Wineries and stoats also bird killers

TRACY NEAL
Last updated 13:00 23/01/2013

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Brightwater cat lover Rose Boulton has pounced on the notion that felines are the worst enemies of our natural fauna.

She argues just as much damage is done to the bird population by stoats and ferrets, and by winery owners' methods of killing birds to save their grapes.

The breeder of persian and other exotic cats and the proud owner of 18 felines also runs Elite Cat Boarding Motels, where cats lounge in private rooms behind white hotel doors along a grand hallway. She is not totally opposed to economist Gareth Morgan's suggestions for minimising cats' impacts on the environment, but reckons cat lovers deserve a break.

"Basically, because I love cats. I love birds too - all animals and insects in fact, except spiders.

"I've been a cat lover ever since I was a toddler growing up on the farm in Collingwood where it wasn't unusual to wake up and find the domestic cat had given birth to kittens overnight in the wardrobe."

The call to rid the country of cats was not new, Mrs Boulton said. It was something she heard from time to time while listening to talkback radio.

"It's sad. Cats are wonderful companions for a lot of people."

The breeder of show cats said her children sometimes complained the cats were more spoiled than they were.

"My answer to that was cats don't ask for money and they usually come home when they're told."

Three-year-old persian show cat Sparkles snorted when Mrs Boulton said that certain breeds of cats, such as the persians, did not climb trees and were largely indoor cats.

She said it was wise for cat owners to shut their pets in at night to reduce the risk of them straying, getting caught up in fights which led to expensive vet bills, or getting killed on the road.

She agreed cats should be de-sexed, and that people were crazy not to microchip pets as a means of identification in the event they were lost or stolen.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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