I am writing in response to the article, “Why a village in New Zealand is trying to ban all cats” (BBC News, August 29). I don’t really like cats but this article surprised me.
According to environmentalists, cats are responsible for the death of billions of birds and mammals each year. So I understand that the villagers in New Zealand want to protect their native wildlife.
Who should be blamed for this situation? Humans, of course. Pet ownership has become a trend now so the cat population has soared. But some people abandon their cats which makes the problem worse. The solution is to keep the cats inside, like we do with dogs.
Cats are cute, but please think twice before you decide to get one.
Cedar Ma, King Ling College
From the Editor
Thank you for your letter, Cedar.
That BBC article is very interesting. It says that cats have been linked to the extinction of 63 species, which is quite shocking.
Before cat fans get upset, let’s be clear and say the village of Omaui on the southern coast of New Zealand is not planning to kill any cats. What it does want to do, though, is have each cat desexed, so that they cannot breed.
In fact, this step is just a sensible part of pet ownership, no matter if your pet is a dog or cat. Unless you are a breeder, you would not want your pet to have babies. That simple step would be very helpful in limiting the number of strays.
It might seem “normal” for people to keep their dogs or cats inside, but it really isn’t.
Because we are in Hong Kong, and very few people have backyards, most people keep their pets indoors most of the time. But, generally speaking, dogs and cats in other places have the freedom to move inside or outside the house. But in some cases, pets are not allowed inside the home. In these places, dogs are usually barred in some way from going about freely, usually by a fence and gate. But cats can climb over fences and walls and are not as easy to contain as dogs usually are.
So, the authorities have come to expect more from dog owners – that the dogs should always be under their control. If left to wander about, dogs can bite people, get into fights with other dogs, or cause road accidents. Cats, on the other hand, don’t really do that.
You are quite right, though. Pet owners are the root of the problem and they should manage their animals responsibly.