Removing companions.

I don’t have any pets at the moment. It wouldn’t be fair on the animal because I’m out six (sometimes seven) days a week, currently at random times. There was a pond in the garden with some really big goldfish, but two vicious winters finished them all off and I filled in the pond. It’s now a memorial fish grave.

Many people like the company of cats and dogs. There have been regular reports of dog attacks to the extent that the drones are almost as scared of dogs as they are of smokers, and yet I have never met anyone who was attacked by a dog.

The nearest experience I have involved an Alsatian who lived between my house and the pub in Wales. Their front garden had a wall around it, about four feet high, and an iron gate. That dog watched out for unsuspecting people. Once you were wise to it, you’d see the top of a hairy head and two eyes peering over the wall. When you were a few houses away from that garden, the dog vanished.

Just as you passed the gate, the dog would run at it, barking. Then, once it had scared the crap out of you, it would jauntily stroll away and I swear the bugger was laughing. That wasn’t a vicious dog. That was a dog with a twisted sense of humour. Must have been something in the water where I grew up.

Anyway, the persistent reports of dog attacks are putting people off getting one. So they get cats instead. Well, even a seriously mad cat can be beaten off by most people. Sure, they are armed with teeth, four sets of sharp claws and a bad attitude but they are small. If it’s busy shredding your hand you can pick it up and whack it against something. So cat attacks aren’t going to make the news very often.

The removal of dogs as companion animals is well under way – and let’s not forget the idiotic proclamation that second hand smoke harms pets so smokers will be banned from having any anyway  – and now it’s time to get rid of your cats too. The process has just begun and they are making use of the badger scare this time round.

Cats can now give you tuberculosis.

Let’s ignore the 9000 cases of human tuberculosis last year and concentrate on four people who might have caught bovine tuberculosis from their cats. Or who might have caught it somewhere else and then given it to their cats. The Public Health mob have already decided how the disease is transmitted from cows to badgers to cats to humans so there is a helpful graphic in the article.

Cats fighting badgers? Really? I know which one my money would be on.

I would have expected dogs to be a greater risk since they can’t resist rolling in cowshit, sniffing it and even touching its warm, steamy goodness with their tongues. Which they then use to slap your face. Any sign of dogs passing on tuberculosis? Any mention of the possibility? Nope.

The drones are already responding as directed –

Kristof, London, United Kingdom,
Cats are disgusting and carry lots of diseases.

Thanatos, London, United Kingdom,
Roundup the cats in the area and incinerate them. It’s the only way. Feminist cat ladies are going to be the death of us.

Pretty much the same things they’ve said about smokers, fat people, drinkers and anyone else they’ve been told to hate. Cat owners, welcome to Denormalisation Club.

Some commenters have seen where it’s going, so there is hope. This one has multiple outcomes.

It pushes back objections to the badger cull. “They are killing your cats – and you!”

It nicely distracts from all those new cases of human TB, brought in by immigrants from places that don’t have the inoculation.

It starts the process of getting rid of an irksome thing that is cheering up drone life. If they have pets they are distracted from their daily drudgery and that will not do.

It keeps people scared, and scared people want someone to save them from the scary thing. Forget Batman or Superman. They can’t make it, sorry. Still, not to worry, The Busybodies will rush to your rescue. All you have to do is… exactly what you are told.


Oh, and just in case the drones shrug off a mere four cases in one spot, there is the inevitable cliffhanger –

Six were put down or have died, two have survived, but one, an 18-month-old tabby called Milhouse, has run away.

One of them is on the loose! This is classic B-movie horror stuff. There is an outbreak, contained quickly, but one infected creature has gone missing. Where is it? What is it doing? Who is it infecting? Is it the one making friends with your own cat while sitting on the garden fence? The opening bars of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor would surely be fitting here. Even the conductor is watching out for Milhouse the Disease Cat.

Four people have contracted bovine TB. Two are ‘latent’ which means they test positive but have no symptoms. Maybe the vaccine against the human version works on the bovine one too, perhaps the non-latent ones were’t vaccinated? We aren’t told.

This outbreak, in epidemiological terms, is what scientists refer to as ‘fuck all’. It’s like the scare about necrotising fasciitis a few years back. A very nasty infection indeed but the tally was eight cases in one year. And yet everyone thought they were going to get it.

Give it credit, it is a well constructed scare story this time. They’ve taken more care over this one than they usually do

I need a new short story to give away free. The free ones are ads for the paid ones. I need something plausible enough to be scary.

I think I might pinch this idea. But not with cats. That’s been done now.


22 thoughts on “Removing companions.

  1. The cat ran throught the ghetto, supping on TB infected discarded meat pies and curries…and the the old lady picked it up and petted it….


  2. I’m worried that there might be a real scare hiding behind all these bullshit efforts – maybe a PPE graduate is going to move in next door . . . .


  3. What is going on here is politician-induced failure, as per usual.

    Way back in the fifties, it was realised that a lot of the tuberculosis cases in people were from drinking TB-infected milk. Pasteurisation sorted that one out, and once an immunological test for exposure to TB had been sorted out for cows, the infected herds were culled and the infection got rid of, mostly. There were a few niggling places where TB kept on cropping up, even if known-clean cows were used (you know the drill: take a herd of TB-free cows, randomly assign some to one place, some to the unusual place, watch as the ones going to the TB hotspot catch it, and the others don’t…).

    Anyway, the scientists investigated where the TB might be coming from, and found it was badgers. An easy problem, this one; badgers live in burrows and are always underground by day; turn up with a few hundred cubic feet of hydrogen cyanide (later a sodium cyanide product called Cymag) and gas the buggers. Job done.

    Fast forward to 1986, and there started to be doubts about how humane HCN gassing was. No doubt as to effectiveness, it worked like a charm and almost all the TB hotspots had gone. So, the gassing regime got reduced a bit.

    Fast forward again to 1996. A certain Tony Blair took a donation from some animal rights people, on the condition he stop this “senseless slaughter of badgers”; combined with draconian powers to try to stamp out badger baiting. Amongst his few good points, Tony was and remains an honest politician: once bribed he stays bribed. Culling of badgers to stop TB ceased once he took power and badgers acquired almost complete immunity from population control apart from a complete lack of road sense.

    These maps of TB incidence show what happened next:

    To summarise, with badgers (a completely susceptible host for TB) protected, their numbers started to explode, and trailing behind this population explosion was a similar explosion in TB cases. The state of play right now is that most of Wales and South-West Britain has endemic TB in the badger population. Not in the cattle; the testing and subsequent culling prevents that, but while ever there’s this common wildlife reservoir no amount of cattle testing will shift the disease (a bit of common sense that seems to escape way too many people).

    Some time in 2013 or 2013, the EU Vet Service lost patience with the UK’s politicians. For a good long time, said service had been watching the spread of TB and thinking on the lines of “Shit, if that gets over the channel we’ll have hell to pay!”. For equally long they’d been quietly suggesting things like “You might want to do something about that before you have trouble” and so on. Anyway, they lost patience and baldly stated “Bloody well do something or we declare Britain to have endemic TB”.

    A declaration of endemic TB basically kills cattle exports, and milk exports too. It permits most of continental Europe to embargo a hell of a lot of UK agricultural produce, and would spell economic ruin for a huge number of farmers. Farmers who live in Conservative safe seats, and who are linchpins of the rural economy. Clearly something had to be done.

    Shooting badgers was something, therefore it had to be done and nevermind the ineffectiveness as compared to gassing (substituting carbon monoxide for hydrogen cyanide would have removed the humaneness argument entirely, CO poisoning is painless). As we all know, along with the official shooters a fair number of good old boys also seem to have been “helping out” with whatever came handy, up to and including illegal Cymag.

    Overspill from badgers infected with TB to cats is known, and expected. As the TB infection spreads into the London area, with a much bigger cat population, this can be expected to increase; we can therefore expect to see a low level of endemic TB in cats, and cat to human transmission increasing.

    This is what happens when you let nincompoops decide things that they know nothing about.


    • I might have known the Tiny Blur would be involved somewhere.

      As for gassing, why not CO2? It’s killed whole villages when a local lake in a hollow has burped. It’ll sink into the burrows and the badgers will sleep and not wake up. No disposal required – they’re already buried – and hey, we’ve just sunk a lot of CO2 into the ground as well. That should please the crusties (I know, I know, but they won’t know).


  4. “four people who might have caught bovine tuberculosis from their cats.”

    About 8.5 million people in the UK have cats as pets.

    That is a ratio of 1 TB case per 2.125 million cat owners.

    A cat owner has a 0.0000005 probability of getting TB from their cat.

    Obviously, all cats should be killed and their ownership forbidden.

    The NHS kills that many people per day.


    • Many people have multiple cats. So the risk is even lower than your calculation suggests! And that assumes any of the Mail’s story is even real. Which is far from certain.


    • YOUR tube train?!? Anywhere where a cat is , that’s it’s fiefdom and it only tolerates your presence….after tribute has been brought. 😛

      Off topic but the other day I had cause, for the first time ever, to question the supposed intelligence of our feline Overlords: A fluffy grey cat was sitting in the middle of a grey road on a grey Norfuck afternoon (so that’s any afternoon between , say, March and February) infront of a grey car…

      Probably had it’s brains addled by TB I guess.


      • That’s just the cat saying ‘Fuck it, I’m sitting here. Deal with it’.

        There’s one that will sit down in your way – quite deliberately – on my way to work. It just likes to watch you go around.


  5. Those comments remind me why I prefer cats to people. Anyone comes after my cats it will be the last thing they do…

    And cats fighting with badgers, don’t make me laugh. You’d have to believe in third-hand smoke to swallow that one.


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