Editorial: Furore over cats has me puzzled

By Abby Hartevelt

I've been watching the Gareth Morgan versus the furry felines saga unfold with quite a lot of interest.

Dr Morgan and SPCA executive president Bob Kerridge have been locked in a war of words after the businessman launched the "Cats to Go"campaign last week, labelling cats as "natural-born killers" and calling for local government to require registration and micro-chipping of cats, and to eradicate unregistered cats.

Dr Morgan accused the SPCA of "single-handedly destroying our native species", saying they were releasing cats into the wild.

Dr Morgan offered to donate $5 to the SPCA for every homeless cat they euthanised on the condition the SPCA would not release one more cat into the wild in New Zealand and that the SPCA will only release cats to registered owners who will chip them.

Mr Kerridge called for Dr Morgan to support them by assisting with the funding of desexing and micro-chipping of every domestic cat in the country.

If Dr Morgan did that it would free up SPCA funding to add to bird rescue activities.

But the whole debate has got a tad confusing. At first, I thought Dr Morgan was talking about releasing all cats into the wild and then he talked about eradicating unregistered cats.

Mr Kerridge talked about feral cats being a problem but not strays.

Who knew the SPCA was releasing cats into the wild?

If the organisation is doing that, then I tend to agree with Dr Morgan.

Every year we run stories about how inundated the SPCA is with cats and kittens because their owners either don't care or can't afford to keep them.

While I don't agree with getting rid of cats, I think there is a place for felines to be registered and microchipped - perhaps that would reduce the cat population at the SPCA.

We already do it with dogs, so why not cats?

But I guess there is also the cost.

Too many dog owners don't register and microchip their dogs, so perhaps that would also be the case for cats.

Whatever the answer is, getting rid of all cats is certainly not the solution.

They do provide a lot of comfort and company for people - and I imagine most of those people are the ones who probably would be prepared to have their cat registered and microchipped.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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