Save the cats: New Zealand should not let cats die out

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Illustration by Chris Sanford

Apparently we should kill all of the cats in New Zealand — at least that’s what New Zealand economist Gareth Morgan advises, according to a Jan. 23 New York Times article by Gerry Mulany. Morgan points out that cats have been killing off the local bird population, to the point that the birds have become endangered. However, I ardently protest Morgan’s plan to slowly kill off cats in New Zealand by advising pet owners to have their cats spayed and neutered and not to replace their pets when they die.

First off, according to the article, 48 percent of New Zealanders own cats and wish to continue owning them. Cats are meant to be with people and to bring them comfort and satisfaction. They are pets, while wild birds are not. Thus, cats are obviously going to be more important to their owners than wild birds.

The Felix Katnip Tree Company also believes cats can teach us important life lessons such as how to relax and not stress about everything, how to enjoy our natural surroundings and to do something goofy every once in a while.

Spending time with your cat also helps your health. According to WebMD, studies have shown that living with pets can help lower blood pressure, lessen anxiety and, in turn, boost immunity.

It is also important to note that there are other predators besides cats going after these birds. Maybe instead of killing off cats, these other predators should be regulated. Birds are made to flee predators, hence the wings with which they fly away. I have seen a cat try to catch a bird, and most of the time the bird gets away. If birds have survived all of this time without extinction, they probably will continue to do so.

According to the New York Times article, the executive director of the Auckland Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Bob Kerridge, would agree with me. He says, “A cat-free anywhere is not a good area,” and added that we should “leave it to nature to take care of things.”

My objection to all of this is simple: cats are part of nature. Killing them off in New Zealand would go against nature, and therefore it would not be taking care of itself. Morgan’s argument should be refuted. Cats should not be neutered and made to die out in New Zealand. It just doesn’t make any sense.

John Forsee is a junior in journalism and mass communications. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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