You’ve got to admire Peter Marra, an ornithologist (from the Smithsonian, no less) and Chris Santella, a journalist. They got the world of ailurophiles up in arms with a new book. This is provocatively called Cat Wars, and classifies cats as an invasive species, taking a horrible toll on native wildlife.

In part they blame pet owners who allow their pets to roam freely. This seems to me to fly in the face of reason because there were cats all over the shop before they wheedled their way into the best spot on the fire, and learned how to annoy their owners by puking on the bearskin at the dead of night. Cats have been around for a long long time.

Any road up, the two valiant cat opposers have done a rigorous (their word) analysis of the number of studies showing how much damage our feline friends do to other species. Apparently there are many many studies, and they clearly indicate the mog effect on biodiversity.

They pull some figures out of the air, something you can always spot when the word ‘estimated’ is used. In the US they estimate an annual toll of 1.4bn birds, up to 22bn mammals, and hundreds of millions of reptiles and amphibians. I imagine these figures are based on the number of peace offerings (ie piles of entrails you stand in at the dead of night), with a fudge factor for those cats like Snotbag who may injure animals that then escape and die.

They suggest, against all common sense, that cats should not be allowed outside unless on a lead. Well good luck with that. Cats are quite happy being house pets as long as they’ve never been outside, but once they have developed the taste for the great outdoors, that’s the end of the argument. I’d also like to see either of these two geezers demonstrate the correct procedure for putting a lead on a cat. Snotbag was a warlike little sod when we just tried to change her collar, turning to the Dark Side if necessary.

Now the really bad news if you’re a mad cat lady. You spend half your life feeding feral cats (these then eat you when you die), and Marra and Santella think this is all wrong. Feral cats should be poisoned. As if a cat won’t  turn its nose up at anything unfamiliar in the food line.

They then rather overegg the pudding, saying that toxoplasmosis spread by Fluffikins and her cohorts represents ‘a looming public health crisis.’ If you happen to immunodeficient, yes, it may be fatal (rarely), but otherwise you’ll just be a bit headachey and off your tucker for a few days.

Social media have already branded these two as heartless monsters. Only a matter of time till the death threats start.