Find­ing purr-fect num­ber of cats

Matamata Chronicle - - Front Page - REXINE HAWES

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.

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