More on cats

January 24th, 2013 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

As the story on ’s call for a cat genocide is staying topical, I thought I’d elaborate on why it is such a near sociopathically bad idea.

First of all, I think most would agree that yes eats birds. And as far as I know you can not train a cat to only eat exotic birds and leave native birds alone, so eat native birds and it is bad for biodiversity if a species is wiped out.

I would certainly dispute that non-feral cats alone have killed any species, as do experts.. As almost all cats live in urban areas, any impact from domestic cats is geographically limited. It is estimated 25 million birds are killed annually by predators (possums, stoats, cats feral and domestic). It is also estimated that 1 million birds are killed annually by power lines, so maybe someone will advocate we get rid of electricity to help native birds. And wind turbines are a massive killer of birds overseas – around 1,000 per wind turbine.

Now most would agree it is beneficial to not have native birds killed. But do we as a country ban wind turbines and ban electricity lines, to protect birds? Of course we don’t. Why? Because the benefits from wind turbines and power lines exceed the detrimental impact on birds.

So the question is do we get benefits from domesticated cats? Now I absolutely accept not everyone likes cats. But that is not the issue. The issue is whether people should be allowed to have a cat as a pet because they do want one.

And this is where I think Gareth Morgan and others who advocate NZ should rid itself of domestic cats have something wrong with them, and are lacking in some basic human empathy. Cats can and do play a huge role in quality of life for many New Zealanders, especially more elderly New Zealanders. The companionship they get from cats is incredibly powerful, and the bond a human can have with a pet can be incredibly strong. If you are a elderly New Zealander living by yourself (and a dog is not an option as they need exercise), a cat can make a huge difference to quality of life. And to be honest anyone who thinks a few birds are more important than the happiness so many people get from their cats, has a warped sense of priorities.

Cat owners should of course be responsible. Stick a bell on your cat and get it spayed. But  advocating that NZ become the only country (except maybe Antarctica  in the world that has no cats is just bonkers, and anyone who seriously advocates it has what I regard as very warped values.  Nothing wrong with not liking cats yourself, but something very wrong in advocating no one should have a cat.

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53 Responses to “More on cats”

  1. Murray (8,835 comments) says:

    Cats reduce stress and lower blood pressure extending live to many.

    Economists increase stress, raise blood pressure shortening the lives of many.

    I say we declare open season on economists.

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  2. Lance (2,311 comments) says:

    @Murray

    Hmmmm

    You might be on to something there.

    Also cats don’t burn thousands of litres of fuel on self absorbed bucket list journeys, then demand that the rest of us save the environment.

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  3. Andrei (2,431 comments) says:

    Cats are good for pest control too.

    Never have any mice in our pantry and woe betide any rat that invades our koshka’s territory

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  4. Manolo (12,644 comments) says:

    What has made Gareth Morgan to lose the plot? He seems to have transformed himself into an oracle, capable of speaking on subects as various as pets, football coaching, the environment, taxes, etc.

    I’ve met him before a number of times and he was not like this. Has the money gone to his head or what?

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  5. jptucker (18 comments) says:

    I would describe myself as a dog person, but it is not practical for us to own one, so we got a pair of Burmese. They are spayed, chipped, and registered and we lock them in at night. I believe it is cruel to lock them in 24×7. One of my major concerns with this campaign is inciting people to trap cats on their property, particularly if it is done in urban area’s where there is more likely to be domestic cats with responsible owners. Surely the first stop should be controlling feral populations and requiring domestic owners to register, spay etc.

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  6. graham (2,211 comments) says:

    Andrei: +1.

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  7. Peter (1,471 comments) says:

    You would never hear of a cat joining the Green party.

    There’s nothing PC about a cat. I would vote for a cat.

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  8. Left Right and Centre (2,399 comments) says:

    And if you do decide to commit Garethcide… don’t waste the meat… ask a Tongan to jazz it up with a good recipe. Steak sauce goes well with anything as well mate…. just an idea….

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  9. Lance (2,311 comments) says:

    @Pete
    No the Greens don’t like cats.
    Cats make people live longer (as Murray pointed out).
    More humans = bad for the environment.

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  10. Pete George (21,831 comments) says:

    I would object strongly to being forced to attach a bell to my cat, apart from not liking them it would make it much harder for it to catch the rats and mice that it catches, and most birds it catches are not natives.

    And I would also resist strongly keeping my cat inside at night. Cats are nocturnal and it’s natural for them to go out at night.

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  11. ross69 (3,645 comments) says:

    Relax, David, Gareth wasn’t being serious when he floated the idea. He simply wanted to deflect attention away from his awful soccer team, and so far it’s been a success. :)

    [DPF: Heh. up until the point he attacks the team's own fan base]

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  12. James Stephenson (1,885 comments) says:

    get it spaded

    I’ve been trying to spade the neighbour’s cat for months, haven’t managed to hit it yet.

    Anyone know where to get a good cat-trap?

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  13. Manolo (12,644 comments) says:

    ross69!! Jeepers. Is there life after Bain?

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  14. Left Right and Centre (2,399 comments) says:

    I had one cat that only liked hunting for things like… a comfy pillow. Or the perfect amount of heat in a good sunspot. If you gave her a bell she’d think it was for her to ring when she wanted you to get her something.

    Had another one and right up until her last year she would… and I’m talking once a year or something stupid…. bring a mouse to the backdoor. The last time she got one at age 16 I told her that I’ll bet the fucking mouse was a pensioner too. I was very impressed at her ripe old age.

    Now I don’t have a cat…. and there’s millions of fucking horrible sounding birds (and some with really lovely calls) and I’d like to off a lot of the pricks. Waaaaaay too many.

    Birds can fly…. hello? And they’re lightning quick. I don’t know how the fuck cats even get near them… must be brilliant.

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  15. slightlyright (93 comments) says:

    @Ross69 and his non-benchmarked kiwisaver scheme, I would laugh my ass off if this nutter has offended all the middle / senior aged cat lady’s who invested in it and they shifted their funds as a result, why oh why does our useless media give any oxygen to this deludded half wit, he isn’t mainstream NZ he is an odd ball with weird ideas who should either just join the green party where he can manage the eradiction of cats, cows and probably humans if they had their luddite way or shift to antarctica to be with his precious penguins, i’m sure he won’t find cats there

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  16. Lance (2,311 comments) says:

    @James
    Maybe the neighbours won’t miss the kick to gonads and good ass kicking you would richly deserve.

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  17. RRM (8,997 comments) says:

    http://lolsnaps.com/upload_pic/GrumpyCat-35019.jpg

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  18. Murray (8,835 comments) says:

    http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151177841931836&set=a.418071826835.199136.689146835&type=1&theater

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  19. James Stephenson (1,885 comments) says:

    @Lance

    Not switched your sense of humour on yet then? Just picking our host up on the fact that he was looking for the word “spayed”

    My actual spade-related solution is a spade full of cat shit on said neighbours doorstep.

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  20. Pete George (21,831 comments) says:

    RRM – that pic reminded me of a certain person at a certain blog so thought it appropriate to add to http://yournz.org/2013/01/24/the-standard-culture/

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  21. slightlyright (93 comments) says:

    This and now this http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/football/8216985/Gareth-Morgan-slams-fans-for-lack-of-patience

    He must courting a high ranking on the Greens party list

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  22. gazzmaniac (2,270 comments) says:

    I would certainly dispute that non-feral cats alone have killed any species, as do experts..

    There is actually a well documented case of this. The Stephen Island wren was eradicated by lighthouse keeper’s pet (i.e. not feral) cat. I guess the lighthouse keeper saved a bundle on cat food.

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  23. Short Shriveled and Slightly to the Left (759 comments) says:

    And Pete sums up the arrogance of cat owners nicely at 9:23
    lets try to mix this up for dog owners and see what we get

    I would object strongly to being forced to attach a lead to my greyhound, apart from not liking them it would make it much harder for him to sprint down the street, and most cats he catches are old and slow.

    And I would also resist strongly keeping my greyhound from moaning and barking all day and night. It’s natural for them to moan and bark.

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  24. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    Yeah I thought spaded was something completely different that you do when you “love in Wellington”. .

    http://nowoccupy.blogspot.com/2013/01/fire-in-la-hotel-cat-saved.html

    My point being that it’s pointless trying to get rid of every last trout, deer, thar etc but there are countless NZ agencies with this obsession with purifying NZ. It’s working against the economic interests of the country. And who’s Gareth Morgan apart from being some rich dudes Dad? What is his authority?

    We flew our cat over to the states to live out her last few months with us. Cost thousands, was mad and possibly pointless but it was worth for the look of abject wonder on the kids face and and the cat’s recognition that she’d rejoined her family. I don’t give a toss about a few native birds. Maybe I’d be a better person if I did but as long as there are zoos to preserve species that need to move the fuck over to make room for us and our pets then I’m happy.

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  25. graham (2,211 comments) says:

    Problem is, if I attach a bell to my cats it’ll make it harder for them to catch mice and rats. But the main reason I don’t attach a bell, is that they frequently wander in the bush and forest next to my property. If they have a collar attached it would be just too risky that they would get hooked up by the collar on a branch or some scrub, be trapped, and either strangled to death or starved to death.

    I’m sure some of you would say, “Good job, let the cats suffer and starve”, but I prefer not to take that chance.

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  26. Murray (8,835 comments) says:

    Wait so 50% of New Zealanders are arrogant because they have cats in their families.

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  27. Longknives (4,051 comments) says:

    I’ve got a cat (and a dog). Love them to bits…
    I’d rather exterminate tosspot ‘know-it-alls’ like Morgan.

    Oh and won’t Gaweth be turned on by this?
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/8217010/Kitten-killer-shocks-courtroom

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  28. eszett (2,272 comments) says:

    My actual spade-related solution is a spade full of cat shit on said neighbours doorstep.

    Must me some cat if you can fill a spade with it’s shit. Or a very small spade.

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  29. Rick Rowling (776 comments) says:

    All that protein just running about killing wildlife, and vulnerable New Zealanders going hungry…

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  30. Lance (2,311 comments) says:

    @James
    No that was humour.
    If I had thought you were serious the comment would have been harsh :-)

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  31. Scott Chris (5,688 comments) says:

    Stick a bell on your cat and get it spaded.

    So Morgan got you thinking about the problem at least David. Wasn’t that his intention?

    Oh, and it’s spayed not spaded.

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  32. Scott Chris (5,688 comments) says:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lS8EXkiicOo

    Actually, I like cats.

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  33. gazzmaniac (2,270 comments) says:

    How to stop cats pissing on your car

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  34. dave_c_ (206 comments) says:

    Is this the same Morgan who was on the telly, telling us about the money he would donate, for protection of nature (birds etc), so long as others stumped up with ‘x’ dollars. I smell nothing but the stench of self interest (and self congratulation/grandeur) in this latest fantasy !

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  35. ross69 (3,645 comments) says:

    [DPF: Heh. up until the point he attacks the team's own fan base]

    You must be psychic, David. ;)

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/football/8216985/Gareth-Morgan-slams-fans-for-lack-of-patience

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  36. Pete George (21,831 comments) says:

    Emerson cartoon on that other feral predator http://www.nzherald.co.nz/opinion/news/article.cfm?c_id=466&objectid=10861070

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  37. annie (533 comments) says:

    If cats are kept very well-fed on palatable food (and sharing treats from the table), have fabulously comfortable beds inside and the run of the house, they can be trained out of killing wildlife – I use the technique of locking transgressors outside for 12-24 hours with a water bowl, no eye contact, lots of telling-off and a token little whack on the side of the thigh in front of the other cats to maximise humiliation. Most cats get it very quickly.

    The presence of cats may in fact benefit the native bird population if they keep rat numbers in check. There are some studies which demonstrate this, but I believe the evidence is conflicting. Certainly when the rodent-killing cat next door moved on, the rat population rebounded dramatically – I now see rats around the section occasionally, and one even ran over my foot a few nights ago. My cats just sat and watched (burping slightly after the macaroni cheese they had just scored). I’ve also since seen a couple of stoats shoot across the drive at night.

    There is a need for robust, non-biased and well-designed study to clarify the effect of cat presence on native bird populations, and also on the effect of warning bells on the number of bird kills.

    At the moment neither we or Mr Morgan can reliably say whether or not his ideas would be useful in protecting the native bird population.

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  38. hj (5,720 comments) says:

    Bet you didn’t have much to say on Gareth’s book “Poles Apart”?
    What he is advocating is that cats aren’t replaced when they die.

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  39. Richard Hurst (715 comments) says:

    I am growing tried of millionaires from Gareth to Owen Glenn with too much time on their hands telling us how to live.

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  40. dave_c_ (206 comments) says:

    hj : Still the same thing as telling everyone – “you cant have a cat”. Just who does he think he is ! I dont go round telling him that I dont think he should have this or that – what makes him so arrogant !

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  41. Ryan Sproull (6,661 comments) says:

    Regarding Antarctica, you never know, maybe Mrs Chippy left some kittens there to survive on baby penguins.

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  42. Fletch (5,727 comments) says:

    The cats thing made it onto mashable as well –

    http://mashable.com/2013/01/23/new-zealand-cat-ban/

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  43. noskire (797 comments) says:

    gazzmaniac (1,429) Says:
    January 24th, 2013 at 9:42 am
    I would certainly dispute that non-feral cats alone have killed any species, as do experts..

    There is actually a well documented case of this. The Stephen Island wren was eradicated by lighthouse keeper’s pet (i.e. not feral) cat. I guess the lighthouse keeper saved a bundle on cat food.

    Gazz, that’s a myth. Lighthouse keeper Patrick Henaghan shot over 100 feral cats in one year (1899) on Stephen’s Island. The feral cats exterminated the wren 4-5 years earlier – not just one sole pussy.

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  44. Brian Marshall (181 comments) says:

    I like cats, but would like them better if the neighbours cats all kept out of my garden.

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  45. Tom Jackson (2,263 comments) says:

    It should be legal to poison any cat that comes on your property. I don’t crap on your property or piss in your shed.

    Perhaps we should just euthanize people who won’t control their animals. It’s the owners that are feral, not the animals.

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  46. kowtow (6,734 comments) says:

    Pets are an indulgence.

    Once upon a time these animals were very useful (and in some contexts obviously are,e.g.sheep and hunting dogs) Cats were/are useful on farms in grain storage etc situations.

    Now though the vast majority are useless shit bags,a wasteful indulgence. Pet cemetaries,expensive surgery …..all part of the decadence the west has slumped to.

    I don’t agree with Grareth (the Moggie) Morgan’s approach though. Humans should be sensible enough to know how stupid they are being keeping these flea bags. Personal choice and all that.

    Maybe the solution is to have a Ministry for the Lonely ,you register as a sad bastard and the state issues you with a cat ,speyed and belled,and you can get funding to feed it,tax rebates,free check ups ,cat box and blankets. You could also get extra if your cat is descended from a line that were here before European ones.

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  47. annie (533 comments) says:

    kowtow (3,551) Says:
    January 24th, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    Pets are an indulgence.

    Hells teeth, you poor thing. What can your upbringing have been like?

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  48. Jimbob (639 comments) says:

    DPF you are making too much sense, Gareth will not understand you.
    Remember this is the guy who thinks global warming is Man made, older people do not deserve hospital or rest home care and Greenpeace is some is some sort of global think tank. It all happened when he received his millions from the Fairfax buy out of Trade me.
    Is there any psychiatrists out there that could comment please?

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  49. kowtow (6,734 comments) says:

    annie,it’s the way of the world.

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  50. LabourDoesntWork (278 comments) says:

    Kitten Stomper

    “Now why didn’t *I* think of that.”-G Morgan

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  51. Steve (North Shore) (4,334 comments) says:

    Less cats = more mice. Who pays the piper Morgan?
    Fucking wanker he is

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  52. ChardonnayGuy (1,024 comments) says:

    The cats have apparently rallied and now have their own Facebook page, Cats Against Gareth Morgan.

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  53. unpcnzcougar (51 comments) says:

    How about we just ban planting anything but native trees Gareth. Then the birds will have enough food (they currently don’t). The beauty is we have only one deciduous native so think about all those leaves we wouldn’t have to rake up every year!

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