Cat plan raises hackles

LOVED MOGGIE: Palmerston North cat lover Diane Rozmus with her cat Baloo.
LOVED MOGGIE: Palmerston North cat lover Diane Rozmus with her cat Baloo.

A Palmerston North woman whose cat was held down and shot five times with a slug gun is hoping economist Gareth Morgan’s tirade against domestic cats does not lead to vigilante behaviour.

Dr Morgan has set up a website called Cats to Go, encouraging people to make their cat their last in the hope of eradicating the species and saving the native bird population.

‘‘That little ball of fluff you own is a natural born killer,’’ his website says.

Dr Morgan goes as far as to suggest owners euthanase their current pets as ‘‘one option’’.

We appreciate the fact that you have an emotional connection with your pet and that pet ownership is a rewarding experience... but there’s a real problem with cats – they kill for pleasure.’’

Diane Rozmus, whose cat Baloo still has three slug-gun pellets inside his body from being held and shot by unknown attackers in 2010, believes the vitriol on the website is inaccurate and dangerous.

‘‘I’m really surprised it’s domestic cats he [Morgan] has gone for.

‘‘Baloo gets his food more or less out of a can.

‘‘He spends his time sleeping on the patio.  He’s not bothered by eating native birds.

‘‘I throw bread out on the lawn and when the birds come he does not even watch them.

‘‘If anything this is probably going to turn other people against cats.  I hope it doesn’t start anyone going round killing cats, because these things can.’’

Ms Rozmus is refusing to heed Dr Morgan’s advice against replacing her cats, Baloo and Bagheera.

‘‘This is a cat household and you can’t take the cats away from it.

‘‘I’m not a crazy cat lady but if Baloo or Bagheera passed away, after a period of time I would have to replace them, the cats mean too much to me not to.

‘‘Why doesn’t [Dr Morgan] put his time and energy into eradicating other introduced species?  Since when was a cat defined as a pest?’’

Manawatu SPCA manager Danny Auger also disagreed with Dr Morgan’s sentiment.

‘‘You have got plenty of cat lovers in this country and to just call for the eradication of cats is a bit simplistic.

‘‘They clean up a lot of vermin and I think most people like cats a lot more than they do wild rats and wild mice.

‘‘They also offer some people a lot of companionship and a massive amount of comfort.

‘‘There’s a lot – like the elderly for example – who can’t handle a dog but they can handle a cat.’’

Mr Auger said nobody would look at their cat and say it was a natural born killer, because most of the time it was not.

‘‘There’s ways and means to stop 

cats from hunting.  ‘‘Things like bells on the collar and flashing lights make it pretty difficult for birds to be caught out.’’

He said most cities in New Zealand had problems with stray cats and a bigger issue for native birds was the people who did not look after cats properly.

Manawatu Standard