape, but it also cost over $24 million dollars to remedy…which humans will have to pay for. Pretty cat-astrophic, am I right?! And then we have the rats. On some islands, cats were eradicated to protect the seabird population. But, with the resulting increase in rat population, the seabirds were still under attack. So, even though the cats were gone, the rats took over their job.
But what about your household pets?
Well, one study shows that, over a ten-year period,cat owners were 30% less likely to die from a heart attack compared to non-cat owners. The same is probably true of dogs, but the study didn’t have enough data to say anything conclusively. Regardless, having a cat can help relieve stress and anxiety, so without them, your risk for a heart attack may be higher.
So, basically what I’m saying is that cats are awesome. Without them, both our personal lives, and the ecosystem may be very different. What animal do you think would have the biggest affect on Earth if it were suddenly gone? Leave me a comment.