Miss­ing mog­gies go­ing wild in the west

Taupo Times - - YOUR LOCAL NEWS - STEPH RANGI

Hol­i­day­ing cats are caus­ing headaches for the res­i­dents of a small town on the shores of Lake Taupo¯ .

Omori res­i­dents have got their hack­les up over the num­ber of cats that are be­ing brought into the area by hol­i­day­mak­ers over the Christ­mas and New Year pe­riod.

The cats ar­rive, but many do not make the re­turn jour­ney.

Omori–Ku­ratau Pest Man­age­ment Group (OKPMG) mem­ber Rus­sell Shaw is plead­ing with peo­ple to not bring their furry friends with them.

‘‘Please leave your cat in a cat­tery. It’s bet­ter for the cats and bet­ter for the bird life,’’ he said.

OKPMG have trapped and re­moved 96 feral cats this year. Shaw says a lot of them are clearly do­mes­tic cats left be­hind by their own­ers be­cause they can’t find them when it comes time to leave.

He said the is­sue of cats be­ing left be­hind might stem from the ex­ces­sive amount of rab­bits in their area.

‘‘The cats are busy with their heads stuck in a rab­bit hole that when it comes time for the fam­ily to leave, the cat can’t be found,’’ he said.

‘‘So they leave them be­hind and within 10-12 days they have turned feral.’’

He wasn’t blam­ing the en­tire cat prob­lem on run­away do­mes­tic cats but any that have not been neutered end up breed­ing.

‘‘Then we have a ma­jor prob­lem and we have to clean it up.’’

Al­to­gether the group has caught about 600 cats over the past six years and the prob­lem is not get­ting any bet­ter. This year has been par­tic­u­larly bad com­pared to last year’s 83 feral cats.

It wasn’t un­til a cou­ple years into trap­ping their area, that they started tar­get­ing the cats in par­tic­u­lar.

‘‘We knew we had a prob­lem,’’ Shaw said.

While they do tar­get the feral cats, they have also caught the odd love­able moggy.

‘‘If it’s a cat from around here and it’s got a col­lar we take it back to its owner. If it’s a cat that looks fairly do­mes­tic we will take it to the vet and see if it’s mi­crochipped.’’

Since the OKMPG started tar­get­ing pests in their area they have man­aged to bring back the bird life and Shaw said they would like to keep it that way.

‘‘Please, please, please leave your cat be­hind.’’

PHOTO: 123RF

Wild cats can wreak havoc on na­tive birdlife.

STEPH RANGI/STUFF

Omori-Ku­ru­tau Pest Man­age­ment Group mem­ber, Rus­sell Shaw, is tired of trap­ping do­mes­tic cats that have turned feral.

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