Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Lucia Here's my killer cat, Gareth Morgan

Back when Asterix was a 4 month old kitten, she caught this rat. The picture doesn't really do it justice as to how big the thing was, especially when it was sitting upright in my kitchen hissing at everyone.After I had finished panicking, my son and I drove it outside with brooms, with Asterix helping it along by giving it a number of whacks on the head every once in a while.  How she managed to get it inside, I don't know.

The rat probably survived, however, as it ran down the side of the house and escaped down the drain.   I talked to a rodent exterminator a few weeks later about it, and he said drains were a good method of travel for rats, and here I'd been thinking it had gone to it's death and drowned.

Since growing up to being an almost 4 year old cat, Asterix over the years has caught and killed a number of rats.  Some, she has part eaten.  In Autumn, she catches a lot of mice and hardly comes in for food, because she'll eat the mice she catches.  Before we got cats, I could hear all sort of scurrying sounds in our roof and walls, and now it's silent, because anything that moves in the house is caught by Asterix, or Minx, the older cat.  My neighbours have also told me that since we got cats, they no longer have problems with scurrying in their house as well.

Minx, at nearly 10 years old, does not catch birds.  When she was younger, she caught a few, but she doesn't have the patience or the agility for doing so now.  Asterix does catch birds, and if I get to them early enough, I can normally look after them for half an hour or so and then let them go, because Asterix hardly damages them on the initial catch anymore.  Late Spring is always the worst because of all of the young, inexperienced birds around.

Most of the birds that Asterix catches are non-natives, however, she does have a special liking for Silvereyes, and will eat the entire bird if she catches one, feathers and all.

Which leads me to Garth Morgan and his public call for the eradication of domestic cats.

Top New Zealand economist Gareth Morgan is launching a campaign to eradicate domestic cats.

Dr Morgan has set up a website called Cats to Go, where he calls the animals sadists and natural-born killers that destroy native wildlife.

SPCA chief executive Bob Kerridge called the scheme "hare-brained" and offensive.

He understood Dr Morgan wanted people to stop buying new cats and to not replace pets when they die.

"People consider cats to be a member of the family. So he's trying to, quite frankly, take away the civil liberties we all have to choose who we want in our home."

On the Cats To Go website, there's a photoshopped image of a kitten with red eyes and devil's horns.

And on the homepage the words "That little ball of fluff you own is a natural-born killer" are scrawled across a video which says: "Cats are the only true sadists of the animal world" and calls cats serial killers.

Well, that's the animal kingdom for you. That serial killer nature that cats have means that they won't take a mouse running across the kitchen floor lying down. If they only killed when they were hungry, then we'd be overrun with rodents.  I'm listening to the radio right now and have just heard that when you remove cats from an area, you allow the rodents free reign and then the bird population goes down because the rats get into the eggs and kill far more birds than any cat does.  Makes sense to me, why doesn't it to people like Gareth Morgan?

Cats make damn good pets as well.

Asterix asleep on the couch in one of her active sleeping positions

Related link: Morgan calls for cats to be wiped out ~ NZ Herald

5 comment(s):

Marian said...


Yeah. I've a cat too. He doesn't do much either. His only bad habit is he does take out and catch the odd Monarch butterfly.

As for cats. It's overall not the domestic cat that's the main problem as long as they're fairly well fed and looked after. It's the wild feral cats which are a problem and unfortunately the SPCA or Animal Control does nothing about them. We can have upto 20 feral cats in my immediate neighbourhood and we are expected to pay $$$ to hire cat cages to catch them. Well most of them are cage and trap shy anyway so it's a waste of money. Of course if I try to get rid of them humanely via other methods well the SPCA and the like will come down on you like a ton of bricks. We are only able to catch some of the kittens from time to time to try and keep a bit of the lid on the local exploding feral cat population.

Having said that several years ago I did have a problem with one of the neighbours cats when I was living in Pukekohe. This particular Tomcat took great delight in hunting and wiping out the population of native skinks which were living in the rock garden.

Overall though It's the feral cats which do the most destruction to our native birds, etc.

Lucia Maria said...


The SPCA are supposed to de-sex the feral cats and then let them go again, according to what they say they'll do. The theory being that if you kill them and there's food available, then more cats will move into a the area.

I had a stray cat turn up on my doorstep last year that didn't want to leave. Looked to be in a very bad way, so I caught it and took it to the vet. Turned out to have a microchip, was from the SPCA and was given to a old woman by her son. The old woman didn't want it and so when it ran out the door and disappeared on the first day of owning it, she made no attempt to find it. Six weeks and a couple of kilometers from where it started out, it turned up on my doorstep, ravenously hungry, incredibly thin and with massive abscesses on it's back. It went back to the SPCA (who didn't want to know about it when I phoned them initially), and I'm not sure if it survived.

It's people like that old woman (and her son) that create the feral cat problem.

BTW, Asterix likes the skinks as well. I rescue as many as I can, but since my husband dug up their home area for a fence (lots of bits of old wood lying around there and rocks and things), I haven't seen any at all.

KG said...

A couple of years ago, where I now live, they had a mouse plague and the number of feral cats rose hugely. So did the snake numbers.
Now the plague is over, both cat and snake populations have dropped off too.
It's a simple fact that feral cats cannot be eradicated and it's also true that they tend to reach equilibrium with the local wildlife after a while.

Lucia Maria said...


Now that's the sort of information that Morgan needs, but would most likely ignore, because it wouldn't fit into his utopian ideals.

KG said...

From an article in Breitbart about this:
"..John Innes, a wildlife ecologist with government research body Landcare, said Morgan's argument that cats killed birds may be too simplistic, pointing out that they also kill rats, another major bird predator.

"No one's ever actually done the numbers to see whether the number of birds that those rats would kill is bigger or less than the number that the cats kill," he said..."

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