Cats are a problem

The Forest and Bird Society, along with millionaire Gareth Morgan, want people to say, “This cat will be my last cat.” When the cat dies, people should not get another one.

The problem with cats is that they are predators. Predators catch and eat other animals. This is natural. Unfortunately, cats catch native birds. Cats can climb trees and kill baby birds in a nest. Our native birds did not have to worry about predators in the natural world before Europeans arrived in New Zealand and brought cats with them. Now the numbers of native birds are decreasing.

New Zealanders love cats. There are about 4.4 million people in New Zealand and about 1 million cats. We are number one in the world for cat ownership. Almost half of all families own one cat or more than one.

SPCA – the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – does not agree with Gareth Morgan. Most cat owners love their animals. They point out that cats are companions for lonely people. A cat on your lap is a good way to reduce stress. Some cat owners keep their cats inside but usually New Zealand cats are outside during the day.

Vocabulary

• to own (v), ownership (n) – possess (this is mine), possession (my own)
• prevent (v), prevention (n) – stop people from being cruel to animals
• point out – say, give an opposite answer (a point)
• companion – friend
• lap – your knees when you are sitting down
• reduce – decrease

Note: New Zealand had no native mammals (except a native bat) before Maori and then Europeans arrived. Many birds, like kiwis, do not fly.

Questions

• Are you a cat-lover?
• Will it be possible to encourage people to give up owning a cat?
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