Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Time to cull cats?

Feral cat - not Louie

I like cats, have always had one or two. In many ways they have been special friends, with special bonds.

Louie, my current cat has lived with me for 10 years, in over 12 homes, in Muriwai and Nelson, Golden Bay and Christchurch. I love Louie - he is such a gentle cat. But he is a killer! - mainly rodents, and some introduced species of birds (I did explain to him that i wouldn't be happy about native birds getting eaten) and I have never seen him eat /kill a native - but i could never say that he hasn't. No skinks or lizards have been left decapitated on the lawn, but once again I could never swear that he hasn't killed one or two.

There is something magical about cats. Perfectly designed, focused, attractive... but then I am a cat person.

BUT I will not get another cat after Louie dies. Much as I love cats - I love birds and native wildlife more. I don't know if i would get rid of all cats from this country but i would get rid of all feral cats and i would come down hard on people who dump their cats... really hard!

Cat dumpers are up there with pig torturers in my book.

This news from Dunedin is disturbing:

"The dumping of domestic cats in remote places on Otago Peninsula is threatening the area's "very precious" wildlife.

Those who look after endangered species, such as yellow-eyed penguins, are worried about their safety as the wild cat population increases greatly"

"Cape Saunders farmer Dave McKay said he had been looking after a yellow-eyed penguin colony on Little Papanui beach, on his farm, for 30 years. This season, about 100 of the penguins made his beach home, as well as some blue penguins.

In the past 15 months, Mr McKay had trapped or shot 23 cats, of which half were domestic cats. He had others in his sights."

"Dunedin City Council parks officer Scott MacLean said the council contracted three-monthly night shoots, mostly for rabbits on the peninsula, including Okia Reserve, where it was not unusual for five feral cats a night to be shot.

Penguin Place also had an ongoing problem with feral cats, especially from Christmas onwards, and had trapped 25 since October 1.

Larnach Castle, which was trying to encourage native birds back into its garden, had trapped seven feral cats since February and it was thought four more were on the property. The cats were either put down or adopted out by the SPCA."

So - want to get rid of your cat - give it to the SPCA, don't dump it.

And as a final word - what a weird way of looking at this issue, "The penguins and other wildlife on the peninsula are a vital tourism attraction and were in 2007 estimated to add $100 million or more to the Dunedin economy each year."

Forget the dollars fool and concentrate on protecting the wildlife.

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