Cat owners may soon need to micro-chip their cats or risk their wandering moggie never returning home. Auckland Council is looking to broaden its definition of pest cats as it reviews its Regional Pest Management Plan. According to the council, the nationally accepted definition of feral cats are those that have none of their needs provided by humans, and the feral cat population size fluctuates largely independently of humans. But most unowned cats in the Auckland region are classed as stray rather than feral due to passive interactions with humans. To provide greater certainty, Auckland Council is looking to define cats as pests if they are not able to be identified by microchip or other means as being owned.
Redefining what constitutes a pest cat will enable greater clarity for the management of ‘unowned’ cats for council staff when undertaking pest control in high areas of biodiversity, the council said. The council has asked local board for feedback on programmes being developed as part of the pest management plan review is beng sought. The Hibiscus and Bays Local Board supported the micro-chipping of cats to identify the difference between pet and pest animals. Members noted chipping of cats would help council staff recognise unowned versus pet cats and help officers to return pet cats to their owners.