Cat lovers oppose management plan
A Russell cat lover is campaigning against calls for local councils to introduce controls such as compulsory microchipping and curfews.
The Dunedin City Council is putting a remit to Local Government New Zealand’s annual conference to lobby the Government to give councils greater powers for the management of moggies. The remit proposed measures including microchipping, desexing and curfews.
Northland Cats in Balance spokesperson Klaus Kurz, says cats are important to manage the population of other threats to native birds including rats and stoats.
‘‘It’s a matter of education, if we would be responsible with kittens and have them sterilised and take care of them, we wouldn’t have the population of stray or feral cats. It’s a human problem, not a cat problem.’’
While he believes that kiwi burrows are only small enough for kittens to enter, he does not deny that adult cats are a threat to other species.
‘‘We humans kill much more biodiversity than cats, but they have become the scapegoats. We believe responsibly managed cats are important, they keep us rodent free.’’
In NZ there are more than 1.1million domestically owned cats, 196,000 stray cats and an unknown number of feral cats. Kurz says owners can be responsible by fitting cats with a collar and feeding them properly.
He has two cats, who rid their property of rats and now bring inside mice, stoats, and only rarely a bird, which he says seem to be weak or very young.
In a submission against the proposed management strategy by cat supporters groups around the country, concerns included compulsory microchips failing to be read by scanners and curfews interrupting cats natural rodent predation time at night.
The submission referenced Wellington-based zoologist Dr John Flux who says: ‘‘Keeping cats indoors at night is the completely wrong thing to do if we want to protect birdlife in our towns and cities.’’
Councils were to vote on whether to develop the cat strategy at the LGNZ conference from July 23-25. Whangarei Council has voted against supporting the national cat management strategy, while a Far North District Council spokesperson says the council was yet to decide.
Klaus Kurz and his cat Panthy.