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"Cats to go?" NZ man calls for kitty phase-out

The "Cats to Go" site features infographics that are both cutesy and ominous. Courtesy: Gareth Morgan/Cats to Go
The "Cats to Go" site features infographics that are both cutesy and ominous. Courtesy: Gareth Morgan/Cats to Go

Staff writers

January 26, 2013 — A New Zealand business man and activist has started a campaign encouraging reducing the numbers of cats in the island nation to protect endangered bird species.

That little ball of fluff you own is a natural born killer.

That's the opening line on a website run by New Zealand businessman Gareth Morgan, highlighting the damage he says New Zealand's most popular pet is doing to the island nation's unique fauna.

"There is no doubt that cats do a massive amount of damage to our wildlife," Morgan writes. "In the interest of protecting native species, would you consider not replacing your cat with a new one when it dies?"

Morgan cites a 2011 survey by the World Society for the Protection of Animals that notes New Zealand's feline population of 1.4 million is the world's largest per-capita, with 28 per cent of households owning one cat, with a further 20 per cent owning two or more.

Morgan says research links the high kitty population with declining numbers of New Zealand's native bird life, and says cats are naturally inclined toward predatory behaviour.

But simmer down, cat lovers: Morgan is not calling for a kitty cull.

He just suggests you not replace Mr. Whiskerson when he passes away, along with other measures such as micro chipping, registering and neutering.

"We donít suggest you knock your favourite furry friend on the head," he says. "We do suggest you think about the consequences on the bird population of domestic cats, and make this cat your last."

Needless to say, Morgan's stance on one of the world's most popular pets has received a mixed response from animal rights activists, not to mention cat lovers.

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