In Los Angeles and in many other cities, it is common to feed outdoor cats, community cats, cat colonies, homeless cats, stray cats. Taken on its own this is an undeniably human urge–cats are, after all, one of our closest and most successful collaborators going back ten thousand years. Plus, super cute.
On the other side of the neighborhood, however, are some distraught folks whose own cat may have been killed by a coyote. Maybe they let their cat roam, or maybe the coyote came right into the yard and snatched it while it was busy stalking a bird.
What’s interesting is the nature of human emotions related to food here: on the one hand an intense compassion and desire to feed the animals who seem defenseless; on the other a mournful anger at an animal for feeding itself. As our coyote co-existence expert in this clip says “The Coyote doesn’t know the difference between a feral cat and a non-feral cat.” One wonders if this is strictly true though. Whether or not it is, the debate around whether or not to feed animals (or for that matter to let them feed, and on which animals), is not as straightforward as some might like to think.