Not Lolcats


I know this article doesn't have much to do with communication research, but it is research. Plus, it's about cats, and I love cats too much to ignore them.

A recent University of Georgia study determined that our beloved feline critters are really nothing more than murdering psycopaths. They attached "kitty cams" to 60 pet cats in Georgia and monitored their activity at night.

They found that the cats killed an average of 2.1 animals per week, and it was apparently just for sport as they would only eat their kills 30% of the time. 21% of the time, they would bring their kill home (I can only imagine they thought it would be some kind of trophy).

I can't help but think there has been some bias introduced to this study. The kitty cams were outfitted "with LED lights." I'm familiar with night optics as I've spent some time in the military, and LED lights are not night optics, they are flashlights. It is possible that the light given off by the camera (while small) offered an unfair hunting advantage to the cats by helping them see, and by freezing their prey (as animals tend to freeze when suddenly immersed in light). It's possible these cats caught more prey than their non-recorded counterparts, thus their average kills per week is too high.

Also, it is possible that the critter cams may have been bulky enough to inhibit the cats in some way (they basically look like shock collars), and perhaps may have negatively affected their hunting. It is just as possible that the cats caught fewer critters than their unrecorded counterparts, and their average kills per week is actually too low.

The news article makes no mention of possible errors like this in the research, and does not link to an academic report that would discuss such errors. Of course, this is the norm with news organizations. They tend to present things as absolute, gospel-like fact regardless of possible errors. Then, when they're proven wrong, they ignore it and pretend like it never happened. All in the name of credibility, I guess.

Nevertheless, there is only one thing I can say with certainty from this research, and that is that my cats will never go outside again.

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