Rodney Times - - LOCALJOBS -

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.

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