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An open source contract for feral cats

Cats dominate the ecology of many cities, but they tend to hunt like Elmer Fudd. Since people feed them they tend to hunt only the pretty birds, not the sick or the babies but those whose DNA can best advance their species.
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Written by Dana Blankenhorn, Inactive on

An expert on feline ecology has come up with a new way to address the problem of feral cats.

Put an open source contract out on them.

Dobin O. Robin, who works at the 1st Institute of Learning in the 4th arrondissement of Paris, is addressing a real problem.

Cats dominate the ecology of many cities, but they tend to hunt like Elmer Fudd. Since people feed them they tend to hunt only the pretty birds, not the sick or the babies but those whose DNA can best advance their species.

This sets evolution into reverse, just as it does in lands given over to human hunting.

Dr. Robin's solution is to have people take responsibility for Paris' feral cat population with an open source contract. Take a picture of your favorite, send it in along with a small fee, and you can now start taking responsibility.

Put out some food and when your cat comes by catch it. Then take it to any humane society office, where it will be fixed so you get value from your "license fee." Once it has recovered, you may let the cat loose if you wish.

What if more than one person wants to license the same cat? That's the idea of making this an open source license, she said. Get to know your neighbor, and work on catching the other cats in the area under the same license.

"Build a community to take responsibility. That's what open source is all about."

Dr. Robin admits this does not tame the larger ecological problem of house cats wandering the streets and taking out the pretty birds, but her aim is to raise the consciousness of people so they can be educated to take that responsibility.

"Cats are part of the natural world," she concluded, "and we need to take responsibility for their role in the natural order."

Happy April 1, everyone.

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