Monday, February 11, 2013

Abandoned cat numbers increase over the holiday season

Recent finds of deserted and unwanted cats and kittens down rural Taumarunui roads has raised concern among some locals, further endorsing the importance of being responsible pet owners. The holiday season has seen an increase in abandoned cat numbers, with bags of kittens and their mothers being dropped off in rubbish sacks and left to fend for themselves in the wild.

Taumarunui local Leon Stratford lives in the Retaruke Valley and for the last 5 years has been employed as part of Kia Wharite, controlling stoats, cats and other predators and protecting local whio (blue duck) populations.

Another abandoned cat
Leon has some real concerns about the impacts cats have on wildlife populations and feels it is our responsibility as kiwis to ensure that we consider the impacts that our pets have on their surroundings. He trapped 49 cats in December alone and thinks that this number will increase if we don’t take responsibility. “It gets depressing because you do all of this great work in conservation and then you spend more time sorting out cats because of lazy pet owners”

Cats are not the only predatory species threatening native wildlife and they are managed in conjunction with rats, ferrets, stoats and a multitude of other threats. The difference with cats is that we can have an impact on the way that they are managed just by being responsible pet owners.

Tips on being a responsible pet owner
  • Having a pet is a big commitment that should be well considered before hand; think about it, do you really have to have one?
  • When you purchase a flea collar, make sure it has a bell attached, the sound might help in deterring birds when the cat is hunting.
  • Feed your pet well and keep it indoors whenever possible, a well cared for cat is likely to hunt less.
  • Be a responsible cat owner and ensure your cats are well looked after and fed while you are on holiday.