Finding purr-fect number of cats
New Zealand’s cat population is marching towards 1.4 million prompting a call to put a cap on the number of fury faces people can own, per household.
It’s all part of Local Government New Zealand’s move to ask government to take legislative action to promote responsible cat ownership, good cat management and reduce the environmental impacts cats have on wildlife.
It will discuss the matter, including the idea of a cap on cats per house, at its coming AGM.
But one local government organisation not supporting the cap is the Matamata-Piako District Council.
Mayor Jan Barnes says legislation policing cat ownership would cause more problems than it’s worth.
Council animal control staff consider there would be significant cost and resource implications especially with regard to enforcement.
‘‘We would need to double animal control,’’ she said.
‘‘I would like to say no more than two (cats per household), but it’s not a huge issue in our district.
‘‘We didn’t feel we wanted to work on a bylaw, we felt it could be done with education.’’
There are currently no regulations in the MatamataPiako district relating specifically to the control of cats.
The only role council currently play with respect to cats is the loaning of a cat cage.
Cages are lent free of charge and must only be used for catching feral cats.
It is up to that person to dispose of the cat once it’s caught.
From June 2016 to June 2017, 15 cages were loaned to Matamata, 20 to Morrinsville and 13 to Te Aroha.
A Neighbourly poll asking if a cap on cat ownership should be enforced in the district showed 75 per cent were in favour, 8.3 per cent were against and 16.7 per cent were indifferent.
Susan Provan said three-to-five per household is ridiculous.
‘‘There should be a maximum of two per household’’.
This view was shared Monique Butler.
‘‘Two cats per household are by ample enough, they should be fixed also or special licence obtained for non-fixed or neutered cats.’’
Regional councils’ power is restricted to destruction of feral cats as pests.
There were no statutory powers for district councils to implement an alternative solution such as requiring companion cat owners to control cats to avoid or minimise the harm of pets on urban and rural wildlife.
Far North and New Plymouth district councils have a cap of five cats per household.