Community has responsibility for feline care
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.
Cat Care Inc president Betty Jones plays with a tortoiseshell she is seeking a home for.