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Give much-maligned feline friends a break

I'M delighted that Tara the cat's heroic act in saving a Californian toddler from an attacking dog was caught on camera and has been viewed by millions worldwide. What a well-deserved and long-overdue PR boost for cats.

Throughout history cats have been maligned and persecuted by people who just didn't understand these creatures and their place in the scheme of things.

During the witch craze in Europe countless thousands of them were burned for being "familiars" of the alleged female dabblers in black or white magic.

In ancient Rome they were punished in accordance with a different, but equally silly, superstition. Unfortunately, they are still suffering as a result of man's ignorance and inhumanity.

Domestic and feral cats alike are forced to serve as bait in training sessions organised by dog-fighting and hare-coursing gangs – the animals's tougher skin deemed an advantage in teasing and blooding the dogs.

Cats deserve a break. Tara's heroism may have grabbed the headlines, but cats are beneficial to humans in other ways, too.

They keep mice and rats at bay and, apart from being the most lovable companions, they bring comfort – especially to people living alone. They can literally help to preserve one's sanity.

While I'm sure all good doggies go to heaven, it wouldn't be much of a place if Tara and the other cats of this world didn't get in there, too.


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