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Why I’m gunning for your cat

Cats are rodents

Sorry, at the risk of causing a Pussy Riot, that ball of fluff you have at home is as much a predator as stoats, rats and mice. It has to go.

This is a follow up to a piece that was published in the Southland Times titled “Steward Island Moggies May Get Their Marching Orders“. Basically the article talks about my wish to make Stewart Island the world’s first pest-free community. And cats have to go. This includes feral cats and potentially your furry little pet.

The thing is, we need to have a good look at how serious we are about bringing our wildlife back to sustainable numbers.

It’s one thing to pay this lip service and to nod sagely on how such an aspirational goal is admirable. But as so often is the case, when the rubber hits the road, people’s short term self-interest takes precedence over the interests of both their community and future generations. In the case of removing predators – which is a prerequisite for building back the community of our native fauna – cats have to be taken out.

And I don’t just mean feral cats, we’re talking here about all cats. Yes that ball of fluff of yours at home, is as much a predator as stoats, rats and mice. Together with the rabbit and possum pests they all need to go. At the risk of causing a “pussy riot” New Zealanders need to realise that without that type of commitment we can forget the goal of a predator free New Zealand ever being realised – in fact it’s a waste of time even trying. Public myopia – at least amongst the 47% of households who have cats – would reign.

In June I participated in a panel discussion titled “Kill a stoat, save New Zealand”. We talked about how realistic Sir Paul Callaghan’s vision of a pest-free New Zealand is. Will New Zealanders rise to the challenge? What will it cost? And would it be worth the expense?

On this panel was myself, Kim Hilll, Dr Nicola Toki, of Forest and Bird, Professor Charles Daugherty, Assistant Vice-Chancellor at Victoria University Wellington, and Dr Rick Boven, formerly Director of think tank The New Zealand Institute.

You can listen to the debate below..

  • FedFarmers

    @bernardchickey @garethmorgannz take out the cats first and you get rats big time.

    • Implementnz

      @FedFarmers @bernardchickey @garethmorgannz Have a look at the good work done by http://t.co/jH8zSNS7 It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

  • theraromachine

    @LewStoddart You can guarantee your cat is GE free?

    • LewStoddart

      @theraromachine I am prepared to concede stomach contents.

  • Michael_J_Parry

    @garethmorgannz Stoats, possums and rabbits aren’t rodents nor are cats – what they are though is pests…

  • Michael_J_Parry

    @LewStoddart stoats possums and rabbits aren’t rodents either…

    • LewStoddart

      @Michael_J_Parry Nor are rabbit predators. The whole thing is pretty half-arsed.

      • Michael_J_Parry

        @LewStoddart at best you could desribe them all as pests of some sort.

  • aberopitini

    @tweetandtwig The question mark behind the second paragraph is so confusing.

  • Kevin Middleton

    Then “you”come & take it …….boyo

  • Jim O’Donnell

    I totally agree Gareth!

  • Fiona Pardington

    couldn’t agree more. waiheke island should be a cat-free zone. i love cats, but native birds are more important than cats.

  • Tricia Curtis

    What about the rats! My cat does a pretty good job of keeping the numbers down. I was seriously overun before I got my moggy.

  • Margaret Harraway

    My cats are neutered and wear collars with bells. no birds for several years. Touch wood!

  • Eugene Huston

    Nah – our cat gets the occasional – sparrow … big woops

  • Mandy Platt-Merrylees

    Just need bigger push for ALL to b fixed…agree with ferrel cats tho they have to b culled…unless sumone frnts with th cash for feeding and fixing.

  • Kam Era Obscura

    Mine’s too busy killing rats which also decimate bird populations. I have never had her bring a bird in.

  • Rory Kinahan

    Cats are way up there in terms of threats to birds — they are a formidable force in driving out native species

  • Alistair Edwards

    My Tui’s and Fantails are too quick for my furry trio. The mice aren’t though….

  • Craig Swensson

    issue..bandwagon..

  • Craig Swensson

    issue..bandwagon..

  • Sandy Bowker

    my canadian friend says it is illegal to let your cat outside in Canada (where she is anyway) . I have had indoor cats most of my life and if this is how they are raised, they adapt to that.

  • Jan Waddell

    I have an inside cat, because of the wild life we have around here, plus I don’t want her getting hurt or getting lost…love her too much.

  • Martin Wehipeihana

    Get rid of those pitbulls too gareth

  • JohnTucker

    As a cat owner I still do tend to agree with Gareth to a certain extent, as well as those below that see benefit in having domestic cats while there are still other pests.  I know ours are good ratters, and don’t tend to catch many birds (ours are locked in at night so late and dawn bird hunting times are limited).  So ageing out of the domestic animals while dealing with the wild seems sensible.  I think this needs to be done in parallel with robust de-sexing and neutering, and registered breeder programmes, that are enforced.  I know the SPCA and registered breeders don’t sell/adopt whole animals but presumably there are many mongrel breeders with less controls in place that should be targeted.

  • Rob Appleton

    While I see your point, why not exterminate hunters, dogs, and birds of prey? Who I’m certain do more damage than my faithful moggie.

  • John Kelcher

    If Gareth is serious about protecting bird life and is calling for the phasing out of cats in NZ, then he has to show people that he is prepared to sacrifice something he loves i.e. His car(s) and motorbike(s)? On your bike Gareth!

  • Graeme Simpson

    Every year the family of quail in our garden slowly reduce in numbers. Was better when had dogs…

  • Carl Rosell

    My Kitty ” LINT ” caught a mouse ! I love Lint

  • Carol-Ann Stark

    There is no way I would get rid of my two cats, they are are a darn sight more comfort to me than anything those greedy Politicians have ever said or done for this country.There are more predators in Parliament than they need. Try getting rid of of a few of them like say …one hundred and there would be more money for the Country.

  • Rangi Carroll

    Just put a belll around their neck…you know that Gareth.

  • Andrew Nolan

    and while you are at it, money traders, merchant bankers, and people that hoard money for the sake of it.

  • Simone van der Plas

    My cat is far too lazy to hunt – she would rather sleep on the bed.

  • Rosalind Dalefield

    I have cats but they live indoors, or in outdoor kennel-and-run arrangements, 24/7. there are some places in Australia where this is the only legal way to keep a cat. Letting cats roam free is what we need to put a stop to. Studies in the US have shown that cats kept indoors all the time are much healthier and live on average TWICE as long as cats allowed to go outdoors. There is no need to get rid of all cats, but just make it a requirement that cats must be kept indoors or in enclosed runs.

  • Ricky Pincott

    Neutered cats and bells are the way to go on the mainland. But in small islands such as waiheke, stewart island etc Cats a gogo. I lived in the Wairoa gorge Nelson for 2 years. Closest house was over 15k away, and the next house from that another 2+. I saw Cats all the time.

  • Caytie Hogan

    we do the most damage taking native bush for farming nd housing. perhaps we should be the first 2 go

  • Katrina Wright

    3 less cats in my world this week….

  • JohnKelcher

    I  support this idea, however It’s a big ask when you consider how attached some people are to their pets. If you are serious about protecting bird life and calling for the phasing out of cats in NZ,  then you need to show people (cat lovers) that you are prepared to sacrifice something you love too:  i.e. your car or motorbike?
    I guess you have to win not only their minds, but their hearts too. Go Gareth.

  • Sandy Good

    What a brave man!

  • Mandy Platt-Merrylees

    My persian (btw this bread r mr grnd hunters) caught 24 mice and 1rat countless skinks and 1sparrow this winter…unfortunatly i know cause he shows them off every time proud boy! Lol…sooo pk on ferrels and bird catching breeds…just like discrimination with more agro dog breeds (tho thats another debate as imo its irrisponsible owners rather) not so with cat breeds tho some breeds r mr hard wired to hunt via trees :( rather than rodents on th grnd.

  • Kam Era Obscura

    We had a couple of ferals bite the dust this week. But honestly my landlady’s substandard farming practices … rotten milk left lying around, putrid pig food, rotting corpses etc which keep a huge population of rats alive, well and breeding, does more damage to the wildlife than a couple of moggies. If Gareth wants to gun for her, I’d happily supply an address, and perhaps even a gun too.

  • Dave Kelly

    Darwin had it right survival of the best adapted. if birds are not bright enough not to get caught by cats they will disapear and be replaced by something else. dont think the world ended when we lost the MOA or native falcons

  • Simon Woolf

    Totally agree Gareth. Cats should be kept in locations where they cannot endanger our native wildlife!

  • Nathan McNally

    All cats should have a microchip like dogs then abandoned cats can be traced back to there owners, no chip then its a feral and dies.

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/08/09/kittycam_discovers_killer_cats/

  • Rachel Lamb

    I love cats, but I completely agree with the need to, at least, reduce the population of them in NZ.

  • Lex Gibson

    fark off u c.ant

  • James King-Turner

    Nick Smith (Nat, Nelson) years ago advocated banning cats from properties adjoining National Parks. Resulted in screams of protest but I think it was a great idea and a good start.

  • LewStoddart

    @tweetandtwig Total agreement.

  • Alan Bekhuis

    The biggest threat to native flora and fauna is humans, maybe he can organize a cull of them first

  • Nic Daniel Sur

    I think it comes down to “personal rights” narrow vision vs. “National Interest” wide view , so , don’t just ask what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country ! If someone’s life rolls around having cats , common sense tells us they should live in areas where the cats would not be a threat to the endangered native species.

  • Nicola Toki

    Hi Gareth, good on you for wading into this territory. Every time I suggest that people who live near wildlife might choose not to have a cat, I get pretty strong feedback from all sides! Folks might find this interesting too http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/blogs/in-our-nature/7294167/The-conversation-about-cats

  • Craig Mcdonald-brown

    This certainly gives paws for thought. I have a feline most people won’t agree, but there does need to be some kind of claws in the law.

  • Fiona Bassant-Sutherland

    I couldn’t agree more Gareth. Having relocated to the country with 2 cats and being lucky enough to have a backdrop of 20 acres of native bush below, we soon discovered this “beautiful wonderland ” was a dumping ground for unwanted cats and kittens…with the help of the regional council we have dealt to them (along with the rats, possums and stoats) and during this time one of the moggies has died of old age and the other when she goes will not be replaced. The bird life is now amazing but in particular the 2 scared Quail on my drive has jumped to 40 odd very happy little guys with not a worry in the world.

  • Roisel Kershaw

    Oh dear don’t U like felines

  • William R Nicholls

    tell mine that.she seldom goes out the yard, and god help me if she’s stuck out for the nite!!

  • William R Nicholls

    and so are dogs. they make short work of kiwis

  • William R Nicholls

    and so are dogs. they make short work of kiwis

  • Christian Moore

    but wood pigeons taste so good and if anyone asks i blame it on my cat… if u take my cat away i cant blaim it on him…

  • Jacob Lister

    I don’t think I’d want to live in a country that banned cats

  • Jacob Lister

    your pets may say something about your politics:
    http://www.listener.co.nz/current-affairs/politics/animal-farm/

  • Melanie Cooke

    It is very dependent on where you live and how many cats you have – if only all cat owners fixed their cats and restricted themselves to no more than 4 (?) cats……………..and cats that have gone feral are trapped and destroyed. I can guarantee you that my cats haven’t killed a native bird in their lives – there are bugger all in inner city Auckland……….the occassional Tui – and I did hear a Morepork the other day.

  • Melanie Cooke

    It is very dependent on where you live and how many cats you have – if only all cat owners fixed their cats and restricted themselves to no more than 4 (?) cats……………..and cats that have gone feral are trapped and destroyed. I can guarantee you that my cats haven’t killed a native bird in their lives – there are bugger all in inner city Auckland……….the occassional Tui – and I did hear a Morepork the other day.

  • Chris Grimshaw

    Our cats are inside every night. They hang around the house all day. They are neutered. There was an interesting article in ‘The Press’ mentioning how since pets have left Christchurch there is an influx of possums and mustelids. A more reasonable solution would be to go straight to the heart of the matter and ban humans,for we are the greatest risk to diversity on the planet, as is evidenced by our care for the land (dairying,cities), for the water, and for introducing species of plant and animal that aren’t native. We are the cause, the cats are just a sympton. http://www.vhemt.org/ Those of you who are breeders are creating the biggest wave against biodiversity…

  • Melanie Cooke

    And I’m not opposed to all cat owners having to register their cats – as I have to do with my dog……..

  • Thomas Howard

    I agree. I’ll shoot my cat later today, if that’s OK with everyone ? Her name is April, and she’s very cute. She turned up out of the woodpile a couple of years ago on April the First, and I call her my ‘April Fool.’ She knows that it’s not OK by me to catch birds, but that I quite like it when she catches mice, rats, rabbits and even a few dogs on occasion. and yeah, she does occasionally catch a bird – usually one of those brightly colored Aussie tree rats and other birds that are not native, and a bit too slow. The native birds see her coming a mile away, and dive bomb her, squarking to all their mates to let them know that a wild cat is on the loose. It’ll be a shame to have to shoot her. Tom.

  • Thomas Howard

    I agree. I’ll shoot my cat later today, if that’s OK with everyone ? Her name is April, and she’s very cute. She turned up out of the woodpile a couple of years ago on April the First, and I call her my ‘April Fool.’ She knows that it’s not OK by me to catch birds, but that I quite like it when she catches mice, rats, rabbits and even a few dogs on occasion. and yeah, she does occasionally catch a bird – usually one of those brightly colored Aussie tree rats and other birds that are not native, and a bit too slow. The native birds see her coming a mile away, and dive bomb her, squarking to all their mates to let them know that a wild cat is on the loose. It’ll be a shame to have to shoot her. Tom.

  • Talessen Angel

    WTF?

  • Ric Thomson-Burrows

    I have 2 cats who catch bigger all. I do agree with shooting the feral cats though.

  • Thomas Howard

    Democrazy in Action ;-)

  • Talessen Angel

    If you want more birds, plant more trees. Guess who keeps cutting them down and moving in? Humans are the biggest predatory consumers on earth. Quick – shoot your neighbors, your family and then shoot yourself Gareth! PLEASE.

  • LewStoddart

    @tweetandtwig To elaborate, this is an archetypal “perfect the enemy of good” case; an extreme position that endangers the whole enterprise.

    • tweetandtwig

      @LewStoddart Also: it’s a bit hard to square his approach here with his forthright objections to Peter Young, #TheLastOcean, and the AOA.

  • Nic Daniel Sur

    Thomas , I’ll have April , you don’t need to shoot her ;-) . She’ll live a friendly neighbourhood with a few registered cats around. I won’t take her though in my visits to Northland , Tiritiri Matangi or Stewart Island , but my friends will take good care of her.

  • Thomas Howard

    Talking about shooting ones-self in the foot…. legally…. didn’t President Obama just sign an Executive Order to that effect, and in so doing walk right into the middle of a Repuplican Trap set up by JP Morgan, and effectively making it so that he might as well not even contest the upcoming election ? WTF?

  • Jim O’Donnell

    I believe that a slow well planned and systematic extermination program for all introduced species of ferret, Rats, mice, stoats, cat, possum and wallabies in our forests should be enacted. All cats should be registered and if caught in them shot dead like a stray dog on a farm. I like cats but I like the native wildlife somewhat more.

  • Jules Mauri Venning

    The only good cat pet is ‘stuffed’ actually taxidermied for those of you out there unsure of my meaning. I have one of those, she once was a family moggie and now is in a place of … safety!

  • Jules Mauri Venning

    The only good cat pet is ‘stuffed’ actually taxidermied for those of you out there unsure of my meaning. I have one of those, she once was a family moggie and now is in a place of … safety!

  • Rebecca At Platform

    As a cat owner I have no issue with registering my cats and having them microchipped. But a general cat cull is an idea I’m not warming to.

  • Richard Page

    Righto, cats. I guess you’ll be banning hunting next, and fishing, and property development, and cars, and 1080, mining in national parks, off-shore oil exploration, and the entire fishing industry… all lead to an indiscriminate and unsustainable destruction of wildlife. Possibly the worst idea you have ever publicised Gareth.

  • Katie Louise Mitchell

    No f#%€ way would I get rid of my chocolate seal point burmese kitten which I love and it cost me 500! Plus I put a bell on its collar. Honestly you are such a twit sometimes!

  • Grant Bedford

    i agree we should wipe out cats however in the past the government wanted to keep cats out of shops it caused a rukus worse than the call to keep coro st on this could be used to highlite the issue i wanted to start a movement the the K.C.C CAMPAIN to me they are like miniture lions and tigers roaming around free to kill everything an they are disease ridden its the kill cats campain we should use the best brains about to get rid of them perhaps a bounty

  • Robyn Mathieson

    Aw but he’s so cute with those red eyes and little horns!!

  • Heather Frank

    we have 2 cats we have taught them not to catch the wildlife i have no problem with registering or micro chipping them. why dont you get rid of YOURSElf!!! instead and leave cats alone. we love our cats and there is no way in hell that we will get rid of the besides the cat species has been on this earth longer than you twit!

  • Barbs Peterson

    what… so advocating extermination of ALL cats (including pets) makes more sense than just imposing restrictions and employing animal control staff to better patrol the situation?? you know this will never fly.

  • Barbs Peterson

    what… so advocating extermination of ALL cats (including pets) makes more sense than just imposing restrictions and employing animal control staff to better patrol the situation?? you know this will never fly.

  • Bridget Hughes

    How about we just start looking at human causes. You know… vast amounts of land clearance for farming, so we can raise and then kill MORE animals, the pollution, random tourists killing wildlife, powerlines and roads through their territories, and the fact that we INTRODUCED all these ‘pest’ species, and are now punishing them. We always blame everything but ourselves, if we as a race took a little more personal responsibility managing these other issues would be a million times easier. In the entire time my kitty has been in my life she’s killed maybe two or three birds, and it was heartbreaking, but that’s what she is. The average human will kill far more than that just driving, let alone the indirect deaths from deforestation, pollution and general nasty bastardness. Cat colonies and TNR are a great idea, as well as predator proof fences and, say it with me now – humans taking responsibility and no longer shitting in the environment we call home.

  • Bridget Hughes

    How about we just start looking at human causes. You know… vast amounts of land clearance for farming, so we can raise and then kill MORE animals, the pollution, random tourists killing wildlife, powerlines and roads through their territories, and the fact that we INTRODUCED all these ‘pest’ species, and are now punishing them. We always blame everything but ourselves, if we as a race took a little more personal responsibility managing these other issues would be a million times easier. In the entire time my kitty has been in my life she’s killed maybe two or three birds, and it was heartbreaking, but that’s what she is. The average human will kill far more than that just driving, let alone the indirect deaths from deforestation, pollution and general nasty bastardness. Cat colonies and TNR are a great idea, as well as predator proof fences and, say it with me now – humans taking responsibility and no longer shitting in the environment we call home.

  • Bridget Hughes

    Oh, btw, my cat is 18, that’s less than one bird every 5 years.

  • http://garethsworld.com/ garethmorgan

    Looks like we need to quell the Pussy Riot…  
     
     @LewStoddart  Phasing out cats is not an extreme position, it’s consistent with the objective of protecting and nurturing native fauna. If the latter is of no interest then sure, keeping cats is  defensible, I tend to think of cat owners like I do smokers – pretty much uncaring of the damage their indulgence does to others, in this case the ‘others’ being the native fauna.  
     
    In the end, if the public decided that it wanted to be serious about predator eradication then supporting legislation would be needed. But these sorts of things always begin in small steps and the way forward is for it to start happening, then local bylaws could swing in behind. A combination of stigma, marketing campaigns and legislation fixed the smoking issue. That approach is appropriate here – providing of course New Zealanders are serious about predator eradication. They may not be.    
     
     @tweetandtwig On the toothfish issue, Peter Young and I have the same objective – to end toothfishing. Where we disagree is tactics. Peter’s approach risks a standoff between CCAMLR members, a breakdown of even the existing agreement with the consequence we could see open slather on the toothfish and in this instance that would lead to its extinction within five years. That is a risk I wouldn’t be prepared to take. There is a separate blog on this site covering the detail of this issue.

  • Pat Beauchamp

    I agree, but a bell round puss’s neck can help. Bottom line get a dog. Then control it.

  • Rebecca Keesing

    Yeah, what Bridget said. Also, I guess if we were able to talk to the cows and sheep and chickens they’d be pretty keen on supporting a full cull on meat eating humans.

  • Bill Beveridge

    I agree with the cat control but listening to the selfish indignation here is going to make this a tough ask – maybe a compromise would be to have licensed breeders and sterilize at birth – anyone caught with an unsterilized cat (or kittens) without a license to be taken into the bush and sho.. -err- made to clear traps.

  • Richard Clark

    no dude, these cats give pleasure and if they kill a sparrow or two, imports, then so be it, put your time and effort into the male and female predators of the human variety, lets get a healthy society and all this other stuff will then take care of itself! just thinking :)

  • Aliah Jan

    Catch all these cats and put them on the island where you are doing the rat eradication project. I am sure the cats will be quite happy there with a feast of rats to eat? You think they will still go after the birds?

  • funfinite

    @garethmorgannz not sure someone unaware of the meaning of “rodent” should be making sweeping ecosystem change recommendations

  • Dan Urlich

    Humans are a much graver threat to native wildlife. We should have a general cull, perhaps starting with this twit Gareth?

  • Stu Fleming

    why is it that every environmental thread devolves into “humans are the biggest threat to the planet, we should get rid of humans”, comments posted by…humans? just don’t start with you, right?

  • Evan Davis-Goff

    Pretty much everyone here is refering to cats vs birds. Cats are well known nest raiders, very efficient at killing helpless chicks. Bells around their necks don’t prevent this strangely enough. Killing all ccats might be going a bit far but it’s good to see the issue highlighted.

  • Jackie Andrews

    yes for sure plus they are responsible for some antibiotic resistant diseases in humans also why should I have to put up with neighbours toxoplasmosis ridden cat faeces in my garden & cats terrorising my fish and birds

  • Matthew Amoore

    Get rid of the all introduced animals the people too and build a nice big lab ,bring all nz’s extinct flora and fauna back to life using genetic engineering and don’t allow anyone back in to see any of it .then start on each and every other land mass until the last human is loaded onto a space ship on their way to our brand new man made planet.

  • Matthew Amoore

    A hahahahaha!!

  • Kyrie Klemp

    sounds a little harsh…. Our cats are micro chipped, they are four and half years old… in this time they have bought home 1 bird and 1170 rats (this is on an average of 5 rats a week, we sometimes get 10 a week). surely I they should be paid for their good work….!!!!!

  • Shannon Smith

    I think the ‘get rid of humans’ and ‘Humans are the problem’ argument is weak and detracts from the issue at hand. Do you think cats magically appeared in NZ? They are here because of humans and we have an opportunity to fix our mistake. I also agree with Evan, Bells dont solve the problem. And although desexing is great for slowing population growth it does not stop the destruction by the animals that are alive. I would also suggest if you have the time that you listen to the debate in the article. It helps put the problem into perspective. You can take action in your own backyard if you actually care to.

  • Rachel Janes

    Maybe cats should be put under the same restrictions as Dogs or kept in a cage like pet birds are.

  • Matt Cuthill

    I’ve had cats all my life and occasionally they have caught birds, 4 to 6 times over their life span, I know this because they bring them home to “repay” me for all the cat food I give them. They have only caught sparrows and thrushs, never a tui or fantail or any other native species, why I don’t know. My cats are always de sexed. My main point is that my cats have caught far more rats and mice than birds, rodent vermin are just as much a threat to birds than wild cats, therefore as cats are an Eco friendly way of controlling rodents we need to keep them, like it or not!

  • Ian Smith

    If you can get rid of the stoats,rats and mice Gareth, then I’ll get rid of my cats. But not until mate.

  • RoryWatt

    You should have a word with Telecom also. Their new ad features a boy with a red eared slider turtle. Which are very cute, but horribly invasive and tend to eat most of our native invertebrates if they escape (or get dumped in the local river when people get bored with them).

  • Matthew Grant Sparkes

    FYI not all cats are bird killers and too suggest such is absurd
    There are far more important issues here when it comes to protecting native fauna than cats imo

  • Matthew Grant Sparkes

    FYI not all cats are bird killers and too suggest such is absurd
    There are far more important issues here when it comes to protecting native fauna than cats imo

  • Matthew Grant Sparkes

    FYI not all cats are bird killers and too suggest such is absurd
    There are far more important issues here when it comes to protecting native fauna than cats imo

  • Faye Lougher

    Fiona, dumped cats are a human problem – bad owners, not bad cats. We have three cats and they catch mice, rats, and introduced birds (sparrows, finches, etc) not fantails, tui, etc and they invariably let them go as soon as they get in the cat door so it’s more a catch and release rather than bin job. As for Gareth, his hatred of cats is very telling – obviously never had one as a pet as a child, and probably gets little opportunity to spend time with pussies as an adult! As Ian said, it’s the stoats, weasels, etc that kill most of the wildlife, not fat, lazy domestic moggies. Please find a new topic Gareth, you’re getting boring.

  • Faye Lougher

    Fiona, dumped cats are a human problem – bad owners, not bad cats. We have three cats and they catch mice, rats, and introduced birds (sparrows, finches, etc) not fantails, tui, etc and they invariably let them go as soon as they get in the cat door so it’s more a catch and release rather than bin job. As for Gareth, his hatred of cats is very telling – obviously never had one as a pet as a child, and probably gets little opportunity to spend time with pussies as an adult! As Ian said, it’s the stoats, weasels, etc that kill most of the wildlife, not fat, lazy domestic moggies. Please find a new topic Gareth, you’re getting boring.

  • Faye Lougher

    Fiona, dumped cats are a human problem – bad owners, not bad cats. We have three cats and they catch mice, rats, and introduced birds (sparrows, finches, etc) not fantails, tui, etc and they invariably let them go as soon as they get in the cat door so it’s more a catch and release rather than bin job. As for Gareth, his hatred of cats is very telling – obviously never had one as a pet as a child, and probably gets little opportunity to spend time with pussies as an adult! As Ian said, it’s the stoats, weasels, etc that kill most of the wildlife, not fat, lazy domestic moggies. Please find a new topic Gareth, you’re getting boring.

  • Vicki Anne Johnston

    Wow!…you could publish a book with all the comments made on this posting!…I remain equanamous.

  • Taiyana Kauri

    Cats are nocturnal killing machines. The kill they bring back to you is nothing in comparison to their actual unsupervised killing sprees. We had a beautiful moggy who was a true hunter. He killed and ate everything wild. Unfortunately he trained our other kittens to do the same. We got ours from the cats protection league and loved them very much. Once I was aware of the amount of native birds, lizards,skinks, geckos they were going thru it made me view them very differently. Put a camera on your feline so u can see for yourself how destructive they are. The other way to stop them is to make them sooo fat and lazy they can’t climb or chase anything. Declawing. Lock them in at night. Any caught at night are destroyed. Reality I’m afraid. Cats are NOT endangered. NZ Wildlife are. Extinction becoz of your selfish entitlement issues is not even worth throwing into the mix. I love cats. But they are native wildlife killing machines. Pure and simple.

  • Noeline Hensley

    Put a bell on all cats .when i owned a pet shop i sold hundreds of cat collars with bells on them .a must for all cats .

  • Wendy Fellows

    Go away, I am keeping my cats

  • Jessica Hammond Doube

    Gareth isn’t proposing you kill your cat! Just don’t get a new one when the current one dies. I think we should all consider the full costs of pet ownership, just as we should consider the costs of our other consumption decisions. Meat eating pets have a huge carbon footprint too. I fear I will eventually cave to my children’s requests for a pet, but a guinea pig would probably be a much better choice than a cat or dog

  • Jytte Anderson

    BS, Gareth Cats are here to keep mice and rat population down, I have cats never seen them st

  • StewartIslandVicki

    Maybe you should actually come to Stewart Island and announce your plans for us here, rather than in the media.  Most of our cats kill a good few rats each week, rats being a far greater problem here. Doc (and SIRCET I believe) have measures in place controling the feral population and you’ll find few Islanders disagree with that. Our cats have to be neutered otherwise the District Council fines you!
    Oh, and in relation to your article, Bugger off.
    (That’s from a few of us)

  • Taiyana Kauri

    Oh btw folks. If the “adults” can’t come to an amicable decision based on facts and reason. I can pretty much see the out of control youths stepping up with their own forms of justice based on the violent video games they play these days ….so think about it and quit behaving like spoilt self-centered brats.

  • Jytte Anderson

    catch birds, as they have been taught not to. So leave us cat lovers alone. I sincerely hope you are not one of the culprits that go around killing our cats with anti freeze.

  • Shekinah Worth

    Gareth stick to your greedy toothfishing campaign..

  • Taiyana Kauri

    Jyette. Y on earth would u mention antifreeze in this post. Now every cat hater is going to know wot to use on their neighborhood cats!

  • Denise Andersen

    my Preston is guilty but u cannot have him

  • Nichole Romanowska

    If people take it upon themselves to start killing neighbourhood cats they need to be prepared for the karma coming with it i.e. pet owners forming groups hunting low lifes down for doing such things. Keep it realistic, pet ownership is a privellage not a god given right, and people should apply to own pets of any kind based on their ability to look after them, location, how they will keep them and the like. That way if owning cats is a big problem in places close to nature reserves then it is not allowed, breeders should be targeted first, and it should be mandatory to have cats neutered or speyed to prevent breeding. All animals should be afforded great respect and kindness, no exception. Put the blame squarely where it belongs………..HUMANS.

  • Aaron Mikaere

    Rabid cat fanatics -do whats right for New Zealand, stop being so selfish. Every reply you make underlines the point he makes in his article right at the start… “people’s short term self-interest takes precedence over the interests of both their community and future generations”.

  • Sandy Paterson

    Neighbours bought their house because of the Tuis…some months later their cat delivered one of them to their back door…dead…

  • Maurice Garrett

    Garth you are starting to lose the plot. Go save that Elephant in Auckland and leave cats alone,try spending every night at home because you cant afford to travel like you do and then you might appreciate how much company the average cat means to people

  • Jacqui Finlayson

    What a ridiculous suggestion! I agree with earlier comments- ban humans might be simplest. You might save some animals but you may also have more depressed humans whose pets keep them happy.

  • Jacqui Finlayson

    So what of dogs? Cull them too? Where to stop.

  • Margaret Harraway

    ban motorbikes – they kill peoploe

  • Mike Torr

    If dogs have to be microchiped, registered and kept inside fences then the same should apply to other domestic animals. Especially costs whic h sure violent killers of wildlife.

  • Grant Lyon

    Man I’ve seen some monster feral cats out in the bush. If I have seen a dozen or more of them, then there must be huge numbers of them out there. There native life consumption must also be huge. Get out into the bush and open your eyes. They definitely need to be controlled

  • Matt Kingi

    I’m training my ginger to get rid of feral humans more of a risk I think ! We outnumber anyone killing our own kids , Gareth where are your priorities !!!! Really

  • henrydillon

    Completely agree with Gareth.
    Cats have had it easy for too long. Now the idea of banning cats might be a long shot, but think about what you could do with the registration fees from them all!
    Dog owners around the country have to demonstrate they are responsible pet owners, have a safe fenced garden/section and pay annunal registration fees. How much of that gets spent on dealing with unwanted or feral cats? Apart from being a bit too daft to stay off the road, enjoying the freedom to leave their waste wherever they choose, and generally looking for where the rest of their packs went, most dogs do very little harm to our wildlife.
    It’s time to register our cats!

  • Henry John Dillon

    Completely agree with Gareth.

    Cats have had it easy for too long. Now the idea of banning cats might be a long shot, but think about what you could do with the registration fees from them all!

    Dog owners around the country have to demonstrate they are responsible pet owners, have a safe fenced garden/section and pay annunal registration fees. How much of that gets spent on dealing with unwanted or feral cats? Apart from being a bit too daft to stay off the road, enjoying the freedom to leave their waste wherever they choose, and generally looking for where the rest of their packs went, most dogs do very little harm to our wildlife.

    It’s time to register our cats!

  • Jacob Lister

    I had a listen to the Karori Wildlife sanctuaries position on the issue and think it’s quite sane (We live in the suburb, have one cat who’s spayed, up to date with vaccinations, kept inside and no threat to anyone).
    They ask people consider keeping their cats inside during the day, and acknowledge that cats prey on other pests which are are a threat to the birds:

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/afternoons/audio/2525339/cat-troubles

    Gareth – cats are one of the worlds oldest domesticated animals. If you think people are going to give them up, you’re mad

  • Taiyana Kauri

    Wait and see approach. I know of reports around Guy Fawkes time when kids tie crackers and fireworks to ducklings and cats. So it’s not unheard of. It’s only going to get worse.

  • Val Morey

    Car first.. its a pretty big predator…

  • Neil McKelvie

    2c as a pesty. No harm at all to reduce feral cat colonies, opossums, magpies,mustelids, and other predator vermin that are destructive to native birds and environs especially in such a treasure as Stewart Island. Pets are companion animals less likely to predate when well fed and should be kept as such, there needs to be a balance.

  • Rima Herber

    I love cats but I love the birds more. I vote for a cat-free NZ.

  • Marilyn Rea-Menzies

    I think it should be compulsory for cat owners to have their cats speyed or neutered and for cat breeders to be licensed. It would only take a few years to reduce the cat population this way.

  • Don Miller

    And lets not release too many native falcons either!

  • Taiyana Kauri

    Yes Don. I watched tht spycam in Marlborough Sounds where that cat went in and destroyed the falcons chicks. Appalling.

  • Flo Brown

    Go get stuffed….Just lost all respect for you…My Cats dont even leave the house…You sir are becoming a dictator….I as other have our rights to love our pets & care for our companions…They give us hours of pleasure…& no they do no harm to anything outside my home…

  • Flo Brown

    Go get stuffed….Just lost all respect for you…My Cats dont even leave the house…You sir are becoming a dictator….I as other have our rights to love our pets & care for our companions…They give us hours of pleasure…& no they do no harm to anything outside my home…

  • Flo Brown

    I cannot believe he even thinks such crap…Yes feral Cats are a menace…not only to birds…But get real Mr… just because you dislike cats does not mean others shouldn’t be allowed them…NZ is full of introduced wild life… will you next decide we get rid of it all ? introduced birds are a threat to our native birds habitat as well…eradicate wild cats (If that’s possible)…I doubt it…but leave people alone to love their pets…Im certianly for neuter & spaying… It would never be able to be a law.. It would not be remotely possible to enforce…& I fancy the idea of a policeman dragging some dear old lady off to prison because her cat was still entire, while the house next door is being burgled, but hes far to busy catching the old lady with the entire kitty….Its Bollocks…”On your Bike” Mr Morgan … Go & find something real to complain about ….& leave our domestic pets alone…

  • Sylvia La Trobe

    And what about all the dogs that kill kiwis?!

  • Steve Smith

    Gareth speaks of a “pest free NZ” The problem is … Where do we stop? Do we try to eradicate birds because they are a pest to the rare NZ Snail? Do we eradicate fur seals because they are a pest to our depleted fish stocks? Do we eradicate hedgehogs because they are a pest to our vital worms? One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. One man’s “pest” is another man’s evolutionary miracle. Of course we need to be responsible pet owners. But do we REALLY need to go “Gunning” for people’s cats?

  • Ailsa Ure

    Feral cats yes, pets no. We had two cats when we moved to a lifestyle bush block. the feral cats attack our cats. One of our cats has on very rare occasions caught a bird, but they have decimated the mouse, rat, and rabbit population, which we are happy about. Our land is a virtual bird sanctuary, and our cats co-exist quite happily with them.

  • Shannon Paszczuk

    finally someone sees the “Domestic Cat” as a “Predator”!!!About f..king time!My dogs get a hard time just for guarding me-you wont see a f..king cat do that,but it’s happy to eat the “Tui”

  • Evan

    Your reasoning it out of context and seriously flawed . I am loosing much of my respect for your views . Stick to your core business “making money” that’s what you are good at . Not much else it seems .

  • Peter Cox

    Sorry Gareth,much as I admire your talents in other areas,but this time I react to your unusual subjectivity (normally objectivity) in this matter.
    Firstly I am not a “cat lover” but I can say,somewhat humourously,that every cat I’ve had in my life has never been of my choosing……more rather “thrown” at me as yet another woman has flounced out of my life,which to me gratefully,has always been a better improvement in both my life and the the cat’s life !
    With that aside…….I have always ended up training my newfound friend to NOT go out “huntin’ shootin’,killin’ ” and instead become accustomed to being fed and looked after at strictly defined times by me rather than the other way around,which appears to be the usual with other besotted cat lovers !
    It now thinks it is a dog as it follows me around in the vain hope that I’ll break my normal totalitarian regime just once,but at least it shows sense in refusing to get in the car and go shopping with me……..lol.

    As for other cat “owners” I regard them as either stupid or of low intellect or just plain ignorant because of getting their cat(s) for the wrong reasons……generally to please a hedonistic little kid,or to satisfy something missing in their own lives. But I see them changing their lives to suit the cat.
    Wrong move !
    But I wont bore others with my list of observations except to say that,as with dog owners,it is the cat owner who should be taken out and shot and the animals (kids as well?) quietly put down and cremated out of sight of the swooning populace…………lol.
    Peter
    Taihape.

  • http://www.facebook.com/mark.self.969 Mark Self

    Congratulations for speaking out. It is time cat owners realised that their animals are not the angels they think they are, and took responsibility by collaring cats with bells, and ensuring they are desexed or choosing not to have a cat at all. Dog owners have had to take responsibility, time for cat owners to step up.

    • Chris

      Bells on cats, now that is funny. My inlaws kept putting on more and more bells on to their cat but it was still able to catch all the birds and rodents it wanted. Bells, how stupid.

  • Andy Gilmour

    As a rule I always enjoy Gareth Morgan’s views on all manner of things, but this time I am not letting this particular issue go unchecked. New Zealand will be no more cat free than it will be debt free. Ever. Anyone who would suggest otherwise and actually believe it should have their head examined. I am a cat owner, I have two of them. When they pass on, and one of them is 16 years old already, I will replace him with another cat. As with all my cats they are de-sexed, vaccinated and properly cared for. So the odd blackbird falls prey to them now and again. BIG DEAL. So do a great many disease carrying rodents and other undesirables. I have yet to read any documentation that states your average domestic household cat has, or is ever likely to hunt a species to the brink of extinction. And as for the notion that all cats should have a bell fitted round their necks, the very idea is laughable. Should I go and buy a leash for my cats as well???? The entire idea of reducing the cat population of New Zealand over a period of time into virtual non existence is a nonsensical load of crap. Tread carefully with this one Dr. Morgan, you are running seriously afoul with a large contingency of people. Cats are here to stay and always will be. Deal with it.

  • Chris

    Get rid of the cats and you will have a rat problem. And what brought on the plague? Rats. Don’t mess with mother nature, it will take care of itself. Stop trying to be God.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lauren.burrows.716 Lauren Burrows

    Who on earth do you think you are? I value my cat over any bird. I will never get rid of my cats or be without one. Your ego has gone unchecked for too long. check yourself, arrogance will be your downfall.

  • http://www.facebook.com/karen.harrison.566 Karen H Harrison

    Mr. Morgan’s in my opinion your campaign is disgusting. The species that did the most damage to the bird populations of New Zealand were humans when they first arrived in this country and started on the process of deforestation so they could build their farms and towns. Removing the habitat of a species is a sure fire way of causing it to become extinct. Since it probably had taken that species thousands of years to evolve to live in a certain kind of habitat. And this process is still going on today in various places round the world natural habitat is being removed by humans so they can use the land for their own purposes (think of the forest that has been removed in areas round Indonesia and Borneo) so that Palm Oil Plantations can be planted. Thus many other species are losing thier homes and are on the brink of extinction. Though admittedly now there are large groups of us who have seen the past errors of our ways and are trying to do what we can to put things right. Back to New Zealand. After humans moved here they started aclimatization societies to introduce species from England to our shores. The bird species that were introduced, undoubtedly bought avian diseases with them that weren’t preseent in the bird species of this country and that would have caused even heavier toll on the bird species. As well as the mammalian species we introduced. We are still releasing exotic species into the remaining New Zealand wilderness areas that are causing damage to our native species; eg the problem they are having with Rud in some of the lakes in the South Island of New Zealand. Not only are they causing havoc for the native species, but also for the trout and salmon fisheries. The point I am trying to make, is the biggest threat to the safety and well being of the Natural Environments and the Species that live in them here are in all parts of the world, are human beings not any other species of animals. So lets place the blame for the devastation of the natural environment and the extinction of species in it (despite the fact that it is probably immoral to say this) where it really lies and that is with the human race.

    We don’t need to and should not have to eradicate cats. Cats bring humans alot of pleasure and they are great companions for many people (especially the elderly and infirmed) who maybe living on their own. They don’t need to be exercised to the extent that dogs do. They can happily spend their lives indoors and many people do keep them as indoor pets. Infact their are breeders who only breed their pets for indoor purposes. But if you want them to have sometime outside, I can see two options for this; 1). Go out with them and keep a close eye on them while they are outside. Or two; build them an outside run/cage that they can be kept in. People do it overseas and breeders have outside cages they keep their pets in. The point is we can safely manage our cats so that they can still be a part of our lives, without being a danger to what is left of New Zealand’s precious wildlife.

    Though there is one harsh point I have to make (despite being a cat lover myself). There will be cat lovers out there who may disagree with me on this point, but I will make it anyway. Feral cat populations (and these populations only exist because of the irresponsibility of humans who have dumped their pets, instead of doing the responsible thing of turning them into the RSPCA or other Humane Societies. Or taking them to the vet and having them put to sleep.) need to be caught and destroyed. Unfortunately I don’t believe that once a cat has gone feral, it can ever be resocialized to live with humans again. Whereas feral dogs in some cases can be. This I think harkens back to their wild ancestors. The wild ancestors of dogs are pack animals and with strong leadership a feral dog can probably be resocialized for group living again. The ancestors of the domestic cat however were solitary animals, only coming together during the breeding season. Even then the male would probably stick around with the female to assure his paternity of the cubs. Therefore not having others of their kind to help in defending their territory and food stocks, the wild cat has to have been, in my opinion more aggresive than the wild dogs.

    Again I want to bring home belief (despite it probably being immoral to say so) that probably the most ruthless destroyer of the Natural Environments and the probably the only species to be directly responsible for the extinction of other species, is our own species Homo Sapiens. But we also consider ourselves the most intelligent species. So perhaps it is time we learnt from the destruction our species has wrought on the Natural Environments of the world and the species that live in them in the past; and starting now, refrain from actions that are going to do any further damage to the remaining Natural Environments of the World and in so doing refrain from causing hardship to all the other species we share this world with.

    We don’t have to get rid of our beloved felines here in New Zealand. We just have to manage them better. The SPCA and many breeders are already doing this through microchipping cats and kittens before they are rehomed. That will go along way not only towards safe guarding our pets for our own sake. But if dumped cats are found to have a microchip in them, than the former owner of that pet will be able to be held accountable.

    Thanks for reading my ramble. Now to all of you who are cat owners, go and give your gorgeous little feline a cuddle and some treats. Then shut it safely inside your house and go out and enjoy the gorgeous New Zealand Wilderness, know that when you return home tired and exhausted. There will be a gorgeous bundle of fluff waiting to greet you and cuddle up on your lap.

  • Mur

    Interestingly over defensive cat owners seem to have read Schopenhauer’s ironic piece popularly referred to as ’38 ways to win an argument’.
    The abundance of classic schoolyard strategies such as deflection, extending the argument, ad hominem, etc etc make a perfect catalogue of examples.
    Overcoming short term self interest and willful ignorance is a daunting prospect.
    Best luck Gareth – glad you have the energy to put yourself on the line.

  • http://www.facebook.com/GrantNZ Grant Wills

    You will never have a predator free New Zealand until you remove all introduced species including the no 1 predator, Humans. On that note get your fishing fleets out of the “last Ocean” the Ross sea. The human predators are removing the number 2 predator the Tooth fish creating havoc to the whole area & to your precious “happy feet”! New Zealand is already contaminated don’t do it to the last pristine Ocean on the planet.

  • king_funk

    Hey Dr Katz. Agree with you 100%. But why leave it till now? The blue rincers will be gone in 10 years. That’ll be 50% of the critters gone. Just wait, no rush. Once there’s a feline tax on horse meat who is gonna fork out for another gready mammal? Having a Cat or a Dog as a ‘pet’ is as mental as needing a Benson and Hedges before breakfast. This monkey’s going to heaven!!!