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Jan 23 2013

My cat is sad!

My cat Minu was sad.

Minu18
I asked her -What happened? Why are you so sad!
She said -You don’t know what is going on?
I said -No. Please tell me. I have never seen you so unhappy!
She sighed, and then said -Gareth Morgan is launching a campaign to eradicate domestic cats.
-Who is Gareth Morgan?

Minu sat on my stomach and said, -Gareth Morgan is a famous economist in New Zealand.

Minu9

-He wants to eradicate cats?
-Yes, he calls us natural-born killers.
-What do you mean by ‘us’?
-Cats.
-Oh!
-He says, ‘Cats are the only true sadists of the animal world’ and calls cats serial killers. He thinks every year, cats in New Zealand destroy their native wildlife.
-Did he talk about foxes?
-No.
-Did he talk about humans, that humans kill animals for fun?
-No. He only talked about cats.
-Is it true?
-Yes, he says, ‘The fact is that cats have to go if we really care about our environment.’
-Hard to believe an educated man can say this!
-Mr. Morgan has set up a website called ‘Cats to Go’. If you do not believe me, why don’t you just go Google yourself! The website encourages people to make their current cat their last.
-How did you know about his website?
-A friend of mine emailed me!
-I see.

Minu didn’t wait for me. She showed me the website Cats to Go.

MINUUU

Minu is right. Mr. Morgan seriously wants to eradicate cats. He asks cat owners to put bells on their pets, have them neutered, keep them inside from now on, and not replace them when they die. He wants cat owners to sign a petition asking local governments to require registration and micro-chipping of cats, to provide eradication facilities for unregistered cats, and encourage people to trap and turn in unwanted cats on their property.

Mr. Economist made me feel so sad! I stopped reading his anti-cat sermons and embraced Minu.

Minu5

I told her, you are not in New Zealand!
She said, so what, other cats live in New Zealand. Just imagine how sad they are!
- I can imagine. Listen Minu, you are neutered. You are a 100% indoor cat. You have never killed a bird. What if a bird sit on your bedroom window?
- I may chase the bird away but I will not kill him!
- Cool! You are a nice girl.
- I know I am nice, I get Royal Canin stuff, tasty fresh fish, cat treats everyday but many cats are unfortunately outdoor cats. Why shouldn’t they hunt birds if they are terribly hungry? What should those poor homeless cats do if no one adopts them? Dogs and other animals eat cats. Don’t they?
- Don’t worry, no one will eat you!
- Mom, I am worried for New Zealand cats. And also, I am afraid there are Gareth Morgans in other countries too!
- Oh Minu, come on! The man is obsessed with birds. To save beasts, one day he will say, kill all the tigers because tigers kill beasts. It can not be a solution. He knows about economics but not much about nature. People will not eradicate tigers, they will not eradicate domestic cats either. Cats are eating birds. Then try to find a solution that protects birds and saves cats from hunger. One day an insect enthusiast will pop up from nowhere and say, kill all the birds, because birds eat insects. We will not accept that. Don’t worry my lovely child, cats will not go, cats will stay. People in New Zealand consider cats to be a member of the family, Nobody can take away the civil liberties people have to choose who they want in their home.
- Are you sure?
- I am sure. It is true that some people hate cats. But it is also true that many people love cats. They love them more than anything. Don’t you know?
- Yes I know. But do you know that cats love humans more than they love cats?
- I know.

23 comments

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  1. 1
    natashatasha

    I used to support eradication of cats when I was in high school (read: young and stupid), but I certainly think the idea of eradicating them now to be ghastly. I support the idea of micro-chipping cats but for the same reason I do for dogs — for identification, not for gas chambers

    That said, I do support cat curfews to stop people letting them out at night — other people’s cats are constantly coming into our yard at night and scaring our birds — even scared one of our finches to death. Also, I found some of your rhetoric a tad ridiculous; I don’t think anyone would support tigers roaming free in New Zealand, and would demand they be captured immediately. Cats are an introduced apex predator, and controlling their behaviour is important so they don’t collapse entire ecosystems that have evolved in isolation.

  2. 2
    Rob

    I love cats. I cried for hours after my last cat died. However, it is true that cats (among many other introduced mammals) have had a devastating impact on New Zealand’s native wildlife, much of which is unique and seriously endangered. You don’t actually realise how great the impact is until you go to one of the predator free island sanctuaries and can barely hear yourself think for the birdsong.
     
    Eradication of cats is an extreme thought, and is frankly not going to happen here (NZ). However, by taking such a controversial stance Gareth will spark debate and hopefully will force cat owners to consider some of the mitigation measures he proposes. Taking an extreme stance to force debate is something you are familiar with Taslima (and something I have defended you doing elsewhere on FTB). It’s worth noting that as a result of introduced species NZ faces problems with extinction and severe endangerment of numerous bird, reptile and insect species. There is no single simplistic cure.

  3. 3
    dangerousbeans

    Cats are a major threat to New Zeland and Australian ecosystems. To preserve the ecosystems feral and outdoor cats need to be removed, otherwise they contribute to extinction of other species.

    I don’t like the idea of them dying, but it’s probably the only practical solution for feral cats. Pet cats should be kept indoors, and microchipped so we can identify the owners of any found outdoors.

  4. 4
    Gwendolyn Walsh

    I dearly love cats.
    I have been involved in their rescue and rehoming for the last 20 years.

    All domestic cats should be neutered. It is better for their health.
    Neutering reduces the chances of diseases and cancers.
    And microchipping helps reunite lost cats with sad owners.

    I really love cats. They’re joyful, glorious creatures.

  5. 5
    dgrasett

    Cats eat a lot more rodents than they eat birds. We would be hip deep in rodents if we didn’t have cats. Have we forgotten that the burning of witches and the hatred of cats has a direct causal line to the Black Death – which was carried by fleas on rodents?
    I thoroughly approve of the killing of rodents by cats. I have lived in farming country. Cats to control rodents is a system that works.
    Lets not mess with a system that works. ‘Taint broke, dont fix it.

    1. 5.1
      Nepenthe

      Cats (Felis silvestris) are native to Europe. It’s not really the same as letting cats loose in Australia or North America. Before cats were introduced, Australia and NA were not overrun by rodents; there are native predators whose populations could use a boost.

      Plus, there are tons of endangered rodent species that cats love to chow down on.

      And as a cat lover, I strongly support neuter/spay programs and keeping cats indoors. Outdoor cats and intact cats (especially males) live shorter and more difficult lives. They get hit by cars and spread horrible diseases (to cats) like feline leukemia and FIV when they fight.

  6. 6
    Zachary

    Cats are a bloody problem in New Zealand, like rabbits in Australia.

  7. 7
    Rob

    Dgrasett – the system has been messed with and is broken already. That’s exactly why it is being messed with.
    Zachary – Indeed. Just like rabbits, stoats, weasels, ferrets, rats, possums, wallabies and who knows what other pests introduced into NZ. Lets not even get started on the introduced and noxious weeds, fish, algae and insect pests that have been introduced.

  8. 8
    Tan

    The problem is that many cat owners in nz and here in Australia are just not responsible like you clearly are with your cat. Native species have been wiped out from species like cats entering the ecosystem. I love cats too, but I can see his point. The ecosystem and natives are more important than the freedom of some very irresponsible pet owners. Unfortunately at this point taking the reasonable view – that cats are fine if kept properly- does not change the problem or highlight it.

    There is a similar man here in south Australia who lives in the Adelaide hills in his native sanctuary where he wears a cat on his head as a hat… It’s getting the point out there I guess. It’s hard to understand the problem from another country; you need to remember Australia has been isolated for so long that once our natives go, that’s it. It’s not like America where the fauna is relatively safe and there’s more to back up in other countries in any case. Australia and NZ are unique and incredibly vulnerable to any small change.

  9. 9
    Lofty

    Cat control like gun control is a very emotive issue. I have two cats in a bushland setting, and after being bitten twice by snakes the youngest is now a 100% indoor cat. They have never been allowed out at night. I think cat control is good for the cats that are loved as they live longer, spread less disease and kill less vulnerable wildlife.

  10. 10
    Kilian Hekhuis

    Gareth Morgan is absolutely right, if only to make people aware that their pet is a killer. Cats are barely domesticated, they’re wild animals living in your house.

    1. 10.1
      1. Kilian Hekhuis

        I’m pretty sure that if you’d drop it off in the wild, it’d have no problem surviving, save perhaps as a result of its predominantly white coat.

  11. 11
    sc_770d159609e0f8deaa72849e3731a29d

    A lighthouse-keeper’s cat in New Zealand wiped out single-clawed an entire species of a bird- the Norfolk Island wren. Mr Morgan isn’t going to get his qish, but cat owners should think carefully about what their cats moghr do.

  12. 12
    Peter Sharpe

    I view the gradual eradication of cats by neutering and non-replacement in the same way as that of farm & zoo animals as a non-cruel way of reducing and eventually eliminating our exploitation of non-human animals. Of course, many companion animals do not lead as cruel a life as those on farms or in zoos but in many ways it is more unnatural as at least those in farms & zoos are among there own kind and can express themselves in a more natural way.

  13. 13
    Brian E

    A lighthouse-keeper’s cat in New Zealand wiped out single-clawed an entire species of a bird- the Norfolk Island wren.

    Um, no, cats released earlier did most of the damage. The lighthouse keepers cat, at best, delivered the coup-de-grace.
    But I have to agree with the sentiment. I have 7 cats (don’t tell the council, we’ll be forced to destroy them, or give them to the pound, which will mean their destruction, but I repeat myself). Feral domesticate cats are a massive problem in Australia, as well as New Zealand. I don’t want well cared for kitties destroyed, but the wild ones that prey on whatever they can eat, which often is rabbits (yay!) but also often is native species that are already being out competed by rabbits, and habitat destruction, don’t need another predator to go with the fox. Our own kitties are locked up at night, and spend a lot of the day in a purpose built enclosure, but still manage to kill blue-tongues and Rosellas in the few unguarded moments when they’ve gotten free. They are innate killers. I don’t have a problem with destroying (killing) feral domestic cats. But I disagree with destroying well maintained kitties.

  14. 14
    Martyn

    Oh wow. Thanks for this piece Taslima!

    I have not commented on your blog for over a year, but this, this piece is lovely. I loved the way you conveyed the policies of that stupid man into a dialogue between you and Minu.

    Excellent. As per usual!

    Made me smile reading :)

    1. 14.1
      Taslima Nasreen

      Wow, thank you so much!

  15. 15
    tony goddard

    Polly the cat is terminally ill. She has been a good companion for ten years. Now she is on her death bed. Polly was not neutered. She has always lived with me in high rise flats. She is ‘balcony trained’. She last went ‘on heat’ in May, 2012, then she stopped. She has been more and more polite as death approaches. At this time I think of ‘The Tibetan Book of the Dead’, of which I own a copy (In Serbo-Croat, which I don’t read all that well). Polly is fading, and has become very weak. She has stopped eating.

    All the other balconies at my level are covered with pigeon droppings. Polly has stopped this for my flat.

    1. 15.1
      Taslima Nasreen

      I feel so sorry for Polly. You must be very sad. I feel suffocated whenever I think of Minu dying.

  16. 16
    maxx power

    Clearly, Taslima has a touch of the toxoplasmosis.

    I think I’ll just leave this here.

  17. 17
    CatorKakapo?

    I have had cats since I was a baby. I grew up with them and I’d find it hard to be comfortable in a house without a cat. All those cats were outdoor cats. I think it’s okay beacause I’m from Europe, and there have been domestic cats in Europe since Roman times, so about 2,000 years, and before that there were wildcats, which are a different subspecies, but very similar. So European wildlife is probably used to being preyed on by cats and has evolved to deal with it.

    New Zealand is different. The wildlife there evolved in isolation. I don’t think they ever had any mammal predators until westerners introduced them a few hundred years ago. So it’s not a fair fight. There are birds in New Zealand that lay their eggs on the ground. There’s a giant parrot called a Kakapo that can’t fly. New Zealand’s willdife is unique and irreplacable. Extinction is such a terrible thing. Once a species is gone, it’s gone, except maybe for cloning, and that has severe limitations. So, as much as I love cats and enjoy their company, I think there’s a lot of truth to what the man says. That doesn’t mean I support cruelty to cats, but I think it’s better if they get killed humanely, than New Zealand’s wildlife disappears. We can always breed more cats, and they have many other continents to rule over.

    If killing is too much, then neutering and keeping them inside would be good. Or maybe they could deport their ferals to cat lovers in Europe? Like a reverse convict ship.

    Take a look at a Kea’s face. Isn’t it just a loveable as a cat? Or look at the kiwi. They’re adorable, fluffy little birds. Don’t they deserve a chance at life?

  18. 18
    Zeon Amanza

    They’re just whimsical

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