Morgan: 'Cats just love killing things'
Tue, 22 Jan 2013 7:00p.m.
By John Sellwood
The website is called Cats To Go and it’s part of a privately-funded national education campaign calling on Kiwis not to own cats.
If you do, the website suggests you don’t replace your current feline.
The man behind the campaign is Gareth Morgan – economist, philanthropist and, increasingly, social activist – and he wants to phase out cat ownership.
“My request to every cat owner is to make this cat your last,” he says.
Not surprisingly, the SPCA has called on Mr Morgan to back off – something he refuses to do. The issue, he says, is just too important.
The Morgan family is determined to be the catalyst for a national debate on the right to own cats in a country where – let’s face it – much of our indigenous wildlife is struggling to survive the onslaught of introduced predators.
So would you give up cat ownership for the sake of our native birds, skinks and geckos?
Per capita, New Zealanders own more cats than any other country. Nearly half of all Kiwi households have at least one cat – many have more. There are in excess of 1 million cats in the country, all genetically coded to kill.
Morgan is challenging Kiwis’ cute and cuddly image of cat ownership and taking on powerful lobby groups like the SPCA, who steadfastly support cats and cat ownership.
“A cat-free anywhere is not a good area,” says SPCA executive director Bob Kerridge. “I love birds and I love cats and I believe in nature doing its thing – why interfere with that? I think as soon as we start to interfere with nature, we start to interfere in an area we really shouldn’t.”
But Mr Morgan says saying ‘leave it to nature’ is risking extinction for our native species. He says contrary to the cute, cuddly image we have of kittens and cats, they “just love killing things”.
But Mr Kerridge wants Mr Morgan to back off.
“Butt out of our lives, don’t deprive us of the beautiful relationship that a cat can provide individually and as a family.”
Morgan wants local authorities to start treating cat ownership the same way they do dogs: with micro-chipping and regulation of owners.
“I’m saying your cat does a lot of damage, so if you want to love him, fine. But keep him in your house,” he says.
“If you let him onto my property I want to have the right to trap that cat and get rid of it, because I would rather have the skinks, the geckos, the lizards, the birds anytime over your cat.”
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12/04/2013 7:17:20 p.m.
Jamisson Vite wrote:
"Cats, they “just love killing things”."
And yet greedy corporations and cartels have killed more eco systems and species than all the other species on this planet combined. I think you better forget about cats, Mr Morgan. There are much bigger fish to fry.
19/03/2013 9:34:57 p.m.
Jasmin Mac Millan wrote:
I would love to put a trap over your big mouth to stop you spreading such ridiculous statements. If there were no cats, there would be no birds either, who do you think is taking care of rats, possums and the like.
My cat catches 1 or 2 birds every 3-4 months, she presents me with her prey,all of them are sparrows which are weak and would have died anyway or young ones that fell out of the nest.
If you cared, you watched a healthy cat trying to catch a healthy bird, that is a myth!!!!! Birds 9 out of ten times see the cat way before it even thinks to jump at it and they usually fly away. When do you want to start exterminating people, how many got killed by people? If your partner or friend passes on, don't get another one?.... Idiot!
15/03/2013 3:29:21 p.m.
It is interesting that when some people become competent in some area they think they have a right to pontificate on other matters. Stick to your knitting G Morgan.
14/03/2013 7:10:11 p.m.
I only got my cats from the SPCA as they needed homes and for other reasons. I think more cats need to be neutered consistently.
Prior to having the cats and living rural, I had a major problem with an infestation of large rats and mice living in my house over the years and getting into my pantry and on to my kitchen benches. They were eating through my kitchen walls and even eating large holes through hard native Kauri wood to get to my pantry.
I initially and reluctantly used poison and traps before the cats, which didn't work and were more cruel in the long run. Was really a waste of time.
I ended putting large bells on the cats which stopped them chasing and getting birds, but they are still capable of hunting and killing most creatures. I know if we got rid of the cats, we would have a major problem with the rats and mice again. We've since found out that the rodents have also caused damage with our electrical cables in the roof and inside the walls as I've got an older house. This was prior to getting the cats. So again, I'm reluctant to get rid of the cats. I'm very divided in this arguement as I agree that cats are a pest to native birds and other.
All I can do is keep them inside often, feed them well and have put on large bells with their collars.
Getting a clutch of young free-range chicks and rooster helped a lot, as they got to learn their boundries with me and the birds on our lifestyle block. Thankfully, it's been mainly large rats and mice on the menu over the last few years.
14/03/2013 5:39:03 a.m.
A) How the hell is letting a domestic, non-native animal into the wild "letting nature take its course". Guy is a royal idiot.
B) Why not just institute a fine for letting cats roam free? I've seen plenty of healthy and happy indoor cats.
9/03/2013 3:18:50 p.m.
Our lovely cat liked hunting so we attached 2 bells to her collar.She still brought home each day a beautifull finch or waxeye. Some time more. That is a total of 365 lovely birds per year. Multiply this by 1 million cats in New Zealand and that totals 365 million birds per year.If it was just sparrows or magpies, ok but those are too cunning. Mark
4/03/2013 3:03:40 p.m.
Eli Wilson wrote:
That is a great man, screw the po po
28/02/2013 7:36:17 p.m.
Rubber ducky wrote:
Bob Kerridge is a monumental ignoramus, I am in genuine disbelief of his ridiculous logic on this issue. Here's a guy advocating for the death of certain dog breeds, who then advocates for capturing and releasing feral bloody cats!! The SPCA is a joke, it most certainly has been taken over by 'crazy cat people' that I'm guessing probably suffer the effects of toxoplasmosis from their beloved kitties. I will make Bob a promise, I will NEVER donate to the SPCA again, what a bunch of bloody nutters.
23/02/2013 4:38:10 p.m.
J Leach wrote:
On belled collars, intuitively, they are desperately inadequate... but it may be worthwhile to consider these points:
That all that is needed for a program of belling cats is to increase the failure rate of the hunt.
Of sufficient volume or pitch, a bell should be effective in interfering with the cat's mechanism: which is stealth.
Also, animals do learn. With birds, a few percent more given the chance to detect a prowling cat earlier may result in increased awareness over time of the bird community at large. i.e. the message will get out,via those more few precious escapees, about the danger behind tinkling "bells".
Any behaviouralist experts out there, please correct me if any of this is mistaken!
I personally think a loud enough bell may actually cause cats to alter their behavior...
23/02/2013 3:56:54 p.m.
Useful exercise in discerning the personal from the objective watching this presentation. Issues like this when they blow up at first are always featured by extreme points of view...
In the short term, it should not be difficult to encourage cat owners to put bells on collars, around Karori and other places. Even though the method is not proven, and certainly inadequate, it will increase the failure rate of cats in the hunt---who rely on ultra- stealth, not magic or invisibility...
Over time, the bell could be standardized: to be sufficiently loud.
I think most cat owners in such areas would take such a measure voluntarily in the short-term, given the right information.
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