Just before Christmas our cat Runty died and I wasn’t in any rush to find a replacement. I like cats well enough but I wouldn’t consider them one of life’s essentials. You can’t ride them; they won’t come with you on walks or bark at burglars or gaze at you like you’re the most wonderful, special, adorable person in the entire universe; plus, of course, they are the most evil, deadly and inappropriate predator.
Domestic cats kill an estimated 55 million birds each year in the UK alone — and an estimated total (when you add in all the mice, voles, slow-worms, newts and so on) of 275 million wild animals. When you live close to nature, as we do in the country, you see what a terrible struggle it is for animals just to stay alive under normal conditions. Introducing a moggy to your local ecosystem seems an act of wanton vandalism: like letting a hungry lion into a school playground.
Read the rest in the Spectator.