Auckland Council plans to class cats as pests

April 16, 2018

Auckland Council plans to class cats as pests

Microchips will identify house cats. Photo: Jasmine Gruber

Auckland Council will class cats that are not microchipped as pests.

The move has been prompted by decreasing biodiversity  due to predation by cats in the northern parts of AucklandAccording to the council website, cats have already contributed to local or complete extinction of at least nine native New Zealand birds.

“Cat trapping will be planned at specific sites of ecological significance where rats, possums and other pests are also being managed,” says Phil Brown, Auckland Council’s biosecurity manager.

The council will decide whether or not a cat found at the sites of high biodiversity value are pests by the presence or absence of a microchip.

Ark in the Park, Hunua Ranges, Shakespear, and Tawharanui are the areas on which the council will focus.

Non-microchipped cats found at the sites may be euthanised.

The plan does not involve compulsory microchipping, but the council is encouraging it.

Auckland veterinarian Dr Chris Laurenson understands the purpose of the plan.

“Stray wild cats cause a huge damage to the ecosystem,” he says.

However, not everyone is on board with the plan, including cat owners Teresa Hextall and Madison Mccoy.

“Feral cats are unwanted pets that have been disowned and left to their own devices, merely trying to survive.

“Maybe we should be helping them, not destroying them,” says Ms Hextall.

She thinks education is key to the council’s plan, as well as more affordable vet fees for owners wanting to microchip their cats.

Both cat owners believe that instead of focussing on euthanising cats, they should be helping them, and focus on trapping pests such as rats and possums.

“I really think it’s unethical,” says Ms Mccoy.

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