The issue of stray cats is rearing its ugly head again says Bylaw Enforcement Team Leader, Paul van Dorrestein.
“The situation with stray cats is a complex one for councils. Unlike the Dog Control Act, there is no specific legislation that gives Council’s the authority to assist the community in managing issues like that created by stray cats.”
“Stray cats are not officially classed as pests, and are treated differently to feral cats. The Department of Conservation says strays are not their responsibility whilst feral cats are. At present, much of the work dealing with stray cats is left to volunteer groups, with Council’s offering limited support as we have no authority in this area.”
“However, we do try to work with the community and other relevant stakeholders to look at educating the community and we also offer a cat trap service.”
“We recommend that no more than three adult cats be kept on a residential property.”
“Female cats can become pregnant from a very young age (around 6 months) and may produce several litters of kittens in a breeding season. It’s a good idea to desex all cats at around 20 weeks (5 months) to prevent unwanted litters.”
“Desexing may also reduce unwanted anti-social behaviours, such as yowling, spraying and cat fighting in male cats. An un-neutered female in a residential area could be responsible for thousands of unwanted kittens in her lifetime.”
“It's not only dogs that can be microchipped, there are huge benefits from microchipping your cat as well. Cats that are microchipped can be easily returned to their owner if they become lost or separated.”
“The local vets or the nearest SPCA can provide more advice on desexing and microchipping.”
“Council is limited in its ability to manage issues from stray cats, we do however provide cat traps to the community for a refundable deposit of $50.”
“Council has 15 cat traps, all are being used at present and we have a few people on the wait list. Council will be ordering 5-10 more traps to meet community demand.”
“We get on average about 4-6 calls per week from people who are having problems with stray cats and it seems to come in waves. One minute it will be relatively quiet, and then all of a sudden, there are a number of calls.”
“So we once again remind the community of the issues and the best way to deal with the situation.”
“An issue for us is that yes, people are using the cat trap service, but when they take a cat that has been trapped to the vets, it is identified as a pet, rather than a stray. So micro-chipping is a good idea in this instance so that owners can be identified.”
“We have some problem areas around town which we continue to monitor, these are Queen Street, Apatu Street, the far end of McLean Street and Marine Parade with stray cats in rubbish bins at night.”
“We continue to work closely with Coast Vets and they are telling us that there are a few people bringing in stray cats that they have caught themselves.”
“Our officers are working well with the community and with Coast Vets, and Council will continue to provide cat traps to the community for a refundable deposit of $50. If you do have a Council cat trap, please return it once you have finished with it so that we can pass it onto other people who are on our wait-list and we can also refund your $50 deposit”, says Mr van Dorrestein.
For more information
31 October 2018
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