What Would Happen If All The Cats Suddenly Disappeared?

Hey Thoughty2 here The honey bee is one of the most incredible creatures on planet Earth

Each worker bee grafts tirelessly its entire lifetime to create just 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey So when you put honey on your toast in the morning you are eating the entire lifetime achievements of around 40 bees Bees can communicate with each other with incredible accuracy, via the medium of dance Bees have various dances to tell other hive members where the best, nectar-rich flowers are located Through these waggle dances they can convey information such as distance, direction, the angle of the flowers relative to the sun and even how good the flowers are

Bee pollination is crucial to the survival of mankind The activities of bees nurtures the crops we humans live off In fact over one-third of all food you find in the supermarket requires bee pollination to exist If there were no bees, 33% of all foods you know would be no more And over 90% of the world’s plants require bees

Over the past decade there has been an awful lot of talk about saving the honey bees And you may have heard that the honey bee has been put onto the endangered species list But this is simply a case of misinformation being virally spread around the internet as it often is Truth is, the honey bee is absolutely fine, there is nothing to worry about In fact, since 2006 the honey bee population has increased year-on-year

It’s true that if the honey bee population drastically decreased it could cause a total ecosystem breakdown and the end of the human race, a terrifying thought But with hundreds of thousands of private bee keepers worldwide the chances of honey bees becoming endangered are basically non-existent So what was all the panic about? The only bees that were identified as endangered were a tiny handful of obscure bee species that are endemic to Hawaii So unless you happen to live in Hawaii, the bees you see buzzing around you every day, happily pollinating plants and making honey are going absolutely nowhere But there is an extremely common animal that poses an even greater threat to the survival of mankind than the honey bee

An animal that is the universal mascot of the internet The internet’s court jester, the cat It may have provided you with countless lols, and you should be very thankful it has, because if the cat were to become extinct it would likely be the end of the human race Cats are members of a family of carnivores called felidae, which includes tigers, cougars and cheetahs And like their distant cousins, cats have sharp retractable claws, amazingly quick reflexes and sharp teeth that can effortlessly clamp into its prey’s flesh

But cats have a predatory asset that their larger, scarier family members don’t A cat has a physics-defying, astonishingly flexible body They are more agile than big cats such as tigers Statistically cats are one of the best hunters in the entire animal kingdom A study found that tigers were only successful at catching their prey 5% of the time

Domestic cats are successful 32% of the time, which means they are listed as the 6th most successful hunting animal in the world But over in Africa there is an endemic species of cat known as the Black-footed cat, which is even more crazy, this species catches its prey 60% of the time and they make an average of 14 kills every night Making the black-footed cat the 2nd most successful predator in the animal kingdom, the only animal more successful is the African wild dog at number one All this means that cats are the world’s most well adapted and best predator for catching small rodents Rats and mice, being so small, cute and defenceless have been forced to develop extraordinary reaction times, rapid speeds and agility so they can evade predators

Yet the domestic cat still manages to track them, and catch them with ease The sadistic buggers don’t even hunt rodents for food, it is quite literally a game to them Experts have actually said that a well-fed cat catches more rodents than a hungry cat, because they do it for entertainment Wow, cats are evil And that is exactly why we need cats for our survival

By hunting and killing rodents and rabbits cats are doing the world a vital service Yes, last time your little Meowly Cyrus bought you a gruesome present, she was saving the world A study in 1997 found that in Britain alone, house cats collectively kill over 200 million specimens of wildlife each year Cats therefore play a vital role in keeping the rodent and rabbit populations in check, all over the world The phrase “breeding likes rabbits” is no misnomer, each season a rabbit can give birth to over a hundred babies and if you think that’s bad, rats are even worse

A female rat can mate up to 500 times with various males over a six hour period And a single pair of rats can produce over 2,000 offspring per year If left to their own devices, a pairs of rats can have over half a billion descendants within just three years But thankfully rats and other invasive rodents aren’t left to their own devices They are constantly on the defensive and their population numbers are maintained at a healthy balanced level by the hard work of cats

Cats are one of the few animals on the planet and most certainly the best, that can actually hunt and catch notoriously slippery rodents Cats therefore are the best method mother nature has for preventing rat populations from exploding exponentially and taking over the world Without cats our world would be overrun by rats within a year or two Trillions upon trillions of rodents and other, small invasive species would invade every home, every business and every square mile of the planet But why would this be so terrible? Are rats really that dangerous? Yes

Rats pose two major threats to mankind and the entire ecosystem The first is disease Although it’s sometimes debated by historians, it is widely thought that rats were the main spreader of the bubonic plague A disease which almost wiped out Europe Whether or not rats were responsible for the black death, their bacteria spreading abilities should not be underestimated

Rats spend most of their time hanging out in sewers, around piles of rubbish, and of course dead animals These are not things one would call hygienic There can be several thousand pathogens on just a centimetre of a rat’s fur, most of which can be spread to humans And they don’t have to bite you either, disease can be transmitted to humans through scratches, skin contact and worst of all, their excrement and urine Rats use urine to communicate, to mark territory and just because they need to go and they will urinate absolutely anywhere and everywhere

Come into contact with it and you’re certain to fall ill Rats carry some rather horrific diseases Such as Hantavirus Pulmonary Syndrome or HPS, which can be contracted by just breathing the air around where a rat has been HPS restricts your breathing and is often fatal, once the onset of symptoms has occurred death can happen in as little as a few hours; so, that’s scary But that’s just a fraction of the horrors rats possess, they also carry Typhus, Salmonella, Meningitis and Leptospirosis, all of which can be fatal to humans

Thankfully most people very rarely come into contact with rats, due to our hygienic environments and most importantly, the global prevalence of rat-killing cats Without cats there would be no stopping the rapid multiplication of rats and the inevitable outbreaks of many horrific diseases But believe it or not, disease isn’t the worst thing that would happen if rodents took over the world Hunger would be the worst thing Cats have us all fooled, thinking they rely on their owners for survival

Here’s the brutal truth, your cat doesn’t need you Cats, even the laziest of house cats, can find food for themselves quite easily, if they choose to, they only eat the food you provide for them because it’s easier In fact when your pet kitty brings you a dead mouse and leaves it on your doorstep, it’s actually trying to teach you how to hunt, because it thinks you’re a pathetic human that can’t find its own food But it’s this very behaviour that has thus far saved us all from mass-starvation You see cats hunt and kill a variety of rodents, such as mice and rats

Rodents just love to eat food staples such as grain The very grain which we all eat every day Farm cats play a vital role in the modern ecosystem By killing mice and rats that live in and around storage barns where grain is kept, they stop all the grain from being consumed or spoiled by the hungry rodents But rats aren’t picky, when they’re hungry they will chow down on just about anything, from trash, to animal and human cadavers and any crop or foodstuff that may be lying around

In a post-catolyptic world where rats and mice are free to multiply by the billions, each and every one of our food sources would be decimated or disease-ridden before it even leaves the farm A global famine would be an absolute certainty Unfortunately disease and food shortages wouldn’t be the end, the entire ecosystem would also collapse due to the domino effect Macquarie island is a super remote island owned by Australia Viewing the feral cat population on the island as somewhat of a nuisance, because they were killing the local seabirds, a cat eradication programme was started

And between 1985 and 2000 every single feral cat on the island was killed Within no time at all the local rat and rabbit populations quadrupled, and they in turn, caused massive devastation to the island’s vegetation, depleting all food sources for the countless other animal species they shared the island with And the scientists soon found out that rats love to feed on the eggs of the very seabirds which they intended to save The local seabird population declined at an astonishing rate due to the plentiful rats and lack of cats The ecosystem is a very delicate balancing act and this experiment just goes to show that we shouldn’t mess with it, because the tiniest of changes can have enormous, irreparable effects

Humans have still not formulated an effective method of pest control for rats The array of rat poisons available just flat out don’t work, at least not in the long run Rats are smarter than we give them credit for and as soon as one of the mischief, yes that is what a group of rats is called, dies from eating rat poison the rest of the mischief learns not to trust that food location in the future; either that or they employ a super-taster rat called Remy to check all their food before consumption In recent years scientists have even found groups of rats that have developed a natural immunity to rat poisons Until our artificial rodent deterrents are developed further, cats remain our only truly effective weapon against them, so as long as we have moggie we should be okay, that is of course, until rats learn how to weaponise cucumbers

Thanks for watching

About Thoughty2

Thoughty2 (Arran) is a British YouTuber and gatekeeper of useless facts. Thoughty2 creates mind-blowing factual videos, on the weirdest, wackiest and most interesting topics. Combining fascinating lists with answers to life's biggest questions.

1 Comment on What Would Happen If All The Cats Suddenly Disappeared?

  1. Wow, good to know.

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