17 Comments
Feb 13Liked by PJ Vogt, Sruthi Pinnamaneni

VIRTUTE!!!

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Apr 9Liked by PJ Vogt

I'm a local news Journalist and was covering a stray cat boom in the county and used this episode for research, thank you, I loved this one! https://riverreporter.com/stories/sullivan-county-to-tackle-stray-cats,142916

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Kalden is amazing. I'd watch a whole YouTube channel.

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To be honest, I’m quite disappointed that you didn’t speak to a single person over 12 who knows anything about cats? This is even more disappointing given that 1) you acknowledged that most cat lovers are animal lovers so naturally many people must care about both cats and birds—and guess what, they do! You just made no effort to reach out to them! and 2) you live in New York, do you not? There are so many organizations here that are dedicated to rescuing cats and protecting wildlife, and there has been so much discourse around the true economic and structural causes of the stray cat problem facing the city right now. It is really not an exaggeration to say that a 5 second google search could’ve put you into contact with an individual who knows things about population control. Instead you chose to laugh at an Alley Cat Allies video, and cite PETA’s willingness to euthanize cats as evidence that street cats should be culled. Fun fact of the day: PETA thinks that owning pets is functionally equivalent to slavery and that it is merciful to euthanize them. I’m not kidding. Look it up—they euthanize 80-90% of the animals that are surrendered to their animal shelter. Again, evidence of inadequate research and makes me distrust all the other episodes that I watched, enjoyed, and found so informative. Were they all this poorly supported and poorly researched? If you’d done a bit more research, you would’ve discovered that the stray cat problem has much less to do with cats and more to do with human behavior and structural socio-economic issues. And that trap-neuter-return efforts are not frustrated because the method is ineffective, they are frustrated because of…wait for it..the same human issues. There have been dozens of articles written about how the cat population skyrocketed during COVID because 1) people had no income to get their pets spayed/neutered 2) the ASPCA, NYC’s primary provider of low cost spay and neuter, shut down operations 3) people were dumping pets they could no longer care for…that were not fixed. What had previously been a manageable population skyrocketed because people couldn’t afford to take care of their pets and they were dumping cats on the streets. Historically, animal abandonment rises during economic instability. This effect is magnified because there is also a veterinary shortage and private equities are buying up all the private practices. At the same time, free and low cost options have also been decreased and defunded. So what happened is a perfect storm resulting from economic conditions, veterinary shortage, private equity buying up veterinary practices and making pet ownership and sterilization less accessible, all while the city has decreased funding to ensure sterilization. So people are dumping their unfixed pets and letting them breed. This is a pattern all over the country post-Covid. If it were the cats, it wouldn’t be peaking now of all times. It’s kind of absurd to get an ornithologist on and just throw your hands in the air about how intractable the issue is….its not. It has clearly definable solutions. Its also absurd to say TNR doesn’t work when the reason it doesn’t work is because people keep exogenously introducing cats into the environment that are unfixed for all the reasons I’ve outlined. Furthermore, there have been so many advances in animal sterilization and birth control. In fact there is already hormonal birth control for female cats. Technology is advancing for male feline birth control as well. But at the end of the day, if municipalities would just spend money on the issue by funding animal welfare and low cost veterinary care for low income individuals this would be rapidly resolved. The vast majority of cats responsible for killing wildlife are not people’s well fed pets who ventured outdoors it’s the millions of stray and feral cats who live outside and fend for themselves and whose numbers could be decreased in a generation if people would stop introducing new, unsterilized cats. I can’t believe I typed this all up but I’m really aggravated because I’m trying to listen to your newest episode but can’t even pay attention or really give credit to any claims in it after seeing how cursory of a look you took at the last issue before deciding you were ready to make an entire episode on it. There really is THAT much written on it already. Consider making a part 2. Start local, maybe contact Flatbush Cats..if you read up on them, their mission, their social media, and the abundance of news coverage they’ve gotten over the past year (seriously, how did you miss all that?) for one thing, they addresses a lot of the points you failed to discuss. Maybe google some orgs dedicated to solving both of these issues.

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Birds. Aren’t. Real.

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Hey in New Zealand we have a unique responsibility to care for our island home. Cats destroy our local wildlife which has evolved for millions of years happily without them. It’s not about culling cats. It’s about preserving a habitat which will never ever be regained if it’s lost.

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Feb 12·edited Feb 12

A few weeks ago I lost my sweet Tabby who had been my companion of 15 years and honestly thank you for this episode because I suddenly have so much more compassion for and understanding of those people who leave random horrible threats to experts online. While he was speaking I had this sudden gut wrenching reaction of wanting to reach through my screen and shake this man.

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Can't tell if being sarcastic or proving the point of the episode

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No sarcasm… just genuinely hadn’t experienced feeling more sympathy with the death threatener than with the expert and it was interesting and weird to be in that place. Not sure if that proves the point of the episode but if the point was that he’s going to have quite the uphill battle getting people on his side then yeah I suppose so.

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Thanks for clarifying, although the gist of the episode for me was more that it's an emotional debate, especially on the part of cat owners. I've never had a cat, nor any other pet, and can't relate to your feeling at all. You say yourself that it's weird to find yourself in this place. But thanks anyway for sharing your side and your point of the episode is definitely just as true.

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For sure, I get that. And thank you for your respectful reply. x

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Sure Becky Robinson is easy to make fun of, but your glaring sexism is so tired. Why is she is the only one you give a visual description for? The way you derogatorily describe her as a "middle aged woman" dismisses her and all women. I guess it's not hilarious to you when your male speakers are middle aged. When it's a man, their age must make them authoritative, right? So sick of your smug, childish misogyny.

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I really enjoy this podcast but if there is one place I think you could improve, its to try to think more beyond the city. Cats can be a huge problem in the city, a nuisance in the suburbs, and incredibly helpful farm hands in the exurbs. At one point you used the word mouser, and it was kind of completely left at that. It felt like you were suggesting that the answer to cats is kind of all or nothing. Either you should or should not let them out. Barn cats in the exurbs play a huge role in preventing disease from being spread by rodents throughout not just large farms but small farms as well. Obviously this is anecdotal but my neighbor owns about 20 goats, 10 sheep, 4 horses, 30 chickens and a few other animals. The Barn cat protects all of their food from rodents, they have also seen a significant decrease in coyote sitings because the coyotes have no reason to hunt at the farm because there is no easy prey anymore, the cat has handled it.

I just thought it was odd that this mutally beneficial relationship was ignored in this in-depth podcast about the subject. It kind of tracks with some of your other stories though where your answers to the search engine questions are very city/suburban centric, primarily New York City.

Love the show, still really miss reply all, "The Cathedral" is my fall time favorite podcast episode across any podcast with the exception of maybe "The Giant Pool of Money" from This American Life.

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I believe deeply that humans have the brain power to come up with answers other than "kill it", but we really like killing things, so that's the answer we default to. Certainly if we can travel to space and made widgets that contain vast amounts of knowledge that fit in our pockets, we can think of something better than "kill it". Here is a Snopes article that has a lot of nuance and does not come to the same conclusion about cats and birds https://www.snopes.com/news/2021/08/06/dont-blame-cats-for-destroying-wildlife/?fbclid=IwAR2lWPxVtpVFZga1ZP6zCVRbW8KOax_byvsT_i1LZyNBZgHzh2BwOT54DjQ

Also, I have an outside cat that kills birds and rodents who now wears a Birds-Be-Safe collar. The website that sells them says they reduce bird killing by about 80% and I would agree that that seems to be accurate. He catches waaaaaay less birds now. https://www.birdsbesafe.com/ (I have no affiliation and I'm sure they are easy to make yourself if you sew).

I want to add that the failure to mention habitat destruction as one of the ways in which humans are likely killing more birds than cats to be ingenuous and saying that cats have contributed to the extinction of dozens of bird species is not the same as saying they caused the extinction - I'm sure that humans have caused far more, and even if we haven't, we will if we don't stop this train called climate change from heading over the cliff. Focusing on killing cats when we are about to wipe out significant life on earth seems like a horrible way to spend what time we have left here before this planet becomes unlivable. But then, I live on the west coast where every summer and fall now we cannot breath the air outside due to excessive wildfires that I know damn well are killing FAR more birds than the cats.

Lastly, Kalden struck me as the most clear and reasonable guest on the show. Please let us know when he has his own podcast :)

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PJ! Feel like you and your team read a lot of interesting books while doing the research for this show. Would be nice to have a book club at the end of an episode once a month where you recommend a book or two that you read during that period. Always love finding new books and your episodes are so captivating that I’m left wanting to dive deeper.

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The Big Bird lobby is just the tip of the vast wing conspiracy against cats.

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😂😂

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