Azara Blog: Lock cats indoors to allegedly protect otters

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Date published: 2006/02/19

The BBC says:

A parasite carried by cats is killing off sea otters, a veterinary specialist has told a major US science conference.

The Californian researcher has called for owners to keep their cats indoors.

Cat faeces carrying Toxoplasma parasites wash into US waterways and then into the sea where they can infect otters, causing brain disease.

The parasite is familiar to medical researchers, as it can damage foetuses when expectant mothers become infected while changing cat litter.

The most likely source of infection for sea otters is the parasite's tough egg-like stage, known as the oocyst, that is passed in the faeces of cats.

"We need to control the infections in sea otters and reduce the risk to humans by managing our cats more responsibly," said the study author Patricia Conrad of the Wildlife Health Center at the University of California, Davis.

She told the BBC News website: "That involves keeping them indoors if we can. I know that's tough; I hate cleaning cat litter boxes as much as anybody.

"But by keeping the cats indoors, we reduce the chance they're going to get infected by eating infected birds or rodents, and the chance they are going to shed their faeces outdoors."

This is just sick, and it's amazing anyone has the nerve to suggest it. Cats are semi-wild animals, and the idea that we are supposed to torture them by keeping them locked in a house is abominable. Of course lots of Americans already torture their cats by de-clawing them, so perhaps we should not be surprised this kind of nonsense comes out of America. Cats are not toys, and these control freak scientists ought to understand that. No doubt the real problems facing otters, as for all other wild animals, are caused by man, so perhaps we should just lock all people up indoors permanently.

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