Operation Cat Drop is the name commonly given to an account, of uncertain veracity, about the delivery, by the United Kingdom's Royal Air Force, of cats to a remote village in Sarawak, Borneo. The cats were delivered in crates, dropped by parachute, as part of a broader program of supplying cats to combat a plague of rats. The cat population had previously been reduced as an unintended consequence of spraying DDT for malaria control. The story, often with various elaborations is often told as an illustration of the problems that may arise from well-intended interventions in the environment, or of unintended consequences more generally.
It is not clear whether the events of the Operation Cat Drop story actually transpired as the story is commonly told or if the cats were ever delivered by parachute. While cats are indeed unusually susceptible to the toxic effects of DDT, and cat die-offs were a not unheard of side effect of malaria control operations, many aspects of the story have been called into question. For example, it was probably dieldrin rather than DDT which was used for malaria control in the region and caused numerous cat deaths.
Video footage purporting to show an aerial drop of beavers, intended to improve water quality, appeared in October 2015.
- O'Shaughnessy PT (November 2008). "Parachuting cats and crushed eggs the controversy over the use of DDT to control malaria". pp. 1940–8. Digital object identifier:10.2105/AJPH.2007.122523. PMC 2636426. PMID 18799776. http://www.ajph.org/cgi/pmidlookup?view=long&pmid=18799776.
- Katie Herzog (23 October 2015). "Beavers are good for streams. Now watch found footage of beavers parachuting". Grist. http://grist.org/living/beavers-are-good-for-streams-now-watch-found-footage-of-beavers-parachuting/.
- Catdrop.com: a site prepared by Patrick T. O’Shaughnessy, an associate professor at the University of Iowa
- Systems Thinking: Operation Cat Drop and Chaotic Kindness
- World Health Organization (2005). "Operation Cat Drop". pp. 6. http://www.who.int/formerstaff/publications/qn60.pdf. Retrieved 2009-08-24.
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