“Prominent NZ economist and environmentalist, Gareth Morgan, wants his country 100 percent cat-free and he's willing to go extraordinary lengths to make it a reality.” Leads the Atlantic.com.
This Eradicate-Killer-Cats Campaign has got me riled. Let’s stop the bird slaughter and save our cats, I decided and promptly bought my cat a double belled cat collar. I’d show Mr Morgan. I’d stop my moggie serving up his first avian dish at dawn. Pft said, Burnt Toast, ‘I’m a country cat, that’s how I roll’.
BT was riled too, when I put the spiffy electric-blue-belled stretchy piece of elastic around his throat. It ruffled his fur, made him look like a cad, not the rural lay about that he is. He mewed and thrashed at his neck with his hind paws. He got that collar off within two minutes and looked at me like I was a cruel ringmaster. Fiddlesticks. I put it back on. Three times.
Strangely, by then he accepted the noose around his neck. Then he lay back looking like the cat that got the cream AND a fancy new accessory.
The next morning, he entered our bedroom, through the toilet window, as is his habit. That awful muffled meow, now with a double belled salute, trumpeted in his first kill of the day.
What a waste of $14.50, I thought and listened to sharp incisors crushing delicate bone. It was too late to save it, so I put the pillow over my head and waited for the alarm. The lady at the vets said people had been rushing in and buying extra bells, were they also trying to stem Mr Morgans fury? Save life with cats as we know it? Or save their white shag pile carpets? Perhaps I needed three bells. Or four? Were the birds around my property deaf or plain dumb? I got up, picked speckled wings off the carpet and filled the cat bowl with Purina One.
By 10 am Burnie had toasted another sparrow. This was followed by a field mouse, (they’re most fun to play with). Then a waxeye at noon.
The stupid collar had done nothing but instigate a massacre. Its happy jingle had drawn the defenseless birds to him. He’d become a feline pied piper.
He disappeared for the rest of the day. Repleat.
Naturally, I worried he’d snagged his brand new collar on a branch, struggled to free himself and twisted his collar tighter and tighter around his neck and inadvertently hung himself. Mortal moggie terror welled within.
At 5pm, casual as, Burnt Toast strode into the courtyard calling that mocking, come-and-see-what-I’ve-killed call, I’m sick to death hearing. Not another one? He dropped a sparrow onto the grass and washed his paws. His bells rattled. He was too hot and bothered to eat. I was too hot and bothered to start cooking the kid’s dinner and save the birds. Bag tally: 4.
I wanted to contact Mr Morgan. Wouldn’t it be more humane (fel-ane mm not a word) to do some R & D, to create a run-away-quick-little-birdie bored cat about to claw you in the neck then eat you alive device? It could be added to the microchip Mr Morgan wants inserted in every cat. Responsible owners and all that.
Instead of jumping in boots and all and dealing up payback for the lost birds by eradicating the entire cat population of NZ. I know, I know, Mr Morgan actually wants to neuter every domestic and feral tom cat so our feline population gradually dies off. Completely.
I’m caught in the middle. I LOVE the company of cats. I also love our native birds and skinks and geckos. If there is such a thing as cat shame? I have it. But what to do. I can’t kill my cat. The kids would be bereft. He sleeps on their bed at night, when he’s not eating fresh kill under mine.
I’m happy to say by 11.45pm the following day, collar was still intact and no birds had been consumed. Perhaps it’s all down to education.
(please note: this cat has constant access to catbix. Birds are most active one hour before sunrise and one hour after sunset).