Evil Kitties: Why New Zealand Might Enact a Cat Ban

The claws will come out.

Economist Gareth Morgan is at war with the ever-loveable house cat.

Yes, Snowball and Mr. Whiskers better watch their backs because Morgan believes that those cute little fluff balls are actually monsters and wants to ban all felines from his native New Zealand, where he claims cats are the reason for a decline in the country’s native wildlife.

His campaign, Cats to Go, claims nine New Zealand bird species are extinct in large part due to the cat population. The campaign calls for an end to kittens, by encouraging people to neuter all the cats in the country and to stop further breeding or purchasing of replacement pets.

On his site, Morgan says “Like the parent of a bully saying that their little Johnny would not behave like that, if you’re a cat owner reading this, you are probably thinking that the above statistics don’t apply to your cat. The fact is that your furry friend is actually a friendly neighborhood serial killer.”

A friendly neighborhood serial killer…right.

While Morgan might sound like a kook to most cat-lovers, his claims hold some truth to them. In 2011, a study in the Journal of Ornithology found cats to be the number one killer of baby gray catbirds in the Washington suburbs, responsible for 47 percent of predator-caused deaths. The author of the study called cats “a formidable force in driving out native [bird] species.”

But is neutering and eventually banning the whole feline population the way to go? The American Bird Conservancy offers a much more reasonable solution. It urges cat owners to keep their furry four-legged friend indoors, instead of outside where they may pose a danger to birds and small mammals.

If you can’t imagine keeping your cat exclusively indoors, perhaps keeping an eye on your feline at all times when she’s out can be the way to go.

Or, maybe you share Bob Kerridge’s sentiments. The president of the Royal New Zealand Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals had this message: “I say to Gareth Morgan, butt out of our lives. Don’t deprive us of the beautiful companionship that a cat can provide individually and as a family.”

Where do you stand on the debate? Share your thoughts below.