September 2, 2007

Eating cat.

For the good.

ADDED: Some people in the comments are quite upset by the idea of eating feral cats -- in Australia, where these animals do tremendous ecological damage. It seems to me that if you accept meat-eating and have no problem with Australians eating, for example, rabbits, that you should want to encourage the eating of feral cats. We're not talking about eating anyone's pet. If the animal isn't a pet, it's like other wild game. And since these cats are nonnative and effective predators of native species, these should be the first animals you should want Australians to use for food.

62 comments:

EnigmatiCore said...

It's almost like they missed the colloquialism and took the phrase too literally.

Christy said...

You are evil for seducing me into reading that article. You must be destroyed. As soon as I can herd a thousand cats there is no place in Brooklyn where you will be safe.

And here I'd been thinking that Australia was going to be the last refuge for the free should the Dems get both the White House and the Congress next election.

Gedaliya said...

Does anyone remember this little ditty:

I like Pussy, her coat so warm,
And if I don't hurt her, she'll do me no harm;
So I'll not pull her tail, nor drive her away,
But Pussy and I very gently will play.

Ruth Anne Adams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bruce Hayden said...

My problem with cat, is similar to my problem with squirrel, mice, etc., and that is that there is so little meat per carcass. Some dog, at least, provides a meal for multiple people.

The problem with so many of these animals is that we have killed off the bigger predators because of what they do to our feed animals and even to us, and as a result, these other animals that would once have had the predators to keep them in check, don't. Instead, they become pests, ruining ecosystems.

It is worse in Australia, because so much was not indigenous there. Nothing except for man to keep the feline numbers under control, and so, these brave souls are doing their part.

Freeman Hunt said...

A friend of mine is from Hong Kong, and her father ate cat one time many years ago in mainland China. Her mother swears she can still smell the cat on him to this day.

Ann Althouse said...

"Slightly off-topic: You mentioned that you plan on returning to Wisconsin every month. That's for your hairdresser, isn't it?"

I have a handful of things I want to be able to do in Madison that have me going back once a month. The hairdresser is one of them.

Simon said...

I suppose it's quite economical, because you won't need a barbeque to cook them given the fires of hell that start lapping at your heels when you make the decision to go through with it.

Maxine Weiss said...

Betcha thought nobody noticed. --And, you were hoping that we'd just gloss right over it.

The readers were promised a Vlog weeks ago.

We done been gypped!

Simon said...

"We're not talking about eating anyone's pet. If the animal isn't a pet, it's like other wild game."

It's still a cat, and I don't think that civilized human beins ought to be in the business of eating, hunting, or otherwise exploiting cats - big, small, domestic or otherwise.

peter hoh said...

Agreed. The Aussies should just shoot them, leaving them to decompose where they fall.

titus20 said...

I would never eat pussy....cat.

Speaking of cats you couldnt swing a cat without hitting a gay today in NYC-they were everywhere.

A picture perfect day, only downside is it brings the gays out...in tanktops.

titus20 said...

Girl, I am sorry you cant find a fabulous hair dresser in NYC? You aren't really going to go back to Madison, WI monthly to visit your hair dresser when you are surrounded by the best hair burners in the country?

Come on, how long will that actually last?

If you want some names I would be happy to give them to you. I promise you will look 10 years younger (not that you need to) and your cleavage will be fierce.

No need to go back to Madison, Wisconsin, ever.

titus20 said...

I forbid you to go back to Madison Wisconsin to get you haircut. That would literally be a crime.

The fashion police in NYC would arrest you for your poor haircut choices.

I understand loyalty to a particular stylist but honey-no.

Maxine Weiss said...

Althouse trying to gyp her readers yet again!

titus20 said...

Not to dwell but you going to Madison Wisconsin from NYC for you haircut would be like you going to NYC from Madison for a Friday Night Fishfry.

Maxine Weiss said...

Pssst...don't tell anyone, but I'm gonna steal me some ....Mats & Matting.

Then I'm gonna swipe some, Custom Molding & Extrusions.

Gonna then hock me some Hydraulic Hose & Fittings.

Pantry essentials.

Gary Carson said...

Social rules of behavior, like the law, has nothing to do with logic, rationality, or "should".

Jennifer said...

I don't understand why people believe it is ethically wrong to eat some animals but not others. If you're going by intelligence, I hope those of you who are upset about this don't indulge in bacon. If you're going by cuddliness, I hope those of you who are upset by this don't enjoy a leg of lamb. If you're going by cuteness, you best not be eating veal.

titus20 said...

I don't eat animal meat...just human meat, like Ed Gein-wasn't he one of your's Althouse?

Wisconsin??? Ed Gein???

The reason I brought him up is the "Ed Gein" movie was in the IFC this weekend.

I do think it would be kind of cool to do a tour of Wisconsin taverns and "Supper Clubs". Also I would like to see that place in northern scony, who was it Dillinger-had his last hurrah. Sound kind of cool.

OK, I am going out tonight-tea dance, woo hoo.

titus20 said...

Please take pictures when you go to Bud Sty, Greenpointe and Red Hook.

Interesting in hearing/seeing your impressions.

When do you and I have a date?

titus20 said...

I meant Bed Sty or Bed Stuy-whatever-I live in Manhattan, we hear about these new outposts but don't actually venture to them.

But I am curious....no gay bars though, bummer.

titus20 said...

I did go to the disco in Brooklyn though where Saturday Night Live was filmed, unfortunately it has closed.

titus20 said...

Also, Carol Gardens-I have a friend there and like to visit him and think the area is cool-your thoughts/pictures on Carol Gardens?

titus20 said...

I have a friend in Carol Gardens that is from Oconto Falls Wisconsin, how cool is that?

He tells me Wisconsin stories-fascinating.

He found out his father had died of a heart attack one night when he came home with some trick and was on ecstasy-how f'd up is that?

The trick, who he had just met that night, went to the aiport that morning with him. I think it was the X though-normally your tricks are out the door within 20 minutes-or maybe that's mine??? He's nice though so he probably met a nice trick. If I got that call I would turn around and my trick would either be gone or want some kind of sympathy f..k.

I am trying not to use the f word-it's hard. Just curious why can we use the f word?

titus20 said...

Am I your most interesting commenter?


Please say I am-I am insecure-I need this in my life and as you know I kind of love you.

Cedarford said...

There is no "hunter's code" that claims it is more ethical to eat vermin you kill.
Otherwise, Americans and Aussies have been badly remiss over the centuries in not dining on pan-seared rat and braised termite & cockroach medley au jus.

Feral cats were once thought to be a smaller problem than feral dog packs running down deer and other transgression. Then the studies on domestic and feral cats showed they were causing massive environmental damage.

Feral pigs are a huge problem in some areas, and about 20 years ago the Navy spent millions of dollars wiping out feral goats from California islands they control.

And rumor has it that Chinese, who can gag down just about anything - much with eagerness and relish - pronounce "cat" one of their least welcome meal accompaniments.

If the Chinese consider cat a semi-disgusting meal, we can be pretty sure we won't be lining up for it.

Ann Althouse said...

Titus, you don't seem to have a deep enough understanding of the hairdresser-client relationship. And my hairdresser is not the only person in Madison I have a relationship with. We are talking about personal relationships, many going back more than a decade. It's not easy to experiment with new people, and Madison is a center of ultra-competence, whereas New York has all sorts of characters. I have numerous things to tend to in Madison, including my tendency toward homesickness. You may think NY has everything, but I don't have the time or interest in looking for it and going through a trial and error period. I have people I trust in Madison.

And back to the cats. If you think I'm not being sensitive enough, you need to consider that you are insensitive to animals that don't fit within your range of personal emotions. That's self-centered and speciesist. The idea that cats are above other animals is all about you, not the animals. You should think more about the native Australian species that this predator is destroying. Why are you so sympathetic to it?

Freeman Hunt said...

I read somewhere that carnivore meat doesn't taste very good. Is that true? That would be my only issue with eating wild cats. Rabbit, lamb, I admit I love the the cute ones. Delicious.

Simon said...

"And back to the cats. If you think I'm not being sensitive enough...."

My criticism wasn't directed at you, it was directed at the people who are doing this.

"[Y]ou need to consider that you are insensitive to animals that don't fit within your range of personal emotions. That's self-centered and speciesist."

I suppose the only possible response to that, conclusory though it may be, is - "And?" I'm fine with that. I'm irrationally attatched to humans over animals, too. Pure reason has its limits; ultimately, every question boils down to one or more moral axioms, so it's not really that much of a criticism, as I see it, that in this case, that axiom isn't too deeply submerged. For example: why are you concerned about the indigenous animals that are being hunted by feral cats? Why are they any more deserving of concern - just because they're a "native" species being preyed on by a "non-native" species? What purely rational difference does that make?

igbalonigbanlo said...

Freeman Hunt: I think that's a myth. I've eaten most things that live on land (no cats or dogs though - would probably have if I had been offered). How well most things taste depends on how they are prepared and what spices /condiments go well with them.

I suspect why most people don't eat cats has nothing to do with civility, the meat for the most part is just not worth the effort you have to put into killing and skinning and dressing it.

igbalonigbanlo said...

Meanwhile, everyone should try pan-roasted swarmers (west african termites - though not the same species that live in wood, these ones build termitariums), at least once. Those things are delicious.

Eli Blake said...

Conceptually, you are right (other than, on course, orthodox Jews who would consider eating a carnivore not kosher).

That said, eating cats just isn't very appealing to most people. In fact a lot of manufacturers won't tell you that the 'faux fur' you buy in coats is actually dog fur.

Yes, with the proper application of political donations and lobbying, the clothing industry has actually gotten Congress to OK making coats from dogs and labelling it in a way that makes you think it is synthetic.

Ain't it great? Cruella de Ville must be a lobbyist.

Trooper York said...

At least we know that Maxine will never go hungry

cheerful iconoclast said...

Small Mammals can be quite good when baked.

amba said...

Why are you so sympathetic to it?

Because when you know a species and have had personal relationships with members of it, the species becomes "people" to you, and eating it becomes cannibalism. You don't like the idea of eating members of the species that are wild and strange to you any more than you would like the idea of, say, eating the natives of New Guinea just because you don't happen to know them personally. Of course this is an emotional reaction, but there it is. Why do you expect us to be emotional about politics but rational about food? And why do you invalidate this particular emotion because it's one you haven't experienced?

I expect people with pet rats feel all Willardish about them, too. My cousin had a pet white rat named Veronica. She was quite intelligent, clean, and affectionate.

Back to the hairdresser: I would recommend my wonderful artist to you, but that's because I miss him. He's at Bumble & bumble, and is very expensive; my mother gave me gift certificates to cheer me up. He and I became friends, to the extent that he'd cut my hair in trade for Feldenkrais Method CDs (worth half as much or less) that he was never going to use, and wouldn't take tips from me because it made him feel weird.

I thought you might be homesick; more things than usual were making you cry.

Donald Douglas said...

I'm with Althouse on this one. The cat's are animals, and we eat animals.

It doesn't sound so appetizing, but people say the same thing about escargot.

Burkean Reflections

Luckyoldson said...

First of all, I have nothing against eating pussy, but have any of you ever had big ol' juicy condor burger?

You can make damn near 150 pretty good sized patties out of a single bird.

Freeze 'em and serve 'em on special holidays and the kid's birthdays.

Yummy!!

michilines said...

Although I missed the 'egg sandwich' fundraiser (heard a little about it on another site), how about a new one?

I'd love to see Ann eat dog.

I remember the very first student I taught from Korea. He asked me if I had a dog. I replied truthfully. He asked her size. Again, I answered truthfully. He surmmised that she would feed a family of four. I laughed and said, no she wouldn't.

People all over the planet have different ideas of what is food.

The problem I have with the Australian project is that it could simply be solved by "catch, spay/nueter, release." It's the lack of responsibility on the part of the humans that is to blame. Not the cats. But then the humans get a meal out of the problem that they caused.

lee david said...

I say.

Trap 'em

Zap 'em

Freeze 'em

Ship 'em to China where they can be appreciated.

Globalization!

PS. Retain the fur, the "cat hat" could be the next big fashion item. It does have a ring to it. It could have a tail/tale too. Sold in eco-marts everywhere. "It's the right thing to do for THE PLANET".

Kirk said...

Peter,

"The Aussies should just shoot them, leaving them to decompose where they fall."

That's certainly how gophers are treated in Farm Country, USA.

And as far as the "catch,spay/neuter/release" solution somebody proposed, do you have the slightest idea how much that would cost per animal? Whereas not only are .223 or similiar varmint-sized cartridges fairly economical, as in the gopher example the government doesn't have to hire people to do it and the volunteers even provide their own ammo.


igbalonigbanlo,

You're right about the wonderfulness of termites--truly Frito Lay's motto should apply to them--but tell me, do you know somewhere you can buy them in the USA??? (BTW, it's not just West African, the ones in Southern Sudan are exactly as you describe, too.)

blake said...

If you're going by intelligence, I hope those of you who are upset about this don't indulge in bacon. If you're going by cuddliness, I hope those of you who are upset by this don't enjoy a leg of lamb. If you're going by cuteness, you best not be eating veal.

Jeez, thanks for ruining my BMV (bacon, mutton & veal) on wheat.

igbalonigbanlo said...

Kirk

I know of no one that sells them and I'm not particularly sure the regulatory bodies would allow such things into the country. I didn't know Southern Sudan had them, cool.

scott said...

Speaking as an Australian, one of the reasons I am reticent to go out hunting feral cat is Australia's indigenous wildlife might bite me. Snakes, spiders, ants, all kreepy krawlies, and not fun to be with. I don't know how Steve Irwin managed it.

Ann Althouse said...

amba: "I thought you might be homesick; more things than usual were making you cry."

Well, if you look at the "emotional Althouse" tag, I've cried at the sunset with schooner and that thing King George said about Washington. Then, before coming to NY, I cried about Ingmar Bergman's death and a "significant tree." The first 2 things are 5 days apart and the other 2 are 2 months apart, so I suppose you're right. The only one that involved actual sobbing, however, was Ingmar Bergman's death.

Re sterilizing and releasing the cats to deal with the problem: that must be a joke, considering the numbers and the expense. But then, eating the cats isn't much of a solution, for the same reason. So that being the case, it's probably not worth offending the sensibilities of people who insist on favoring this species over others.

Richard Fagin said...

Apparently on one commenting has ever read Mike Royko's column or two dealing with cats. "Heeerrrrre, Fluffy. BLAM!" RIP, Mike.

Paco Wové said...

Mr. E. Blake:
"Yes, with the proper application of political donations and lobbying, the clothing industry has actually gotten Congress to OK making coats from dogs and labelling it in a way that makes you think it is synthetic."

Really? That's not what your link says, or implies:

"[Rep. Jim] Moran said he and Rep. Mike Ferguson, R-New Jersey, plan to continue their efforts to plug the loopholes that allow such products, in part by adding the raccoon dog to the list of outlawed furs and requiring all products to be labeled..."

Sounds like manufacturers taking advantage of a loophole, rather than Congress collusively saying that the practice is OK.

amba said...

Invasive species are a terrible problem. I just learned that in Hawaii, first rats and pigs brought by the Polynesians (both as food supplies) and later pigs, goats, and rats brought by the Europeans (the last of the three unintentionally) have decimated the native species. There are "extreme botanists" who rappel down cliffs looking for the last specimens of species on their last legs. Often, someone imported these species as a bright idea -- cats may have simply hitched along on convict ships, or someone may have brought them to control the bunnies, or something. And it's not just animals. Eucalyptus and Australian pine in Florida, kudzu and bamboo here in the South -- every damn thing is draped in a green shroud of kudzu. There aren't any natural controls on imported species, they're out of whack with everything else, and they just go nuts on an ecosystem.

I can see shooting the cats, but I wouldn't want to eat them.

amba said...

Actual sobbing was my reaction to Orson Welles' death, quite a while ago now. Also, more recently, the death of Ibrahim Ferrer.

bill said...

A fascinating book I recommend for everyone is Unmentionable Cuisine by Calvin W. Schwabe. He traveled the world documenting how all the odd pieces of animals are cooked. Lungs, kidneys, brains, etc. Many of which were canned and on the grocery shelves not too many decades ago and now have become high priced delicacies. Aside from the recipes, one reason Schwabe wrote the book in 1979 was his belief that due to overpopulation we were about to face a food shortage. Americans would have to face their food fears and start eating all the rough bits we usually threw away. He also expected we'd have to change housing laws to allow people to raise and slaughter livestock in homes and apartments.

Long way around of saying that yes, he has cat recipes. In fact Chapter 6 is "Dog & Cat Meat," in between "Horsemeat" and "Rabbit & Hare."

"Domestic cat, on the other hand, tastes more like rabbit than chicken and has often been sold as rabbit in Europe. No doubt more people have eaten cat than would admit it, and the fact that they cannot taste the difference seems reason enough to enjoy it for what it is, an abundant and often wasted meat.

I have found no data on the nutritional value of cat meat.
"

recipes

cat stew: Spain, Ghana
steamed cat and chiken: China
snake and cat soup: China

"The eyes of cats were described as being offered in Cantonese food shops in the last century, but I have not discovered how they were prepared."

If you like beef, he does have a lovely French recipe for stuffed calf's eyes. Email me and I'll send it to you.

Eva said...

titus20, I want to read your blog. I think I love you a little.

I agree that if you eat one meat, then you might as well eat them all. I was a vegetarian for years, but kind of gave up when I met my husband, who likes to eat a whole cow every day. But now I'm going back. No moral superiority, I just don't like it. And I've gained 20 pounds!

Cedarford said...

scott said...
Speaking as an Australian, one of the reasons I am reticent to go out hunting feral cat is Australia's indigenous wildlife might bite me. Snakes, spiders, ants, all kreepy krawlies, and not fun to be with. I don't know how Steve Irwin managed it.


Yeah, and if you tromp around Australia, you learn they take a perverse pride in having the world's most poisonous snakes, spiders, ants. As well as the most venomous saltwater fish and jellyfish. The 2nd most poisonous centipede.
Then there are the non-poisonous but fearsome Salties and Bull Sharks in the rivers, and the Great Whites off the coast.

Poor Croc Hunter, though. He appears to have been done in by a fairly harmless stingray.

Kirk said...

igbalonigbanlo,

Darn, I was hoping for some secret insider's supply.

On the subject of the extent of termites, I assume they're present (in varying quantities) anywhere in subsaharan Africa where it's not actually arid and where the temperature reaches some minimum (i.e. perhaps not on the slopes of Kilimanjaro or at the Cape of Good Hope.)

John Burgess said...

What an animal eats very much affects its flavor. Try British chickens raised on fish meal. Actually, don't; it's pretty nasty.

Domestic cat, raised on 'chow' of some sort, is nearly indistinguishable from rabbit. In fact, it's been rumored that more than a few restaurants with 'rabbit' on the menu, are actually serving up cat.

Feral cats, though, are not tasty. They bring a whole new dimension to the term 'gamey'. Pretty much the same thing happens with dog.

BTW, most of the fish we eat are carnivorous, so that taboo about not eating carnivores must be more limited in practice.

Freeman Hunt said...

Oh great, somehow you guys get me excited about eating termites, and now I find out I have to go to Africa to get them.

Luckyoldson said...

I just gave my cat a cool rinse in the sink (it's hotter than balls) and she bit me.

Can I bite her back?

joated said...

In addition to eating dog with the natives, the Lewis and Clark Expedition members ate mountain lion. They pronounced it quite good.

Anyone standing up for feral cats has no love of birds, mice, shrews, moles, chimpmunks, snakes, or the many, many other species cats take down as part of their diet. I also have no kind words for those who let their little kitty wander outside.

Luckyoldson said...

joated,
If you like moles, we've got a ton of 'em ruing our property in Missouri.

Could you stop by, round 'em up and take 'em far, far away?

Simon said...

LOS - got a picture? (Of the kitty on regular duty, I mean, not post-bath).

joated said...
"Anyone standing up for feral cats has no love of birds, mice, shrews, moles, chimpmunks, snakes, or the many, many other species cats take down as part of their diet."

The only response to that is the response I offered Ann's observation that preferring Cats over indigenous species is "speciesist" - "And?" Like Ann's observation, even if it's true, it's meaningless, a shell game - we're supposed to infer that option B is absurd thus we must prefer option A. But it fails because there's nothing absurd about option B - your observation doesn't indicate that people who prefer cats over your laundry list of their prey are wrong to do so, only that, like us, you have an ordering of priorities, but you place cats lower down on it.

Kirk said...

Freeman,

I'm not saying that the same species of termite, or something similar, might not be available in North America--it's just that I've never seen any and wouldn't know where to begin looking. I do remember reading, in some far-off pre-internet day, a column by an entomology professor touting the wonderfulness of termites, how they're 45% protein by weight, etc. etc.

Kirk said...

Lucky,

Why don't you just shoot your moles yourself, the good old self-reliant American way? Or is the problem that they're moles and never expose themselves above ground?

michilines said...

From Ann:

Re sterilizing and releasing the cats to deal with the problem: that must be a joke, considering the numbers and the expense.

No, it's not a joke. It's happenning now in the U.S. and Mexico. Low to no cost sterilization of feral cats goes on all the time. I'm at 5 and counting. I know many others who are in double digits. Just because you aren't aware of something doesn't mean it doesn't exist or isn't possible.

But then, eating the cats isn't much of a solution, for the same reason.

That's just wrong. There is a no-kill solution. You just choose to ignore it. Typical.

So that being the case, it's probably not worth offending the sensibilities of people who insist on favoring this species over others.

That last bit is one your patently ambiguous replys.

When do we get to see you eat dog, Ann? Maybe you could appraoch the person with that beauty in one of your pics? That one would feed a family fer sure.