SYDNEY - Australians have come up with a novel solution to the millions of feral cats roaming the Outback: eat them.
Wild cats -- the escaped descendants of domestic cats - kill millions of small native animals each year. Now the tables have turned and they find themselves on the menu.
A bush tucker competition held at the weekend in Alice Springs, in the Red Centre of the continent, featured something new: wild cat casserole.
"It's a white meat," said Kay Kessing, who came up with the recipe. "They vary a lot. The first cat I cooked didn't have a strong flavour. I put a lot of ingredients with it and made a beautiful stew.
"This cat that I've cooked is slightly larger. It has a slightly stronger flavour, but not as strong as rabbit."
A children's book author and illustrator, Kessing campaigns to save wildlife from the depredations of cats and other introduced animals, including camels, donkeys and wild horses.
Feral cats, which arrived with the British in 1788, now occupy most of the continent. Studies of their stomach contents show they eat almost anything that moves, including lizards, small mammals and spiders, as well as 180 species of Australian native birds.
Kessing said she would never dream of cooking a domestic cat. "It should always be wild," she told ABC radio. "And we should be eating donkeys and horse meat, like the French do."