Com­mu­nity has re­spon­si­bil­ity for fe­line care

Northern Outlook - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - EMMA DANGER­FIELD

Love them or hate them, cats are here to stay, and the peo­ple at Cat Care Ran­giora have some ad­vice for cat own­ers and their neigh­bours.

Cats may seem par­tic­u­larly preva­lent at this time of year be­cause they are sea­sonal breed­ers — as spring ar­rives and the day­light hours in­crease, fe­male cats come into heat, which brings all the male cats out for miles around.

Betty Jones is the pres­i­dent of the Ran­giora char­ity, and said while there were two types of peo­ple in the world, cat lovers and cat haters, it was en­tirely pos­si­ble for the two sides to co­ex­ist with a bit of com­mon sense.

‘‘If you have eight cats on your front lawn, you have a prob­lem, whether they are your cats or some­one else’s.

‘‘As a com­mu­nity we have cat prob­lems, due in most part to ir­re­spon­si­ble or un­e­d­u­cated cat own­ers, and as a com­mu­nity we all need to help with the so­lu­tions.

‘‘As with any prob­lem, there has to be com­pro­mise.

‘‘Thank­fully most peo­ple fall out­side the two ex­tremes and re­ally want to know what they can do to help and make a dif­fer­ence.’’

The key mes­sage to cat own­ers was to de­sex and vac­ci­nate, she said. This would go a long way to pre­vent­ing cats spread­ing dis­ease and cre­at­ing un­wanted kit­tens. It was also crit­i­cal to mi­crochip cats in or­der to iden­tify own­ers.

Cats should be kept in­side at night, or all the time if they have enough stim­u­la­tion, or put in a cat con­tain­ment sys­tem, Jones said.

‘‘Re­spect that your neigh­bour has ev­ery right to de­ter your cat from their prop­erty by hu­mane meth­ods like a hose or wa­ter pis­tol, or use var­i­ous (le­gal) re­pel­lents.

‘‘As lovely as your cat is, some­one else may not feel the same way, es­pe­cially if it is poo­ing in their vege bed or fight­ing with their cat.’’

Jones said peo­ple should also not feed stray cats as this meant they be­came re­spon­si­ble for them, which was par­tic­u­larly hard if the cat al­ready had an owner.

Cats had been do­mes­ti­cated by hu­mans, and con­trary to pop­u­lar be­lief they were not adept at fend­ing for them­selves, she said.

‘‘Act im­me­di­ately, ask around the neigh­bour­hood... If the cat reg­u­larly comes and goes, try putting a pa­per col­lar on it (strip of pa­per joined with sel­l­otape) with your phone num­ber ask­ing the owner to con­tact you.’’

She also ad­vised peo­ple to con­tact Cat Care, ad­ver­tise on so­cial me­dia, and con­tact their lo­cal vet. Con­tact Cat Care or Can­ter­bury SPCA for in­for­ma­tion on vol­un­teer­ing, fos­ter­ing and ad­pot­ing. Do­na­tions of money, food, toys, blan­kets and sheets are al­ways wel­come.

EMMA DANGER­FIELD/STUFF

Cat Care Inc pres­i­dent Betty Jones plays with a tor­toise­shell she is seek­ing a home for.

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