Cat Management Working Party

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The Cat Management Working Party has been set up to work with the community on finding solutions to the problems caused by cats – both domestic and feral – in the Gore District.

The working party's aim is to:

• identify the extent of the problems and risks posed to the environment and community,

• look at initiatives and policies elsewhere to control cats and evaluate their effectiveness, and

• make recommendations to the Council to solve the problems and risks, regulatory and/or incentive based.

To achieve these goals, the working party will be gathering feedback from the community. There will be opportunities for community conversations digitally and in person. If you are not already registered with Let's Talk, just click on the SignUp banner to the right.

The working party is made up of three councillors – Cr Glenys Dickson (chair), Cr Cliff Bolger and Cr Neville Phillips – a representative from the Hokonui Runanga and four community representatives.


Are cats a problem in the District?

The short answer is Yes. There are colonies of feral cats living in Gore, most of the animals being in poor health. It’s believed many of these cats were either lost pets and / or have been dumped.

Animal welfare is a major issue among colony cats. Stray cats get so hungry they’re forced to eat slugs, which carry lungworm larvae. As a result, many strays have lungworm, which can cause severe respiratory disease.

Cats are highly efficient predators. The kittens and mature cats that survive being dumped in the countryside are a significant threat to our indigenous wildlife. Pet cats are also a threat – it’s estimated New Zealand's pet cats kill more the 1.1 million native birds each year.

Iwi and community groups seeking to establish havens for indigenous wildlife are struggling to achieve safe habitats due to predation by cats


What are the issues?

Anecdotal evidence, including correspondence we received following the announcement of the working party's formation, suggests the perceived problems include:

  • Public health concerns, such as toileting in neighbour's gardens, getting into rubbish, and spreading toxoplasmosis
  • Predation of wildlife
  • Nuisance behaviours, such as fighting, running across roads, entering other houses and stealing other pets’ food, and uncontrolled breeding resulting in unwanted kittens
  • Cat welfare issues associated with hoarding, poor owners and stray cat colonies
  • Distinguishing owned and unowned cats when carrying out pest control activities
  • Financial and emotional impacts on people who find and try to rehome the unwanted kittens
  • Burden upon agencies and individuals who deal with abandoned and mistreated kittens and cats when owners cannot be identified


What is being done at present locally?

Some working party community members have been spending time and their own money on caring for feral cats. Collectively, they have helped over 100 cats and kittens in the last three and a half years.

Their focus has been to:

  • Control numbers by desexing
  • Trap, socialize and rehome
  • Provide food and veterinary treatment


What is being done nationally?

Cats are New Zealand’s most popular pet. There’s close to 1.5 million domestic cats and as many feral cats across the country.

Four councils have introduced mandatory microchipping and desexing of cats, while there are calls for central government to make nationwide rules around regulating cats.


The desexing debate

Desexing is essential if we want to control feral populations and reduce the number of unwanted cats dumped each year. A female cat can get pregnant from about six months, and she can have about two litters a year. Each litter averages five to six kittens. It doesn't take long for a population explosion in a colony.

So, what are the barriers to desexing?

This is a question we want to hear from you about. Please check out our ideas forum (see below) and let us know your thoughts about desexing. Anecdotal some of the barriers include:

  • Desexing cats is not natural
  • A female cat needs to go into heat before she’s desexed
  • A female cat should have a litter before being desexed
  • De-sexing cats, especially at a young age, leads to behavioural problems
  • Desexing will change my cat’s nature
  • Desexing will make my cat gain weight
  • Indoor cats do not need to be desexed
  • I can make money by selling the offspring
  • Desexing is a risky procedure; I am not willing to risk my cat’s life / health
  • Desexing is expensive, I cannot afford the procedure



The Cat Management Working Party has been set up to work with the community on finding solutions to the problems caused by cats – both domestic and feral – in the Gore District.

The working party's aim is to:

• identify the extent of the problems and risks posed to the environment and community,

• look at initiatives and policies elsewhere to control cats and evaluate their effectiveness, and

• make recommendations to the Council to solve the problems and risks, regulatory and/or incentive based.

To achieve these goals, the working party will be gathering feedback from the community. There will be opportunities for community conversations digitally and in person. If you are not already registered with Let's Talk, just click on the SignUp banner to the right.

The working party is made up of three councillors – Cr Glenys Dickson (chair), Cr Cliff Bolger and Cr Neville Phillips – a representative from the Hokonui Runanga and four community representatives.


Are cats a problem in the District?

The short answer is Yes. There are colonies of feral cats living in Gore, most of the animals being in poor health. It’s believed many of these cats were either lost pets and / or have been dumped.

Animal welfare is a major issue among colony cats. Stray cats get so hungry they’re forced to eat slugs, which carry lungworm larvae. As a result, many strays have lungworm, which can cause severe respiratory disease.

Cats are highly efficient predators. The kittens and mature cats that survive being dumped in the countryside are a significant threat to our indigenous wildlife. Pet cats are also a threat – it’s estimated New Zealand's pet cats kill more the 1.1 million native birds each year.

Iwi and community groups seeking to establish havens for indigenous wildlife are struggling to achieve safe habitats due to predation by cats


What are the issues?

Anecdotal evidence, including correspondence we received following the announcement of the working party's formation, suggests the perceived problems include:

  • Public health concerns, such as toileting in neighbour's gardens, getting into rubbish, and spreading toxoplasmosis
  • Predation of wildlife
  • Nuisance behaviours, such as fighting, running across roads, entering other houses and stealing other pets’ food, and uncontrolled breeding resulting in unwanted kittens
  • Cat welfare issues associated with hoarding, poor owners and stray cat colonies
  • Distinguishing owned and unowned cats when carrying out pest control activities
  • Financial and emotional impacts on people who find and try to rehome the unwanted kittens
  • Burden upon agencies and individuals who deal with abandoned and mistreated kittens and cats when owners cannot be identified


What is being done at present locally?

Some working party community members have been spending time and their own money on caring for feral cats. Collectively, they have helped over 100 cats and kittens in the last three and a half years.

Their focus has been to:

  • Control numbers by desexing
  • Trap, socialize and rehome
  • Provide food and veterinary treatment


What is being done nationally?

Cats are New Zealand’s most popular pet. There’s close to 1.5 million domestic cats and as many feral cats across the country.

Four councils have introduced mandatory microchipping and desexing of cats, while there are calls for central government to make nationwide rules around regulating cats.


The desexing debate

Desexing is essential if we want to control feral populations and reduce the number of unwanted cats dumped each year. A female cat can get pregnant from about six months, and she can have about two litters a year. Each litter averages five to six kittens. It doesn't take long for a population explosion in a colony.

So, what are the barriers to desexing?

This is a question we want to hear from you about. Please check out our ideas forum (see below) and let us know your thoughts about desexing. Anecdotal some of the barriers include:

  • Desexing cats is not natural
  • A female cat needs to go into heat before she’s desexed
  • A female cat should have a litter before being desexed
  • De-sexing cats, especially at a young age, leads to behavioural problems
  • Desexing will change my cat’s nature
  • Desexing will make my cat gain weight
  • Indoor cats do not need to be desexed
  • I can make money by selling the offspring
  • Desexing is a risky procedure; I am not willing to risk my cat’s life / health
  • Desexing is expensive, I cannot afford the procedure



Page last updated: 22 Jul 2022, 08:27 AM