OPINION: I was out of the country only five minutes when I received alarmist texts about economist Gareth Morgan's Cats to Go campaign, and immediately imagined deep-fried cats with chips as the next on-trend Kiwi takeaway.
What had Morgan done to invoke such a pussy riot, I wondered, glad to know Benecio had a caregiver in my absence to watch over him should he be plucked from the property by opportunistic fast-food operators.
I had already decided that Benecio is my last pet and out of respect for the great soul that he is, will not seek a replacement, but on my return was amused to read of Chairman Morgan's one-feline- not-to-be-replaced-when-it-carks-it policy.
Good luck with that flawed idea, I thought, knowing full well how hard it is to turn down a cat's purrsistant advances.
Humans can make their laws but a cat's will, will out. Rue the day a council bylaw, or a DOC decree comes between a cat and its caregiver. It could result in violent protest, as it did back in 60BC when a Roman soldier mistakenly ran his chariot over a cat and was set upon by an outraged mob of Egyptians who, in spite of a plea for calm from Ptolemy XII, mercilessly did him in.
Back then it didn't matter if you killed a cat on purpose or by happenstance; the offending human was immediately put to death. Cats were revered and treated as living gods for their skill at killing mice and venomous snakes. So great was the esteem cats were held in that when an Egyptian household cat died the family shaved their eyebrows off as a mark of respect.
Cats are the No 1 serial killer of wildlife, Morgan claimed on Campbell Live, where he accused the executive director of SPCA, Bob Kerridge, of running a pro-cat organisation at the expense of other animals.
While Morgan has chosen to spend his philanthropic dollars on overseas charities rather than at home, he has been sufficiently moved by the depletion of local wildlife to pledge $5 to the SPCA if Kerridge euthanases every feral cat.
Neutering is not enough, Morgan says, encouraging those living next to a household with a cat to bundle it up and take it to the mayor's office if it crosses their boundary line. The mayor can examine the moggy and if it is registered and microchipped it should be granted one of its nine lives back and returned to its owner. If it isn't, it should forthwith be executed.
So callous is Morgan that he has called for all cats to be kept inside or in a caged enclosure, and advised New Zealanders to stop donating money to the SPCA till it stops its cat-centric ways.
If he is really intent on declaring war then instead of donating $5 towards the destruction of felines, he might push that five bucks towards arming the birds to even up the odds.
Morgan maintains New Zealand's biggest asset is our "natural capital" and that we should "monetise" it, so imagine the delight of future touring Americans, who vehemently believe in the right to bear arms, at seeing gun-toting wildlife, blazing bullets from their beaks at predatory cats.
Picking on cats is an easy mark. The real destroyers and predators are toxic humans who've had it too good for too long and seem unable to collectively work together to stop the rot.
Surely incentives should be given to those who've decided not to breed and put the planet further in peril and out of whack. I'd be happy to donate to that.
- © Fairfax NZ News