Dangerous Blame Game – Cats, COVID-19, and the History of Pandemics

I have recently noticed an alleged  study from China circulating on the internet, and it has been making sick and repugnant claims, for several weeks the media is putting a target on cats heads, these poor creatures have already been through enough throughout history. Then here comes China and their BS. All over the internet there is this alleged study out of China about cats being able to catch COVID-19 easier than dogs.

China has already provoked fear in their own masses earlier this year about the possibility of catching it from their pets. These false, unproven claims spread through Chinese media and spiked fear in people. People were throwing pets to their deaths from buildings. (1)

Before we all follow the same lunacy of these people and our mid evil ancestors. Before we start throwing our feline friends out on the streets or killing them and tossing them in mass graves, let us have history be our teacher.

It was not innocent animals who caused these pandemics. It is the sick practices of the human animal that creates these monstrous diseases. Sick practices like wet markets in China, the very country pointing the finger at innocent animals (2).

It was not innocent animals that caused the pandemics of the past. It was sick medieval ideals of the masses that caused it. In medieval Europe it was socially acceptable to kill and torture innocent cats because they were “symbols of witchcraft”. Oh, they made a party out of it in the old days. They would gather in masses and gather up these innocent creatures. They would throw them off buildings and set them ablaze and was considered some sort of sick fun (3). There are articles on the internet claiming that this kind of behavior didn’t have an effect on spread of the pandemic. That the years of cat hatred didn’t cause a great reduction in felines and an increase in rodents as well as the diseases they can carry. I call bullshit on these new studies and claims. There are many instances where humans have proven capable of driving animal populations extinct: the Tasmanian Tiger (4) and Passenger Pigeon (5) are a couple of examples, and there are many more.

Upper left: the combined factors of excessive hunting, habitat destruction, and introduced disease led to the rapid extinction of the species.

Bottom Left: “One of the last large breeding gatherings of passenger pigeons occurred at Petoskey, Michigan, in 1878. The hunters closed in and 50,000 birds per day were killed and this rate continued for nearly five months – that is around seven and a half million birds.”(www.davidmarinelli.net)

Right:‘The passenger pigeon used a strange communal defense strategy to protect their numbers, called “predator satiation.” They simply overwhelmed predators, who couldn’t damage the overall strength of millions, before the flock moved on…..But this strategy did very little against commercial hunting parties. Passenger pigeons were some of the most social birds on the planet, and could be easily lured into nets en masse using decoy pigeons….Others were smoked out of trees, fell victim to early versions of the newly invented machine gun, or were poisoned with whiskey soaked corn.”(Sean Kane-www.businessinsider.com)

Felines are one of the major predators of rodents, an apex predator of the pests who can wreak havoc on civilian life if not kept in check. Anytime a predator is eliminated or greatly reduced, there is negative effects on the surrounding environment. There are many studies that discuss how predators effect the environment around them (See: 6 and 7:video below). And here is about the time when someone would jump in and complain about cat over population. Human, if there is a cat overpopulation, that solely rests on the shoulders of irresponsible humans not having their animals fixed.

This video shows the major impact predators have on environments

Back to the discussion of pandemics. So how did this hatred of cats most likely elevate the effects of the pandemic? What other human actions caused pandemics of the past to explode?

Then let us revisit the Black Death of 1347 to 1352. The Black Death destroyed anywhere between 30% to 60% of Europe’s population, or even more. It wiped out entire villages creating ghost towns. This plague was caused by bacterium called Yersinia pestis. Scientists have conducted recent DNA analysis of the pathogen that caused the Black Death… and where it originated out of, you would never guess….CHINA. This is one detail modern Science can agree on. That the disease was brought to Europe by merchant ships from Central Asia and was carried along trade routes. (8…..9….10)

Here is where the confusing debate starts. One of the carriers capable of transferring the disease between rats and humans is the Oriental Rat Flea most likely spread via fleas on black rats (10). However, all over the internet lately, recent Science models are claiming that it was the human flea that was the primary cause.

Think back to basic science we all learned in junior high. The problem with these models is that they only evaluate one variable, one small piece of the puzzle. There were many other factors involved back then that these models do not evaluate. Here are some examples.

In the time proceeding the black plague, in the stories written from the time period: the Mongal army from Asia was besieging the city of Kaffa(located on the peninsula in the black sea). The Mogral army became crippled from black death and had to give up the siege. Before they left their last horrifying and repulsive act was to launch the plague-ridden bodies of their dead soldiers over the walls of Kaffa: a very early form of biological warfare. Kaffa traders then ridden with the disease then carried it to Europe. (11:Bernstein, 140-141)

source: khanacadamy.org

Dirty conditions created by mankind spread pandemics to rest stops along these trade routes, the rest stops were small and cramped. Medieval hygiene was not always the greatest either (12). Take a look at a modern example of the current homeless population in places like Seattle. The dirty and cramped conditions are giving rise to diseases seen in medieval times. These conditions give us a glimpse into the past of how dirty and cramped conditions can affect populations.

A midieval trade station:”Interior of caravanserai at Selim Pass. Notice how tight the quarters are. The closeness of people and animals staying at caravanserai such as this would have made them ideal spots for disease to spread” khanacadamy.org

Let us return to Europe and their hatred for cats during this time, and their crusade to destroy and eliminate the feline population. Hectic and cramped medieval trade ports would have an abundance of food and scraps, drawing and producing millions of disease bearing rats, and their predators the cats were a black magic taboo, so there would be little to no predators in these ports and on trade ships. What better place would there be for a plague caused by fleas from rats and mice?

Rats and other small rodents breed significantly faster than cats can. Cats generally have an average of 3 to 4 offspring at a time and usually don’t reach sexual maturity until about 5 to 6 months of age. Sometimes it even takes a year or more for some cats to reach sexual maturity. A pair of rats produce an average of ten offspring that reach sexual maturity in about 4 to 5 weeks. In one year that population explodes to about 1200 in one year, and almost half a billion in just 3 short years. That is a lot of hosts for disease carrying flees. (14….15). For those who think that they had a dog, and that they didn’t need a cat to keep such populations in check. Recent science studies show both dogs and cats together, and not on their own are most effective in keeping populations in check. (16)

Let us relook into one last thing, China’s wet markets. In their culture torturing and eating exotic meats is a symbol of status. Recent genetic studies on the black plague reveals that it originated almost 2000 years ago. Yet it took several hundred years to develop into the beast it became. Why? We simply do not have enough evidence to answer this question, but after our recent pandemic should have us asking ourselves what creates these horrible monstrous diseases? It is believed Black Death origins were most likely from a population of marmots, a prairie-dog like rodents that live in central Asia. Just last year a Mongolian couple contracted the Black Plague after eating raw Marmot. They were vomiting blood and were dead within just a few days.

Early news reports claim it was the consumption of these “exotic foods”(a bat) that allowed COVID-19 to jump from animals to humans. Does this recent pandemic hold the answers to pandemics from the past? Was it humans engaging in similar grotesque behavior in the past to blame? There is not enough studies or proof at this time, but it is a question that needs answered. China is not reliable source for this information. They have been dishonest during this recent outbreak, and now the Chinese government is banning all further research of COVID-19. Would it be wise for us to trust them as a reliable source of information on anything?

Before we point fingers at innocent creatures. Let us evaluate our own grotesque behaviors. We need multiple studies from multiple scientific sources before it is posted all over the internet as the gospel truth. Perhaps there might be other ways to flash off status (show off) other than participating in the sick behavior of torturing and eating exotic and raw animals and putting the health of the public at risk.