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No nine lives for region’s feral cats

Under the new Greater Wellington Regional Council pest management plan, it is an offence to feed pest cat colonies. PHOTO/STOCK.ADOBE.COM

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The hunter has become the prey, after the Greater Wellington Regional Council announced its new Pest Management Plan 2019-2039, which targets feral cats for the first time.

Regional council spokesman Stephen Heath said feral and pest cats were a growing problem for the region, particularly in rural parts of Wairarapa.

“We suspect there are increasing numbers of pest cats in the wild, though this is only anecdotal – we do not survey them,” he said.

Also on the council’s undesirable animals list are hedgehogs, deer, wild goats, wild rabbits, mustelids, possum rats and wallabies.

Part of the problem is people dumping unwanted cats or kittens and others trying to support these colonies by feeding them.

Heath said feeding pest cat colonies only perpetuated the problem of predation and made matters worse.

“The best approach is to control the population.

“We strongly advise people not to dump unwanted cats into bush, where they will survive partly by predating native creatures.

“[If they find cats] our message is, leave them alone and don’t make the problem worse,” he said.

By including cats in the plan, the council can prosecute anyone who dumps or supports feral cats under the Biosecurity Act.

It specifies a range of potential penalties including fines and even imprisonment.

“The purpose of the rule is to prevent members of the public from encouraging or supporting pet cat colonies on private and public land and to assist with controlling pest and unwanted cat populations,” Heath said.

The plan defines pest cats as those that are not microchipped in areas where its required, not registered as companion animals, are free-living, unsocialised, not owned, and have a limited relationship with humans.

Pest cats were added to the control list because of their predation of native birds and their eggs, lizards, fish, frogs, and large invertebrates.

Possum, stoats, ferrets, and hedgehogs are also on the list and pose a real risk to biodiversity, Heath said.

Domestic cat owners need not worry, however.

“We are not interested in pet cats, or cats outside of sensitive areas. Pet cat owner can be reassured that we are not targeting their pets,” he said.


  1. So don’t feed them. Then put them on stupid list because they hunt to survive. You need a catch, sterilize, then release program!

  2. What one sided bollocks! What about the volunteer groups who trap neuter and return? They’re assisting you idiots! Just another species labelled a pest which instantly will allow it to be dealt with in callous inhumane ways. Shame on you pencil pushing nazis. Humans are the biggest threat to the planet and the only one true pest.

  3. Gee, what is your plan when the population of the homeless gets to be too high….and then if the human population itself rises too high?? Gee, what to do……what to do….

  4. This is a terrible approach to a problem very easy handled by trap neuter return programs that countries have in place. It is a great way to conttold over population and a much more human way to treat animals. I cannot believe in this day and age anyone would think your way is humane. Disgusting do so studies.

  5. Leave them alone with Tom’s and Queens and rampart breeding the feral population will grow unchecked.

    People who feed them can help TNR programs because the cats are easier to catch. . If the Male is neutered it is less costly and easier to control

    Agree that people need to:
    1. be encouraged to consider wisely before getting any animal
    2. Consider adopting
    3. Not dump animals when they are past the cute stage

  6. The united states should do something about these cats many are sickly or hurt some carry disease they go to the bathroo. And children end up stepping or touching it while playing the spca wants to charge peoe outrages orices to come get these pest cats iirs up to the spca and humane society to round up these cats

  7. I grew up on a farm 16/17 miles southeast of Masterson, and even then, back in the ’60’s and ’70’s, town folk/s would go for a drive out into the country, and dump half grown kitten/s near farm houses in the hope that someone would take care of their no longer wanted pet cat/s. Where we lived, the neighbors were/are 1/4 mile away one side, and over a mile away, the other. So it was always near our place that these kittens, which were Xmas presents for the children, were dumped. Because they use to compete with our cat for food, and/or fight with it, the now stray cats/kittens were shot on sight. So yes, I am in favour of the culling of feral and pest cats.

  8. Trap, Neuter, Return……with responsible caretakers….ultimately numbers are reduced by attrition…..IT WORKS!!!!

  9. Let’s see. Its WORTHLESS HUMANS that have caused the cat problem. It’s AGAINST the LAW to feed these innocent ANIMALS!!! But it’s not AGAINST the LAW to watch THESE PRECIOUS INNOCENT ANIMALS…..STARVE TO DEATH!!! ISN’T ANIMAL CRUELTY AGAINST THE LAW!!!!

  10. This is outrageous. These cats are not there because if their own wrong doing. They should be supported. The best option is to trap, neuter, and return or find them homes. Also they help control the rat and nice population in the cities. We feed them everyday but not enough to totally sustain them.

  11. Spay neuter cats and manage colonies,.reach out to rescue groups to adopt the adoptable cats, provide cats for barn programs
    Cats should not pay the price if being dumped by irresponsible owners and primarily not spayed)neuter , which will decrease the overpopulation

  12. How sad educated politicians cannot work with educated rescuers for these animals and come to a humane solution would u like to go without eating and slowly die of starvation. I’d rather have a animal rescuer with a kind heart there in my times of trouble. You’ll probably add people u feel have not value to your don’t feed list or kill list. Sound like your solution to anything in your opinion is not valuable is that their expendable. Hope your family pets or kids or elderly don’t Become bothersome to u.

  13. The proper way to control these colonies is to capture spay/neuter them. This plan is cruel and there are better ways to handle feral cat colonies. Fund catch and fix operations.

  14. It is interesting how you label these cats as “pest cats”. What makes them pests?What is it you would have them eat in the wild? The humans who dump animals instead of taking them to animal shelters/rescues to be cared for deserve inhumane treatment themselves. I personally would prefer that a good portion of our tax money be used on animals instead of school taxes. Our priorities are pathetic.

  15. The feral cats are only feral because they do not have a home. Neutering releasing and socializing in the long run is much more humane. Someday you will need the cats and because of your policy the only cats left will be in a zoo. I do not wish to live in your cruel world. There is more than one way to accomplish your objective. Good luck playing God.

  16. Trap Neuter and Return programs are the only proven way to control cat populations and is actually humane. Has anyone in the decision-making chain ever even researched this? Recommend making educated and ethical and humane decisions. Remember, humans are the reason for the initiation of most pest problems.

  17. Obviously these people hate all living creatures, not just cats. IF people (feeders) are trapping and spaying and neutering the cats , it will decrease the populations. Leaving them uncared for allows them to continue to reproduce. SHAMEFUL!! I have fed cat colonies for more than 30 years. I have done the responsible thing, spayed, neutered and vaccinated. My colonies have dwindled in size.
    Step up to the plate people, help the animals

  18. The ‘pest Cat’ designation embraced by Greater Wellington Regional Council is a fabircation promoted by the antifelinists of both Predator Free New Zealand and the Morgan Foundation. It is an arbitrary and quite possibly illegal designation which goes above and beyond the Ministry of Primary Industries Companion Cats – Animal Welfare Code of Welfare 2007. This is a code of best practice formulated by referencing the Animal Welfare Act 1999 itself.

    Ministry of Primary Industries Companion Cats – Animal Welfare (Companion Cats) Code of Welfare 2007

    The Code defines only three categories of Cats: ‘Companion’, ‘Stray’ and ‘Feral’ and the council would have done better had it elected to stick with the categories of Cats as defined under the Code. During the consultation process, even some high profile environmentalists, for example Paul Ward, the leader of the Capital Kiwi project are on record advising the council to work within the confines of the Animal Welfare Act and it’s associated codes of best practice, but the council chose to do otherwise.

    Greater Wellington Regional Council have elected to use the term ‘pest Cat’ in the hope of supporting the more extreme factions of the environmental movement by collapsing the categories of ‘stray’ and ‘feral’ into a single arbitrary classification of ‘pest’.

    It appears GWRC are under the erroneous assumption they can rely on identification methods such as collars and microchips to determine which is a companion Cat and execute all other Cats who do not have identification. In fact, it is well documented microchips are prone to failure, not just individually, but by the entire batch. As to collars, these are well known to be dangerous for Cats and a cursory internet search will reveal numerous grizzly images of injuries caused by Cat collars.

    On the matter of abandoning animals, an additional local government bylaw is not required as this matter is already covered under the Animal Welfare Act which allows the courts to apply stringent penalties to the tune of fines in five figures and terms of imprisonment to those convicted of abandoning animals.

    The section of the RPMP intended to prevent servants of Cats from serving stray and colony Cats is a foolhardy approach which is counterproductive for native wildlife. Prevent people from serving a Cat colony and the cats may predate on native wildlife. However, John Innes, a wildlife ecologist for Landcare Research is on record with the statement that the main diet of wild Cats is rodents, “Cats eat a lot of ship rats. Ship rats probably eat more forest birds than cats put together”. The truth of the matter is remove the Cats from an ecosystem and it will be overrun by rodents within a short period of time. In ecology this process is termed the mesopredator release effect.

    All in all the RPMP amounts to an object lesson in local government opinionation and incompetence and when companion Cats are executed as part of GWRC’s ‘pest’ management operations, social unrest is an inevitable consequence.

    Our submission to the RPMP consultation is published online here:

    Submission To Greater Wellington Regional Council Regional Pest Management Plan Proposal Consultation

  19. I think the council should be taken out and treated the same way they want to have those cats treated that is not fair it’s not right and it’s inhumane and if they want to be stupid and do something stupid than they deserve to get hurt and I don’t mean hurt hurt I just saying that out of anger because I’m an animal lover and I will not tolerate anybody telling me I cannot feed a stray or feral cat because I do it all the time and I will keep on doing it and I am a member of the ASPCA

  20. This is beyond stupid! Yes cats can and do kill some wildlife I get that but they also help control mice/rat populations. TNR is a better program for decreasing there population and people should not be persecuted for thinking animal life is worth something. What a heartless bunch of council workers these are not the types of humans who should represent people.

  21. Of course domestic cat owner should be worried you are encouraging sick heartless sub humans to target helpless animals ?

  22. These colonies can be controlled with a desexing programme. There are alot of organizations that do this and then feed the remaining cats.
    The problem lies with the irresponsible people that dump or abandon these cats. What are you going to do about them. Encourage them not to?? Really? You need to take the hard line with them not the poor cats who really are the victims here!

  23. So you are advocating cruelty to these animals by starvation? Wow! How can you or anyone sit back & watch their suffering? If they are being fed by those wonderful people they are less likely to hunt down smaller animals as food. You must be a cat hater.

  24. First of all how do cats become feral cats? PEOPLE! THATS HOW! If you are going to have a cat as a pet get them fixed and DONT let them go out of your home. Trap neuter return is a great way to control an over grown cat population! Cats dont want to be out in the cold or heat scrounging around for food and water!!! This is definitely a people problem to start with. Now let’s come up with a humane way to fix it!!! It is inconsiderate, thoughtless people who are responsible for an animal overpopulation problem!!!! Dont blame the animals!!!! Or hurt them!!!!!

  25. You shouldn’t be killing cats to control them. Blame the government if they had strict laws to spay and neuter even if cats left to run wild the cats would not have offspring. Lazy government so you take easy way out and kill them. You should be embarrassed in this day in age being so barbaric! If you took the right steps to help animals in first place you wouldn’t have this problem now!!!!

  26. In Waterford, MI we have too many feral cats and nobody is willing to do anything about the problem. A few of the people keep feeding them! But will not pay for the spay/neuter part!

  27. “Leaving them alone” is a completely ignorant policy. They’ll still reproduce quickly, even more so if you don’t neuter any of them. If you want to “control” the feral cat population, then use other proven methods such as TNR, TNK or even culling if you must. But to penalize or prosecute the only humans in your town who are actually trying to actively DO something, even if it is taking care of them in a manner that’s not preferred, is ridiculous! Find another solution!

  28. That is inhumane to make up this ruling to not feed cat colonies. These are homeless cats and peoples fault that they throw them out. We should all be compassionate and empathetic to all of God’s children including animals.

  29. Have those who made these laws observed what happens to feral cats if they don’t have adequate nutrition? Their deaths are horrible, starving to death, enduring pneumonia and injury. It’s a cruel position. Spaying, neutering, catch and release with volunteer citizens to monitor and feed is more humane.

  30. In some states people do take care of feral cats and they TNR with the help of the Humane Society. It means to educate your community. Catch them and get them sprayed or neutered. Then you don’t have more cats. If the community is willing to help do this and wants to be a feeder for there colony then what is the issue here.

  31. Feral cat control must be taken under control by me there are so many were going nuts its a shame too cause some are sick and hurt i also dont like going in my yard and stepping in cat pooh or having my grandchildren getting it on them they should be caught really need help put spca wants too much money to trap them

  32. Seriously it’s not like they’re t rex’s. Re home them onto farms. They can keep the rat and mice issues under control.

  33. How do they expect these poor creatures (cats) to exist on nothing to eat. Not only have they been cruely abandoned by HUMANS and left to multiply they are now left again by HUMANS to slowly starve to death by beurocrats who sit in judgements over who lives and who dies a long slow painful death by starvation. You are very wicked people to cause such suffering to another LIVING CREATURE.


  35. Excellent news, hats off to WRC for stepping up to control these pests and helping native fauna. All that remains is legislation to contain domestic cats.

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