While New Zealanders may love their cats, the bird loving community has taken aim at felines being a the primary culprit for the demise of exotic and rare birds.
In his anti-cat site Cats to Go, which pictures kitties as devils, Gareth Morgan states cats have been responsible for killing off nine native species while endangering 33. He is proposing that cat owners have all cats spay/neutered, and they be registered with the state. He goes one step short of asking for the eradication of all cats, asking that once they die, they are not to be replaced. This gradual decline will eventually get rid of all the cats.
However what he and many other cat eradicators fail to take into account is that while cats may hunt, they are not the birds’ only predators.
For a cat loving country, this campaign is encountering a bit of a cat fight. You see, New Zealanders own the most cats anywhere with almost half the population having at least one cat.
According to a publication published by the New Zealand Companion Animal Council, a total of 48 percent of New Zealand households have cats, more than the United States with 33 percent; Australia with 23 percent, and The United Kingdom with 19 percent.
The 2011 publication entitled Companion Animals in New Zealand, says the total feline population is 1,419 million. Twenty eight percent of New Zealand households own one cat with an additional 20 percent of owning two or more cats.
There’s no doubt New Zealand folks are very fond of their cats, and would not take kindly to a cat-less society. And with 51 percent of cat owners stating they have the furry felines for companionship, they aren’t going to give them up that easy.
Other interesting statistics cited in this report include:
- There are approximately five million companion animals in New Zealand, outnumbering humans
- When asked what role companion animals play in their households, 83 percent of cat owners, 77 percent of dog owners and 53 percent of rabbit owners say they’re considered members of the family
- The average cat owning household spends $838 per year looking after its cats, with the average cost per cat being $466
- Food makes up 59 percent of the cost of keeping a cat whilst veterinary services account for 23 percent
- 68 percent of New Zealand households own a companion animal, a higher percentage than in any comparable country.
- 43 percent of New Zealanders think animal welfare and protection should receive more attention
- New Zealand has a total canine population of approximately 700,000
- 29 percent of New Zealand households own a dog. This compares with 39 percent in the United States, 36 percent in Australia and 23 percent in the United Kingdom
- Apart from horses and ponies, the overwhelming majority of companion animals of all species belong to homes in urban areas
- 31 percent of cats are acquired from friends or neighbors and 27 percent from the SPCA or an animal shelter, whilst 19 percent are found as strays
- Veterinary services account for $358 million or 23 percent of expenditure on companion animals. Healthcare products account for $166 million or 10 percent of expenditure
- Cats are less expensive to keep than dogs. 48 percent of all companion animal expenditure goes on dogs and only 43 percent on cats, even though the feline population is approximately twice the size of the canine
- 86 percent of New Zealand’s cats have been de-sexed compared to only 63 percent of dogs. De-sexing rates for both species are higher in urban areas
- 48 percent of New Zealand’s dogs and 12 percent of cats have been microchipped
- 5 percent of cat owners, 8 percent of dog owners and 13 percent of horse or pony owners have insurance cover for their companion animals.
Here’s the links to various stories published earlier this week, airing the controversy.
Economist Says Cats Should Be Eliminated From New Zealand
New York Times
Gareth Morgan, an economist and environmentalist, says that the cat is actually a “friendly neighborhood serial killer” when it comes to birds, and his Web site suggests that New Zealanders should gradually reduce the local feline population by having …
NZ to eradicate pet cats? Purr-ish the thought!
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Gareth Morgan has a simple dream: a New Zealand free of pet cats that threaten native birds. But the environmental advocate has triggered a claws-out backlash with his anti-feline campaign. Morgan called on his …
A Plan to Save New Zealand’s Birds: Get Rid of Cats – NYTimes.com
By By GERRY MULLANY
Cats have many fans in New Zealand, but one economist says they pose a grave threat to the country’s native bird species. Read more…
‘Natural born killer’: Campaign demands eradication of cats from …
By Ian Johnston, Staff Writer, NBC News
The domestic cat should be eradicated from New Zealand because it is a “natural born killer” that is wiping out native wildlife, according to a prominent economist in the South Pacific country. Gareth Morgan, whose blog also describes him as …
NZ to Eradicate Pet Cats? Purr-Ish the Thought!
Gareth Morgan has a simple dream: a New Zealand free of cats. But the environmental advocate triggered a claws-out backlash Tuesday with his new anti-feline campaign. Morgan called on his countrymen Tuesday to make their current cat their last in order
Prominent economist calls to quash cats in New Zealand
Mother Nature Network
Take cats, for example. A University of Georgia and National Geographic study attached kitty cams to outdoor cats to reveal some shocking results. Our purring, fuzzy, beloved kitties are killing machines once they hit the fresh air. Free-roaming house …