News - December 5, 2019

Cat crisis

Vincent Oostvogels

For as long as I have been studying here, there have been notable felines wandering around. You had the Haarweg cat, there was the black campus cat last summer and of course there’s the Jumbo cat. Her name is Joshi and she is usually to be found sprawled next to the entrance of the Tarthorst Jumbo.

These cats are all very well, but they are contravening European nature conservation rules according to two lawyers from Tilburg University. Domestic cats are such keen hunters that they form a serious ecological threat when they roam freely.

The Dutch government is leaving the rogue kitties in peace for the time being. But before you know it the Council of State will be onto its case and we’ll be going from a nitrogen crisis to a cat crisis. Something clearly needs to be done.

The obvious solution is to no longer let cats roam freely. After all, dogs aren’t allowed to. But if I’ve learned one thing from the nitrogen crisis, it is that you can never be too creative with your technological solutions. So I have another idea. Not all cats are keen hunters. While some are busy plucking birds out of the air, others are lazily lying in front of a supermarket. That is precisely the kind of cat we need and if we spend long enough breeding those idlers we will get a puss we can let loose with a clear conscience. ‘Council of State proof’, as they call it in the civil service.

The Animal Breeding and Genomics group can undoubtedly set up a breeding programme with promising kitties. Of course I can’t be sure what Joshi does after the Jumbo closes but I’m guessing she’d be eligible feline material.

Vincent Oostvogels (24) is exploring the delicate interface between nature management and food production through his two Master’s programmes, Forest and Nature Conservation and Animal Sciences