Feline fervour out of favour

By Rosemary McLeod

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CAT CAMPAIGN: Wellington City Council could limit domestic felines to two per household.PHOTO/STOCK IMAGE
CAT CAMPAIGN: Wellington City Council could limit domestic felines to two per household.PHOTO/STOCK IMAGE

There can be few things as delightful as denying other people enjoyment of something you set no value on yourself.

What a win-win situation, all power even if there's no great glory in it.

Priests and prudes traditionally advise against sex, dieticians abhor whipped cream, and Gareth Morgan has his anti-cats campaign.

He and his followers don't like them, they freely admit, so why should anyone else?

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The current excuse is that cats are predators who kill lizards and birds, and now that a delightful native parrot is naturalising itself in Wellington, it too will go the way of the evil moggy - as lunch.

Now the city council is going to ration cats, two to a household, in line with his extravagantly endowed campaign, and hopefully all microchipped so criminal cats can be caught and executed.

Rich men must have their fun, I guess, but I wish he'd take up something thrilling and dangerous, adultery or cheese making would be ideal, and leave domesticated cats alone.

It is scary knowing that the parrots lay their eggs and hatch them on the ground, oblivious to changing times and the arrival in this country of the world's greatest predators, ourselves.

They have simply no idea how riskily they live, so my two feline gentlemen have suspicion fall upon them.

I like all animals myself, except for vicious dogs, who tear people's faces off.

People are free to own dogs bred purely as attack weapons, and I'm wondering if this is because dogs are seen as - in general - belonging to a better class of person.

They tend to go with ye olde English mansions and tweed wearers, lawyers and such, in the public imagination, and their loyalty is much lauded.

I have no quarrel with dogs, though they are inclined to grovel, but find it interesting that they can cast offensive matter freely around the city and suburbs without Morgan having a fit.

Dogs are generally believed to be prime killers of kiwis, who also nest on the ground, but god forbid anyone should come between a hunter and his mutts. Dogs must run free, among the better class of owner - followed by a pooper scooper.

Recent research in Australia tells us that cats have personality types, a useful snippet of information on par with telling us the sky is blue. Our boys are an amiable extrovert and a neurotic, and they delight me as cats have done since I was a small child in a lower class of family who always had them as pets.

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Morgan and his cohorts evidently didn't have the same experience, so they don't know that cats are also the thin furry line that stands between us and rats and mice.

Rats, I should think, are every bit as likely to kill native birds and raid their nests as feral cats, because I draw a distinction here between ferals and those with doting homes.

If you want a truly evil predator there are possums, which we seem to have virtually given up on. Morgan's money would be well spent on destroying them instead of persecuting old ladies' companions who tread a lazy path between bed and food bowl and back again, with intermittent toilet stops in the garden.

And they bury their ordure, I might add, which is more than dogs and some humans do.

As for ferals, we are the worst and most dangerous of the lot, as the Microsoft chatbot designed to appeal to teenagers on Twitter illustrates. While we adults mouth tolerance-driven platitudes to our offspring, they are absorbing a toxic mix of repulsive attitudes and circulating them among each other.

Like some innocent newborn the chatbot came into the world only to swiftly descend into vile racist rants and the all-round nastiness of trolling. In a matter of hours the bogus youngster was declaring that Donald Trump is the only hope for the world and that she hated feminists who "should all die and burn in hell".

Which reminds me of the current vogue on British TV for sexy academics to front history programmes like the documentaries on witch-hunting that screened earlier this week.

I hope Morgan watched them and tore his eyes away from the lissom blonde with her corkscrew curls for a brief moment to enjoy the similarity between the Tudor witch hunts and his own.

Rosemary McLeod is a journalist and author.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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