A small village in New Zealand is working to ban all cats. Domestic cats will need to be neutered, microchipped and registered. Once the cat dies, the owners will not be allowed to get another one, leading to the village of Omaui being free from any domestic cats, but why?
Environment Southland have proposed the cat ban to protect the native wildlife. Cats are the cause of billions of deaths of wildlife and it is hoped that removing cats will work to save the mammals and birds in the area. Dr Marra thinks banning cats is an obvious solution, however, he makes an interesting comment that could perhaps save the village from becoming a cat free zone. Dr Marra isn’t against cats, he said they make wonderful pets, but “…they shouldn’t be allowed to roam outside- it’s a really obvious solution” when speaking to the BBC. Dr Marra went on to say that dogs aren’t allowed to roam around outdoors and that cats should be treated the same way.
Omaui officials are justifying their call to action with the use of footage showing cats killing insects, birds and reptiles that live in the village. They are not asking for cat owners to kill their pets, instead simply stating that once the cat dies it will not be able to be replaced. Anyone that fails to comply will be sent a notice and have their pet removed as a last resort.
Cats are known to cause a problem with local wildlife, they are natural hunters and very good at their job. So good that they’re ranked in the 100 worst non-native invasive specialise in the world by conservation scientists. This is a worldwide problem and not limited to Omaui, which is home to high value conservation areas. Cats are linked to 63 species extinctions and Dr Marra thinks that it’s time to do something about. However, he doesn’t place the blame at the paws of cats, he insists it’s the fault of the human owners.
Omaui cat owners are shocked by the proposed plan to ban cats and are going to resist it. An all-out ban doesn’t have to be the only option here. Perhaps the use of cat fencing and other types of cat containment systems could keep everyone happy, including the cats. Many cat owners use cat fencing to stop their beloved family pets from harming large numbers of wildlife. Surely it’s worth considering for New Zealand too?