New Zealand Man Out to Make Internet’s Job Harder

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In a world where natural resources are scarce, ideas are few, and there is generally very little to be gained, the currency of our times has become the cat video. Just kidding, it’s money. It’s still money. Unless you live in a place or situation where the barter system is used. In which case you could trade for cat videos. 

Per usual, a cat-related story has been all over the Internet this week, but it’s not Tard the Grumpy Cat on the Today Show or Colonel Meow looking angry. Economist Gareth Morgan prompted a cat-aclysmic reaction when he suggested a ban on domestic cats in feline-crazy New Zealand (Kiwis own more than 1.4 million cats, which doesn’t seem like a lot but keep in mind New Zealand is a pretty small country and only has about 4 1/2 million people). His website, Cats To Go, suggests in a series of adorable but very serious infographics, that cats are a detriment to local ecosystems and the furry killing machines have been responsible for threatening already-fragile indigenous bird species. The site leads with the phrase, "That little ball of fluff you own is a natural born killer," which sounds an awful lot like something from The Oatmeal

Now, seeing as I’m not a cat owner (and generally particularly indifferent about cats, but you do you), not a resident of New Zealand (although apparently it’s lovely) and not a conservation expert (got nothin’), I’m not in a position to tell you how to live your lives or to get rid of your cats. And the combination of general global apathy w/r/t sustainability issues and the fact that people love their pets and will have difficulty telling their kids that they can’t get a new cat to replace the gaping, Fluffy-shaped hole that remains makes this measure seemed unrealistic, well-intentioned as it is.

But think of the cultural implications if this were ever to become a thing. With a decrease in the domestic cat population, think of what we could accomplish. The tired, antiquated and pretty sexist "crazy cat lady" trope would slowly fade away. I’m not saying we should get rid of cats, or that you should part with your beloved Kitty Sanchez or Catticus Finch, but maybe we could scale back on the cultural cat-worship a little teensy bit. And, you know, also care about invasive bird species. Although let’s be real, if cats didn’t occupy this space in pop culture, and Internet culture in particular, some other animal would. Corgis, probably. 

Here’s an NBC News report about Morgan, in which you’ll get a quick overview of the debate, some points and counterpoints and lots of images of little four-legged fascists skulking around looking for prey.

Internet’s ‘Grumpy Cat’ Gets Booked on ‘The Today Show’

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It’s early, the work week is just beginning and everyone’s got a bit of a Monday grump going on more than usual. It might be the weather, or it might have something to do with the appearance of Tardar Sauce [sic], the notorious Internet-famous "Grumpy Cat" of the blog of the same name, on The Today Show over the weekend. Take note, other people with weird-looking pets looking to exploit their Internet popularity. You can get on a pretty major daytime television program! 

The notoriously sour-faced feline appeared with her "pet parents" (at The Today Show, they don’t like to use the word "owner") Tabby (no, really), Bryan and Crystal Bundesen, who explained the cat’s sudden rise to fame and its mostly having to do with Reddit because of course. As for the appeal of her expression? "We think it’s because she looks so grumpy that you can’t help but be happy when you look at her," Bryan Bundesen told The Today Show. "She’s like a stress reliever."

Bundesen assured the crowd that Grumpy Cat is actually quite docile and playful despite the less-flattering brand to which she is attached. The Bundesens also hawked some Grumpy Cat merchandise (with some proceeds going to animal rescue charities), including Christmas cards, mugs and t-shirts in case you’re still looking for something for the slightly-unhinged cat lover or full-time Redditor in your life. 

Not to be outdone by his wildly popular Internet-famous cat counterpart, Lil Bub will grant an exclusive, tell-all interview to Katie Couric to air later this week. Watch Tardar Sauce’s appearance below.

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