General Footy Writing: Wild Cats (Felis catus) take centre route to big kill

Throughout the land fans of at least four footy tribes are all a little excited. Maybe it is just a spring thing but for some it is has deteriorated into a serious nervous affliction. This was worryingly apparent in the weekly words from Cat tragic and fellow ‘Knacker” John Harms in this morning’s Age.

Plagues of pestilence have apparently spontaneously generated from a wardrobe full of harmless and unspectacular Collingwood guernseys and possessed him. But fear not, John, the ecological exorcist is here to  evaluate the situation through contemporary scientific fact.

Through logical argument the reader will note the association between Cane Toads (Bufo marinus),  Magpies (Gymnorhina tibicen) and Collingwood footballers is uncanny, but the assumption that these pests are a threat to all Crows (Corvus orru) and subsequently to Cats (Felis catus) is erroneous.

Take comfort in the fact that many relatively innocuous animals have ugly skin covering as a first line defence to scare potential predators away as they are really quite soft and tasty.  (Refer Collingwood Football Club home and away strip and Collingwood players.)

Smart animals have realised that the back surface skin of the aforementioned Cane Toads is not only unsightly but is also full of poison, so they turn them over and go in through the belly. (Down the centre).

Crows, being notably intelligent, were the first animals to work this out. They did it for a while on Saturday night, but during the feeding frenzy they forgot the plan and were drawn to the outside (Collingwood’s control tactic to take the long way home) and were eventually poisoned. This has obviously scarred John.

John’s paranoia was also brought on by reccurring visions of Cats being killed by rabid flocks of Magpies. Fear not, John, these are a different breed of Cats, subspecies Fearles catus, big, experienced and feral. If you don’t believe me look at close mug shots of numbers 21, 33, 35 and 45 for example. These Cats will just roll the old toads over, scratch them open and continually devour them through the middle.

Interestingly, recent research indicates that the young toads Bofo marinus Beamsi et al, some with multi-coloured mottled skin, have not yet developed enough skin poison to pose a threat. The ruthless carnivorous predators Fearless catus have worked out they can slip into the confined spaces where the toadlets are most vulnerable and gorge themselves on the young’uns – mosaic surface skin and all.

This has several advantages. It keeps the population of the tadpoles and toadlets down to a manageable population and consequently limits the potential for population explosion into old toads.  It is reassuring to note that not all old toads constitute a threat as they usually become impotent. Refer to recently evolved species Boofo marinus Rocci. And of course after a  feed the feral cats are bigger and stronger.

The belief that Gymnorhina species have most successfully managed to adapt to different habitats as they work their way around the length and breadth of the country needs closer investigation.   The feral cat Felis catus Kardinii has recently set a precedent for most straight kills on the road and subsequently is the biggest threat to our national icon’s ecological balance.

It should be understood that the Melbourne Magpie, through its dominant male Gymnorhina tibicen Eddii, tends to warble a lot at dawn (March), has intermittent outbursts throughout the day as things warm up (wins against average sides mid-season) but is never there after dusk. That is of course the time when the full strength list of Cats emerge to feed.

Finally an association between a semi-evolved humanoid species considered by some academics to be ‘the missing link’, and the Melbourne Magpie population has been studied. This animal recently classified as Homo erectus (sub species) joffa is believed to have a symbiotic relationship with the Collingwood Football Club.

While not appearing to be part of the main pack the Joffa slinks in the fringes, behaves like a jackal and occasionally laughs like a hyena. Although not appearing soft and tasty, this creature initially wears the same ugly skin as the main pack but towards the climax, and dependent on its mood, it has been noted to change his skin colour and texture like a  chameleon.

However, in a bizarre reversal caught on film on 25 April 2009, the shiny gold skin apparently dissolved in rain with the chemical reaction causing it to change facial skin colour from pale pink to deep maroon. Although often aggressive, animated and demonstrating strange arm and facial movements, it is considered harmless, similar to the distant relation of Fearless catus called  Barberus catus (all piss and wind).


  1. Pamela Sherpa says

    Brilliant article Bill.

  2. Peter Walker says

    I guess from this you reckon Geelong will win, & as I write, have won.

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