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Banning Cats As Pets

By Michele C. Hollow of Pet News and Views

Okay, don’t let the headline frighten you. I believe cats make the best pets.

  As a pet blogger, I get lots of press releases. Most don’t make it to the blog. This one, however, seemed of interest. Gareth Morgan, an environmental advocate in New Zealand, wants to ban cats as pets. His reasons have to do with feral populations and outdoor house cats and their impact on bird populations.

When I post stories on TNR (Trap Neuter Return),  I always hear from birders who are against this practice because of the threat ferals have on wild birds. I live with two cats, and will always have cats in my life. I also have a deep love of birds and an appreciation of birding.  So I was glad to receive this release from Bruce Kornreich, feline health expert and associate director for Education and Outreach at the Feline Health Center of Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine.

“The effect of feline predation on native bird populations is an important issue, says Kornreich. “It is undeniable that cats do prey on birds, and that in some cases this predation can have negative impacts on native bird populations. It is important to point out, however, that some studies have shown that birds are much more adaptable to predation than initially thought, and that, in fact, in some cases feline predation may impart a survival advantage to native bird populations by controlling rodent or other potential predator populations.”

“While we are sympathetic to the emotions that may motivate some individuals to eradicate one species in order to protect another, we feel that this approach is a hasty one, and that it may result in unforeseen negative effects on the ecosystem that people with good intentions are trying to protect.”

“Issues such as the control of feral cat populations, optimization of habitat for native bird species, and education of cat owners about the potential effects of cats on bird species certainly warrant our support, but we feel that the banning of cats in this case would be a rash decision, and one that may have unintended consequences for the ecosystem that Mr. Morgan obviously cares so deeply for.”

Thankfully, I can safely state that cat parents agree with me that banning cats would be absurd.

17 comments to Banning Cats As Pets

  • How sad and rash it that as a solution; to ban cats. I agree, banning cats is absurd.

  • Ginger

    Absurd! Many cats are strictly indoor cats. Even for the ones who aren’t, people have the right to have animals if they treat them properly.

  • Agreed Ginger! I was glad Bruce Kornreich, feline health expert and associate director for Education and Outreach at the Feline Health Center of Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine, sent me the release. He shows that cats are beneficial. –Michele

  • Jennifer

    I didn’t think you lost your mind Michele. I know you. The person that suggested this has!

  • Cari

    I did think the idea is wrong and insane. A world without cats would be a sad sad place.

  • Ramona (Kit Katzz)

    Banning cats is absurd! I have two feral colonies in my yard. I throw my bird seed/peanuts/bread ONTOP of my 8 foot shed so the birds & squirels can eat while staying safe from the ferals.

  • Barbara Mank

    Good write-up. It’s good to read about other views, even if they are ridiculous. I love cats, and am glad to see some positive feedback on why they are necessary.

  • This subject has come up a few times that I’ve seen. The foolish notion is maddening, and I don’t bother debating it since it’s completely illogical.

    Also – cats rule the internet, lol.

  • I feel about my cats the way so many people are reacting to having their guns taken away! You just try!!!!! :) Seriously, this is a really stupid idea. An example of a “1st thought” solution rather than a good solution.

  • Smart point Shirley.–Michele

  • Ace

    Having been involved with Trap Neuter Return of feral cats for over 22 years, I can truthfully say that the cats are NOT the problem they are made out to be. More than 7 MILLION birds are killed annually by Lawn Chemicals. More than 7 MILLION birds are killed annually by collisions with plate glass windows and windshields. HAWKS, FOXES, Kids with BB guns, DOGS and Other Birds also kill birds. And the “CAT” that kills the MOST birds is the CATerpillar bulldozer that knocks down WHOLE FORESTS (in my neighborhood it only took two days for man”KIND” to wipe out a whole forest), thus displacing birds and wildlife as well as killing trees that we so badly need nowadays as buffers and filters against air pollution. When birds and wildlife are displaced, they try to nest elsewhere — but “elsewhere” is where OTHER birds and wildlife are also trying to survive — it is a harder struggle to survive for all these creatures. Man”KIND” – destroying the land and its avian denizens, is the problem here, NOT the cats.

  • Thank you for your comments. I totally agree. Michele

  • William Bailey

    Ace hit it on the head. Well said.

  • How many times does our species have to endure the “brilliance” of any idea that involves the eradication of another species? If Mr. Morgan were a TRUE environmentalist, he would understand that all life is connected in an intricate and delicate web, of which humans have only the barest comprehension. Every time we try to screw with Mother Nature, she ends up screwing us back even worse, which is as it should be. Puny, stupid man. Leave stuff alone! It’s like here in America, so many people think we have a “deer problem,” or a “wolf problem” or a “bear problem” They were here first! I’d say the deer and wolves have a people problem! They were just find till we came along and ravaged their habitats! Mr. Morgan should take his antiquated, species-ist notions and stuff them back up where they came from. Idiot.

  • Hi Mary,
    A few years ago, our county executive, who I didn’t vote for, instituted a deer hunt. I use the “they were here” first argument all the time, but it falls on deaf ears too many times. It really is sad.
    In this case, however, I think too many people–thankfully–will disprove Mr. Morgan’s theories, as Mr. Kornreich pointed out.–Michele

  • Marie

    Wow, Gareth is a whack job. Glad to see that there is scientific proof that cats are needed.

  • I like Shirley’s description, “This is a ‘first thought’ solution.”