Cat Free
© OneNews
Gareth Morgan wants to see a cat-free New Zealand.
Economist Gareth Morgan is championing a campaign to eradicate cats from New Zealand.

The "Cats to Go" initiative is encouraging owners not to replace their cat when it dies, in an effort to protect native bird species.

"Almost half of Kiwi households have a cat (or two) making New Zealanders the world's biggest cat owners. Cats are incredibly effective hunters and are wiping out our native birds," the campaign website says.

It cites research which claims the average cat brings home 13 pieces of prey each year, but this represents only a fifth of the animals it kills.

It also offers evidence against claims that cats only kill rodents or do no hunt if they are well fed.

"In one study, six cats were presented with a live small rat while eating their preferred food. All six cats stopped eating the food, killed the rat, and then resumed eating the food," the website says.

A video on the site goes further and labels cats as "serial killers" who "torture their victims slowly and without mercy".

The site says cat owners can support the cause by not getting any new cats, fitting their pets with a bell and keeping them indoors at all times. SPCA chief executive Bob Kerridge says the campaign is a bit radical and over the top, and questioned the validity of Morgan's research.

He said their surveys show fewer than half of New Zealand's domestic cats kill other animals.

Claims from the website:

The website features a YouTube video, made two years ago, which makes the following statements:

"Some cats will kill over a thousand birds each year"

"Every year, hundreds of millions of birds are murdered by cats."

"Cats are the only true sadists of the animal world"

"Cats torture their victims slowly and without mercy"

"Cats are serial killers, cold and without compassion"

"Cats are undeterred by cries of pain"

"Research shows that if you put a small animal next to an eating cat, it will pause, kill it, then return to its meal."

"Cats are the only animals that are truly evil."

"Birds bond for life until your cat kills one."

"Cat owners are fully to blame for the murdering sprees of their cats. Cats should never leave the house."