Cat lovers op­pose man­age­ment plan

The Bay Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BAY­LEY MOOR

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.

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