Let’s say you’ve been keeping cats for a while, and you’ve been feeding them outside in the yard. Every time the bowl gets low, someone pours in more cat food.
One day you notice that you’ve been going through multiple bags of cat food per day. Then you look outside and notice that there are entirely too many stray cats in the yard. You’ve successfully deduced that the stray cats coming in your yard from all over the neighborhood are eating all of the extra cat food you’ve been buying. Now how do you solve this problem? Do you:
a) Keep putting cat food in the yard. Round up as many stray cats as you can find and drop them off next door. Repeat as necessary.
b) Keep putting cat food in the yard. Build a large wall around your property to keep the stray cats out.
c) Keep putting cat food in the yard. Patrol the perimeter of your property with a gun to keep the stray cats out.
d) Keep putting cat food in the yard. Adopt the stray cats that are currently in your yard, but this is it! After this you aren’t taking in any more, and that’s final. Repeat as necessary.
e) Stop putting cat food in the yard. Feed your cats and only your cats in a place where the strays can’t get access to the food.
Let’s say you go with (e).
Result? There’s fewer cats in the yard, and the ones that do show up aren’t eating any of your cat food. You’re buying significantly less cat food than before. There’s also a distinct shortage of mice on the premises. Life is good.
Of course if this decision is made by committee, especially if that committee features heavy representation from the ones that originally advocated adopting several cats and feeding them outside, this solution might meet with some resistance…