A New Zealand group canceled a cat-hunting competition for kids after receiving massive backlash for the plan, but one Kiwi journalist told a national audience he thinks the cat hunt is a great idea and doesn’t go far enough.
“When it comes to feeral kets, I’m on the soide of the kea, the kākāpō and the kiwi ivery sangle doy of the week and my missige to [the organizers] is ‘Git the competition back on, git the keds back out thea,'” said the vowel-desecrating morning show host Patrick Gower. “If thea gonna hunt and thea’s feeral kets in the way, then we hif to woipe them out. Feeral kets need to be shot, they need to be run ovah, they need to be trepped, they need to be woiped off the foice of Aotearoa and I imploah the school to git it back on, and look, I’ll put up some rewoade as well foah any kets these kids git down theah as well.”
English translation: “I think the cat-killing contest is a wonderful idea, cats need to be shot, run over and exterminated from New Zealand, and I hate cats so much that I’ll put up some of my own money as prizes for the children who bag the most kills.”
You’ve got to wonder what cats have done to Patrick Gower for him to hate them so much, and fortunately dear readers, PITB has the answer!
Gower lost the New Zealander of the Year competition of 2020 to a cute orange tabby named Mittens.
Think about that: All those years of doing Pulitzer-worthy breakfast show kitchen demonstrations, of slaving away at the anchor desk bringing viewers important news about reality TV stars and parroting former Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s declaration that New Zealand’s government is “the single source of truth” on COVID, and Gower loses the honor to a damn cat. Mittens even has the key to the City of Wellington, and Gower does not.
It’s unfortunate when a man in influential position, small country or not, enthusiastically encourages children to practice being future serial killers by slaughtering innocent animals because he thinks — despite the complete absence of evidence — that arbitrarily gunning down and running over sentient animals will save birds.
Really, you’d think before calling for the extirpation of an entire species of animal that these people would have something, even a single bogus research study, claiming that bird populations would recover if only people started killing cats on sight.
But no such proof exists, and the burden of proof rests with Gower, fellow Kiwi cat-hater Gareth Morgan and others who harbor an irrational and ill-advised hatred of tiny animals who are simply behaving the way nature designed them to behave.
What we do know is that managing cat populations can be done, but it’s difficult, time-consuming work that requires dedication and patience.
Cities like Washington, D.C., with its exhaustive cat count, and communities across the US have provided the blueprint with TNR efforts and a mass push for all pet owners to spay and neuter their cats. The results have been remarkable, and shelters save more than a million felines a year compared to just a decade ago. There’s still work to be done to bring the number of euthanizations down to zero.
It’s also worth noting that the organizers of the North Canterbury Hunting Competition and supporters like Gower are coming from a place of ignorance. In their original, now-deleted announcement, the organizers offered a “guide” to telling the difference between feral and pet cats, unaware that they are the same species. The only difference is that pet cats are fortunate enough to have homes, and strays and ferals do not.
The group said it was offering its “guide” as a way to prevent children from killing pet cats, but how exactly would they do that when a pet is indistinguishable from a colony stray or a feral? Would they find a microchip on the corpse of a cat they killed and say “Oops, guess that one doesn’t count!”?
Does a cat somehow feel less if it doesn’t have a home? Is its life worth less if it doesn’t have a collar and eat from a bowl?
It’s barbaric and so poorly thought-out, it really boggles the mind that the idea of a cat-killing competition for kids was voiced, let alone approved, planned and promoted by supposed adults.
As for the contest itself, we’re very glad it’s been called off, even if the organizers want to play victim and say their feelings have been hurt by the response to their murderous event.
That, however, doesn’t solve the problem. The fact that the organizers thought this was a good idea in the first place, and the increasingly pitched rhetoric from the likes of Gower and Morgan, are normalizing the idea of slaughtering innocent animals who have their own minds, thoughts and feelings, and who have been shaped by 10,000 years of history to live with and depend on humans.
Instead of calling for blood and whipping people into a frenzy, influential New Zealanders should read about cats and animal cognition in general, so they’re aware that felines experience the full range of primary and secondary emotions and are very much capable of suffering the same way we do when we’re injured, stressed and our lives are in danger.
That, unlike claims that cats are primarily responsible for the decline in bird populations, is hard scientific fact. We can peer into the brains of felines, watch their neurons fire, see different brain regions light up as they think specific thoughts and respond to specific smells and sights.
Maybe if people who hate cats understand what they are, they’ll feel some empathy for a beautiful species, animals who have been companions and literal life savers to humans since before deepest antiquity, animals whose lives have intrinsic value regardless of what they mean to us. At the very least, we owe them that.