Oct. 21, 1907: L.A. Doctor Wants to Exterminate Cats Over Their Diet of Diseased Rats


Note: This is an encore post from 2006. Evel (whom I mistakenly called “Evil”) in the last paragraph was the cat of Kim Cooper and Richard Schave.

Oct. 21, 1907
Los Angeles

There’s no shortage of opinions on how to improve the quality of life in Los Angeles. Most people advocate better roads—paved roads that connect the city with Pasadena and the beach. Others suggest more schools, hospitals, better jail facilities, enforcement of blue laws and closing the saloons.



And then there’s Dr. E.O. Sawyer—who wants to kill all the cats in town. Look at it this way, Sawyer says, any good cat loves to hunt rats and mice (no argument there). Of course what happens is that the cats feast on these diseased rodents and then come home to be babied by families laboring under the misguided notion that they somehow “own” the cats.

“Stray dogs in this city are caught and killed,” Sawyer says, “because of the belief that dogs sometimes have hydrophobia. But cats are let alone and they are so thick in some sections that you can see them on every vacant lot. Every one of them may have been feasting on diseased rats.”

The Board of Supervisors fired Sawyer as public health officer in 1915, and Southland felines napped just a bit easier.

Shout out to Evel, you are in safe hands!

About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in 1907, Animals, Medicine and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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