Missing moggies going wild in the west
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.’’
Wild cats can wreak havoc on native birdlife.
Omori-Kurutau Pest Management Group member, Russell Shaw, is tired of trapping domestic cats that have turned feral.