Gareth Morgan has been criticised by online readers with one calling for his eradication after he suggested cats should be culled to protect native birds.
A website set up by the Morgan Foundation called Cats to Go says cats have contributed to the extinction of nine native bird species and impacted on 33 endangered native bird species.
"The fact is that your furry friend is actually a friendly neighbourhood serial killer," the site says.
It goes on to say that killing cats is not necessary but is an option.
That suggestion has drawn criticism from the majority of online readers.
Daily News Online poll results show 60 per cent of the 800 people who have voted think eradication is a bad idea, about 33 per cent agreed with Mr Morgan while another 7 said they didn't care either way.
Most online comments were opposed to the idea with some even suggesting Mr Morgan should be in the firing line for his outrageous comments.
"Let's get rid of him instead," Stev Vivid said on Facebook.
"He has killed the Phoenix, now cats, look out the Hurricanes, Morgan's on the loose," another comment read.
But there were some who supported the idea.
"Mount Messenger is the favourite dropping off point for unwanted felines now there is a big problem so I agree with Gareth," Haumoana White said.
Other commentators believed eradication would not fix the problem as there were other pests that caused problem and cats were useful in killing them.
"What about all the rats, mice, rabbits, stoats etc that they catch? I'd imagine rats would be a far worse pest, they crawl into the nests and eat the eggs before they even get a chance. I'm sure plenty of feral cats are already dealt with in pest eradication programs in areas of special interest," Rosalea Webby said.
That sentiment was also reflected by Leonie Jarvis, of the Taranaki Animal Protection Trust, said the issue was not cut and dried in today's Taranaki Daily News.
"Cats are predators but they are not the worst and, in fact, they prey upon the worst predators so they have a function out there in the wild," Ms Jarvis said.
Keeping a cat as a pet was a basic civil right and the therapeutic value outweighed any negatives, she said.
"I also believe that we are entitled to have these amazing creatures in our families.
"They are amazing animals and I love them."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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