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Melissa Mayntz

Should Pet Cats Be Banned?

By January 23, 2013

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Outdoor cats are no friend to birds, but even many birders enjoy pet cats and keep them responsibly indoors. One New Zealand environmental advocate wants to take it a step further, however, hoping to eliminate all pet cats from his country. According to Fox News, Gareth Morgan is urging a pet cat ban in order to preserve the country's unique avifauna. While he does not stress euthanasia - leaving that option to the pet's owner - he is asking that no one buy new cats, that pets be spayed or neutered and that a national registry be instituted for the animals.

Cats are directly responsible for the extinction of several New Zealand bird species, and several more are endangered and face grave threats from these predators. While Morgan's measures are extreme, they are not without precedent. The state of Florida prohibits several types of pet snakes, for example, and this month the state is hunting down invasive pythons that have devastated native birds.

Backyard birders can take steps to discourage feral cats, but even the most aggressive techniques aren't always effective. Do you agree with Morgan's proposal? What measures would you like to see in place to control outdoor cats? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Outdoor Cat
Photo Ed Brambley


January 23, 2013 at 12:04 pm
(1) Darlene says:

I don’t think they should be banned, but I do wish that owners would be more thoughtful and considerate about letting their cats roam unsupervised. I don’t really appreciate someone’s cat roaming a mile or two away from his home and killing ducklings and other baby birds at a park or preserve. I also think having a registration is a good idea overall. It might, at least, help cut down on certain diseases by making sure owners vaccinate their pets.

January 23, 2013 at 1:22 pm
(2) cathartes says:

Up front I’ll admit that I am a cat lover, cat owner. However, I always (yes, I mean always) keep my cat indoors. And yes, I agree that free roaming cats do damage to the bird population. After working in wildlife rehab for 21 years I know a high percentage of bird injuries are from cats.

However, I’ve also seen many dog caught animals brought in. Not as high in numbers but they take a toll on birds and small mammals, even some larger mammals are mauled by dogs (like beavers). On a personal note I had a couple of pet rabbits that were in a cage outdoors and unknown to me, a dog (or more) got into our yard and managed to toss the cage around and literally terrorize and maul our rabbits through the cage. They did not survive obviously.

The bottom line is being a responsible pet owner which means keeping cats inside and dogs leashed. Owners will complain that it’s not “natural” or it’s not fair to keep the cat inside or dog on leash. But keeping pets is not exactly their norm either if you look back on their history.

The real problem is how to enforce responsible pet ownership.

February 4, 2013 at 4:09 pm
(3) Paula Bockenstedt says:

I think it is reasonable to require spaying and neutering for cats purchased or adopted.It is reasonable to place restrictions on cat breeders. I think to attempt to exterminate a valuable species which is also responsible for vermin control is a very very big mistake. The biggest threat to any animal or plant species on this planet is man. The sad impression that humans can possibly understand the interactions of all the various ecosystems and their interplay is sadly false. We have countless examples of our well meaning destructive capacity in that regard. Leave the cats alone. I am glad for their abilities and I am a dog owner.

February 14, 2013 at 7:24 am
(4) Richard says:

I think if you can’t keep a pet in your home or in a controled state then the animal should be in the wild not living and surviving off of us…Felis Catus originated from Egypt and surrounding area 3-9000 years ago by being domesticated through being good and useful mousers to stop grain consumption by them…There role in life is for our pleasure only..like objects

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