Feral cats: ‘At some point they were loved’
Litterbox etiquette takes on a whole new meaning when you’re living with 48 cats, but Victoria Skinner wouldn’t have it any other way.
‘‘It’s a whole lot of mess but the constant snuggles makes it worth it,’’ she said.
Skinner and her partner, Hamish Martin, currently share their home with 26 cats others don’t want.
The Whitby couple have opened their home to raise awareness of the plight of feral cats.
Skinner said a Wellington City Council proposal to limit the number of cats people can own would create more feral cats as owners dumped their pets.
‘‘I just hope the Porirua council doesn’t follow suit.’’
The couple have formed The Outpawed Rescue Trust, a nonprofit organisation to tame and rehome feral cats in the Wellington area.
Skinner said the plight of feral felines was often overlooked.
‘‘It’s not hard to love feral cats. They play by their own rules.’’
With so many cats under one roof, the couple’s 12 permanent feline residents were used to other cats, Martin said.
The charity was formed seven weeks ago to advocate for the adoption of feral felines.
Skinner said when feral cats couldn’t be rehabilitated they could be desexed, vaccinated and released into managed colonies, where they will be fed by volunteers, a practice known as Trap, Neuter and Release.
She said Gareth Morgan’s war on cats had the right idea but he went about it the wrong way.
‘‘We don’t deny feral cats are pests, but they’re pests that were pets. People have done it and they need to clean up their mess.’’
Skinner and Martin hope to work with Porirua City Council to set up shelters and feeding stations for feral cat colonies.
‘‘One or two generations ago these were house pets. At some point they were loved.’’
Wellington council’s proposed animal bylaw is would require anyone wanting to keep more than three cats aged over six months to seek permission from the council.
Hamish Martin and Vikki Skinner live with up to 40 cats, and wouldn’t have it any other way.