Interview! Gavin Ehringer, Author of Leaving the Wild: The Unnatural History of Dogs, Cats, Cows and Horses

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“It’s not enough to take care of animals after they’re born, we have to think about their circumstances before the act of breeding even takes place.”

Gavin takes a critical look at breeding and how our values shape our animals for good and bad in his new book, Wild. The book actually began about 5 years ago when he got the idea about writing about how animals came to be domesticated. He decided to put his entire life into the book and went out on the road in an RV and did research all over the United States for the book.

He looks at the history of dogs, cats, cows and horses and how they willingly left the wild in exchange for our care, along with how that relates to what they deal with now in modern times. He digs into what the consequences have been to them becoming domesticated.

For instance, with cats, the invention of kitty litter I the 1940’s really changed the game for them becoming an indoor pet. A man was using a similar material to absorb oil on the floor of his garage when a neighbor came over and asked to use it for her cat. Voila, and industry was born! It completely changed the game for cats on becoming indoor pets.

Gavin also found interesting research around the millennial and their cat ownership rates. Cats have only recently surpassed dogs as America’s most popular pet, and more than likely we can than the millennials for that! Because cats are easy to care for and fit into their urban lifestyles very well, adoption rates have skyrocketed with this generation. It also gives them social credibility by adopting through shelters and off the streets.

Believe it or not, Gavin didn’t have a very positive view of community cats before he wrote the book. He viewed them as destroyers of wildlife. But after his research, he learned how TNR can be so effective and can be the long-term solution. He believes the whole community needs to get involved in these issues and there needs to be long-term discussions if they hope to decrease the amount of animals living and suffering on the streets.

To grab Gavin’s book, head over to

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