Cat hater seeks cat ban

Gareth Morgan wants cats gotten rid of. Claiming that the pets threaten New Zealand's native birds, the activist launched a website, Cats to Go, to convince his countrymen and women of the feline threat.

Citing reports that cats have contributed to the extinction of 9 native bird species and that 37 percent of those remaining are endangered, Morgan says that every one of New Zealand's cat addicts are to blame.

"If you’re a cat owner reading this, you are probably thinking that the above statistics don’t apply to your cat," he writes in his site's FAQ. "The fact is that your furry friend is actually a friendly neighbourhood serial killer."

He does not propose slaughtering them, however, instead asking New Zealanders to "consider not replacing your cat" when it dies.

Bob Kerridge, the president of the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, told Morgan to "Butt out of our lives" in a statement given to local TV show Campbell Live.

“A cat-free anywhere is not a good area,” says [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”.

At his blog, Morgan also links to a campaign to get rid of mice on the Antipodes Islands, where the tiny rodents eat native birds' eggs, rare insects and other ecological treasures.

Despite his arguments, clearly laid out under headings such as "Your cat is not innocent" and "NZ without cats", a poll at the site is currently running 70 percent to 30 percent against his proposition.


  1. I’m not sure whether the domestic cat is native to New Zealand or not, but if it isn’t, then it’s very introduction would be considered “interfering with nature”, would it not?  Just look at the destruction that introducing rabbits to Australia caused…

    1. Cats are not native to New Zealand, but then again neither are humans. The first humans arrived there a bit before the year 1300, so every person there, including Mr. Morgan himself, is also part of an invasive species that has caused at least as much damage to the local fauna as feral cats have done. So shouldn’t he also be advocating the removal of humans from New Zealand? 

      1. Despite the fact that humans are and have been harmful to NZ wildlife, the stuff they brought along is breathtakingly more so.

        BTW, possums (from Australia) are a real pest as well. Nobody would break for a possum in NZ. Should be the same with cats, speaking from an ecosystem perspective.

    2. I agree that we shouldn’t introduce new species to an existing ecosystem because it tends to eliminate species when we do it. (I’d love to see a dodo bird)

      But you can’t say that when we do it, it isn’t natural.  We are natural.  The things we do are natural. Parking lots, high rise buildings, toxic waste dumps, and leaking oil wells are natural because animals (in this case humans) create them, just like termites create mounds and eagles make nests.  Humans have learned out how to make great changes to our environment, some for the better, some for the worse.

      Back to the main point, I say deport the cats.

        1. No, “natural” means “of or pertaining to nature”. Humans are part of nature. Some have come to use “natural” to mean good, or beautiful, or beneficial. Or at least that’s how marketers have taught us to understand it, so they can push their “all natural” products on us. But you have to keep in mind that poison ivy, tapeworms, ebola virus, and F5 tornadoes are also natural.

          1. Of course I’m aware that “natural” is often mistakenly used as a pseudosynonym for “good,” but if all products of human activity are natural because humans are part of nature, what exactly would you consider “unnatural?”

            See, I don’t consider “natural” to usefully mean “of or pertaining to nature” so much as it is a category of qualities that are in a thing’s nature. A dog licks his balls, that’s in the nature of a dog, ergo it’s natural behavior. A dog wears a top hat and plays piano, that’s unnatural. Cute, but unnatural, even though the top hat and piano and dog and soundwaves are all made of things found in the universe.

          2. Wait, you think that dogs are natural? But they’re a species artificially created by thousands of years of interventional selective breeding by humans? Whether he’s licking his balls or tickling the ivories, he and his behavior are the result of human activity. Can’t have it both ways.

            To answer your previous question, I don’t consider anything unnatural. Everything is natural. That doesn’t mean everything is desirable.

  2. I had never seen a fool attempting to go against the entirety of the internet. Right wingers, left wingers, libertarians, hippies, guns nuts, conspiracy theorist, academics, social media executives, 4chan (*especially* 4chan) reddit, facebook, Buzzfeed, every fandom created and those fandoms that will descend upon us in the future… Mr. Morgan has just set himself against the only thing that binds those described above together.

  3. ““A cat-free anywhere is not a good area,” says [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.””

    Requesting authorization to internet-punch somebody who would argue that importing pet cats(a fairly selectively-breed variant of a wild type that doesn’t even live on the continent) because ‘a cat-free anywhere is not a good area’ and invoke the notion that we really ought to let nature do its thing and not interfere in the same statement

    That’s just a lack of conceptual clarity that blows the mind.

    1. Birds don’t butter his bread.

      Although they could if he would let them, NZ and the surrounding area is a bird mecca to bird watchers and the like. (with apologies to New Guinea, yes you are a bigger mecca)

      But protecting sheltered domestic cats from the occasional two-legged shitbag is about a million times easier than protecting an ecosystem from sheltered domestic cats, and pays better too.

    1.  It’s all right man, the rest of the world has it covered! And NZ can just start streaming Keas instead, right?

        1. Adorable, yes. Poisonous, pretty much none actually, apart from the Red Back and the White Tail (both spiders introduced from Australia) I don’t believe there are any real dangerous animals on either island.

      1. Yay, and please include Kakas. I personally will congratulate everybody who kills cats, weasels, and exterminates (european common) wasps in their breeding habitat.

        And, because of #reason: screw lolcats anytime for kakapo footage!

    1. “Sign this petition now lobbying local governments to require registration and micro-chipping of cats, to provide eradication facilities for unregistered cats, and encourage people to trap and turn in unwanted cats on their property”

      He wants people to trap their neighbours’ cats and send them off to the cat-killing facilities he wants built with municipal funds.  He can attempt neutral language, but I think it’s safe to call him a cat hater.

      1.  Nope.

        His reasoning is perfectly rational. It is equivalent to any serious campaign to control an invasive species that is causing havoc or causing the extinction of native fauna.

        That the invader is domestic cat means nothing, could as well be zombies, and sort of are to the birds.

      2. If people keep their wildlife killing machines on their own property it won’t be a problem will it?

          1.  I think you missed the point or didn’t understand what comment I was replying to.

            The comment I replied to was a person complaining the anti-cat person was encouraging people to trap cats on their property and that was somehow bad.

            So, if people keep their cats on their own property, dragonfrog’s complaint would not be a problem.

            Birds ability to fly has nothing to do with it.

      3.  I’ve read about birdwatchers who shoot the cats that hunt at their bird feeders.  I don’t agree with that tactic, but it is an introduced species and they do seem to be wiping out some bird species.  Some suggest trap-neuter-release, but others say it can’t keep up with the cat population. Tough problem.

  4. The guy has a point.  New Zealand has some rare parrots.  There was a study done in England years ago.  A naturalist asked cat owners to put any prey brought home in the freezer.  Every week the naturalist would collect the prey items.  Mind you these were just the things that the cats offered up on the doorstep.  Guess what?  It was a predatory holocaust–the indigenes never had a chance.  My anecdotal experience with Olympia the cat bears this out: her philogenetic tree of slaughter had many many branches.  I’m pretty sure she once even killed a Kirtland’s Warbler passing through the neighborhood.

      1. Ooops, I just added this further up int he comments. Should read bottom to top. But then, can’t link this often enough.

    1.  It is true that cats kill a lot of birds… but wouldn’t an easier solution to be say putting a bell on the collar making it hard for the cat to sneak up on its prey? 

      I dunno – maybe that woulnd’t work.

      1.  My cat wears a bell and has never caught anything that hasn’t been dead for a couple of days already.

  5. Is he a “cat hater”, or a person who hates the destruction cats have caused when introduced in to an ecosystem that evolved free of analogous predators?

    They are two different things.

  6. The worse part is the hypocrisy – New Zealand bans ALL pets that are even /potentially/ dangerous to native wildlife (unless they have exceptions carved out for them). This legislation has the overwhelming support of the population at large, because the people of NZ really do value their native biodiversity. And then cats, which are generally the worst of them all, get that huge exception. It’s insane. My ferrets would never have left the house, and certainly never killed anything. I don’t know anyone who keeps outdoor ferrets (as is the norm for cats) and I haven’t even heard of them escaping with any frequency or for more than a couple minutes. But popular sentiment is that in order to protect native wildlife these animals need to be found and destroyed.

    This is how it is for ALL domestic pets… except, obviously, dogs and cats. Because how could they /ever/ cause problems, right? (Dogs aren’t actually that bad statistically, but dear god, cats…)

      1. I meant that as – the worst part is that they KNOW the problem, they KNOW the solution and are choosing not to do it because fuck everyone else thats why. Only those with unpopular opinions need to follow the rules.

    1. O_o

      Dude, you DO know that weasels, ferrets and martens are on a killing spree in NZ?? Sure, never leave the house. Except once. And you never saw it coming.

      Cats, while being a major problem in NZ, can’t get into the burrows of Kakas, as I happen to believe. The whole weasel family can.

  7. He’s not terribly wrong, though, is he?  Although rats (and mice and stoats, etc.) are also very dangerous to birds (see: kakapo).  

    1. Not going to happen. “Crazy cat lady” is a term for a reason. (Said as a cat-lady.) I know it’s logical, and it makes sense, but you’re not going to get the cat-people to agree, they won’t do it.

      1. I don’t know, I’m a crazy cat person and I agree that cats should ALWAYS BE INDOORS.

        SO, as a cat-person, I already do it. Do you? I sure hope you do.  If not, you’re stupid. And your cat will probably die a young, gnarly death, yay!

      2. Most responsible pet owners keep their cats inside. The comments at one of the cute kitten sites I frequent get rather nasty (for a cute kitten site) when the pix show an outside kitty. 

      1.  Cats do get out, but the British feel that an indoor-only cat is an unhappy cat, and let their cats out to get run over and kill things and dig in garbage like it’s no big thing. People in NZ and AU hew much closer to the British/European approach to cat ownership than in the US, where most people will keep their cat indoors only unless they live on a farm.

        I live in Jersey City, which is purported to have the highest density of feral cats in the US. It’s crazy here. Cute, but crazy.

        1.  I think in the US whether or not a cat is let outside mostly depends on where you are. Ultra-urban environments, you get indoor cats. Ultra rural environments, you get indoor cats, at least when they’re kept as pets (because otherwise they get eaten by coyotes, etc). Cats seem to wander freely in suburbs and smallish cities. Apropos of nothing, indoor-only cats are always the most neurotic IME.

        2. I grew up in Morris County. Most of my friends had cats, and all but one household let their cats wander in and out of doors at will. And while most were pretty passive hunters, there were a few stand-out characters that would bring home dead things every day. And their killing spree wasn’t restricted to mice and songbirds; one declawed female tabby was infamous for bringing back large rabbits, possums, and full grown owls.

  8. This Gareth Morgan is eminently reasonable. He’s not promoting euthanasia or a PURGE THE THREAT approach. He’s making a rational argument about how invasive species (even one which we think of as cute) can destroy the ecosystem.

    I’d argue that endorsing that cats being kept indoors might also promote his ends as well (is this a reasonable compromise?), but the sentiment – that a domestic animal can muck up local wildlife something fierce – isn’t an outlandish one.

  9. Cats in New Zealand are an amazingly invasive pest: New Zealand’s birds have no natural terrestrial predators, only invasive predators like cats, stoats, and rats.

    And its also been shown that about a third of well fed, domestic housecats, when allowed to roam, kill 2 critters a week.  If you care about the local ecology, keep your cats indoors.

  10. This Gareth Morgan is eminently reasonable. He’s not promoting euthanasia or a PURGE THE THREAT approach. He’s making a rational argument about how invasive species (even one which we think of as cute) can destroy the ecosystem.

    I’d argue that endorsing that cats being kept indoors might also promote his ends as well (is this a reasonable compromise?), but the sentiment – that a domestic animal can muck up local wildlife something fierce – isn’t an outlandish one.

  11. There is the option of just never letting your cats outside. It has been known to ecologists that outdoor cats are extremely destructive of local fauna populations. They are way, way too good at killing for the local wildlife to afford. I know, indoor cats seem ‘bored,’ but it’s the only way to have your cake and eat it too, if you are an environmentalist and a cat-lover.

    1.  There -was- the option, though even if it were still an option it is a flawed one.

      It might work if only a few hundred cats were licensed at any given time and those were regularly checked upon and actively hunted down upon escape. But probably not. 

  12. “consider not replacing your cat when it dies”

    Let me assure you, I have never replaced a single cat.  Cats are quite capable of creating replacement cats on their own.

    Every time we have felt in need of a cat, we have asked around until we found a friend-of-a-friend who had just discovered that they had put off getting their cat spayed a bit too long.  If we simply said “yes” every time someone tried to give us a kitten, we would probably have half a dozen cats now.  That’s without ever going to the SPCA to meet cats in need of adoption.

    “Not replacing your cat” means killing a cat – maybe not the specific one sitting in your lap right now, but it means adding a feline death to the world.

      1. Agreed – that’s why we have always gotten our cats spayed or neutered.  That’s why I entirely agree with the SPCA requiring that any animal adopted from them be spayed or neutered.  But we can’t very well seize cats from the homes of friends and slight acquaintances, return them spayed, and say, “You were putting it off too long, so we did it.  No need to thank us.”

        If a pedestrian is run over by a drunk driver, who do you blame for the death – the driver, for their irresponsible driving, or the pedestrian’s parents, for irresponsibly creating another mortal?

        1. I would really like to do this with all the unfixed male dogs at the dog parks.

          I would really really like to be part of the spay and neuter police.

          How can we make this happen?

          1. Hit the lab

            My understanding is that immunocontraceptives are currently only a mature technology for the types that are injected(and possibly bait/ingestion types, for certain species); but Australia and New Zealand are, in fact, actively working on using pathogen-transmitted immunocontraceptives to control invasive species.

            Some of the creepy guys who did work on biological warfare dispersal methods in the WWII-Cold War era should still be around and kicking, they would probably have some good advice about how best to ensure, um, ‘broad community adoption’ of the program.

        2.  We, through the New Zealand government (assuming you are from or in NZ) most certainly CAN do that, and should. We might not be able to catch everyone, but we could do something.

      1. The pope is arguing that putting unadopted orphan children in a sack and drowning them is wrong?  I guess I’ll have to give him that.

        1. Dunno where YOU live, but here, anyone throwing a sack containing something moving into the water would be in serious trouble within minutes. (And might be even if there is nothing moving, but just some garbage inside.) Even in the remote countryside, people seriously don’t do that shit.

          In which century have you parked your tardis?

  13. As a New Zealander I tend to side with Gareth Morgan on this one even though I think he’s being kind of a dick about it. For those who don’t know, New Zealand is not only cat-free by nature but apart from one species of insectivorous bat it is entirely mammal-free. We have (well, we had anyway) many completely unique species of bird that have adapted to fill ecological niches that anywhere else in the world have been exploited by mammalian species. It is (was) an evolutionary biologist’s dream not to mention quite a lovely place to go camping.

    The problem is that these birds aren’t adapted to cope with mammals while the mammals we’ve brought here are rather well adapted to cope with birds and so cats, rats, stoats, ferrets and everyone’s favourite mammals the humans have caught the poor beautiful creatures completely by surprise and utterly defenceless. Bloodbath is not too strong a word and for a lot of species it is already too late.

    Look, I like cats too, alright? They are ok. But maybe we could have one tiny corner of the world where there are no cats. Maybe that would not be such a big deal.

    1. Thanks, Doug. Please try to convince your neighbours as well. Even some lolcats-lovers will vote for catfree NZ.

  14. At the very end of the video, Morgan talks about responsible cat ownership, which is the way to go.  The cats we live with are exclusively indoor, and were rescued from a feral colony.  The closest they get to a kill is watching birds through the living-room window.

    1.  Unfortunately, there’s almost as much opposition to responsibility as there is too banning ownership altogether.

  15. Something that seems interesting is that domesticated cats do seem to be “evolving” to learn that killing small wildlife is not productive.  It’s the feral cats that are the problem, because they have no other consistent food source and this sort of campaign won’t deal with them.

      1. Okay? I grew up with dogs that also liked to kill birds!  And rabbits!  *gasp*

        Anyway, my one cat couldn’t kill a damn fly.  He is scared of EVERYTHING.

        Every time someone calls him a killing machine, I laugh.
        Not all cats are the same.

    1. My fat house cat catches the occasional mouse in my house, and I can promise you my dogs would never do that, they’d bark at it a lot but they’d never kill or eat it, the cat will and does.

        1. And that breed of dog may not always work well for all home or lifestyle types. Or, they are expensive — and generally, breeding results in dogs that aren’t particularly healthy.  MUTTS are the way to go if you want a happy, healthy dog that will a long life.

          So … basically … so?

        2. And my dachshunds are one of those breeds. Small vermin, moles and rabbits. However, they ran away the first time they saw a mouse. Note: I live in a big city, I don’t have mice issues, just once in a while.

          If I lived in the country on a farm I’d have barn cats, not “barn dogs”. 

          If I lived in a Dickens novel I’d totally have Jack Russels.

    2. Babies are even MORE useless! They are shit factories that can’t even kill!

      Seriously, though, I don’t think you misunderstand the “purpose” of pet ownership.

      1. What is your point? I don’t think you did not misunderstand the point of the discussion, but you are distracting the argument.

  16. Surely before we go about banning cats we should look into limiting a by far more destructive pest to local wildlife and flora… Humans kill more local animals and destroy their habitats on a scale far above what cats do!

    OK, from an environmental point of view banning cats does seem logical, but if we were to do that ( I love cats ), I would ask why not ban cars. I don’t have a car and don’t like them and banning them could save loads of native wildlife. A silly argument but I am making the point that selectively picking an item to ban while not addressing others is biased. There are any number of things I would rather give up than give up cats. But because Mr Morgan doesn’t like cats that is what he chooses.

    He isn’t entirely wrong though.

    1.  You can legislate protected areas and it occurs. You can limit development and it is already an ongoing battle pretty much everywhere.

      But if you think feral cats are going to heed your advice not to propagate and eat defenseless native fauna then I have a cat that only ever picks winning lottery numbers I’d like to sell you. Don’t worry about me I’ve won so much, I just need 10,000 dollars as a surety that you will take care of the cat.

      It is a silly argument, down to the letter.

    2. You can’t ride cats to work.

      You’re making a false argument because cars ARE addressed, just not in a manner that is just blanket getting-rid-of-them. Nobody is selectively saying “okay, as long as we kill all cats we can do whatever we want”, and the argument that we cannot take any step that does not entirely solve the issue or is less effective than a much less practical step is precisely why we’re going to be stuck with the effects of global warming and pollution.

  17. Isn’t this an urban problem globally? There are vast areas of New Zealand which are sparsely populated. Are the threatened species concentrated in urban areas? Or is it a problem of invasive species disturbing the whole ecological balance? Why pick on cats?

    I am not a cat lover.

    1.  Because cats get out. Cats get out and make more cats. And wild species often tend to roam, and they just need to visit one populated area to end up on the wrong side of a cats teeth, even if ferals are kept under control. They don’t need to be concentrated in urban areas, there just needs to be a significant percentage of them (20% even, perhaps) that visit some remotely populated area (where they love cats) a single time in their life in order for it to deal severe damage to the species ability to hold on.

      1. Plus, feral cats tend to search for fertile mates. Which they find  in (human) populated areas. Where some of the indoor cats are attracted and visit the strangers. Which makes more cats.

        Let’s not pick on cats. Any fertile pet on NZ should be rendered infertile, just out #reasons of containment.

  18. The best idea I can come up with is selective breeding.

    Cats are great, and I don’t think getting rid of them is the answer. But, yes, their predatory habits are a massive problem. You aren’t just going to turn cats into harmless kitties overnight, but I think there is something that could be done.

    Dogs are descended from wolves, and the lupine hunting instincts haven’t been removed so much as modified. Hunting consists of several elements, and different breeds have had those behaviours reinforced or diminished according to desired outcomes. Sheepdogs, for example, have had the killing part minimised, and the herd control part strengthened. Perhaps a similar idea could work with cats?

    1.  Why not get rid of them until we HAVE an answer, and then we can let them back? Because without doing that first, you’re just going to get the perfect cat which is immediately ruined by mingling with the local population, no?

    2. Many types of longhairs won’t get off the sofa unless you carry them to their place at the dinner table.

      1.  Sure I’ve let my hair go for the winter but I’m still perfectly capable of getting off the couch to stuff my face thank you very much. Haarumph, get lazy with my hygiene and suddenly I’m a hippie, Jeez

  19. For all those asking “why only cats? Why only domestic cats?”

    It’s not at all like that. We have areas of the country designated as natural reserves, to stop humans from making a mess of things. The Department of Conservation manages a massive trapping campaign to keep the numbers of stoats, ferrets, rats, possums and feral cats as low as possible. Poison is dropped from planes into remote areas. We have succeeded in clearing several coastal islands of mammals so that they can be used as sanctuaries for endangered species and recently we have even managed to create one or two “inland islands” for the same purpose. But domestic cats are still a big big problem and our populated areas are all effectively feral cat generators.

    On the outskirts of the city of Wellington there is the Karori wildlife sanctuary, a relatively small fenced off area that has been purged of mammals and is now home to several rare and uncommon bird species. I was lucky enough to live just over the hill for a couple of years and the effect was noticeable. Tuis arguing in their amazing voices over who had rights to the tall tree in my back yard. Kakas on the back porch hoping to bum a few scraps of walnut, mister, if you don’t mind. Birds the like of which do not exist anywhere else on the planet and all they needed was a couple of hectares where it’s safe to nest. But clearing and maintaining just that small patch of land has cost the New Zealand taxpayer millions of dollars.

    There is a herculean (and rather expensive) effort being undertaken in this country to restore our native fauna to what it was but you can keep a pet in your house if you want that is capable of killing more than one hundred native animals in a week and you aren’t even obliged to register it. Why pick on domestic cats? Domestic cats are the only thing getting a free pass in this country. Why is that?

    1. You, sir, are one of the humans favoured by geolocation. (And, as it seems, gifted with something rare on teh webz: a brain.) I envy you.

      1. Perhaps plagiarism is too strong a word. I agree Morgan’s graphic is by no means verbatim, but to anyone that has read the original Oatmeal comic, the similarities are quite obvious, and it could be argued that at the very least the Morgan graphic was inspired by elements of the Oatmeal version. 

        1. “Inspired by” is not plagiarism, and similarities are inevitable when addressing the same subject. I suspect the “element” you’re hung up on is the vertical comic format, which predates The Oatmeal by at least a century.

    1. What about evolution? The vast majority of extinctions have been due to being out-competed by better equipped species, which is much more threatening. 

      What about physics? 100% of all deaths across all species involve atomic activity! We should eliminate all atoms.

  20. We don’t need to get rid of cats, we just need to breed them for a level playing field. You know, give them birds a fighting chance.

    This seems an appropriate race to start with:

  21. How many of our facebook friends post messages about the latest “icky offering” that their cat has deposited on the back door step e.g. lizards, skinks, baby birds etc.?

    Whether we agree with him or not, he’s still correct – our cats ARE cuddly little killers.  From my reading of his site, what he’s asking us to do is make a choice as to what we value most – our cats or our bird life.  Odd for the SPCA guy to side with the animal which is causing the MOST cruelty (apart from Humans – we still got 1st Place on that one).

  22. I’m a bit surprised at how long it took for someone to point out that the really dangerous invasive species is humankind. We’re even dangerous to other groups of our own kind.

  23. What is it with BB headlines/teasers lately? “Cat hater seeks cat ban”, “300 Million year old machine parts?”, “The evolution of white fur and an animal sex scandal”, “Kegs and cans have an advantage over glass – The science of skunked beer – or why clear glass bottles are the bane of brew”, “Science proves that you should wear glittens”. That’s all kind of… off.

    At least, we have had a question mark in the second one.

      1. Hm, maybe you are right. I’m quite possibly overreacting.

        But then, the quoted above are all misleading, which annoys me. Except the question mark. (Further up on BB: how SEO optimisation changed headlines. Related?) And, if the OP wanted to be funny, why put “Cat hater seeks cat ban” and not something in the line of “Last chance for lolcatz from NZ?” or “Caturday in danger: NZ guy wants all cats to be castrated”, or anything web-related? Even “Cat haters gonna hate” would have been better, slightly. Hm, did that get my point across? I’m simply not comfy at all in this chair. Out of tea error.

  24. Just failing to replace cats will have little effect. Cats are more than capable of living in the wild, and do so throughout New Zealand.

    As for the damage they occur, the Stephen’s Island Wren makes for a sad, if spectacular story. is more a case of excluding cats from certain areas and dealing with wild cats. For a much more balanced approach to understanding the scope of the problem and controlling cat predation, there’s a LandCare research article worth a look.

  25. Cats are mammals; humans are mammals. Birds are dinosaurs (literally — not just descendants of them — birds are members of the clade Dinosauria). So screw the birds — they had their time as masters; post K-T, we mammals call the shots on this rock.

  26. The plague during the middle ages resulted from killing off cats because people thought they were evil, which caused the rat population to grow out of control.

  27. Three little words: “Cat hunter” & “bounty”.

    Feral cats or cats let go to turn wild are a real problem in more places than NZ. They are often culled in other places, thus culling them in NZ is logical.

  28. In nature, if a new predator arrives on the scene, those without a defense from said predator die. That’s natural. Eventually, some life will evolve to hunt the cats. The problem here is that we want immediate (as in less than a million years) solutions.
    I see this as simple survival of the fittest. If your locale has life so fragile as to be incapable of protecting itself from something as simple as a cat, nature will take care of the problem by eliminating the over specialized species.
    If the writer was so worried about imported species changing NZ, then he should take a very close look at sheep. 45 million sheep are sure to have a greater negative impact than 1.5 million cats.

  29. In NZ, lets start with the (introduced) Australian opossum;  infrared filmed evidence has shown it not only destroys flora, but also attacks nests for eggs and young. Even feral cats don’t do that, although they should also be eliminated.

    Efforts to control the opossum have so far have been ineffectual, and their population has grown so large they are common nighttime roadkill. 

    … and unlike cats, I doubt that anyone would miss them.

    1. Apparently, the Australian one is a Possum, not an Opossum.  So no scraggly fur and gigantic rat tail.

      … and unlike cats, I doubt that anyone would miss them.

      Based on these photos, I’d say that they may actually outcute cats.

      1. You’re right that there is no animal known as an Opossum in Australia, however I can certainly attest that many Australian Possums run about with scraggly fur and rat like tails and that only a small percentage act anything like cute.

        I’ve never seen the possum in the middle though, no idea what type that would be.

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